Appetizers/ Kid-Friendly Recipes/ Vegetarian Recipes

Spinach and Kale Bites

Spinach and Kale Bites ~ Little vegetable balls loaded with spinach, kale and Parmesan cheese then lightly coated with panko breadcrumbs and baked until crispy and tender.  These little bites burst with spinach and Parmesan cheese flavor! The taste of kale is completely hidden in this little appetizer, making them the ideal snack for the picky eaters.

 

I saw these little spinach and kale bites in the freezer section at Trader Joes and since I got hooked on Kale for the first time this summer, making scrumptious kale drinks like kale smoothies,  I bought a box and tried them for the first time.  They were very tasty, but a little too salty and a bit expensive.

So I decided to make them myself and duplicate the recipe as close as possible, only I decided to roll them panko breadcrumbs for some crunch.  The outcome was really terrific, crunchy on the outside and super moist on the inside.  The Parmesan cheese definitely adds depth of flavor to them.

These are easy enough to make a day in advance for a party, and throw them in the oven when guests arrive. They’re amazingly light and festive, definitely worthy for a fancy dinner or a holiday party.  Terrific to serve at football parties too.  You can also try our mini rice balls as another fun appetizer.

If you omit the panko breadcrumbs from this recipe, you’ll have gluten-free spinach and kale bites.

These bites can be expensive to buy frozen (about $5 for 10 bites).  And, most frozen foods are packed with high levels of sodium as well as some other unknown ingredients.  When you make them yourself, they’re definitely fresher and more cost effective.

I love them because they’re baked not fried, loaded with antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and K, plus I’m giving my family a healthier snack instead of junk food.

 

Some ingredients you may need:

Here’s a TIP: 
When working with this recipe, use 2  bowls or dishes, pour some panko bread crumbs into one. Take a teaspoon full of the spinach and kale mixture into your hand.  Make a small ball with your hands (larger than a quarter, smaller than a golf ball).

Then gently roll ball into panko bread crumbs to coat evenly.  Then bake them for 15 minutes and serve!

ENJOY!! 

Spinach and Kale Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 bites
 
Spinach and Kale Bites ~ Little vegetable balls loaded with spinach, kale and Parmesan cheese then lightly coated with panko breadcrumbs and baked until crispy and tender. These little bites burst with spinach and Parmesan cheese flavor! The taste of kale is completely hidden in this little appetizer, making them the ideal snack for the picky eaters.
Ingredients
  • 1 small yellow onion- chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter
  • 6 ounce package fresh baby spinach (the equivalent to 5 oz. of frozen)
  • 2 cups packed with fresh kale, rinsed
  • 1 large scallion (green onion)
  • 1 egg
  • ⅔ cup panko bread crumbs, plus extra for coating
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dash of organic cayenne pepper
  • organic olive oil cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a frying pan, heat and melt butter with olive oil. Add yellow onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add spinach and kale and cook until they wilt, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Place cooked contents into a food processor along with one chopped scallion and pulse for several seconds. Transfer mixture to a medium size mixing bowl.
  4. Add one egg, ⅔ cup of panko bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Mix with a spoon until well combined. Add salt and black pepper to taste and a dash of cayenne pepper.
  5. In a second smaller bowl or dish, pour some panko bread crumbs. Take a teaspoon full the spinach and kale mixture into your hand. Make a small ball with your hands (larger than a quarter, smaller than a golf ball).
  6. Gently roll ball into panko bread crumbs to coat evenly.
  7. Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the spinach and kale bites onto baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
  8. Yields: 20 bites

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59 Comments

  • Reply
    Joanne
    September 21, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Well now I know i won't ever be buying those TJ's bites to sample! not now that I can make them myself that is. These are the perfect appetizer bites!

  • Reply
    Cathleen
    September 22, 2013 at 2:25 am

    Yum!! I have never tried kale before, but these cute bites make me want to try some!

  • Reply
    iPinRecipes
    September 22, 2013 at 7:02 pm

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  • Reply
    annaliz
    September 23, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    Thank you ! Would love to give it a try!

