Leftover risotto is transformed into a hearty appetizer with the help of some Mexican spices and pantry items. Southwest Risotto Balls and Avocado Ranch Dip are perfect for a fiesta!
If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
My family loves Mexican recipes but one thing that we are not a fan of are leftovers. Brooks will only eat two things that are leftover from previous meals: pizza and ham.
I made risotto the other night and, as usual, I made too much so I needed to find a way to use the leftover risotto and make it into a new dish that even Brooks will eat.
WHAT IS RISOTTO?
If you are not familiar with risotto, here is a quick note about it. Risotto is a rice dish that comes from North Italy that consists of starchy, short-grain rice called Arborio rice that is slow cooked with a broth or other flavorful liquid.
I use a lot of white wine when I make risotto but you can use chicken or vegetable broth.
When I made it the other day, I used vegetable broth and a little bit of butter because I wanted to keep it simple since the kids were eating it too.
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HOW DO YOU MAKE RISOTTO?
I used 2 cups of Arborio rice and toasted the rice in a saucepan with 1 tablespoon of butter. Once the rice was toasted, I slowly added warm broth, 1 cup at a time, until all 6 cups were used and the rice was creamy and cooked through.
This made 6 cups of rice and we were left with 2 cups once we were done eating.
I put it in the refrigerator for later knowing I could turn it into something great.
For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
When I was ready to repurpose the risotto, I grabbed my the rest of my provisions!
These risotto balls also required a few other ingredients that I already had on hand as well: sour cream, ranch seasoning (homemade but you can use the packaged one to save time), shredded cheese, panko breadcrumbs, and an egg.
Time to clean out the fridge and make a summer fiesta!
TAPAS TIPS & TRICKS
I hate when I get home and my avocados are all bruised and over-ripe. The easiest way to find a good one (or two or three) is by looking at the stem.
- Grab one with the stem attached. It should be firm but tender when you gently squeeze.
- Pop the stem off. The avocado “belly button” should be green, not brown. If it’s brown, it is past it’s prime and you should put it back.
- When you cut it open it will be perfect:)
- Store leftover avocados in an air-tight environment. The air is what turns your pretty green to a yucky brown/gray. I store my ripe ones, that I can’t use right away, in my vacuum sealer and place in my freezer. They stay perfect for a few months and ready for smoothies or guacamole. You can also make your guacamole and then store in the vacuum bags too. If you are storing in a food storage container, cover the top with plastic film directly on the guacamole to keep the air out.
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These Southwest Risotto Balls are the perfect way to use up leftover risotto or rice, are a great meal with a salad, and make the perfect party appetizer! My Avocado Ranch Dip is the perfect sidekick!
MORE EASY APPETIZERS
- Southwest Potato Croquettes
- Cheesy Alfredo Arancini Balls
- Cilantro Ginger Avocado Cream Dressing
- Southwest Spiced Chicken Wings
- Southwest Dipping Oil
- Zesty Southwest Seasoning
- Southwest Pepitas
For the Risotto Balls
- 2 cups risotto (chilled)
- 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese (shredded)
- 1 tablespoon Southwest Seasoning
- 4 tablespoons chopped green chilies
- 1 egg
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Oil for Frying
Avocado Ranch Dip
- 1 avocado (ripe)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 fresh Serrano pepper (seeded, chopped)
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon Ranch Seasoning
- Heat oil to 375F
For the risotto balls
- Combine, leftover risotto, egg, taco seasoning, chilies, and cheese.
- Form into 1 inch balls. I used a small ice cream scoop.
- Roll in Panko breadcrumbs.
- Fry 4 or 5 at a time until golden brown, flipping once.
- Remove and drain on a cooling rack or paper towel-lined plate.
- Keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest.
For the Avocado Ranch Dip
- Peel avocado and remove seed.
- Add avocado, sour cream, lemon juice, ranch seasoning, and pepper to a blender or food processor.
- Pulse until combined.
- Serve with Southwest Risotto Balls
*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 262Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 437mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 8g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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