Broccoli Balls

Two children sit on a deck enjoying broccoli balls from a bowl.
This kid friendly recipe is from our dear friend Sara Forte of Sprouted Kitchen from the book Little Sprouts.

These are pretty flexible and you can make modifications based on any allergies. Can’t have eggs? Add in a small mashed sweet potato and double the panko. No gluten? Sub in some coarse ground oats, but you’ll need that cheese and egg to help bind them. No dairy? Add a drizzle of olive oil, and grind in a handful of walnuts when you pulse the broccoli, so they have some fat in there. They can take a bit of cooked quinoa or rice, if you’re looking to bulk them up too.

3crowns of broccoli (a generous 1 lb. of florets)
2cloves garlic
sea salt and pepper
1 cupgrated cheese (Mexican blend, white cheddar, fontina etc.)
1/2 cuppanko breadcrumbs
Closeup of broccoli heads showing the texture of the broccoli.

Cut the broccoli into large chunks, some stem is ok, and steam it for 2-3 minutes. It should start to turn bright green, but still have its crunch. Remove and let it cool completely.

Preheat the oven to 400’. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or rub a little olive or coconut oil.

Into a food processor, whiz up the garlic and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Add the cooled broccoli and pulse until it’s in rice-like pieces. Not pureed, but something small enough to roll into balls.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the broccoli bits, grated cheese, parmesan, and panko, and stir to combine. It should loosely stick together. Add a sprinkle of panko if they need more “glue”.

Broccoli balls rolled and placed on baking sheet liner with olive oil.

Roll balls with 2 Tbsp. of the mixture. Place them on the lined baking sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes in the upper third of the oven. They should still be slightly tender when you pull them out.

Like any reasonable mother would do, I give them to my kids with ketchup because it’s a novelty, but they really don’t need anything.

This recipe is an excerpt from Sara Forte’s e-book Little Sprouts which features a plethora of amazing recipes to get more produce into your little ones. You can learn more and purchase Little Sprouts HERE.

About the author:

Sara Forte has been experimenting and sharing vegetable-forward, practical recipes by way of her food blog, cookbooks, Instagram and meal planning subscription, Sprouted Kitchen Cooking Club for over a decade. Her recipes have been featured in Oprah, Sunset, Rachel Ray, Better Homes and Gardens amongst other publications. Her career the past few years has been dedicated to making dinner time more efficient and delicious, by providing weekly plans, grocery lists, swaps and shortcuts, which she provides in SK Cooking Club. She taught herself to cook by way of work experience, trial and error and reading cookbooks like novels.

Sara and her husband Hugh live in San Juan Capistrano with their kids Curran (7) and Cleo (5), and spend free time at the beach, searching for the perfect local tacos and being with friends.