These vegetarian spinach meatballs with feta are meaty and satisfying! They’re perfect served over noodles as a healthy meatless dinner.
“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet!” That’s London-based Izy Hossack, speaking with me on the A Couple Cooks podcast. She’s a nutrition student, and we were talking about how there’s so much mis-information out there about health. It’s true! What makes a healthy meal is highly contested here on the world wide web. Here’s a healthy meal Izy stands behind though: these vegetarian spinach meatballs! They’re chewy, meaty, and taste incredible served over pasta. Keep reading for the recipe and a bit more about Izy and her book!
What’s a healthy meal?
Izy is studying nutrition science, and she’s all about stopping the spread of misinformation by debunking health myths. Health crazes can spread like wildfire on the internet, from juice cleanses to protein powders to collagen. (She debunks some of these on the podcast!)
What’s her philosophy about a healthy meal? A sensible, balanced diet of real, whole foods. Lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats like olive oil. Basically, the Mediterranean diet — like these spinach meatballs! It’s not a sexy message. It’s not click-bait worthy. But after all of her schooling, real, whole foods win out as the most sensible foods on the planet.
About the book: The Savvy Cook
Izy’s latest cookbook, The Savvy Cook, is all about this philosophy to health. Her recipes use accessible, everyday ingredients to create something delicious and memorable. It’s full of healthy dinner ideas, quick snacks, and cheeky desserts (love those Brits!). There’s even a chapter on “template” meals that are easy to customize. There are tips on how to reuse leftovers from those recipes in the weeks ahead. And, it’s all written by a college student, so the meals have got to be doable for the college student lifestyle!
Tips on making spinach meatballs!
These vegetarian spinach meatballs recipe is a fantastic example of healthy, whole food eating. They’re made with spinach and feta, and are unlike any other vegetarian meatballs I’ve tasted! Most of the vegetarian meatballs Alex and I have tried have a legume like chickpeas or lentils (like these vegetarian meatballs or these vegan ones). But these are straight up spinach, feta, egg, oat flour, and dried herbs. The taste? Incredibly good, savory, and almost meaty.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making these spinach meatballs:
- They can be baked or pan-fried. We preferred the baked version a bit better. It’s easier, and the balls keep their round shape. Pan-frying is quicker, but a little more finicky.
- The method for preparing the spaghetti is so tasty! The noodles are prepared using an unique method: they’re combined with shredded zucchini, butter, and soy sauce (or tamari). This adds an even more savory, almost cheesy flavor to the recipe.
- Add other veggies if you’d like. We added our own touch to Izy’s recipe: cherry tomatoes from our farmer’s market!
Got spinach left over? See our top spinach recipes!
Other ways to serve spinach meatballs
Now, you don’t have to serve them with noodles! There are a few creative ways to repurpose these spinach meatballs:
- In a sandwich. Use them like falafel and put them in a pita with crunchy veggies and hummus.
- On a main dish salad. Substitute them for the falafel in our Falafel Salad Bowl. Use the Creamy Cilantro Dressing in the recipe, or this Lemon Tahini Dressing.
Order the book
Order The Savvy Cook by Izzy Hossack.
This spinach meatballs recipe is…
Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.Print
Spinach Meatballs with Feta
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 2 to 4 1x
Move this vegetarian meatballs recipe to the top of your healthy dinner ideas list! Served over noodles, it’s top notch Mediterranean food.
- 14 ounces baby spinach or 9 ounces frozen, cooked spinach, thawed
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs
- 1 egg
- ½ cup oat flour (process ½ cup rolled oats in a food processor or blender) or bread crumbs
- ¼ cup olive oil (for cooking, optional)
- 10 ounces dry spaghetti (gluten-free, if necessary)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 medium zucchini, shredded
- 5 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- Freshly ground pepper
- If using fresh baby spinach, add to a large saucepan with a small splash of water. Place over medium-low heat and cover with a lid. Cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes, then rinse under cold running water. Squeeze the spinach out over the sink to remove as much liquid as possible, then coarsely chop and set aside. (Tip: using frozen spinach helps cut prep time; we’ll try that next time.)
- In a medium bowl, mix the feta, dried herbs, a generous amount of black pepper, the egg, and oat flour or bread crumbles together. Stir in the chopped spinach, then scoop heaping tablespoons of the mixture and roll into balls. You should get about 20 balls. You can either place them on a baking sheet lined with nonstick parchment paper and bake in an oven preheated to 350ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, or fry them over medium heat in 2 batches, in 2 tablespoons oil per batch, turning, until golden on both sides, 3 to 5 minutes. (Tip: we tried it both ways, and found the baked version was easiest!)
- Boil the pasta, then drain.
- Return the pasta to the pan off the heat, then stir in the butter, soy sauce, or tamari, and shredded zucchini. Toss with halved cherry tomatoes and serve.
