Rice Balls with Meat Sauce Recipe
Rice Balls with Meat Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Rice Balls with Meat Sauce Recipe

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My mom's deep-fried rice balls, flavored with traditional Italian cheeses, make a hearty main dish. She serves them with her special spaghetti sauce - my favorite - featuring ground beef and artichoke hearts. -Concetta Maranto Skenfield, Bakersfield, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. + chilling Cook: 1 hour
MAKES:6-8 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. + chilling Cook: 1 hour
MAKES: 6-8 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (14 ounces) water-packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 ounces cubed part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • Oil for deep-fat frying


  1. In a large saucepan, cook beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the next nine ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. For rice balls, in a large bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Stir in the rice, butter, Parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Roll into 1-1/2-in. balls. Press a mozzarella cube into each; reshape balls.
  3. In a small bowl, lightly beat remaining egg. Dip each ball into egg, then roll in bread crumbs. In a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet, heat oil to 375°. Fry rice balls until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Discard bay leaves. Serve meat sauce with rice balls. Yield: 6-8 servings.
Originally published as Rice Balls with Meat Sauce in Taste of Home August/September 2002, p35

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janinemarie214 113148
Reviewed Aug. 2, 2013

"I love these rice-balls!! I do however, add a some other ingredients... a few handfuls of chopped fresh organic spinach, 1/2 cup/one cup of peas, 2 tablespoons of organic Flax Seed (to sneak in something healthy ;) I didn't have cubed mozzarella so I used a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella. I also added some breadcrumbs to mix because my rice mixture was on the moist side.

If using minute rice... 4 servings is enough for this recipe."

garley531414 36510
Reviewed Dec. 12, 2011

"My family loves these. My kids, who are very picky, ask for these frequently. I use my own sauce, though, so I can't comment on the sauce."

marcia 35782
Reviewed Sep. 23, 2010

"This is my daughters favorite recipe! It is really good!"

karbauer 87278
Reviewed May. 29, 2009

"I have wanted to make the rice balls in this recipe since I first saw it. The mix was very sticky but well worth the effort.I used my on sauce on the riceballs and they were good. I'm so happy I finally tried it. Thanks for a great recipe."

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