Wait, where do you think you’re going? The party isn’t over yet! Just when you thought it was safe to crawl back home in a holiday-induced stupor, ready to hibernate for the remainder of winter, New Year’s looms large on the horizon with another round of festive demands. Still recovering from Christmas, and maybe even Hanukkah at that, it can be a challenge to summon enough enthusiasm for the final day of the year. It typically ends in an anticlimactic countdown at midnight and much more booze than food; never a good omen for the start of any resolution.
No matter how worn and weary from this season of relentless merriment, we can still do better. Why just watch the ball drop on TV when you can fortify yourself with balls of a more savory sort?
It’s been many years, if not decades since I last encountered these classic appetizers, yet they come back to me in flashbulb memories of parties past. Was it my mom in the kitchen, rolling up mounds of greens and cheese by the dozen, or someone else entirely? Though the details elude me, I do remember being swayed by their robust garlic flavor, even in my early days of hating vegetables.
Look, I know it’s getting late and we could all use a break, but this last request is an easy one! Let your food processor do the heavy lifting, throw the whole lot in the oven, and finish on a strong note. 2018 has been full of crazy twists and turns, but I can promise you that the conclusion will ultimately be gratifying when these bite-sized balls drop, even if you make it an early night.
Garlicky Spinach Balls
6 Slices (About 7.5 Ounces Total) Sandwich Bread, Slightly Stale or Lightly Toasted
1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
1/3 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Head Roasted Garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Cups (About 10 Ounces) Frozen Spinach, Thawed and Drained
1 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree or Leftover Mashed Potatoes
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.
Roughly tear the bread into smaller pieces and place them in your food processor, along with the pine nuts. Pulse until broken down into a coarse meal. Add in all of the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine, chopping the greens especially well but leaving the mixture with a bit of texture. You don’t want a perfectly smooth puree like baby food here.
Scoop out a heaping tablespoon for each portion and use lightly moistened hands to roll them into round balls. Place on your prepared sheet and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until dark green in color and firm to the touch. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before serving; enjoy warm or at room temperature.
Makes 24 – 30 Balls