Note: If you have leftover vegetarian meatballs, you can repurpose them as falafel in a sandwich or salad. As a fun optional topping, sprinkle with Parmesan shavings or Vegan Parmesan Cheese!
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keywords: vegetarian meatballs recipe, vegetarian meatballs
Looking for Mediterranean food recipes?
We’re big fans of Mediterranean food (and Mediterranean travel, of course!). Here are a few recipes for Mediterranean food we’d recommend for this summer:
- Baked Falafel Salad Bowl
- Eggplant Involtini with Spanish Mojo Sauce
- Chickpea Fattoush Nourish Bowl
- Mediterranean Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
- Mediterranean Rice Bowl
More healthy dinner ideas
Who isn’t looking for healthy dinner ideas, these days? A few of our top healthy dinner ideas, again with a summer flair:
What a great idea! I’m definitely trying this.
Izy’s a master! Let us know if you try it and what you think.
I think it can be easily veganized ! I would use lacto-fermented tofu instead of the feta cheese (or regular firm tofu, well pressed, would also work, maybe with a bit of miso or nutritional yeast or cashew butter for a more cheesy flavour) and use a flax or chia egg instead of the regular one. Ok, now I feel like trying this!
Those sounds like great ideas! If you do try it, we’d love to hear! Please let us know if you can! :)
Flax egg was my first thought, too. I’ve never even heard of lacto-fermented tofu, so my second thought was just leaving out the feta. I wonder if simply adding nooch would be enough?
Hmmm interesting! Perhaps with the flax egg and nutritional yeast it would be enough flavor? Not sure, though. I’ll leave it to the experts to try!
I tried it over the weekend! Although my spinach balls were a bit gnarly because I forgot to chop the spinach up, they tasted really good with the flax egg and nutritional yeast (I used two tablespoons). I will definitely make this recipe again. But now I wonder if they can be made in advance and frozen? I think that might work! Thanks so much, Sonja!
Oh that sounds perfect, thank you for trying this out vegan! That is really good to know. (Haha about gnarly with the spinach!) I would say that these would probably freeze well and then reheat in an oven. Thanks again for making them!
So yummy and looks super delicious! Spinach and feta are two of my favorites to pair with pasta :) Pinning!
Us too! That inspires me for a future pasta too. Thanks for pinning!
Thanks for the recipe. I am going to try at this weekend. It is always exciting when you make something new.
My mom and I made this dish tonight. We used frozen spinach and found the “meatballs” to be a little bit dry but tasty. Perhaps we squeezed out too much moisture?
What would you recommend for the mix of dried herbs? We used a mix of oregano, parsley & Italian seasoning + a touch of nutmeg but would love to know your suggestions.
Overall, it was a tasty dish and we really enjoyed the addition of the shredded zucchini with the soy sauce + butter. We used Banza (chickpea pasta) and also added some chopped, cooked chanterelles (a delicious addition). Next time we will have to try adding back in a little bit of water if the balls look dry when we’re forming them.
Thank you for this thoughtful comment! I have not made it with frozen spinach, so I wonder if that is correct on the moisture question! I can check with the recipe author, Izy Hossack. The mix of dried herbs: I looked up a few recipes for herb de Provence and the main herbs are thyme, marjoram, rosemary, oregano and lavender — so your herbs sound great! Let me know if you try again with a little more moisture! In the meantime, I’ll check with Izy!
Hi there! An update from Izy — she says, “I would agree that the frozen spinach could be drier from the freezing process. Adding a little liquid back in would definitely help with that I’d say!”
Thanks for the update! Will have to try that next time and might mix up the herbs based on your suggestions. Also wanted to note that we got 15 balls from the mixture, this may also be due to using frozen spinach (it was a 10 oz package but I squeezed out a lot of water!)
Interesting! Thanks for sharing that: it sounds like frozen spinach changes the game a bit. We appreciate your feedback Sara! :)
hi there, can these spinach balls be frozen? just wondering..or how long do they keep in the fridge? small family here..thanks to Sara for feedback on using frozen spinach…
Good question! I would say that these would probably freeze well and then reheat in an oven. However, Alex and I ate almost all of them in one sitting – ha! We refrigerated the small amount of extras and they were great the next day.
I didn’t have feta cheese, so I went Italian. I used about 3/4 cup of leftover grated parmesan + mozzarella and 10 oz extra firm tofu. I processed these with the cooked spinach (I used fresh) in my food processor along with the egg, bread crumbs, some chives, a splash of garlic olive oil, and Penzey’s Italian sausage seasoning + Italian herb blend. My 5 and 8 year olds are eating them plain (bread on the side) and asked for seconds. As a fellow dietitian, I commend you on the recipe!