If you have ever eaten a plain rice cake, the round of air-popped rice might have brought to mind cardboard. Although rice cake flavors are quite varied and can be satisfying on their own, rice cakes can be used as a substitute for bread or crackers. Like tofu, the fact that rice cakes do not have much flavor can be used to your advantage to flavor the healthy, low-calorie snack any way you like. While it is possible to make homemade rice cakes, it is much easier to simply buy them from the grocery store, rather than popping your own rice and forming the cracker-like patties yourself. With a few substitutions, simple rice cake recipes for snacks may become your new go-to when hunger or craving strike.
Savory Rice Cake Snacks
While there are a lot of rice cake flavors to choose from at the grocery store, stick to buying plain rice cakes. Not only are these the healthiest variety of rice cake, but they also serve as a blank slate on which to build a delicious snack. If you buy a specific rice cake flavor, you will be tied to topping the rice cakes with flavors that complement that particular rice cake. But plain rice cakes provide you with the widest range of possibilities.
Though the options are endless, a few Italian-inspired snacks include rice cake pizzas and rice cake bruschetta. Smooth a tablespoon of pizza sauce on top of a rice cake, sprinkle on cheese and top with pepperoni or vegetables. Heat in the microwave for one minute for a low-calorie pizza. For bruschetta, stack slices of buffalo mozzarella, basil and tomato on top of the rice cake and drizzle with olive oil.
Avocado toast can also be transformed with a rice cake. Slice an avocado and fan the slices out on top of the rice cake. Drizzle olive oil over the avocado and sprinkle with salt and red pepper flake. For more protein, add grilled chicken too.
Sweet Ideas for Rice Patties
Just like savory rice cake snacks, creating sweet treats with rice cakes is best done with plain rather than flavored cakes. This just allows for more options and pairings for toppings. A favorite base for many sweet rice cake snacks is peanut butter because it adds protein, but it can be swapped out for almond butter or sunflower butter.
If a chocolate craving hits, spread a layer of chocolate hazelnut spread over the top of a rice cake and sprinkle a few toasted walnuts on top along with some chia seeds. This will satisfy the craving while making you feel full thanks to the protein of the walnuts. Chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 and can be sprinkled on top of most anything since they do not have much flavor and add a lot of crunch.
Another classic combination is peanut butter with sliced banana on top. Add a touch of honey for sweetness and, again, chia seeds for crunch if you choose. For a cheesecake-like snack, smear some mascarpone cheese onto a rice cake, top with sliced strawberries or raspberries and add a bit of chocolate hazelnut spread over the berries for a delicious sweet-tooth hack without consuming too much sugar.
Molly is a freelance journalist and social media consultant. In addition to Leaf.tv, Molly has written for Teen Vogue and Paste magazine. She is the former assistant editor of the Design and Style section of Paste magazine. View her work at www.mmollyharris.com.