Vegan Rice Balls with Corn and Cilantro Pesto

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Vegan Rice Balls are glued together with cilantro pesto, dotted with fresh corn and rolled in a sesame and chia seed mixture. Not only are they fun to serve, but they’re a healthy way to use up leftover rice.

3 Vegan Rice Balls with Corn and Cilantro on plate with chop sticks

In fact, I highly recommend day old rice for this recipe. It’s a great way to reinvent last night’s side dish. Make a big batch of brown rice at the beginning of the week. Serve it as a side one day, make rice bowls for lunch and serve these vegan rice balls the next day.

Did I mention these Vegan Rice Balls are No-Bake?

Pardon my excitement. It’s no bake, except for the fresh corn kernels. Microwave one stalk of corn right in the husk and then slice off the kernels. Other vegetables, such as chopped carrot or peppers would work too. Use about a half cup.

Bowl of Brown Rice mixed with Cilantro Pesto

You may recognize this rice mixture. After I made cilantro pesto with chickpeas, I mixed it with some leftover brown rice and fresh corn kernels. My crew was a bit underwhelmed…until I changed the shape. There’s something to be said about the presentation!

Close view of a Vegan Rice Ball with Corn and Cilantro Pesto

Are you wondering how I packed these gorgeous rice balls so nice and tight?

Vegan Rice Balls in a plastic that has been squeezed to make tight, round shape

Place about 1 Tablespoon of the rice mixture on to a sheet of plastic wrap. Twist the top to compact the rice and then unwrap it. That’s it. Reuse the plastic wrap to make more rice balls. Keep a bowl of water handy to dip your fingertips in.

3 Vegan Rice Balls with Corn and Cilantro Pesto on a plate

Roll the rice balls in a mixture of sesame and chia seeds. Yep, another great way to sneek chia seeds into your diet.

Chopsticks are optional. 🙂

Vegan Rice Balls with Corn and Cilantro Pesto

Vegan Rice Balls are laced with cilantro pesto and fresh corn and then rolled in a sesame and chia seed mixture. A fun way to enjoy this healthy side dish.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 257kcal


  • 2 cups brown rice cooked and refrigerated overnight or at least two hours
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup cilantro pesto
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoon chia seeds


  • Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, except for the sesame and chia seeds,
  • Mix sesame and chia seeds together in a shallow dish.
  • Shape about 1 Tablespoon of rice mixture into a ball.
  • To tightly compact the rice ball, place it in the center of a piece of plastic wrap, and then twist to tighten. (See picture in the post)
  • Roll rice ball in seed mixture.
  • Keep rice balls refrigerated until ready to serve.


Compacted rice balls will still be quite delicate. Add a few drops of water or additional pesto if the rice mixture does not seem sticky enough.


Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 289mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 87mg | Iron: 1.7mg
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We'd love for you to share!


  1. What a great way to use up leftover rice.

  2. I love this idea — and they are no bake? That makes it even more awesome.

  3. These are so cute for the kids! My son and I would love these!

  4. These look AMAZING! My daughter would love these. I’m going to have to figure out a substitute for the chick peas and the sesame due to allergies, but wow, they look good.

    • Hi! I had to substitute the chick peas for nuts due to allergies. But, if you can have nuts use those. Just leave the sesame seeds off and use chia seeds!

  5. I love these! They look delicious and easy, too!

  6. love this! i have leftover rice in my fridge right now! i’m going to try this!

  7. I’m always looking for quick afternoon snacks. And I’m always making rice! Perfect.

  8. Christiane ~ Taking On Magazines says

    How cool are those! I love these. I’m extremely grateful for your showing us how to make the tight balls too. It’s perfect.

  9. Great technique!! Thanks for showing us!

  10. What a fun way to package this side dish! This would be perfect for cookouts!

  11. These look delicious! I just shared the recipe with my sister in law 🙂

  12. Vegan recipes are right up my alley. This one looks like a great combination of flavors!

  13. I love rice balls! I Love that you made them vegan. All of the colors are so pretty together.

  14. What a novel presentation! Love it!

  15. I am making this in the next few days. Looks delish! Just wanted to make you aware that your link for the pesto is not working. I was able to find the recipe after going through your recipe archives, but for future visitors just wanted to let you know.

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