Chicken-Spinach Meatballs with Creamed Feta Paste

December 19, 2014

Chicken-Spinach Meatballs with Creamed Feta Paste

"To sneak or not to sneak?"
That is the question.
Are you one of those parents that - just like Gwyneth Paltrow - sneak veggies into food your kids love?
Do you make chocolate brownies with hidden carrot and spinach, fudgy zucchini chocolate cookies, and sweet potato waffles?
Do you feel like you're winning at parenting every time you kiddo eats some veggies without knowing it?

Chicken-Spinach Meatballs with Creamed Feta Paste

I had a big argument (more like a lively discussion) about this with my sis the other night.
She’s all for sneaking and hiding veggies in her daughters’ food; with the results that the two ladies (aka the worst picky eaters that have ever existed in human history) spend most of their meals dissecting the food completely, before attempting to eat it.
They’ve become so suspicious, they don’t even try something that potentially might have been contaminated by a veggie.
What I was trying to explain to my sister is that kids are much more interested in how a food tastes than whether it’s good for them.
They crave foods high in sugar, salt, and fat, because they taste good and because they have an addictive quality.
Kids will always pick French fries over steamed broccoli — can you blame them?
They operate with immature decision-making abilities, they’re much more likely to think that if something tastes good, that’s what they should eat.
Pureeing veggies and slipping them in pizza or brownies is a dangerous business too. When your kid eventually finds out that you’ve been sneaking “stuff” into his food, you send the message that vegetables taste so bad they need to be disguised.

Chicken-Spinach Meatballs with Creamed Feta Paste




I’m more for promotìng vegetables on their own, and showing your kids that green, purple, orange or red veggies can actually taste good.
Take these meatballs for instance.
They are green as the Green Lantern, green as a clover, green as a leprechaun jacket.
They taste so good though, you just need to convince your kid to take the first bite and I know for a fact that he’s going to love ‘em.
If he doesn’t, well it just means there are more for you to eat.
But seriously, these green chicken meatballs were such a hit, niece asked me the recipe because “I wanna learn to make ‘em!
The herb-whipped feta paste is magnificent. I know it’s a strong word to use for a paste, but believe me it’s lick-the-plate-clean good.

Chicken-Spinach Meatballs with Creamed Feta Paste


Chicken-Spinach Meatballs with Creamed Feta Paste                                 Print this recipe!
Creamed Feta Paste adapted from Plenty More

Ingredients
Serves 6 (makes about 30 meatballs)

Meatballs

1 ½ lbs / 680 gr organic ground chicken
1 large free-range organic egg, lightly beaten
½ small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large handfuls fresh spinach
½ cup / 2 oz / 50 gr grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup / 1.8 oz / 50 gr almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
Zest of one lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Creamed feta paste

3 ½ oz / 100 gr feta, broken into large chunks
¼ cup / 60 gr heavy cream (or crème fraîche)
2 handfuls cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1 handful mint leaves
Fine grain sea salt

Directions

Meatballs

Place spinach in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
In a large bowl gently mix egg, onion, garlic, ground chicken, chopped spinach, Parmesan cheese, almond meal (or bread crumbs), lemon zest, chopped parsley, and salt until combined.
Scoop out about 2 tablespoons of chicken mixture and with dampened hands form into balls (you should get about 30) .
Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large (preferably non-stick) skillet, over medium heat.
Add meatballs, and cook in batches, turning gently, until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 18 to 20 minutes.

Creamed feta paste

To make the feta paste, put the feta, crème fraîche, cilantro, mint, and ⅛ teaspoon salt in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes, until a smooth, creamy paste forms. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Nutrition facts

One meatball “undressed” yields 50 calories, 3 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbs, and 5 grams of protein.

34 comments:

  1. Wow, Mike, these look ridiculously good! My boys would love them without a doubt. Have a great weekend!

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  2. Great photos and recipe! I've never made meatballs with ground chicken before -- just ground beef and turkey, so far...

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    1. I know right? Seems like we all associate meatballs with either turkey or beef, never chicken. Which works just as well, if not better ;)

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  3. These photos are leaving me drooling! I love sneaking in veggies in random stuff but I am kid-less. I used to be like that growing up though- how times have changed!

