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Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls

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I talk about picky eaters a lot because it seems to be a problem most parents face. Do you cave in and let your kids subsist on hot dogs and chicken nuggets? While most of us succomb to that solution at least once, we generally plod along looking for new ways to sneak some nutrients into our children.

Kids Like Food That’s In A Fun Shape

One of the secrets I’ve discovered over the years is that if I make the food in a fun shape, the kids are more likely to give it a try. For some reason, they’ll try almost anything that’s shaped like a ball. I don’t try to understand it, but I do try to use this to my advantage.

Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls

That’s how I came up with these tasty little treats. The kids wouldn’t go near the broccoli rice casserole dish I was trying to serve with dinner one night, even though I think this is one of the best side dishes ever. So, I took the general concept (veggie + rice + cheese) and made them bite-sized balls. The result was surprisingly popular with all of my kids.


Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls next to a blue bowl of sauce on a white plate with title text reading Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls


Because they’re so easy to make and the recipe uses items that are staples in my kitchen, they also make a quick and easy appetizer or a healthy snack. Though they are great on their own, my kids prefer to dip them in marinara sauce. And since I’m all about getting some extra Vitamin A & C, not to mention beta-carotene and folic acid, into their growing bodies, I’m happy to oblige. Plus, I prefer them with the sauce too.


📋 Recipe

Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls

Corinne Schmitt
Awesome appetizer to bring to events!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 48
Calories 51 kcal


  • 1 10 oz pkg frozen spinach
  • 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup grated parmesan


  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Prepare spinach according to package directions.
  • Add cream cheese and combine thoroughly.
  • Add rice, mozzarella, egg, garlic powder and pepper. Mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, combine panko and parmesan.
  • Form mixture into 1-in balls, rolling each one in the panko mixture.
  • Place panko-coated balls 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Serve with marinara sauce.


Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 79mgPotassium: 59mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 719IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Do you have a favorite vegetable side dish that passes the picky kid test? If so, please share it in the comments (fellow bloggers, leave a link to your recipe).

16 thoughts on “Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls”

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  8. 5 stars
    I love your Spinach Rice Appetizer Balls, these will be great for the big game day. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  9. Congratulations!! Your recipe has been featured at Tickle My Tastebuds on my blog, Lori’s Culinary Creations. Hop on over and grab a feature button and link up your latest culinary creations. Congrats again.


  10. Pingback: Tickle My Tastebuds #36 – Super Bowl Party Edition – Lori's Culinary Creations
  11. I love the cheesy goodness in these. The addition of brown rice makes them so healthy! I will have to give these a try on our next game night!

  12. These would great for Super Bowl parties! And they sound delicious. Thank you for linking up to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party. I have pinned your post to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Board.

  13. These would make a great game day appetizer. Found your recipe at the Tuesday’s Table Link Party. I am the hostesses of Tickle My Tastebuds and would love you to stop by and link up this recipe.


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