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Summer Snack Idea: Delicious Rice Cakes

We love rice cakes — and we’re not afraid to say it. Although some people have relegated these thin, puffed rice snacks to the isle of flavorless foods, it’s important to see the potential of these starchy treats. Sure, if you eat one out of the bag, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. But, if you find ways to dress up these light cakes with a little inspiration from your fridge or pantry, you’re in for a satisfying snack. 

There’s no better time to elevate rice cakes than in the summer months, when eating a dense bagel or hefty cracker may not be in the cards for you or your stomach. We’ve created a list of ways to take your rice cakes from bland to bougie and fuel your favorite summer activities all at the same time. While many of these recommendations are designed for summer snacking, you can also consider serving them at your next get-together or for a light breakfast. 

Start your day off with avocado toast on a rice cake

Avocado with rice cake

Avocado toast is a great, hearty breakfast any time of year. You only need two ingredients: the avocado (either cut into thin slices or mashed) and the toast base. You can dress it up however you’d like. Some people go the extra mile and pop a poached egg on top of their rice cake, while others give their avocado toast new life by adding Mediterranean flair with a sumac sprinkle.

But, avocado toast as is often leans a little too heavily on the toast aspect. If you want to make an avocado toast that really puts emphasis on the avo and the toppings, consider swapping out your sourdough for a rice cake. It’s also a perfect snack for the summer months, because the light rice cake won’t leave you feeling weighed down like a thick slice of bread.

Slather your rice cakes in hummus for a protein-rich snack

Hummus with rice cakes

Summer is packed with outdoor activities, so you’ll want to make sure you fuel up before spending your day at the beach or hiking. Rather than just topping your rice cake with veggies and carbo-loading yourself up for failure, add a healthy dose of protein with hummus. Hummus is made from chickpeas, so it’s full of fiber and protein that will keep you going all day long. 

Start out with a simple creamy hummus recipe and customize it from there. You can go with the classic garlic hummus or give it a colorful twist with beet juice. You shouldn’t just stop at adding this savory schmear to your rice cake either; a few pieces of cucumber, sliced red pepper, or tomatoes could also give your rice cake a summery and fresh twist. If you want to get creative with the flavor pairings, consider swapping out your plain rice cake base with a cheese-infused one.

Go gourmet with almond butter and bananas

Almond butter in jar

Almond butter is peanut butter’s bougie cousin. It has a subtle woody flavor, but doesn’t have the same robustness as peanut butter. This quality makes almond butter a great addition to rice cakes when you’re craving something fatty and filling, but not overwhelmingly nutty. Moreover, the rice cake is the perfect vector for the fatty topping, because it lacks flavor on its own. 

Bananas are a great pairing for almond butter on rice cakes. Despite the creamy-on-creamy texture pairing of the fruit and the spread, the banana flavor helps subdue some of the overwhelming fattiness of the almond butter and provides a mellow, satisfying taste in each bite. You can also add extra warmth to this rice cake by pairing it with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drizzle of honey. Cacao nibs can also provide a bitter reprieve from the sweetness of the bananas and the nut butter.

Grab canned tuna and lettuce for an easy tuna salad sandwich

Tuna salad with avocado rice cake

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Tuna salad has had a bit of a “glow up” in recent years — and we couldn’t be happier. It’s no longer the food that everyone scoffs at when you eat it in the office break room. Instead, it’s been upgraded with unique ingredients to help offset some of the fish’s tinny flavor and introduce more textures that bring it past the level of goopy, nude-colored mush.

A spruced up tuna salad is a great recipe to make during the summer. Not only does it have the satisfying protein content from canned fish, but it gets a bright boost of color and vegetal flavor from cucumbers, red onions, peppers, and shredded carrots. The best way to make this meal, which you can easily convert into a summer snack, is to serve it on a rice cake. A plain rice cake is a blank canvas that allows the tuna salad and its additions to take center stage. Serve this salad on your cakes as a quick slider snack, and save the rest of the tuna salad for later.

Add pomegranate seeds to your rice cakes for a summery pop of flavor

Pomegranate fruit on table

Eating watermelon in the summer may be the only experience that rivals biting into a spoonful of gushing pomegranate seeds. And, there’s no better way to eat these seeds as a summertime snack than to pair them with something crunchy — like a rice cake. You can use a container of seeds from the grocery store or try to remove them from the whole fruit yourself. One way to collect the seeds without making a mess is by opening the fruit underwater and gently prying the seeds from the membrane and the pith.

The key to making this combination work is to add a layer of creamy spread to the bottom of your rice cake to prevent the juice and the seeds from dripping down and making the rice cake soggy. If you want the seeds to shine (as they should), you can pair them with a neutrally flavored yogurt or cream cheese. 

Make mini pizzas without turning on the oven

Rice cakes with tomato and cheese

Let’s face it: Summertime is not the best time of year for turning on the oven. It can heat up your entire house, and standing in front of it for too long can make you sweat. But, even when the mercury is rising, we still have a craving for straight-out-of-the-oven pizza.

