This recipe originally called for seasoned bread crumbs and it was through many trial and error experiments that I finally figured out how to make them deliciously gluten-free. I tried about every cracker on the market before deciding that Ener-G Onion Crackers work superbly in this recipe. If you use another cracker, these might not come out right. The plain Ener-G crackers don’t work as well as the crunchier Onion Crackers, though they run a close second to the onion flavored version. Gluten-free breadcrumbs – ready-made or home made don’t work well in this recipe either. At least at our house, none of those options made an excellent product in terms of both taste and texture.
Because the only store that carried the Onion Crackers here stopped, I have to order them from Amazon.com but with free shipping, it’s no bother at all. I serve the crackers (only the onion version) to gluten eaters often and they always comment about how great the crackers are. The only negative thing about them is that when you want to use them with spreads or cheese, they are too large. They really require breaking up or cutting into smaller pieces. I have found using a butter knife to cut the crackers into four parts works fairly well. It at least works better than randomly breaking them up with your hands.
I took these spinach balls to a Super Bowl party last year, where the guests raved about them, as always. One person there suggested I add bacon to them. The next batch I made included turkey bacon and the one after that had regular bacon in them. Bacon might not be good for us but it does make everything better! These days I rarely make these delicious spinach balls without bacon of some kind, but they are perfectly delicious without meat. We ate them that way for many years. Someone told me that this recipe can not be converted well to be dairy free due to the cheese and butter needed. Substitutions don’t seem to work well here.
Gluten-free Spinach Ball Recipe
- 2 packages of frozen chopped spinach
- 1 stick of butter, softened
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 small onion – finely chopped
- 2 cups Ener-G Onion Cracker crumbs (add ½ tsp. of Italian blend spices – we use Alchemy Spice brand)
- 1/2 tsp. of salt and pepper (use less if these are in your spice blend)
- 4 eggs
- *optional 1/2 cup of minced cooked bacon or turkey bacon
- Thaw and drain spinach.
- Mix all ingredients well and place mixture in freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove mixture from freezer and spray hands with non-stick cooking spray.
- Form tablespoon sized balls from chilled mixture.
- Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. *Can be frozen and baked later as needed.
- When baking from frozen, remove from freezer approximately 10 minutes before baking.
These are best when served warm. When baking them at someone else’s house, I line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. This trick also keeps the spinach balls from browning too much if an oven is not calibrated correctly. This recipe makes approximately 72 spinach balls and can easily be halved. Because these are such a wonderful appetizer any time of the year, I always make a big batch and freeze 8 or so in baggies to pull out as needed. Enjoy!
UPDATE: Thanks to the reader who notified me that the Ener-G Onion Crackers are on sale for 50% off on the Ener-G website. Sadly, they are being discontinued. I ordered enough for six months so at least I’ll have Spinach Balls for a while before I have to experiment with yet another gluten-free cracker.
Special thanks to Jamie for the bacon idea!