Cheesy Bean-and-Rice Bites with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce


These rice and bean balls are reminiscent of fritters, but loaded with nutrition. At under 300 calories per serving but still packing 14 g protein and 6 g of fiber, they're a fall comfort food you can feel good about eating.

Cheesy Bean and Rice Bites with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce
Photo: Karla Conrad
Prep Time:
30 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Bake Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 45 mins
3 rice balls and 1/2 cup sauce each


  • 1 cup canned no-salt-added cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained

  • 2 cup hot cooked brown rice

  • 1 ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (5 ounces)

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 2 tablespoon snipped fresh sage

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)

  • ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • ½ cup chopped onion (1 medium)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin

  • 1 ⅓ cup low-sodium vegetable broth

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • Coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)

  • Fresh sage leaves (optional)


  1. In a large bowl coarsely mash beans. Stir in rice and cheese. Stir in egg, 1 tablespoon of the snipped sage, and the pepper. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

  2. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil; set aside. In a shallow dish combine panko and 1/4 cup walnuts. Using moist hands, shape rice mixture into 18 balls. Gently roll rice balls in panko mixture to coat.

  3. Arrange rice balls in the prepared baking pan. Coat balls with cooking spray. Bake about 15 minutes or until heated through and light brown.

  4. Meanwhile, for sauce, coat a medium saucepan with cooking spray; heat saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in pumpkin, broth, salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon snipped sage. Cook and stir over medium heat just until bubbly.

  5. To serve, divide sauce among shallow serving bowls. Top each serving with three rice balls. If desired, sprinkle with additional walnuts and garnish with sage leaves.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

279 Calories
10g Fat
35g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 279
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 43mg 14%
Sodium 558mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 7.1mg 36%
Calcium 262.5mg 20%
Iron 2.5mg 14%
Potassium 342mg 7%
Folate, total 28.2mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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