Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Balls with Sweet Basil Marinara Sauce
"The key to making these rice balls is tucking the cheese into the center of the cauliflower rice and squeezing the rice tightly around it. You need to make the balls compact so they’ll hold together when fried. Make an easy homemade marinara to use as your dipping sauce."
-- @thetoastedpinenut
A Note from Feedfeed

Excerpted from Cauliflower Power by Lindsay Grimes Freedman (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.


Prep time 15mins
Cook time 10mins
Serves or Makes: 2-4


  • 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/ 2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/ 3 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1/ 2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/ 4 cup cubed mozzarella
  • 2 cups safflower oil, for frying
  • 1 cup Sweet Basil Marinara Sauce, for serving (recipe below)


  • Step 1

    Place the cauliflower rice in a microwave-safe bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Cover the bowl loosely with a paper towel and microwave for 4 minutes, until tender. If you don’t have a microwave, cook the rice in a large skillet for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 tablespoon water and continue to cook for another 3 minutes, until the water has evaporated and the rice has softened. Press a paper towel or clean, thin dish towel onto the rice to absorb excess moisture and place the rice in a medium bowl.

  • Step 2

    Add 1 egg along with the garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt, and Parmesan to the cauliflower. Fold to combine thoroughly.

  • Step 3

    In a small shallow bowl, whisk the remaining egg. Put the almond flour in another small bowl. These will be your “stations” for coating the rice balls.

  • Step 4

    Pinch off a golf ball–size piece of the rice mixture. Insert a mozzarella cube into the center and squeeze the mixture in your hand until it forms a ball again with the cheese entirely enclosed inside.

  • Step 5

    Toss the rice ball in the almond flour until coated. These are super forgiving, so if the ball falls apart, just re-form it with your hands. Next dip it in the beaten egg, then roll it in the almond flour again until coated. Set aside on a plate and continue with the rest of the cauliflower rice mixture.

  • Step 6

    Heat the safflower oil in a medium frying pan over high heat for 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-high and place about 4 balls in the oil. When the bottoms of the balls are golden brown, about 2 minutes, flip the balls and fry the other side for 2 minutes.

  • Step 7

    Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and cook the second batch of rice balls. Transfer to a serving plate and serve with marinara sauce.

For the Sweet Basil Marinara Sauce

  • 1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/ 4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To Make the Sweet Basil Marinara Sauce

  • Step 1

    Combine the tomatoes, basil, coconut sugar, garlic, oregano, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the sauce to a low boil, stirring frequently.

  • Step 2

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. If not using immediately, let cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 10 days.