Tomato Risotto & Risotto Balls

  • Servings : 5-8 toddler
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 45m

I received a sweet email along the lines of “…thank you my toddler just ate vegetables for the first time in 12 months…” then a few of these “…oh aren’t you sweet, thank you…” and “No, really, thank you…” etc. Anyway we got talking, and before I knew it a joke about Sunday fridge dregs turned into a challenge, and now here I am, taking up the challenge.

The challenge: Make something edible with my new friends fridge and pantry dregs.

Core ingredients: 1 carrot, 1 onion, 1/4 leek, 1 punnet of sad cherry tomatoes, 2 day old bread, parsley, 1 egg. I have access to any of her basic pantry items too.

Result: Tomato risotto suitable for her 9 month old, and crumbed tomato risotto balls for her 3 year old.

Harry had a risotto ball for dinner and loved it – Henry and I ate the rest, whoops.

Note: store bought stock generally contains added salt and gluten – in general homemade is best or check for gluten free specified, if required for allergy purposes.

Nutrition Note:  Tomatoes are the most concentrated source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help in the prevention of some cancers.

Join us on Facebook for other foodie bits and pieces.



  • 1½ cups arborio rice
  • 1 carrot, peeled, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ leek, finely sliced
  • ½ small brown onion, finely sliced
  • 1 - 2 cups cherry tomatos, halved (or use 1 tin diced tomatos)
  • 2 tbs salt reduced tomato puree
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • 2 cups vegetable stock*, salt reduced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbs parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs butter
  • (Risotto ball extras)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs, fresh or packet
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • *Note: store bought stocks often contain gluten


Step 1

In a medium saucepan, heat the stock and water to a gentle simmer, reduce heat and cover to keep hot (you will add this to the risotto one cup at a time). -

Step 2

In a large saucepan heat the butter over medium. Add the onion, leek and garlic and sauté for around 5 minutes or until soft and fragrant. -

Step 3

Add the tomatoes and carrot. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring consistently. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. -

Step 4

Add the rice to the pan and stir for around a minute to coat grains. Pour in 1 cup of stock and leave to simmer gently and be absorbed by the rice. Continue adding stock and then the water cup by cup until completely absorbed. Once the rice is cooked through and the liquid is absorbed remove from the heat and stir through the parsley and cheese. Serve immediately or freeze in small portions. (Reserve half of the mixture if making risotto balls too.) -

Step 5

Set up two bowls, one with the egg (whisked), and the other with breadcrumbs. Once risotto mixture is cool roll tablespoons into balls. Dunk each ball in egg followed by breadcrumbs. -

Step 6

Heat oil in frypan over medium-high. Add risotto balls and fry, turning occasionally to brown all over. Once brown remove from pan and drain on a paper towel. -

Print Friendly

Recipe Comments

  1. posted by on August 6, 2012

    Love your idea of risotto balls – have to try them!

    • posted by Allie on August 7, 2012

      Thanks hun, let me know how they go if you do end up making them x

  2. posted by Jode on August 9, 2012

    Allie, do you have any tips on when to take the risotto off the heat? I made your pumpkin risotto and although it was great as balls it was really too gluggy to eat…should it still be a little ‘wet’? I don’t eat risotto very often so a bit clueles as to how it is meant to be at final stage!!

    • posted by Allie on August 10, 2012

      The pumpkin risotto is done in the oven, is that the one you did?

      For the risotto on the stove, make sure the stock/water you are adding is hot (I will add that to the recipe). Also when you take it off the heat it should still be quite wet and the rice juuuuuust done as it will continue absorbing to the plate and when you stir through the cheese.

      Two cups of arborio rice, adding one cup of liquid at a time until absorbed should take 25 – 30 minutes.

      When freezing I add some water to the portions and sometimes I add water when reheating, keeps the mixture less gluggy.

      I hope that helps?
      Allie x

  3. posted by christina on November 7, 2012

    Would orzo pasta work?

    • posted by Jess on November 7, 2012

      Hi Christina,
      I’ve never tried using orzo pasta when making risotto although i’ve read that you can. It will likely cook in a quicker amount of time although won’t become as creamy and the balls probably won’t hold together. Please let us know how you go if you decide to use orzo pasta. Jx

  4. posted by Jorine on October 31, 2013

    Our son (16months) and we loved it!!

    • posted by Allie on November 4, 2013

      Hi Jorine, we all love these risotto balls too, bursting with flavour. So glad you enjoyed them. Ax

  5. posted by Becca on August 5, 2014

    Hi, my 16 month old loved them (as well as my husband) but I’ll have to persist with my 3 year old who informed me that rice is white not orange.

  6. posted by Kat on August 20, 2014

    My 1 year old devoured the risotto balls. Was so easy to make…I used my electric pressure cooker…done in 7 mins! My new go to for daycare lunchbox ideas! Thanks!

    • posted by Mel on September 8, 2014

      Kat – did you just throw all the hot stock in after the rice was added? I am starting to use my pressure cooker (stovetop) for risotto now too and need some guidance. Thanks

      • posted by Kat on November 17, 2014

        Hi Mel,
        I have just seen this message – sorry! I just added everything and turned it on! I think I may have done the sautée step then added it all. Will have to make it again – I forgot about these!

  7. posted by Cannis on October 20, 2014

    I would like to ask if I can use passata in replacement of using tomato puree? Are they similar in usage? Or passata will be too watery comparing to using tomato puree?

  8. posted by Cannis on October 20, 2014

    My previous post was referring to the tomato risotto ball.

  9. posted by Meaghan on February 17, 2015

    Has anyone used quinoa flakes instead of breadcrumbs to coat the risotto balls?

    • posted by Jess on February 17, 2015

      Hi Meaghan, this will work well – quinoa flakes are a great alternative to breadcrumbs. Enjoy, Jx

  10. posted by Debbie Carter on March 29, 2015

    Hi there, just wondering if these can be baked in the oven instead of fried? If so, what temp and time would you recommend? Thanks 🙂

    • posted by Allie on May 20, 2015

      Probably 200oC and I would turn them to brown evenly. Ax

  11. posted by Heather on May 1, 2015

    Could the risotto balls be frozen after I have done the breadcrumbs and fried?

    • posted by Allie on May 6, 2015

      Yep they can.

  12. posted by Holly on May 14, 2015

    Tried this out tonight. My almost 1 year old wasn’t too fussed on the risotto for dinner, but will try her with fried balls tomorrow. Her daddy and I loved it as risotto AND as the fried balls. Will probably just do it all as balls next time around and freeze some. Yum!

  13. posted by Christy on July 19, 2015

    These look amazing and my two will love both options I’m sure. My 10 month old has a newly diagnosed egg allergy though, can I replace the egg with anything? In general what can I replace egg with for your recipes?

  14. posted by Nicole on February 21, 2016

    Yum, I’m making these tonight with my leftover risotto

  15. posted by Kath on July 25, 2021

    Hi there!
    We are dairy free here ☺️ is it worth trying to make these into balls or is the cheese the secret to them holding together? Thanks!


Post A Comment

Average Member Rating

(4.3 / 5)

4.3 5 7
Rate this recipe

7 people rated this recipe