Sesame-Spinach Onigiri (Rice Balls) Recipe

Sesame-Spinach Onigiri (Rice Balls) Recipe
Staff Writer

Photo Modified: Flickr/hempdenarchy

My family was vegetarian from 1998 to 2004 while my cousin from India was living with us and attending college. Coincidentally, my mom was teaching a cooking class at the time she called “The Occasional Vegetarian.”  I used to go with her every week to prep beforehand, chopping piles of garlic and onions, and pretending to do homework while she taught, but secretly listening in. I wasn't surprised (or upset) to find these in my lunch box the day after the rice ball class.

Click here to see 8 Easy Vegetarian Dishes. 


Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add spinach and sauté until just cooked through, another 2-3 minutes. Toss with sesame seeds and set aside to cool.

Line a small bowl or ramekin with plastic wrap and loosely press a 1-inch layer of rice into the bottom. Add 2 tablespoons of spinach to the center, then add another layer of rice on top to cover.

Fold the sides of the plastic wrap in, then twist to make a sealed package. Flatten the rice ball between your hands. Mold it into a triangular shape, apply firm pressure with both hands, then remove plastic wrap.

Lightly press a nori strip around the bottom of the rice ball, sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired, and serve.


Calories per serving:

504 calories

Dietary restrictions:

Low Sodium Sugar Conscious, Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Wheat Free, Egg Free, Milk Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free, Soy Free, Fish Free, Shellfish Free, Pork Free, Alcohol Free, No Sugar Added, Kosher

Daily value:



  • Fat 15g 23%
  • Carbs 83g 28%
  • Saturated 2g 11%
  • Fiber 3g 10%
  • Sugars 1g
  • Monounsaturated 6g
  • Polyunsaturated 6g
  • Protein 10g 20%
  • Sodium 92mg 4%
  • Calcium 130mg 13%
  • Magnesium 125mg 31%
  • Potassium 739mg 21%
  • Iron 4mg 22%
  • Zinc 2mg 12%
  • Phosphorus 168mg 24%
  • Vitamin A 535µg 59%
  • Vitamin C 34mg 56%
  • Thiamin (B1) 0mg 11%
  • Riboflavin (B2) 0mg 16%
  • Niacin (B3) 2mg 12%
  • Vitamin B6 0mg 21%
  • Folic Acid (B9) 231µg 58%
  • Vitamin E 3mg 13%
  • Vitamin K 550µg 687%
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