Saturday, June 9, 2012

Southwestern Pinto and Rice Balls

Southwestern Pinto and Rice Balls recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

These simple meatballs (I can't seem to stop calling them meatballs, whether there is meat in them or not!) made a great meal for the kids and I earlier this week. Simple pinto beans, rice and a handful of spices combined to create a surprisingly delicious lunch. I have seen numerous recipes for bean and rice burgers and I just couldn't imagine what that would taste like. I was fairly suspicious of the combination, so I figured I would have my kids test them out before I made a full dinner around them.

Lighter than regular meatballs and absolutely delicious with the Chipotle Dipping Sauce; these were a huge hit with both the kids and me. My older boys were very disappointed that there weren't more of them. I'm planning to double the recipe and make them again for dinner one night next month.

The Chipotle Sauce turned out so well, I decided it was worthy of it's own post. I have made it twice already and we've served it with veggies and with chips too.

Southwestern Pinto and Rice Balls
makes about 30 small 1" balls
(printable recipe)

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked white rice, I used Jasmine rice
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
1/4 teaspoon cumin
pinch of cayenne,more to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Smoked Chipotle Dipping Sauce

Place the rinsed beans in a large mixing bowl. Mash with a potato masher until they form a paste. Add the rice, cumin and cayenne. Stir to combine and taste (just to determine if spicy enough). Add the egg and work with your hands or a large spoon to combine well.

Use a small scoop or a spoon to form the balls and then gently round them with your fingertips. Form all of the balls and place them on a large plate or cutting board. In a large skillet over medium high heat, warm about a tablespoon of oil. Cook the balls in the skillet, until they are lightly browned on each side. This took a couple minutes on each side, turning them 2-3 times each.

If you aren't familiar with cooking things in batches, here is a tip. Start placing your rice balls in the pan, at the outer edge, next to the handle. Go clockwise around the pan and then fill in the middle. It is easy to remember which ones have cooked the longest that way and by the time you fill in the middle, it is time to start flipping them over and continue around the circle again.

After the balls are browned, remove them from the pan and place them on a clean plate. Tent loosely with foil to keep warm. Cook the remaining half of the balls and then serve warm. Enjoy!

Southwestern Pinto and Rice Balls recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY: Buttered Garlic Panko Broccoli


  1. I love beans and rice. I mean seriously love it. So, these are definitely going on my list.

  2. Definitely one recipe to try :) Healthy meatballs ;)

  3. These look wonderful, and I love those tiny serving plates, how fun!

  4. These are on my list to try pronto! I've still got a pile of stuff in the "use it or lose it" pile after my pantry clean out, and at the top of the list are ridiculous amounts of pinto beans and rice. I think I know what I'm making for dinner tonight!

    BTW - don't know if I mentioned this or not, but I tried that balsamic vinaigrette recipe that you posted a while back and I've become an addict! That stuff is delicious!

  5. these look great - I love that there's no meat - I'm trying to eat less meat these days - and I love the spices - cumin is just heavenly!!
    Mary x

  6. My kids would love these! They look wonderful!

  7. Ooo, these look delicious. Pintos are my favourite dried bean to cook with and eat. They are not common here in New Zealand but luckily I have a good stash. I think I will "cheat" with my first lot of these meatless meatballs and use some homemade refried pinto beans that are in my freezer and have just the right spices.

    Thanks for sharing such a simple yet scrummy recipe,

    Michelle, down-under in Wellington, New Zealand

  8. This is really a terrific idea!

  9. CAN'T WAIT TO MAKE THESE, what a great idea! beans are so delicious : )

  10. I could see these working great on a sandwich.