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Thai Lemongrass Rice Balls

Thai Lemongrass Rice Balls

These vegan Thai Lemongrass Rice Balls are a crunchy savory appetizer or main that are gradually cooked like risotto with authentic Thai flavors.  

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 10Servings


  • 2 cups short grain rice (I use arborio rice)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 3 small stalks of lemongrass (or 2 large), quartered lengthwise
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves (if available)
  • 4 cups veggie broth (or water plus salt to taste), warm
  • Butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • Sriracha mayo (optional)


1. In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and a bit of salt, and sweat until translucent, then add the garlic and ginger, and cook for another minute or two, until fragrant. 

2. Add the rice to the pot and stir so each grain is glistening with oil. Add the lemongrass stalks, then the can of coconut milk, stirring until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add the broth slowly, about a half a cup at a time, stirring after each addition until most of the liquid is absorbed. After about 20 minutes, the rice will have become tender, and should be thick and creamy. If it is still chewy, continue adding water until it has softened, and the water is full absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the butternut squash with the remainder of the oil, salt and ground coriander seed. Roast for about 40 minutes, until the butternut squash is tender and had started to brown. Remove from the oven and cool. 

4. When the rice has cooled completely (it won't stick together properly if it hasn't), remove the stalks of lemongrass. Grease a large baking sheet with a bit of coconut oil. Wet your hands and then take a heaping tablespoon of rice and form a depression in the center of the handful. Add a piece of butternut squash and then form the rice into a ball around it. They should be about the size of golf balls. When all the squash is used up, spray or brush gently with a bit more coconut oil. Bake for 30 min at 400°F until golden brown and slightly hardened on the outside. Remove from the oven and serve with sriracha mayo.