Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole (Arancini)

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This Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well for make ahead meals and it’s also great for potlucks.

This Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well for make ahead meals and it's also great for potlucks.
Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole

I’m obsessed with this rice ball casserole. It’s filled with ground turkey and a little Italian sausage which adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. More casserole recipes I love are Chicken Sausage and Peppers Macaroni Casserole, Spiralized Turnip and Potato Au Gratin Casserole and Tuna Noodle Casserole.

This Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well for make ahead meals and it's also great for potlucks.

This Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well for make ahead meals and it's also great for potlucks.

This Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well for make ahead meals and it's also great for potlucks.

I can’t take full credit for this, this is pure genius from my friend Julia of Julia’s Healthy Italian. I tweaked her recipe to lighten it up a bit, but she takes full credit for the creativity. Servings are large and very satisfying, you could serve a simple green salad on the side if you want more greens.

If you don’t like peas, swap it with another vegetable. I’m thinking of trying a broccoli and sausage version next.

Julia usually makes double and freezes the second casserole to use later. I halved her original, but it makes sense to make two for the same amount of work it takes to make one. I serve mine with a little extra sauce on the side and have also made this with brown rice and it works great.

To make this quicker you can make the rice ahead of time as well as the sauce. I used my filetto di pomodoro recipe, but you can use your favorite sauce or even use jarred. I recommend either using the 93% lean turkey, I found the 99% lean turkey was too dry and the points remain the same.

More Arancini recipes:

How To Make Rice Ball Casserole

This Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole takes one of my favorite appetizers (arancini) and turns it into a weeknight meal. Freezes well for make ahead meals and it's also great for potlucks.
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4.83 from 76 votes
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Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole

373 Cals 21 Protein 47 Carbs 10 Fats
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Yield: 8 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Italian
Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole filled with ground turkey and a little sausage adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. Freezes well, great for potlucks and family friendly!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked long grain rice
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 2.5 oz sweet Italian sausage link, casing removed
  • 10 oz 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • black pepper
  • 5 oz frozen peas
  • 2 cups homemade tomato sauce
  • 1 large egg, 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino romano cheese, or parmesan
  • cooking spray
  • 4 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs, divided (or gf crumbs)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
  • fresh parsley or basil, if desired

Instructions

  • Cook rice with 1 teaspoon kosher salt according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
  • Meanwhile, sauté sausage meat; cook until brown breaking up into pieces with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add turkey and onions and cook until browned, breaking up as it cooks.
  • Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste, then add peas and 1 cup sauce; simmer on low, covered, about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a large bowl combine cooked rice, pecorino romano, eggs, and 1/2 cup tomato sauce and mix well. Rice should be a bit sticky.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with cooking spray, making sure to spray sides too. Add 2 tbsp breadcrumbs to the dish and roll around to coat the bottom and sides.
  • Take half of the rice mixture (a little more if needed) and cover the bottom of the dish and up the sides; press to form the bottom layer. Fill with the meat and peas.
  • Top with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover with remaining rice and press until even. Top with remaining sauce, remaining 2 tbsp breadcrumbs, and remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.
  • Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes, until hot. Garnish with parsley or basil if desired, cut into 8 pieces and serve.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (1/8th), Calories: 373kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 61mg, Sodium: 629mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g
WW Points Plus: 9
Keywords: healthy casseroles, rice casserole recipes, sausage and rice casserole, Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole, turkey and rice casserole

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole filled with ground turkey and a little sausage adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. Freezes well, great for potlucks and family friendly!

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole filled with ground turkey and a little sausage adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. Freezes well, great for potlucks and family friendly!

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole filled with ground turkey and a little sausage adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. Freezes well, great for potlucks and family friendly!

Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole filled with ground turkey and a little sausage adds lots of flavor, plus peas and sauce. Freezes well, great for potlucks and family friendly!

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439 comments

  1. Delicious!! Have made this many time, one of my families favorites! I use chicken sausage and omit the peas (not a fan) but sub fresh spinach instead.

  2. I love all of the ingredients except marinara. Any substitutions?

  3. I’ve made this many a times The first time as written and it is time consuming a little bit … What I do is just mix everything with the rice all together And then put it in a casserole dish and top with sauce … I leave out the bread crumbs on the bottom And it’s absolutely delicious and less work and flavors every grain of rice when you mix everything together . It’s much easier for me as I have spine issues so I can’t stand for long But if you have the time and want to do the layers it’s delicious also . Once again thank you Gina for all your time constructing and making these delicious recipes .

  4. Delish!  I made it with brown rice and quinoa nixed the peas and served with green beans.  My husband asked why I had never made this before and then he saw the kitchen! lol