Heavenly Baked Sweet Potato Arancini Recipe

Are you a fan of Italian cuisine? Do you enjoy the crispy exterior and soft, chewy interior of arancini balls? If so, then you’re in for a treat because I am excited to share with you my delicious vegan recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Arancini.

The traditional Italian rice balls, also known as arancini di riso, are typically filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, but my version is stuffed with sweet potato risotto filled with savory flavors that burst in your mouth.

While many arancini recipes require frying the rice balls in oil, my recipe lets you achieve a golden-brown crunchy outside without the need for a frying pan. Opting for baking or air frying instead creates a healthier alternative without sacrificing any flavor.

Trust me; this dish packs all the goodness and full flavor minus cheese and egg frying. So let’s get started on creating a delicious main course that will make your taste buds jump with joy.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Baked Sweet Potato Arancini (Italian Rice Balls) Vegan
Baked Sweet Potato Arancini (Italian Rice Balls) Vegan

Are you on the hunt for a delicious main course that is full of flavor, but also vegan? Look no further! These Baked Sweet Potato Arancini (Italian Rice Balls) are the perfect choice for a hearty meal that won’t leave you missing meat or cheese.

What makes these rice balls so delicious? For starters, they are filled with savory and flavorful stuffing. The combination of arborio rice, garlic cloves, onion, and fragrant white wine creates the perfect base for any Italian dish. But it’s the addition of mashed sweet potato, garlic powder, onion powder, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and raw cashews that really takes these rice balls to a whole new level of yumminess.

And don’t worry about missing out on cheesy goodness – these vegan arancini taste just as good without the dairy products. Instead of cheese, we’ll coat them in breadcrumbs to create that golden brown crunchy exterior that’s so iconic in this Italian classic. The result? Delicious rice balls that are bursting with flavor minus the cheese and egg frying. What’s more, they pair perfectly with a range of sauces – marinara or tomato sauces work excellently!

To sum it up: This recipe is everything you want in a filling and flavorful main course. These vegan sweet potato arancini Italian rice balls have everything you need to experience the essence of Italian cuisine without sacrificing taste. So go ahead and give this recipe a try – your taste buds will thank us later!

Ingredient List

 Savory Italian rice balls with a twist!
Savory Italian rice balls with a twist!

Let’s move to the Ingredient List to check what we need for this great recipe! I have compiled a vegan version that still has all the magic of traditional Italian arancini. Get your apron and let’s go shopping!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • ⅓ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • {optional} ¼ cup white wine

For coating:
– 1½ -2 cups breadcrumbs (use gluten-free if desired)
– {optional} marinara or pesto sauce for serving

With these ingredients, you’ll be able to make around 10 rice balls, depending on their size. If you don’t have all the ingredients on hand, don’t worry; I’ve got some useful substitutions options listed below.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to experience the crispy and creamy flavors of Baked Sweet Potato Arancini
Get ready to experience the crispy and creamy flavors of Baked Sweet Potato Arancini

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C)

Before embarking on this culinary escapade, it’s important to have all the necessary ingredients on hand. Once you’ve gathered everything, start by washing and peeling 1 medium sweet potato. Cut it into small dice-sized pieces, and roast them in the oven until they’re tender and slightly browned [^1]. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, begin cooking 2 cups of arborio rice according to the package instructions.

Once the rice has cooked, transfer it to a large bowl and set it aside for later use. In a pan, over low heat add 1 tbsp of olive oil, 3 minced garlic cloves, and 1 small onion chopped into fine pieces. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until the onions begin to turn translucent [^2].

Add your roasted sweet potato pieces to this mixture and stir until well combined. Add some onion powder and garlic powder seasoning, along with an ample amount of vegetable broth (approximately 2 cups) and some white wine (approximately 1/2 cup). Cook until it has thickened and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice [^3].

Next up is adding some flavorsome substances that will make this dish irresistible. Take out your food processor and blend together raw Cashews (1/4 cup), nutritional yeast (2 tbsp), soy sauce (2 tsp) until smooth. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the cooked rice and sweet potatoes; mix thoroughly.

