Dec 17, 2013

Spinach and Kale Bites

 
Little vegetable balls loaded with spinach, kale and Parmesan cheese then lightly coated with panko breadcrumbs and baked until crispy and tender.  These little bites burst with spinach and Parmesan cheese flavor! The taste of kale is completely hidden in this little appetizer, making them the ideal snack for the picky eaters.

I saw these little spinach and kale bites in the freezer section at Trader Joes and since I got hooked on Kale for the first time this summer, making scrumptious kale drinks like kale smoothies,  I bought a box and tried them for the first time.  They were very tasty, but a little too salty and a bit expensive.

So I decided to make them myself and duplicate the recipe as close as possible, only I decided to roll them panko breadcrumbs for some crunch.  The outcome was really terrific, crunchy on the outside and super moist on the inside.  The Parmesan cheese definitely adds depth of flavor to them.


These are easy enough to make a day in advance for a party, and throw them in the oven when guests arrive. They're amazingly light and festive, definitely worthy for a fancy dinner or a holiday party.  Terrific to serve at football parties too.  You can also try our mini rice balls as another fun appetizer. 

If you omit the panko breadcrumbs from this recipe, you'll have gluten-free spinach and kale bites.
 
These bites can be expensive to buy frozen (about $5 for 10 bites).  And, most frozen foods are packed with high levels of sodium as well as some other unknown ingredients.  When you make them yourself, they're definitely fresher and more cost effective.

I love them because they're baked not fried, loaded with antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and K, plus I'm giving my family a healthier snack instead of junk food.  Enjoy!


 
Spinach and Kale Bites
  • 1 small yellow onion- chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 6 ounce package fresh baby spinach (the equivalent to 5 oz. of frozen)
  • 2 cups packed with fresh kale, rinsed
  • 1 large scallion (green onion)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs, plus extra for coating
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a frying pan, heat and melt butter with olive oil.  Add yellow onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add spinach and kale and cook until they wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes.
 
Place cooked contents into a food processor along with one chopped scallion and pulse for several seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. 
 
Add one egg, 2/3 cup of panko breadcrumbs, and Parmesan cheese.  Mix with a spoon until well combined.  Add salt and black pepper to taste and a dash of cayenne pepper.
 
In a small bowl or dish, pour some panko breadcrumbs. Take a teaspoon full the spinach and kale mixture into your hand.  Make a small ball with your hands (larger than a quarter, smaller than a golf ball).
 
Gently roll ball into panko breadcrumbs to coat evenly.
Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the spinach and kale bites onto baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
 
Yields: 20 bites
 
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30 comments:

  1. Well now I know i won't ever be buying those TJ's bites to sample! not now that I can make them myself that is. These are the perfect appetizer bites!

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  2. Yum!! I have never tried kale before, but these cute bites make me want to try some!

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  4. Thank you ! Would love to give it a try!

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  5. How did I miss these? Kale and spinach rolled up together. Perfection! What a perfect and healthy afternoon snack! xoxo, Jackie

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  6. Hey Jackie! Thanks, I think your kids will go bonkers for these. Enjoy!

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  7. Thank You!
    I can see making these in a patty form and eating them like burgers.
    What a fabulous meal with a brimming plate of late season, dry-farmed Early Girl Tomatoes...
    HEAVEN and Yum.
    Cannot thank you enough ... spinach and kale can be found in our markets year-round.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous! You bet, that's a great idea to make these into vegetarian burgers. I think I will try it. Thanks.

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  8. I had the Trader Joe's version last night and I loved them! I am so obsessed with them but they are expensive. I stumbled upon this blog doing a google search hoping someone recreated the recipe. I can't wait to try this at home!

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    1. HI Anonymous! So glad to hear you found our site! Welcome! These bites turned out better than Trader Joe's ( but don't tell them I said that), hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

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  9. Im going to try thm right now but instead of panko. I'll use almond meal. Grain free. Can't wait, i can eat a $5.00 box from tj's in abput 15 minutes.

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    1. Hi Anonymous! We would love to know how they turn out with the almond meal, please let us know. Thanks for the lovely comment!

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  10. Thank you so much for this recipe - my family and I loved this and saved so much money making it at home. (and I made a double batch so I could freeze some) Yum!!!

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    1. So glad to hear you love this recipe and Thank you for leaving a comment! It means a lot to us. My family loves these little bites so much we now make them often. Have a great weekend! :)
      Warmly, Anna and Liz

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  11. These sound wonderful! I have begun to enjoy kale too and love that it's so nutritious. I'm going to be pinning this one to my appetizer board! Thank you.

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  12. Oh thank you Sue!! So glad you like these!

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  13. These are incredible, much better than what they sell at TJ! My family and friends are all asking for the recipe.

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    1. Oh Thank you ! So glad to hear you love them! Happy New Year!!

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  14. I'm just making my first batch and would like to freeze them...not sure whether to cook them first and then freeze, or freeze and then cook. comments???

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    1. First, we are terribly sorry for not seeing your comment earlier,( we have been terribly hacked and have not resolved the problem yet) anyway, if we had to guess, we believe that you can freeze them before baking them. If you bake them first, then freeze- they may turn out dry the second time they go into the oven. But, that is only our guess! Regardless, we hope they turned out well for you, and please let us know otherwise. Thanks again.
      Warmly, Anna and Liz

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    2. Don't know how it turned out for anonymous, but I froze and then cooked several days later and worked great!! :)

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    3. Thank you Rachel! So glad to hear that it worked. We love to hear how things work out after they have been frozen, thanks again for the tip! Our readers will thank you as well! Warmly, Anna and Liz

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  15. I made these for a potluck, and everyone loved them. I only had unsalted butter, and thought they could have used a little more salt. Next time, I will try the recipe using gluten-free bread crumbs.

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    1. Hi Madeline!! So glad to hear that!! Thank you for letting us know. It's so nice to meet you, and welcome to out blog! We hope you continue to enjoy our recipes. Have a great weekend!
      xxoo Anna and Liz

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    2. THANK YOU!!!!!! Omgoodness these are so good I couldn't even get them on a plate! The whole family just stood around the pan and ate. them. all. My kids are 5 and 3 by the way! I did add chunks of mozzarella too and that added a little extra special treat inside. FANTASTIC recipe that will be in my arsenal as long as I can stand up to cook!! SO SO thankful!!

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    3. Hello and thank you for the lovely comment! So glad your family loved these little bites!
      The addition of the mozzarella is a great idea, thanks for the tip! Enjoy!

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  16. do you think I can make/assemble these a day before, pop them in the fridge, and then bake/cook the following day?

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    1. Hi ! Absolutely! Yes we have made them one day before and then baked them before guests arrived. Please let us know how they turned out for you - we love to get feedback. Thanks for trying our recipe!'
      Warmly,
      Anna and Liz

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  17. I assembled the bites the day prior to heating/serving. They seemed a bit wet/soggy from being in the fridge so I did roll them in Panko prior to baking to give them a bit of a crunch. That seemed to do the trick. If you have the time, I suggest not making them ahead of time.
    However, they tasted great and got a favorable response! thanks

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for the tip! We appreciate the fact that you took the time to give us your feedback. It's means a lot to us. Thanks again. Looking forward to hearing from you again. Warmly, Anna and Liz

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