Vegan arancine – Italian rice balls

What do we eat in Palermo on the 13th December?

Arancine (yes, with “e”!) is a popular street food in my hometown, Palermo. In the rest of the Sicily and even country, they are also known as “arancini”. These delicious rice balls are consumed all over the years, no matter if in summer or in winter and they are particularly popular on the 13th December, because for St. Lucy bread and pasta are not “allowed”. Because this tradition, my grandmother used to make a lot of these saffron scented supplì for all the family: I remember she was particularly busy and stressed during the making of, no one was allowed to have access to the kitchen. They can be filled with different ingredients: for this vegan version I’ve made some sauteed mushrooms, but spinaches or seitan ragù would work perfectly fine too.

In Palermo we distinguish the ones with ragù from the ones with bechamel or spinach simply by their shape: the ragù ones are just rounded, the bechamel ones oval, and finally the spinach ones like pyramids.

Vegan arancini - Italian rice balls

  • Servings: 8 rice balls
  • Difficulty: advanced
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  • 500gr Carnaroli (or Arborio) Rice
  • 5 sauteed mushrooms
  • saffron
  •  some vegan cheese
  • around 500ml Bechamel
  • 2 Tbs vegan margarine
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
  • Sunflower oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 100gr flour mixed with 150ml water (for the pane & batter)
  • fine dried breadcrumbs (for the pane & batter)


  1. if you want to make your own vegan cheese, I’ve already made a video about the vegan mozzarella, you will find the video here. You can also use the vegan cheese from any vegan grocery.
  2. to make the vegan bechamel, follow the instructions you will find here.
  3. On a pan sauté the mushrooms with a small onion and soy sauce.
  4. cook the rice (I am using a rice cooker, otherwise follow the instructions according to the package), transfer it in a big bowl and mix it with 2 Tbs vegan margarine, the saffron, salt and pepper and 2 Tbs nutritional yeast. Set aside to let it cool
  5. scoop a portion of the cooled risotto into your hand
  6. spoon a Tbs of the sauteed mushrooms, a piece of cheese and 1 tsp of bechamel
  7. wrap each arancina ball in the batter and then dip into the bread crumbles.
  8.  deep fry for 8 minutes until golden and crispy. Transfer to a double layer of kitchen paper to drain.

Tips: they are really good also with soya ragù and peas (in this case you can skip the bechamel and the vegan cheese)

CategoriesAppetizers Italy