You know the love affair that we have been having with meatballs, right? It is certainly a go-to-recipe when I need something quick and delicious to serve. One of the things I love about meatballs is the creativity that can go into the recipe. From traditional Italian meatballs to a saucy Asian version, the choices are quite limitless. This spinach balls are no exception, and the wonderful thing is they are vegetarian.
Over the holidays, we were invited to a soiree, and one of the tantalizing appetizers that was served was spinach balls. Yes, the vegetarian version of a meatball. Genius, and why had I thought of it before? Normally, I am the girl hovering over the cheese plate during a cocktail party, this time I was the girl hoarding the spinach balls. They were extraordinary. At that moment, I became acquainted with Antonio Carluccio, and his book the Collection. Mr. Carluccio is an Italian chef from the Piedmont area of Italy, who relocated to the UK in the 70’s to work in the wine business. In the 1990’s Carluccio and his wife, opened an Italian shop in London, called Carluccio’s. Prior to opening the shop, Mr. Carluccio worked at Neal Street Restaurant, where Jamie Oliver worked under him. Today, Carluccio’s has over 55 locations throughout the UK. In addition to the cafe locations, Carluccio has written numerous cookbooks, and done a few series for the BBC. The Collection is a beautiful cookbook, full of traditional Italian recipes. I have only made this particular recipe as well as another; but, can tell you, that these recipes are brilliant, and the cookbook is going to get a lot of use this year. It is truly a special cookbook that has become a lovely addition to our home kitchen.
You are going to adore this recipe, I just know it. Simple to make, and lovely with every bite. The balls are made out of a mixture of fresh spinach, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. I slightly adapted the recipe by using more spinach, less cheese, and panko. Each ball came out perfectly light and bursting with flavor. This recipe for Spinach Balls, can be served two ways, either as an appetizer or as a main dish. Both times that I have made it over the past two weeks, I have served as a main dish. This particular time I served the spinach balls with a garlicky, lemon aioli sauce, and a generous green salad. Perfectly light meal for Meatless Monday or for your next vegetarian inspired dinner party.
Just wait until you see what other “vegetarian” inspired meatless balls I am working on!!
Recipe: Spinach Balls
- 1 1/2 pounds spinach
- 1 cup panko
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- pinch nutmeg
- 1 clove garlic mashed
- pinch of kosher salt
- canola oil
- Bring a dutch oven full of water to a boil.
- Blanch the spinach for 1 – 2 minutes.
- Drain into a colander.
- Immediately rinse with very cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Using your hands wring the water out of the spinach. Do this by taking about 1/4 cup of spinach into your hands and wring until no water runs from the spinach.
- Chop all of the spinach with a knife. Do not use a food processor or you will have mush.
- Place the spinach, panko, cheese, nutmeg, garlic and salt into a large mixing bowl.
- Beat the eggs in a separate mixing bowl, then add to the spinach mixture.
- Using your hands mix well.
- Form into small spinach balls.
- Add about 1″ of canola oil to a large frying pan.
- Heat over medium heat.
- In batches, brown the spinach balls until golden brown; about 2 minutes per side.
- Remove with a slotted spoon or tongs, set aside on a paper towel.
- Continue browning the spinach balls.