The easiest way to satisfy this hankering for melty cheese and pizza sauce is to whip up a no-bake pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, and a rice cake. We’re not going to say that it’s the same as a slice of greasy New York pizza — but it does hit the spot when you’re craving just a couple of bites. Add a layer of sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings and toss them in the air fryer or microwave. In just a few minutes, your cheese will be slightly melty, and you’ll get the bits of ooey gooey mozzarella intertwined with a savory sauce. This is a great summer snack for kids too.

Ditch the heavy bagel for lox and cream cheese on a rice cake

Rice cake with lox

Nothing beats a classic, chewy New York bagel. But, eating an entire bagel can feel like a chore at times, because of how dense and rich it is. If you’re craving the tanginess of the cream cheese without the thick bagel, consider swapping out the base with a rice cake instead. This cake is much lighter in density and flavor, so it puts your cream cheese on display.

You can take your “bagel” a step further and add a layer of lox on top. Or, go with a sprinkle of seasoning and a layer of thinly sliced cucumber to add a cooling element to your rice cake. Besides enjoying them for breakfast, you can also make these toppings into mock finger sandwiches to enjoy with a cool glass of lemonade or iced tea, or to serve at your next party.

Use your rice cakes as a vehicle for chicken salad

Chicken salad in bowl

Chicken salad has a toothsome mouthfeel that the other fancy mayonnaise-based salads, like egg and tuna salad, could never dream of offering. Plus, the flavor of the salad isn’t particularly salty or savory, which makes it a great vector for complex flavors that play with one another. You can whip up a cranberry and pecan chicken salad to add extra texture. The nuts and the dried fruit will enhance the overall flavor of the chicken salad, while celery will add a boost of moisture and a satisfying crunch.

Once you have your chicken salad made, you can keep it in the fridge and toss some on a rice cake when you’re craving a quick snack. Or, you can serve up little sliders with different salads to mix up your lunchtime routine. Although, if your chicken salad is that good, we can’t blame you if you eat it straight from the bowl. 

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Add a smear of yogurt and honey for a light summer snack

Strawberry and yogurt rice cakes

Yogurt is a great light breakfast. But, by the third spoonful, it gets a little bit boring. Rather than loading your bowl up with a copious amount of granola and whatever fruit you have shoved in the back of your crisper drawer, consider switching up your yogurt game by adding a smear of the dairy product to your rice cake. As long as your yogurt is thick and creamy, like a Greek variety, you won’t have to worry about soaking through your rice cake.

Once you have your base set up, you can add a handful of granola or a touch of honey for sweetness. Or, slice up some strawberries and grab a scoop of chia seeds for an extra punch of fiber. This is a great breakfast, snack food for the office, or treat for when you’re craving yogurt, but not necessarily a whole bowl of it. 

Upgrade your PB&J with a rice cake

Peanut butter and jam rice cake

Cheap sandwich bread and a PB&J are about as classic a combination as the peanut butter and jelly itself. But, that doesn’t mean you have to spend your whole life only eating PB&Js on lackluster sandwich bread that falls apart if you look at it the wrong way. Instead, try upgrading your peanut butter and jelly sandwich by swapping out the conventional base for a rice cake.

A rice cake is a perfect base for your sandwich, because you don’t have to commit to eating a thick gob of peanut butter, two whole slices of bread, and the gelatinous plop of jelly. Instead, stick to a thin spread of your favorite peanut butter (or swap it out for reconstituted powdered peanut butter instead for something lighter), and add a drizzle of jam, jelly, or your favorite fruit preserves. If you like a sandwich with texture, you may even try to use a chia jam for an unexpected crunch on your rice cake.

Grab some tzatziki and cucumber for a Mediterranean-inspired rice cake snack

Tzatziki in bowl with ingredients

Tzatziki is a spread that deserves more positive press than it gets. A classic tzatziki sauce is made from tangy Greek yogurt, cucumbers, and fresh ingredients like garlic, lemon juice, and herbs. It’s bright and fresh, and it really gives any food you pair with it an edge. But, rather than just use it as a dipping sauce for crudités, consider adding a bit to your rice cake for a simple snack.

The herbs in the sauce really accentuate the flavor of the tangy spread. We recommend adding some cucumber on top as well since it’s a vegetable that often gets lost in the sauce. If you’re serving these summery snacks at a mid-afternoon get-together, you can even pull out your vegetable peeler or spiralizer to give the cucumber a unique, show-stopping design — perfect for perching on top of your rice cake. 

End your meal with a Nutella and strawberry-topped rice cake

Nutella spread on rice cake

Although Nutella may have initially been marketed as a breakfast food, it really is just a chocolate-infused nut butter that screams “dessert.” It’s beloved for its creaminess, versatility, and absolute deliciousness when paired with fruit. To take advantage of the delicious taste and sublime texture of Nutella, consider smearing it on your rice cake. 

