Walnut-Crusted Baked Arancini with Sun-dried Tomato

I’m sorry, I know I won’t win over any purists, but this lighter take on the indulgent fried and crumbed risotto-balls have made it onto the ‘regulars’ list at home, and onto the menu of the free from café in my mind, where they are nibbled atop peppery greens by chic lunching ladies alongside a perfectly chilled glass of white. At home, though, they are squished and munched by an exploratory 13 month carb-enthusiast.

Using a ready-made jar of pesto in risotto is a good shortcut to make it rich and melty without dairy. I like the Sacla’ Free From Tomato Pesto which was sent to me as part of a campaign last year, I’m sure a green one would work just as well.

Walnut Crusted Baked Arancini

Walnut Crusted Baked Arancini




  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 200g risotto rice
  • 800ml low salt vegetable or chicken stock (I use the Kallo low salt gluten free cubes)
  • 1 half jar ready-made pesto (I used Sacla’ Free From Tomato Pesto)
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • 100g walnuts


  1. Gently fry the onion & garlic until golden and soft. Add the rice and stir until the edges are beginning to turn translucent.
  2. Add the stock a ladleful at a time, stirring after each addition; adding more when each is absorbed. The risotto is done when the rice retains a slight ‘bite’ and is still a little wet. Stir through the pesto, season and leave to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, blitz the walnuts in a food processor to make a fine meal.
  4. When the risotto is cool, roll small handfuls into walnut-sized balls, and roll in the nuts to cover. The risotto should still be slightly wet and the nuts will adhere easily. Cool in the fridge until needed.
  5. Bake in the oven on an oiled baking sheet at 180c for 15-20 minutes until the crumb is starting to toast. Serve with salad or as finger food.

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