  • Reply
    Marin mama cooks
    September 24, 2013 at 3:51 am

    How did I miss these? Kale and spinach rolled up together. Perfection! What a perfect and healthy afternoon snack! xoxo, Jackie

  • Reply
    annaliz
    September 25, 2013 at 2:59 am

    Hey Jackie! Thanks, I think your kids will go bonkers for these. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 26, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Thank You!
    I can see making these in a patty form and eating them like burgers.
    What a fabulous meal with a brimming plate of late season, dry-farmed Early Girl Tomatoes…
    HEAVEN and Yum.
    Cannot thank you enough … spinach and kale can be found in our markets year-round.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      October 4, 2013 at 3:05 am

      Hi Anonymous! You bet, that's a great idea to make these into vegetarian burgers. I think I will try it. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 9, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    I had the Trader Joe's version last night and I loved them! I am so obsessed with them but they are expensive. I stumbled upon this blog doing a google search hoping someone recreated the recipe. I can't wait to try this at home!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      October 10, 2013 at 12:49 am

      HI Anonymous! So glad to hear you found our site! Welcome! These bites turned out better than Trader Joe's ( but don't tell them I said that), hope you will enjoy them as much as we do.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 23, 2013 at 11:22 pm

    Im going to try thm right now but instead of panko. I'll use almond meal. Grain free. Can't wait, i can eat a $5.00 box from tj's in abput 15 minutes.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      October 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Anonymous! We would love to know how they turn out with the almond meal, please let us know. Thanks for the lovely comment!

  • Reply
    Paradigm360
    December 14, 2013 at 2:59 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe – my family and I loved this and saved so much money making it at home. (and I made a double batch so I could freeze some) Yum!!!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      December 15, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      So glad to hear you love this recipe and Thank you for leaving a comment! It means a lot to us. My family loves these little bites so much we now make them often. Have a great weekend! 🙂
      Warmly, Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    December 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    These sound wonderful! I have begun to enjoy kale too and love that it's so nutritious. I'm going to be pinning this one to my appetizer board! Thank you.

  • Reply
    annaliz
    December 18, 2013 at 1:58 am

    Oh thank you Sue!! So glad you like these!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    These are incredible, much better than what they sell at TJ! My family and friends are all asking for the recipe.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm

      Oh Thank you ! So glad to hear you love them! Happy New Year!!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I'm just making my first batch and would like to freeze them…not sure whether to cook them first and then freeze, or freeze and then cook. comments???

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 19, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      First, we are terribly sorry for not seeing your comment earlier,( we have been terribly hacked and have not resolved the problem yet) anyway, if we had to guess, we believe that you can freeze them before baking them. If you bake them first, then freeze- they may turn out dry the second time they go into the oven. But, that is only our guess! Regardless, we hope they turned out well for you, and please let us know otherwise. Thanks again.
      Warmly, Anna and Liz

    • Reply
      Rachel
      April 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm

      Don't know how it turned out for anonymous, but I froze and then cooked several days later and worked great!! 🙂

    • Reply
      annaliz
      April 17, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Thank you Rachel! So glad to hear that it worked. We love to hear how things work out after they have been frozen, thanks again for the tip! Our readers will thank you as well! Warmly, Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    Madeline McFadden
    January 19, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I made these for a potluck, and everyone loved them. I only had unsalted butter, and thought they could have used a little more salt. Next time, I will try the recipe using gluten-free bread crumbs.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 19, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      Hi Madeline!! So glad to hear that!! Thank you for letting us know. It's so nice to meet you, and welcome to out blog! We hope you continue to enjoy our recipes. Have a great weekend!
      xxoo Anna and Liz

    • Reply
      cinleek
      January 23, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      THANK YOU!!!!!! Omgoodness these are so good I couldn't even get them on a plate! The whole family just stood around the pan and ate. them. all. My kids are 5 and 3 by the way! I did add chunks of mozzarella too and that added a little extra special treat inside. FANTASTIC recipe that will be in my arsenal as long as I can stand up to cook!! SO SO thankful!!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 24, 2014 at 1:02 am

      Hello and thank you for the lovely comment! So glad your family loved these little bites!
      The addition of the mozzarella is a great idea, thanks for the tip! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    dselmal
    May 29, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    do you think I can make/assemble these a day before, pop them in the fridge, and then bake/cook the following day?

