This recipe was a result of a "nudge". Our group of Ann Arbor (now renamed to Michigan) Lady Food Bloggers met for a cookie exchange last night. A few of us volunteered to bring a savory appetizer, to counter both the temptation and taste of all that sweetness in front of us. One of my sister bloggers, Mother's Kitchen, asked if I was going to bring an appetizer using kale. We still have a very large amount of fresh kale from our winter garden in Michigan, so yes, the challenge was on to figure out what to bring using kale as an ingredient.
After much thinking and browsing the internet, I finally (duh!) remembered one of my own favorite cookbooks Spinach and Beyond: Loving Life and Dark Green Leafy Vegetables by an Ann Arbor author Linda Diane Feldt. It took no time at all to find a recipe for kale balls, and thus my recipe is a variation of and was inspired by the one in this book. So thanks go to both MK (Mother's Kitchen) and Linda Diane Feldt.
Kale Ball Ingredients:
• 8 cups chopped raw kale (remove large tough stems, but keep small tender ones) - I did use my food processor for this step to save me time even though I love to chop, chop, chop with my chef's knife
• 3 eggs
• 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
• 1/2 teaspoon dried garlic powder (more if your family really likes garlic, like mine)
• 1/2 teaspoon low sodium tamari
• 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
• 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
Steam the chopped raw kale (I used a steamer basket) for just a few minutes to wilt but still maintain bright green color. The 8 cups reduced to 4 cups after steaming (4 cups pictured in this photo along with a jar of the Bruschetta-in-a-jar recipe). Save the water in the bottom of the pan in your freezer for future soup broth.
Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl, then add all other ingredients (except kale) and mix together. Finally add in kale and mix well. Don't be afraid to use your hands at this step to evenly mix everything!
Line one cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a teaspoon and your hands, make 25-30 kale balls. I made 28 balls, each about one inch in diameter or about the size of a walnut in the shell.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes until they just start to brown. The bottoms of the balls were brown after 20 minutes in my oven, were holding together and rolling around the cookie sheet, plus well heated throughout, so I called them done.
Bruschetta-pepper sauce ingredients:
• one 8 ounce jar of Bruschetta in a jar (recipe at Mother's Kitchen blog)
• equivalent of one roasted red sweet pepper (can be frozen/thawed, freshly prepared, or from a jar)
Throw all of this into a blender and mix until either smooth or just slightly textured. I took most of this sauce to the cookie exchange, but we used the rest of it to dip roasted vegetables in at supper. True confession time - My husband thought it would be funny (and a great testimony to how delicious this sauce is!) to post up a video on my blog showing me licking the very end of this sauce out of the bowl. :-) Without all this fuss, a great marinara sauce would also taste terrific with these kale balls. (photo: although these might look like salmon filets, these are 3 pieces of organic roasted red sweet peppers, still a bit icy, that I made in September).
So enjoy, enjoy, enjoy yet another way to eat kale and just visualize all those cancer-fighting and overall health promoting molecules that kale hides inside its beautiful leaves just working their way throughout your entire body!
I'll close with the photos of the delicious cookies we made and exchanged last night and one of the best succinct quotes I have seen in a long time, found by our host Patti who writes the blog Teacher in the Hood. It certainly fit the spirit of the evening.
My friends are my estate.
I would add that my friends are essential ingredients in my recipe for a happy, healthy life!
Diana Dyer, MS, RD