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  4. Hey mike - it may be a stupid question 😅- but how do u process the chicken? And what food processor do u use for the other stuff. Kind regards

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    1. I buy ground chicken at WF; if you can't find it just process some chicken breast in your food processor for about a minute!

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  5. Love this recipe Mike, especially the creamed feta paste.

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  6. There's no hiding the spinach with these delicious looking meatballs! I really think kids will love their veggies if they're prepared right - I grew up loving veggies and my parents didn't have to hide anything, I was just interested in eating what they were eating. Kids seem to love eating food they've prepared or can associate with like a 'Shrek Smoothie', it's amazing what they're eat if they're excited about it! :)

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  7. I can never sneak any green vegies into my husbands diet. He has run the Jungfrau Marathon twice but nothing green for my man. He likes cabbage , carrots and root vegies. I'm tempted to try this recipe on him. I like the feta cheese sauce.

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  8. I am with you. No sneaking in the veggies around here. Love these meatballs Mike.

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  9. I make chicken meatballs all the time and I am loving these guys. A perfect nibble and that dipping sauce sounds perfect. Great combo and flavors Mike.

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  10. Dude! These meatballs look perfect man. And that creamed feta? Seriously? That's amazing!! But here's my real question...if I eat these meatballs, will I turn into a leprechaun? Because that would be awesome. #WolfpackEats

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  11. Heck to the yeah - am ALL about "winning at parenting every time (my) kiddo eats some veggies without knowing it"! I would so get along with your sis - because when my daughter was younger that's all I did - but funny thing - along the way, my gal started enjoying veggies - this past weekend she opted to have roasted beets and broccoli and bean over going out to Chipotle! Oh heck yeah!
    Btw, these chicken balls sound pretty fantastic - and quite festive - now if some of them had beets in 'em - they would be Christmas Colored meatballs!

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  12. Would these meatballs bake and if so at what temp and how long for? I cannot wait to try these. Drooling already!

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  13. Love this type of recipe.... the creamed feta paste made my heart miss a beat. Or two...

    very very nice!

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  14. first of all I can't wait to try this! second, your photos are absolutely beautiful!!!! gigi. www.gigikkitchen.com

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  15. I would love to nibble your balls for Christmas!

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  16. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.

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  17. Wow, these look great! I've read some of your posts and I can't wait to try some of your stuff. You seem like quite the inspiration, and a looker too- I'm sold! :)


    Kristy

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  18. Could these meatballs be baked in the oven instead? If so at what temp & how long for? These look proper lush! Can't wait to make them :-)

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    1. Baking would dry these out so you'd need to either use ground dark meat chicken or add fat... You're better off "frying" these in the measly 1 Tablespoon oil as suggested. If you *need* to bake them (maybe you don't have a frying pan?) make 1" balls and cook at 375 for ~15 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check internal temp. Either cook on a parchment paper lined sheet or place on a rack over a pan for easy removal, otherwise they may crumble.

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  19. Hi Mike! Came across your blog via facebook. I made these last night and they tasted amazing! Thank you for sharing this recipe :)

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    1. That's fantastic Yi, thank you so much for letting me know!

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  20. So I came across your blog from a link to Cauliflower Grilled cheese (fantabulous idea btw, I love everything about making comfort foods healthier!) and am now addicted to your blog! I was originally just printing off recipes, but now im addicted to reading the blog! Good Job, glad I found you!

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    1. That's awesome Jenna, I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog. Keep reading and spread the love ;)

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  21. This is some great advice from Alpha. I'm really REALLY hoping our kid isn't a super picky eater. I don't know what I'd do. And your balls... they look awesome.

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  22. I don't have kids, but whenever I do, I will sure sneak some veggies in everything they will eat! for sure!! lol!
    Your spinach and chicken meatballs look so yummy, Mike! I even have a picky-eater, almost same age as mine ;), at home, he is going to eat these meatballs soon :) I see it's an older post of yours, I saw it late but thanks for sharing! pinning!

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  23. Made these last night. I used frozen spinach because I had it on hand....wow they were so good! This is going in my cooking repertuar!!

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  24. Those look nice for kids and adults who don't like vegetables

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  25. Deliciousosoooo!!The meatballs were so moist and delicious...so simple to make especially since I had everything on hand.

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