Recipe: Spinach & Sweet Potato Bombs
These yummy balls of goodness are inspired by the Austrian and central European knödel dish, which are essentially rounded potato or flour dough balls poached in water or stock and sometimes pan-fried . They are usually served as a side dish with meats and stews. I think I saw some knödel balls in a deli window in Vienna and they had some spinach through it and I thought that’s a great idea to sneak in some green vegetables in a dish.
I used sweet potato and spinach as a base and just a little bit of tapioca flour to help the mix bind together better as there is no egg in this recipe. The mixture will be thick, and although sticky, will roll into balls easily. I called them the bombs because when you bite through a slightly crispy outer layer, the cakes explode in your mouth and their warm, soft gooeyness spreads in your mouth. Perfect for active days when you need more carbohydrates than usual. Also, I’ve been told that kids really love them!
- 2 medium sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 1/2 cup wilted spinach (see instructions below)
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, diced
- 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2/3 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp tapioca (cassava) or arrowroot flour
- Oil for frying (you can use coconut oil, macadamia oil, ghee or even duck fat, which would be totally decadent)
- To get 1 1/2 cups of wilted spinach you can either use frozen spinach and place it in really hot water to thaw out and then squeeze as much water out with your hands so you’re left with soft, wet but not dripping spinach mass you can chop; or you can get 2 bunches of spinach and sauté them in a little water for about one minute until they are completely moist and shrunk in size (that’s what wilted looks like). Then cool down and squeeze the excess water out before chopping.
- Place cubed sweet potato in a saucepan of cold water and bring to boil. Cook for 10 minutes until soft when poked through with a knife.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté onion for 10 minutes on medium/low heat until translucent and golden brown. Add chopped spinach, garlic, lemon zest and thyme leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes. Drizzle with lemon juice.
- Strain the sweet potato completely and return to a bowl. Mash with a fork or a potato masher, it’s ok if it’s not completely smooth. Add spinach mix, salt, pepper and tapioca flour and mix well together.
- Heat a thin layer of fat or oil in a frying pan until sizzling hot and turn to medium heat. Wet your hands and roll equal amounts of potato and spinach mixture into small balls, a bit smaller than a golf ball. Gently place in a hot frying pan, leaving a little space in between balls. Fry for 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown crust forms, making sure to turn over gently using a fork and a spatula. I do 3-4 sides (top, bottom, left and right) so they’re evenly crispy. Add a little more fat or oil as needed. Serve with a little thyme and lemon wedges and your choice of meat or fish if you’re having these as a side dish.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Number of servings: 4