With vegetables and cheese

I never really thought

of this technique as worthy of being formally written into a post—it’s just what I like to do with leftover cooked grains—but when a friend requested that we “make those rice balls again!” I thought maybe it was worth writing down.


You can cook the rice fresh, then chill it and make the cakes, but the easiest thing to do is to just make a double batch of rice the next time you cook it for something else, and then make this the next day. I like to make these with a soft, melty cheese, but a creamy goat cheese would also be nice.

Serve these alone as an appetizer, or with sautéed greens as a light vegetarian main course.

extra virgin olive oil pantry

2 cloves garlic, minced pantry
1 medium onion, diced $1.50

2 cups chopped, de-stemmed kale (spinach or chard will also work) $1.50 for a bunch

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced 50 cents
1 egg, lightly beaten $1.50
for six
2 cups cooked, cooled short-grain brown rice (about 1 cup uncooked) $1.50 for 16 oz. uncooked rice

1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper pantry
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese (fontina or even a mild cheddar will also work) $3.50 for 8 oz.

Total cost of ingredients:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes, until the onions begin to soften. Add the kale and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, for eight to nine minutes, until the onions begin to brown and the kale is completely wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

Stir the egg into the rice, then add the cooked vegetable mixture (don’t put the pan away though—you’ll use it again shortly) and the salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.

Wet your hands to prevent sticking, then scoop about 1/3 cup rice mixture (eyeball it) into your palm. Use your other hand to press it into a patty. Press a couple of tablespoons of shredded cheese onto the patty, then top with a small handful of rice and press into a cheese-filled patty. Repeat with the remaining rice and cheese (you should end up with four or five large patties, but feel free to make them smaller so you have more of them).

Heat about 2 tablespoons olive oil in the frying pan you used earlier over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the patties for about four minutes on each side. If you go to flip them and they are still crumbly let them cook for another minute or two. You want them to have a thick, crunchy crust. Use extra caution when flipping them in the pan.

Serve immediately, or keep cooked rice cakes warm in a 200-degree oven until ready to serve.

Serves 4.

For more brokeassness, visit