Like other nut spreads, try to avoid adding a thick coating on top of the cake, as it can make it very dense and heavy. While you could stick with a plain salted cake, you can try a chocolate or caramel rice cake, too. Strawberries are a natural pairing for Nutella, both in color and flavor, but you could also experiment with bananas or even cherries to make this treat uniquely your own. It’s a satisfying after-school snack to give to your kids or the perfect antidote for when you’re craving something sweet that’s better than a one-note chocolate bar. 

Use rice cakes for finger-friendly caprese salad

Caprese salad on surface of rice cake

Salad is at the top of the list for quintessential summer foods. Not only can you add whatever fresh greens and herbs you have growing in your garden (or can buy from the farmers market), but it won’t leave you feeling especially heavy. You can also eat it at almost any time of day — including paired with a protein for lunch or as a summery snack in between meals. One of the best kinds of summer salads is unequivocally the caprese. 

Caprese is the perfect salad for when you want something “healthy,” but aren’t afraid to eat your body weight in mozzarella cheese. You can whip up a chopped caprese salad recipe to serve on top of rice cakes. It’s a great finger food for eating at a picnic, and the rice cake is a sturdy enough vehicle for the chopped tomatoes, cheese, basil, and balsamic glaze. We recommend serving it with sprinkled flaked sea salt on top for an extra crunch and to subdue the acidity of the tomatoes. 

Transform your rice cakes into cinnamon toast

Cinnamon sticks with ground cinnamon

If there were a food that reminded us of home, it would be cinnamon toast. The feeling of biting into warm cinnamon intertwined with sugar and a dollop of butter is just a very ethereal experience. Granted, it’s not a meal that will keep you satiated for too long, but it is a great option for when you’re craving a sweet, light snack during the day. 

While you can just use cinnamon rice cakes, you can also DIY this snack by grabbing your favorite cinnamon from your spice rack, along with sugar and butter (a butter spray works great here). The butter will help the cinnamon and the sugar stick to the rice cake without falling off. Then, place your cakes into a resealable bag with the cinnamon and the sugar and gently toss to coat. You could also just add the cinnamon and sugar as a sprinkle, but there’s something satisfying about watching the cakes bounce around and come out covered in cinnamon. 

Pair your rice cakes with spreadable cheese and fresh veggies

Cottage cheese, radishes, and dill on rice cakes

Natalia Hanin/Shutterstock

Spreadable cheeses aren’t just for cheeseboards; they can also be paired with rice cakes to make a satisfying snack. There are tons of different spreadable cheeses to choose from, from Boursin cheese to creamy ricotta or cottage cheese. The latter two of these options have a mild flavor that can be easily made sweet or savory, depending on what your tastebuds are craving. Boursin cheese, however, tends to stick to the savory realm with flavors like the classic garlic and herbs, and creative options like black garlic rosemary and fig and balsamic. 

You don’t need to add any extra toppings or seasonings, although something crunchy, like red pepper slivers or cucumber, couldn’t hurt. As for the ricotta, we recommend pairing it with fig jam for a slightly fruity flavor that undercuts the unctuousness of the cheese. Enjoy this cheese as a quick snack, or consider adding some hunks of rice cake to your next charcuterie board. 

Swap out your cookies for rice cakes in an ice cream sandwich

Pink ice cream with scoop

Magone/Getty Images

There’s no better way to cool off on a hot summer day than with a scoop of ice cream. But, let’s face it, a boring bowl of vanilla isn’t doing anyone any favors. Instead of settling for a basic scoop, upgrade your ice cream by sandwiching it between two rice cakes. 

This is one instance where using a flavored rice cake, including a caramel, chocolate, or even an apple cinnamon rice cake, pays off. You’ll want to pair your ice cream with a complementary flavor, like a brownie ice cream with chocolate cakes or a rum raisin ice cream with cinnamon cakes. The trick to making this unique ice cream sandwich work is to freeze your ice cream rounds beforehand. Then, you can pull out the hardened pieces, add your rice cakes, and decorate with sprinkles, syrup, and more. 

Cover your rice cakes in melted chocolate for dessert

Person handling melted chocolate

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We’re always looking for opportunities to cover things in chocolate — like rice cakes. On their own, rice cakes walk a thin line between crunchy and soft. But, if you add a layer of chocolate, the crunchiness will stand out much more. If you want an especially crispy cake, you can also pop a tray of rice cakes in the oven to dry them out before you pull out your chocolate. 

The key to making melted chocolate is not to rush the process. If you’re using a microwave, you’ll need to melt the chocolate incrementally to prevent burning it. Once your chocolate is completely melted, you can delicately toss the rice cake in it before setting it on a sheet of parchment paper or a wire rack. If you need them sooner, or your kitchen is a little too warm, try popping them in the fridge to set them. 

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