With lightly oiled hands, take a ball of rice mixture in your palm and flatten it slightly. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the center of the disc: try using vegan spinach or mushroom filling [^4]. Wet your hands in water lightly again, so that you can then shape them into balls around the filling – about golf ball size [^5].

Gently roll each ball in breadcrumbs – gluten-free breadcrumbs are best if you’re gluten intolerant – before placing them onto a lightly greased baking tray. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and crunchy.

When they come out of the oven let them sit on a wire rack for five minutes before serving [^6]. You could also air fry them for optimal crispiness at 400°F (200°C) for around 15 minutes.

[^1]: “Roasting is an essential technique”

[^2]: “Sautéing creates flavor”

[^3]: “Cooking down white wine adds acidity”

[^4]: “Use leftover risotto or Sicilian arancini balls”

[^5]: “Wetting your hands reduces rice sticking”

[^6]: “Resting risotto balls after baked”

Substitutions and Variations

 Satisfy your snacking needs with these vegan-friendly delights!
Satisfy your snacking needs with these vegan-friendly delights!

If you’re looking to make some changes to the recipe or try some variations, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Here are a few ideas for ingredient substitutions and flavor variations that can make your baked sweet potato arancini unique and delicious.

Firstly, if you don’t have vegetable broth or white wine on hand, feel free to substitute them with water or another type of stock. The broth adds a rich flavor to the rice balls, but water works just fine too.

Secondly, you can swap out the sweet potato for another type of roasted or mashed vegetable such as pumpkin, butternut squash, or even cauliflower. This will give your arancini different textures and flavors while still keeping them vegan and delicious.

Another idea is to add in some finely chopped sautéed mushrooms or spinach to your rice mixture for added depth of flavor and nutrients. You could also mix in some vegan cheese alternative such as mozzarella-style shreds or nutritional yeast for a cheesy twist on this classic Italian dish.

Finally, if you want to experiment with the cooking method, you can try frying your arancini instead of baking them. Simply heat up some oil in a frying pan and carefully place the coated balls into the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown and crunchy.

Remember, these are just a few suggestions to get your creative juices flowing. Don’t be afraid to try something new and make this recipe your own unique creation!

Serving and Pairing

 A perfect appetizer for any occasion
A perfect appetizer for any occasion

Now that your baked sweet potato arancini are ready, it’s time to think about the perfect way to serve and pair them. These crispy rice balls are a delicious main course full of flavor minus the cheese and egg frying. You can enjoy them warm, topped with some fresh basil leaves or marinara sauce for a savory kick.

As for pairing, you can opt for a light-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir or Nero d’Avola if you prefer wines. They go well with the sweetness of the sweet potatoes and the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast in the arancini.

If you’re more into beer, then a Belgian ale or wheat beer can work wonders with these flavorful bites. You can also pair them with a fresh salad for some contrast and crunch.

Finally, to make your meal complete, add some garlic bread on the side for extra indulgence. The garlicky taste blends well with the other flavors in the dish and gives it an Italian twist.

But don’t worry if you’re not into wine or beer; these vegan rice balls are incredibly versatile and will taste just as good with a glass of sparkling water.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 These crunchy balls of goodness are the ultimate comfort food
These crunchy balls of goodness are the ultimate comfort food

As a busy vegan chef, I always look for ways to make my life easier in the kitchen. That’s why I absolutely love meals that can be made ahead of time and stored for later use. Baked Sweet Potato Arancini is one such recipe that you can easily prepare in advance.

If you have leftovers or want to make this dish ahead of time, it is best to let the rice balls cool down completely before storing them in an airtight container. The storage container can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 months if packed properly.

When reheating your frozen or refrigerated rice balls, the oven or air fryer is the recommended reheating method as it will keep them crispy on the outside and moist on the inside just like when they were freshly baked. If you’re using an oven, preheat it to 400°F (200°C), place the rice balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake for about 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through until they are golden brown and crunchy.

If you prefer to use an air fryer, spray your air fryer basket with cooking oil, preheat to 400°F (200°C) and add your rice balls. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until golden brown and crunchy on the outside. If you don’t want to use either of these appliances, you can also reheat them in a frying pan with a bit of oil but this may get a bit messy.

