Delicious veggie balls perfect either as a starter or side dish. You can use leftover spinach or cooking it from scratch, use tinned chickpea, prepare them in advance, frying or bake them in the oven.
And if you want to make them vegan, leave out Parmesan and egg.
Makes: about 16-18 balls | Preparation time: 25-30 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins
- 250 g fresh or frozen spinach
- 240 g chickpea in water
- 1 egg
- grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons
- a small white onion or a shallot
- 1 garlic clove
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Evoo – Extra Virgin Olive oil or Peanut oil for deep-frying, 1 lt
- Breadcrumbs, to taste
Cooking spinach from scratch: heat a spoonful of Evoo and brown the half onion cut into thin slices along with the whole garlic clove. As soon as the onion softens, add raw spinach directly into the pan without blanching or boiling them first, cook over low heat covering with a lid. When ready, let them cool at room temperature for a few minutes.
Drain chickpeas, set aside few whole.
In a blender, put chickpeas along with spinach and the onion and the clove of garlic in which you cooked them, add a pinch of salt and pepper, an Evoo tbsp and blend until you get a mixture with a rather soft consistency.
Tip: Don’t mix them too much, it mustn’t become a mash.
Transfer to a bowl, add grated Parmesan cheese and the egg, stir well, add again salt and/or pepper if necessary.
Tip: if the mixture is too soft, add a tablespoon of breadcrumbs or grated Parmesan.
Shape into 1-inch balls, take the few whole chickpeas you kept aside and put them in each ball, then start breading.
Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, possibly with the sides high or a saucepan.
Tip: the oil will have to cover completely the balls once frying.
As soon as the oil is hot (to check it, try the toothpick test, put it in the oil and if it makes bubbles it is ready for frying) deeply dip the balls no more 5 at a time or they will lower the oil temperature and the frying will not be crispy or cook well inside.
If you want to bake them:
200 C for about 15 minutes in the oven or at least until they are browned enough on the surface.
Remove them from the pan from time to time and drain them on a plate covered with kitchen paper towels. A pinch of salt, allow to cool down for 5 minutes and then serve.