Rice balls recipe for your picnic table

rice balls plant-based recipe

If you are looking for something different for your picnic or lunch table this summer, then look no further! Try these rice balls for a fun and nutritious alternative. Once cooked, they are easy to pick up in one hand and eat, making them a great addition to your picnic meal.

We prefer to use brown (wholegrain) rice for this recipe, as it has many health benefits, however it does have a longer cooking time. The word “wholegrain” means that it contains the bran and germ, so therefore it is better nutritionally than white rice (white rice is a processed product). Brown rice is naturally high in fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system. It can act like a gentle scouring brush through your intestines, clearing out excess hormones and toxins, taking them through and out of your body.

Below, we share a recipe for a fresh Mediterranean rice balls. Once you have mastered the art of making these (it won´t take you long!) then you can mix up the flavours to suit yourself, so below we also give you an example for a spicy version.

Time-saving tip: Next time you cook brown rice, add an extra portion. Rinse and leave it to go cold. Use it up with these lovely rice balls.

Cooking tip: IYou can use a hand-blender (or other blender) to combine the mixture, instead of just mashing it with your hands. If you do use a blender, keep it really brief, otherwise you will end up with a mush that will taste really bland and flat on your tongue. Better to get your hands in and mash the rice together. It´s more fun too!

Rice balls recipe

Serves: 6 (makes 12 balls)
Calories: 238 total, 39 per serving


1 cup (100g) uncooked brown rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp black pepper
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped

Cornflour if needed


Cook the brown rice until soft. Drain and rinse well beneath cold running water. Leave it to one side to make sure the rice cools down.

Cook the onion and garlic in a pan until they become soft, add water to keep the onion from sticking. Add the carrots and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool (or go completely cold).

Place the brown rice into a bowl and mash it with your hands. Add the cooked vegetables, parsley, herbs and spices mixing well. The mixture should start to stick together. (Add a little cornflour if it feels too wet and will not stick, but keep the cornflour to a minimum, as this will make the taste duller).

Take a handful of the mixture and shape it into a golf ball shape. Place the balls on a baking tray. Continue to make the balls until all the mixture is used up.

Bake (or grill) under a medium heat for 10 minutes on either side. You want the outside to become brown and a little crispy, but the inside the stay a little soft and fluffy.

Serve hot or cold.

Rice balls spicy alternative recipe

If you love spice or heat, then you can change the herbs and spices in this recipe. Try adding a chunk of grated ginger and 1 tbsp of tamari (or soy) sauce. Swap the turmeric for ground coriander, change the sweet paprika for ½ tsp cayenne pepper (more if you love heat!) and add a large handful of fresh chopped coriander.

Plant-based food at our health and wellbeing retreat

La Crisalida Retreats serves a plant-based (vegan) menu for you to enjoy during your stay. It´s packed with flavour and nutrition to give your body chance to balance and heal. All meals are included in the cost of your retreat. Read more about vegan food at La Crisalida here.

We hope you enjoy this recipe – do let us know how you get on!

About the author

Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).