Don’t forget that these sweet potato arancini are versatile enough to be used as leftovers for another meal. You can cut them into quarters and serve over salad greens as an appetizer or eat them cold as part of a picnic spread. There are endless possibilities, so don’t hesitate to get creative!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Your taste buds will thank you
Your taste buds will thank you

To ensure that your baked sweet potato arancini come out perfectly every time, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Firstly, it’s important to make sure that your rice is cooked properly. Arborio rice is a must when making Italian rice balls as it has a high starch content and yields the perfect creamy texture. Be sure to cook the rice in vegetable broth for extra flavor and white wine for a touch of acidity.

Secondly, when handling the sweet potato, make sure to bake or boil it until it’s perfectly soft and cooked all the way through. This will ensure that it blends seamlessly with the other ingredients and forms cohesive balls.

Thirdly, seasonings are key in this recipe. Garlic cloves, onion powder or garlic powder can add some extra depth of flavor to the mixture. A bit of soy sauce or nutritional yeast can also provide the umami taste you’re looking for.

Fourthly, if you don’t have a food processor, don’t worry! Raw cashews can be soaked before blending them into your mixture. This will enable them to easily blend in without any lumps.

Lastly, if you want your rice balls crispy on the outside, roll them in breadcrumbs before baking them. For an extra golden brown crunchy exterior you can finish cooking them in an air-fryer instead of baking them in the oven.

Remember that practice makes perfect when it comes to making these wonderful vegan Italian-inspired arancini. Try experimenting with substitutes and variations and see what works best for you. Enjoy!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this vegan baked sweet potato arancini recipe is not just delicious but also healthy and satisfying. With the help of a few simple ingredients like sweet potatoes, arborio rice, vegetable broth, and nutritional yeast, you can create tasty and wholesome rice balls that are perfect for any occasion.

Whether you’re serving these as a main course or a snack, your family and friends will love the golden brown crunchy exterior and the deliciously savory filling. And with tips for substitutions and variations, you can customize this recipe to suit your preferences and taste buds.

So don’t hesitate to try this recipe out in your oven or air fryer today. Not only will you be indulging in a vegan delicious main course full of flavor minus cheese and egg frying pan bit messy make make ahead freeze baked goodness, but you’ll also be supporting a more sustainable food system that prioritizes plant-based options over animal products. Trust me, as George Orwell once said, “good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.”

Baked Sweet Potato Arancini (Italian Rice Balls) Vegan

Baked Sweet Potato Arancini (Italian Rice Balls) Vegan Recipe

A delicious main course that is full of flavor, but minus the cheese, egg and frying pan! It is a bit messy to make, but you can make ahead and freeze. Sweet potato is enhanced with cashews and nutritional yeast to make a super savory (almost cheesy) flavor. Then it's wrapped in risotto and rolled in bread crumbs before baking. Yum!
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Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Servings 24 Rice Balls
Calories 290.6 kcal


Sweet Potato Filling

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs liquid aminos or 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large sweet potato (12-16 oz)

Risotto Coating

  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups arborio rice (dry)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs


  • Filling:
  • Peel, chop and cook sweet potato in microwave until soft. About 6 minutes. Mash until creamy.
  • Meanwhile, combine all other filling ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
  • Stir together well.
  • Using your hands, form into 24 1-inch sized balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Place in freezer to cool to make them easier to handle.
  • Risotto:
  • Saute onion in large saucepan until tender. Add garlic.
  • Add the dry rice and stir constantly for 2 minutes.
  • Add the white wine stir until absorbed.
  • Add the broth 1/2 cup at a time. Waiting until fully absorbed between each addition. The entire process takes about 15-20 minutes. Season as desired.
  • Assembly:
  • Take a frozen filling ball and wrap the risotto around it by rolling in your hands. Then roll in breadcrumbs and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Can be frozen at this point.
  • Otherwise spritz with olive oil and bake at 400F for about 30 minutes.
  • Serve with marinara sauce.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 125gCalories: 290.6kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 5.7gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 75.6mgFiber: 2.6gSugar: 1.8g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Brunch, European, Free Of..., From Scratch, Kid-Friendly, Potato, Rice, Vegan, Vegetable, Yam/Sweet Potato
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