when i was a kid i used to beg my dad to drive me to the local pizzeria/italian spot in town, gino’s pizza, and buy “giant rice balls”.  thankfully giada de laurentis educated me that the proper name (and pronunciation) of giant rice balls is actually arancini!

one day recently after getting slightly too involved with the real housewives of new york, and allowing my quinoa to overcook ever so slightly, it occurred to me that these arancini can be made slightly more healthy and interesting by making them out of quinoa!

quinoa arancini can be stuffed with anything from cheese, to sauteed mushrooms, to butternut squash!  the recipe below are for quinoa arancini filled with a sauteed mushroom & shallot mixture and goat cheese. mmm. my mouth is full, so its easier to just call them “goat balls”.

recipe: quinoa arancini stuffed with sauteed mushrooms & goat cheese. (i.e. goat balls)



2 cups quinoa cooked.
2 eggs.
1/2 cup grated parmesano reggiano.
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour.
salt & pepper to taste.


1 pint sliced white button or baby bella mushrooms.
1 shallot minced.
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter.
salt & pepper to taste.

panko breadcrumbs for coating.
safflower oil for frying.


1.  saute shallots with melted butter over low heat until soft. add sliced mushrooms and continue to cook and stir until mushrooms are of desired consistency. (extra butter may be necessary to cook mushrooms to desired caramelization)

2. let mushroom mixture cool. and set up your assembly line for preparing the goatballs.

2.  roll even sized balls (approximately walnut sized, or half the size of your desired fritter). in every other ball create an indent with your thumb. fill with a conservative amount of mushrooms & goat cheese, and top with another quinoa ball. pinch the connection together & roll until smooth.

3. roll each ball in panko, and fry on both sides until lightly browned.

5.  eat and enjoy!*

* best enjoyed same day, but can be kept refrigerated and reheated in oven.