My husband grew up eating spinach balls and loves them. When we got married I started making them, but once we became vegan about 5 years ago I stopped. They're filled with butter, parmesan cheese, and egg. I didn't think I could get it quite right so I never spent much time trying. Over the past year or so I have been trying to perfect it veganized and I think I finally have!
I promise these will get your kids to eat spinach willingly. You can even make them more fun and call them Popeye bites (or Hulk- do kids even know Popeye now?!)! The great things about these is that you can freeze them and pop them in the oven when you're ready to eat. The recipe makes a ton so we love to always keep some in the freezer. These are also the perfect thing to bring to holiday parties!
I'll do my best to share measurements, but I'm more of a person who cooks by eye. So make sure to taste test as you go and adjust as needed!
What you'll need:
24 oz frozen spinach
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 medium onion, chopped small
3 cups breadcrumbs*
1/2 cup chickpea flour mixed with 1/4-1/2 cup water (enough to make it thick)
1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast, to taste
1/4 pine nuts, chopped/grinded
2 tbl hemp seeds
2 tbl flax meal
1 tbl italian seasoning, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste
-Cook the onion in the butter until it's cooked through
-cook the spinach. When it's done, strain and squeeze to get as much water out as possible.
-Mix the spinach, onions, and all other ingredients in a bowl. Season it to taste. I suggest 1 tbl italian seasoning, but I love it so always add way more. So make sure to taste!
-The mixture should stick together. If it's falling apart you can add more chickpea flour egg to bind. The breadcrumbs are helping bind and give crunch, so add those as needed.
-Roll into balls on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Freeze. When completely frozen place them into a baggie or container for storage.
-When ready to eat, I heat them at 350 for about 15 minutes.
*Let's talk about breadcrumbs. Finding vegan breadcrumbs can be difficult. I love the Trader Joe's brand! Most grocery stores don't seem to have any that are vegan, but the TJ ones are and they're good. I've recently also seen that the Pepperidge Farms brand has stuffing cubes that are vegan. I haven't looked into ingredients in those closely (my guess is there is more filler than necessary), but they could be ground down in the blender and used too, if you have no other vegan breadcrumbs handy around you! For the recipe, start small- add in a cup at a time until you get what you need.
We typically always have a bag of these in the freezer. They're easy to pop out for sides to dinners, a quick lunch, or a good snack. Let me know what you think! Do you have a favorite food from childhood you want to make vegan? Drop a note in the comments and I'll help you out!