Pesto, Tomato & Mozzarella Rice Cakes


Pesto, tomato and mozzarella - what's not to love? Give rice cakes a glow-up with this moreish savoury topping idea. Enjoy one as a nutritious snack or two (or more!) as a tasty, light lunch. Ready in five minutes!

Are you after a super easy snack or a ready-in-five at-home work lunch idea? Enter these tomato, mozzarella and pesto rice cakes!

While the humble rice cake alone doesn’t pack an almighty nutritional punch, it’s easily transformed into a nutritionally balanced mouthful by layering other ingredients overtop. Much like sandwiches, the topping possibilities are endless too (behold these scrummy chocolate-covered rice cakes with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Yum).

The featured combination is fresh and flavourful, with total Margherita pizza vibes.

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Rice cakes. An OG snack made from puffed rice pressed into a cake shape. I use a plain variety made with whole grain brown rice, as they offer a bit more bang for buck on the nutritional front.
  • Pesto. The most glorious condiment. Pesto is a sauce made of basil, olive oil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic and salt. You can use homemade or pick up a pre-made tub at your local supermarket (check out the chiller section). Not a pesto fan? Substitute in avocado.
  • Mozzarella. A soft, white cheese that’s lower in salt and fat than many other cheeses, and which offers a source of probiotics (aka good bugs for our gut!). I like bocconcini here, which are small balls of mozzarella, but you can also slice off a larger ball. Aim for a classic serving size of around 28g/rice cake. Not a mozzarella fan? Use another soft white cheese, like feta.
  • Tomato. Use a few small tomatoes or one medium sized. A few slices per rice cake does the trick!
  • Balsamic glaze. This is balsamic vinegar cooked down into a thick, sweet syrup. It brings acidity and sweetness to the dish, which balances the richness of the pesto and cheese. Best squeezed direct from the bottle!
  • Olive oil. Optional, to really lean into those Mediterranean flavours. A drizzle of this heart-healthy fat overtop is sublime.
  • Fresh basil. While this herb makes a pretty garnish sprinkled overtop, it also brings freshness.
  • Salt and pepper. To bring all the flavours alive!

Serving suggestion

Enjoy as a satisfying snack or light lunch. Portion size depends on your energy needs.

As a general recommendation (and this won’t necessarily apply to all!), one loaded rice cake sits in the realm of a snack, two or more as a lunch.

If enjoying for lunch, add a few handfuls of rocket tossed with olive oil and lemon on the side, or a few handfuls of veggie sticks, for a more balanced meal.

Enjoy immediately! Once the pesto and rice cake have made contact, the base will slowly start turning soggy.

Nutrition Q+A

Are rice cakes gluten-free? This isn’t a hard yes, as it depends on the product and brand. Even if a rice cake is made solely from rice (a gluten-free grain), it pays to check the packaging’s disclaimers. Products might be made in factories where cross-contamination with other grains happens. Brands might also introduce a gluten grain into the mix, whether for flavour or to diversify the nutritional profile.

Are rice cakes healthy? Rice cakes unfairly split the nutrition world. It’s true that they do lack nutrient variety (they’re low in essential vitamins and minerals, are fat-free and contain very little protein). But, as with anything, context is key. They’re not often enjoyed alone, mainly because, well, they’d be a bit bland and boring (apologies reader if you are an exception!).

Rice cakes, especially those made with whole grain brown rice, are a source of readily available energy and a fantastic hand-to-mouth vehicle for other nutritious ingredients. Here, pair them with protein or fat-rich foods to diversify the nutritional profile and balance their potential impact on blood sugar levels. This will help keep you full for longer🤙.

Are you digging the Margherita pizza vibes? Try this Grilled Sourdough Margherita Pizza Toast.

Pesto, Tomato & Mozzarella Rice Cakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Serving Size: 1


  • 2 brown rice cakes
  • 1 Tbsp pesto
  • 1 medium ripe tomato
  • 60g mozzarella cheese (I used 2 bocconcini balls, each weighing 30g)
  • 1 tsp olive oil (optional)
  • A generous drizzle of balsamic glaze
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
  • A few turns of the salt and pepper shaker


  • Slice tomato and mozzarella into slices.
  • Spread rice with ½ Tbsp pesto each.
  • Top with the sliced tomato and mozzarella. Drizzle with the olive oil.
  • Add the fresh basil. Squeeze over a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze. Add a few turns of the salt and pepper shaker.


As a general guide, one loaded rice cake works well for a snack, two or more works well as a main (served alongside a simple salad).

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If you enjoyed this dish, please consider giving it a star rating when you post a comment. Star ratings help others discover my recipes online (and your reviews make my day! 🙂 ). Happy cooking and baking. Danijela x

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