    • Reply
      annaliz
      May 29, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Hi ! Absolutely! Yes we have made them one day before and then baked them before guests arrived. Please let us know how they turned out for you – we love to get feedback. Thanks for trying our recipe!'
      Warmly,
      Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    dselmal
    May 31, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I assembled the bites the day prior to heating/serving. They seemed a bit wet/soggy from being in the fridge so I did roll them in Panko prior to baking to give them a bit of a crunch. That seemed to do the trick. If you have the time, I suggest not making them ahead of time.
    However, they tasted great and got a favorable response! thanks

    • Reply
      annaliz
      May 31, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      Thank you for the tip! We appreciate the fact that you took the time to give us your feedback. It's means a lot to us. Thanks again. Looking forward to hearing from you again. Warmly, Anna and Liz

  • Reply
    dentistvschef
    August 11, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Damn delicious!!!
    the photograph is really seducing my taste buds…
    i guess my lil nieces would love this kind of savoury khealty green veggies snack once i've made it for them

    • Reply
      annaliz
      August 15, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      Hi! It's so nice to see you again! Thank you for the lovely comment!

  • Reply
    Mary
    August 12, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    What a great idea! love this – healthy and delicious:)
    Mary

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    I followed the recipe exactly and the kale was still a little fibrous. Not bad, just a little toothy. I froze half the batch and baked them a few days later at 375* for 20 minutes and they were perfectly cooked and the kale was soft. Apparently freezing kale will soften it the same way as massaging it with oil and salt works for a salad.

    The recipe is a perfect replication of Trader Joe's product and I really appreciate it. I'm thinking I'd like to add a little garlic powder to the mix so if anyone has an idea of how much, I'd appreciate any suggestions.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      November 26, 2014 at 4:16 pm

      HI Anonymous! Thank you for trying our recipe, and yes you can certainly add garlic powder, I would suggest to use 1/8 teaspoon and will add more deliciousness! Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 2, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    THANK YOU!!! I am SO grateful for this post. I am literally obsessed with Trader Joe's spinach and kale bites but they are so expensive. I knew there *had* to be someone who duped the recipe. I make two huge trays of these for a dinner party this holiday season and they were a HUGE hit. Everyone loved them including the children who are normally picky eaters. Two giant baking sheets of these were gone by the end of the night. These are exactly like the Trader Joe's bites but they are fresh and preservative free. I can't thank you enough.

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 8, 2015 at 1:55 am

      Hello Anonymous and thank you for you comment! We ' re glad to hear you love them as much as we do. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm

    These are really tasty – I just made a batch – first time I have eaten kale and trying something new each week this year. So easy to do. I used red onion for the first bit and seemed to be tasty so a good back up 🙂

    • Reply
      annaliz
      January 20, 2015 at 12:55 am

      So glad to hear that and thank you for the tip about using red onion! It helps to know what can be added or substituted. Thanks again!

  • Reply
    Megan
    February 1, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    Do you think these could be made dairy – free? My toddler could use more green veggies, but he has a milk protein intolerance. The butter I'd probably sub in coconut oil and a little salt, but I'm not sure about the parmesan. Thanks!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      February 1, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      Hi Megan!
      You can sustitute butter with Earth Balance buttery spread ( it's dairy free) I also looked up on line and there is a Soymage vegan Parmesan cheese you could try. Also you can try any vegan gourmet cheddar cheese as an alternative in place of the Parmesan, they sell at whole foods or online " Follow Your Heart" brand. And the "Go Veggie" brand has a Parmesan grated topping ( lactose free) which might work very nicely. I hope these are helpful suggestions. Please let us know which one works for you.
      Warmly, Anna and Liz

    • Reply
      Gina Coyle Nornes
      March 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Hi, just as a future note for anyone else that needs non-dairy cheese (or are vegan…I veganised these), you can make 'parmesan' by combining 3/4 cup cashews, 1/4tsp garlic powder, 3/4 tsp sea salt & 3 tbsp of nutritional yeast then blitz in a food processor, I'm not sure how this will differ in taste from those with parmesan but these were so so yummy (I also cut out the egg and reckon they could probably do with the addition of some other medium to bind them a little better…oats perhaps?) regardless, they tasted so delicious.

