Almost Paleo Spinach Balls

I’ll let you in on a family secret.

It’s about our spinach ball recipe.

My mother started making spinach balls when I was young.  They showed up on the table every time guests walked through the door.  We had them for special occasions and sometimes just because.   My parents, sisters and I all loved them.

A few years back, I asked my mom for the recipe and starting making them when I needed an easy appetizer.  “These are really good,” my friends usually comment.  Almost every time I make them, someone asks for the recipe.   People like them because they are tasty – almost addictively so – but appear to be a somewhat healthy choice.

The secret is that they really aren’t that healthy.   True, the recipe includes about 2 pounds of frozen spinach.  But it also contains 2 cups of bread crumbs, a cup of cheese and ½ cup of butter.  Meaning, they are primarily bread, butter and cheese balls.   No wonder they are so tasty.

My sister Lauren and I were talking the other day about spinach balls.  We were half laughing at how putting spinach in anything makes it seem like a health food – and half lamenting that this great go-to appetizer was SO un-paleo.

At that moment, I decided I should try to come up with a more paleo version of this beloved family recipe.  I aimed for one that tasted as good as the original, but was a slightly healthier choice.

That’s what this recipe is.  It’s not probably a recipe you want to make each week as a way to optimize your health.  It’s heavy on the nuts.  It also contains some dairy, which is not technically paleo – but is something that many paleo/primal folks (like me) eat in small doses.

But, they are a fantastic treat and a sure-fire crowd pleasing appetizer.  Plus, I thought my sisters and parent would get a kick out of seeing our family spinach ball recipe recreated on my paleo blog.

Almost Paleo Spinach Balls

Frozen chopped spinach, 20 oz

Almond meal, 1 1/2 cups

Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup

Onion, 1 minced (The easiest way to do this is to use a food processor. If you chop by hand, you’ll need to keep chopping until the onions are minced.)

Eggs, 4

Ghee or grass-fed butter , ½ cup melted

Salt, ½ teaspoon

Pepper, 1/4 teaspoon

  1. Defrost spinach.  You can do this by leaving it out or putting it in the microwave.
  2. Drain all water from spinach.  This is a very important step.    If the spinach is not dry, the spinach balls will be soggy and not very good.  Work in small batches, using your hands to squeeze out water.  Then, do it again.
  3. Whisk the eggs and add to the spinach.
  4. Put remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix well using a fork to break up clumps of spinach.
  5. Using your hands, form mixture into 1” balls. Place on baking tray.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.