kale + tofu balls with pasta

kale + tofu balls with pasta

when i lived with my grandparents
school let out before they got off work
i went to an after school center
where i received tutoring for my homework
or i played with other kids in similar
on occasion this place would
take us on field trips
one such field trip was to the local
roller skating rink
i was not a klutzy child,
not more than the usual
i was quite coordinated at sports
but put round wheels on my shoes
and it was a mess
i fell on my ass more times
than i was standing
and no lie
the next day i could not poop

there is potential scientific
and/or medical proof
that falling on your rear from
roller skating impedes your
daily constitution
in fact
my dear friend Nuria
& i discussed it
something about bruising
and all that
so there is a correlation
between the poop and roller skating
plus, that’s what gpa told me
and i believed him

kale + tofu balls with pasta

i’m still a shitty
roller skater
and ever since
my colonoscopy a few
years ago
i’ve been very meticulous
about what i eat
there are always greens in the house
i always reach for the kale
or spinach
or beet greens
or collard greens
or mustard greens
anything verdant
when at the markets
because pooping is important

and that’s it for the TMI stuff

kale + tofu balls with pasta

kale + tofu balls with pasta
this is an updated version of my original recipe, with actual exact measurements!!

note: i have a soft spot for baby greens: spinach, kale, arugala/rocket. they’re more tender and honestly, cuter. any greens would be fine with this recipe, i’ve made it with dinosaur kale before and it turned out fine. also, i’ve made it with regular firm tofu and it was fine too.

makes about 22 golf-sized balls, with pasta serves 4-6

2 containers of extra firm tofu (28 oz), excess water squeezed out, i use nasoya
1 carrot (about 1.8 oz) minced
1/2 red onion (about 3 oz) minced
5.5 oz baby kale, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, divided & minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
2 TBL nutritional yeast
3 TBL panko flakes
8 TBL olive oil, divided
3 TBL parsley, minced
pasta of choice

first squeeze out as much water as you can from the tofu blocks. i normally wrap them in a clean kitchen towel and put a heavy bottom pot filled with cans to weigh it down on top. if i plan ahead i do it the night before, or i leave it on the counter while i do other kitchen duties.

get your mise en place in order: wash, skin and mince carrots. mince the onions and garlic. rough chop the baby kale.

heat 2 TBL olive oil in pan, medium high heat. add in the onions, garlic and carrots, saute for a few minutes until softened. i generally shoot for the onions to get translucent. season with salt & pepper. turn off heat and quickly add in the baby kale. the residual heat will wilt it down. set aside to cool.

in a mixing bowl, crumble the tofu. you’re aiming for pea-sized crumbles. add in the panko flakes, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes if using, and sauteed baby kale mixture. with your hands mix everything together. season again with salt & pepper. you’re going for texture here. depending on how much water was squeezed out of the tofu, you want to be able to form/mold balls. you may need to add more binding, like water, or add in more noosh or panko flakes to soak up excess moisture. just remember, you’re going to fry up these babies, too much water or too dry, and it will not work.

form your balls.

in the same pan, heat up 1 TBL of olive oil. carefully fry the balls up until golden on all sides. i was able to do this in two batches. keep the balls warm by putting on cookie sheet lined with a paper towel in the oven, set at warm.

meanwhile, cook up the pasta according to package instructions. i used linguine.

while the pasta is cooking, in the same pan you used to saute the vegs and fry up the balls, heat up the remaining olive oil, on medium low. you’re not aiming to get it scorching hot. add in the final minced clove of garlic and warm through. when pasta is cooked to liking, add it to the warmed garlic oil and toss to coat. add in the parsley.

divvy up pasta in bowls and top with kale tofu balls. BAM!

kale + tofu balls with pasta

30 thoughts on “kale + tofu balls with pasta

  1. This looks beautiful and sounds delicious. I don’t eat soy though. I’ve been wanting to make something similar with lentils and/or quinoa, so maybe this can guide me along the way 🙂

  2. This is a sad story indeed. I was a good roller-skater but ice skating just about killed me. Gracious I’m glad you survived those days on the rink!

    These “meat”balls are speaking to me, I am not even hungry for dinner yet but they look sooooo delish. I love the photos! Natural light?……

    1. thanks sophie! it is natural light. the window i use faces south and in the winter i typically aim for the 2pm – 4pm time frame, when the sun is setting and softest. for these pix, i may have waited too long and so the ISO had to be bumped up a smidge. winter timing is rough, i get so impatient and i want to hit a matinee so i shoot too early and the shots are too bright for my liking, or it’s too dark and i refuse to use artificial light. i was telling dw the other day that i am incapable of learning the proper tools and technique to be able to shoot in any kind of light. my B.I.L. is a photographer and i had him take shots of cake once and i was like, what time do you want to do this, what time is the best light here, and he was like, i can shoot in any light, let’s do this. and i was like, oh snap, i could learn from you but then you’d get all technical, my eyes would glaze over and then i wouldn’t learn anything. end of long story.

      1. Girl, I get it. My dad is a photographer too, well-versed in studio. He tries to teach me about strobes, shutterspeed and light readings. I am so clumsy with it. I don’t understand it. I did buy an artificial light because other than weekends, shooting in natural light in the winter is impossible (at work allllll during the daylight hours, probably you too). But I get so impatient with shooting on the weekends because all I want to do is hang out with Nathan during the only 45 hours a week we have together. So, its not my favorite, but I read a book that helped me with my artificial light a bit. Most everything I’ve posted lately was shot in the dark. Your toy kitchen shots were perfect! The highlights weren’t even blown out. Give yourself credit on that gorgeous ice cream shot, too, I loved. I don’t think the gallette was too dark. You have such a great style and mood to your photos though, I admire your work, it’s yours and it’s unique. We are all our own worst critics. For myself, I try to remember what Ira Glass says:
        “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you….. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

  3. Lol at “because pooping is important”. I’m lucky because I love greens, all greens, and I don’t even have to force myself or convince myself to like them. Give me a bowl of plain steamed greens and I will munch through them like popcorn. Kale + tofu balls though? Wow a winner! I’m sure anyone, green lover/hater, will love them. They look so cleansing and light and delicious! Good one!

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