      Ps. The 'Parmesan' cheat is courtesy of the minimalist baker, I hope you don't mind me mentioning her (I didn't want to take credit)

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 25, 2015 at 1:14 am

      Hi Gina! Thank you for the tips! Anyone who is vegan will benefit from your tips. Thanks again! 🙂

  • Reply
    Leo Saal
    February 11, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Can you omit the spinach and only use kale?

    • Reply
      annaliz
      February 12, 2015 at 1:41 am

      Hi Leo, you probably could but the flavors will be different. I copied the ones we bought at Trader Joes since we loved the idea of having both greens incorporated into these little bites. But it doesn't hurt to try! Go for it and let us know how they turn out.

  • Reply
    Randa Cain
    February 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I didn't have any parmesan cheese on hand so I used smoked Gouda and added a bit of garlic to the onions. It turned out FANTASTIC. I also prepped these the night before and put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and stuck them in the fridge. When I was ready to bake them I set it out for 20 minutes before baking them. It took a few minutes extra in the oven but they came out perfectly crispy and delicious. Everyone asked for the recipe. Thanks!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      February 26, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Randa! Thank you! We love Gouda and garlic too, adding them in was a great idea! Thanks so much for leaving a lovely compliment and for stopping by! 🙂

  • Reply
    Gina Coyle Nornes
    March 24, 2015 at 10:21 pm

    Has anyone been able to work out a rough nutritional breakdown of these or know where I could work that out myself ? (I know mine may be different as I had to veganise them, but a rough idea wouldn't hurt)

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 25, 2015 at 1:28 am

      Hi Gina! We have a post called "How to get calorie count with our recipes" and you can find it under our Recipe Index down the right side bar – it will give you the nutritional breakdown you are looking for.

  • Reply
    Unknown
    November 6, 2015 at 2:36 am

    I've been a big fan of these TJ bites, so is my daughter. My Aunt Lori sent me your recipe and I made them tonight — honestly, these are FAR BETTER than TJ's in my opinion. I had always felt theirs were a bit too salty too. And the flavor of yours is a better balance. THANK YOU!!!!

  • Reply
    annaliz
    November 7, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Hi Lori's niece! So glad you enjoy these bites! Thank you for taking the time to leave a sweet comment, we really appreciate it. Thank you again… and have a great weekend.
    Xo Anna an Liz

  • Reply
    Rosita Vargas
    December 2, 2015 at 3:26 am

    Hermosos y exquisitos bombones de espinacas son geniales,abrazos

  • Reply
    annaliz
    December 2, 2015 at 4:18 am

    Gracias Rosita!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    December 30, 2015 at 1:47 am

    Hi
    Thanks for the recipe!
    Do I need to defrost the bites before baking?
    Thanks

    • Reply
      annaliz
      December 30, 2015 at 2:42 am

      Hi Anonymous! No, you don't have to defrost the bites before baking. They bake easily as long as you preheat your oven. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Unknown
    March 19, 2017 at 3:08 am

    I loved these and they were a big hit at the party. I just made one change which is rather than add the spinach and kale at the same time, I put in just the kale, covered and simmered till kale was tender, then added the spinach and wilted it.
    Actually two changes, cause I also seasoned it at that point (rather than tasting it with the raw egg!)

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 19, 2017 at 2:32 pm

      So glad hear the outcome was great! Your method of doing it sounds good! So happy your guests enjoyed them. Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      annaliz
      March 19, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      And thank you for leaving a comment – your tips will encourage other cooks to try different methods of making these healthy bites! 🙂

  • Reply
    Steve
    June 20, 2017 at 4:37 am

    I like Parmesan and spinach even on their own, now your yummy recipe blends them together in bite size. Thank you very much for your idea, I'll try it right away.

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