Living, breathing proof that broccoli recipes don’t have to be boring…. These Baked Broccoli Cheese Balls are an outrageously delicious meat-free meal or fabulous bites to serve at a gathering. Make these with fresh or frozen broccoli, and watch as even the pickiest of eaters scoff them down!
“Freeze! Cut! Don’t move!”
“Faster, faster, faster!”
“Dozer, move! MOVE!”
“Chop chop chop, come on, let’s get this scene done!”
“Dozer. I said MOVE!”
One day, I need to use the sound that’s recorded on the footage that I shoot for the recipe videos. When I watch the clips, I’m always in hysterics when I listen to the ridiculous conversation: me batting Dozer away, listening to my mother getting all stressed out when I crack the whip to chop faster, her mocking my Baby Hands and throwing her weight around as the “talent” in my videos. And sometimes, I deliberately shout out “FREEZE!” when my mother is in a particularly awkward position – like half squatting, mid ball forming – just for my own amusement. Ba ha ha, I’m SO MEAN!
Such is life when you’re an amateur videographer, working out of your home with a make-do-with-what-you-have video set up, on a $6 Bunnings DIY fake marble shooting surface, with your mother as your hand model and a dog who…..well, a dog who contributes nothing except gets in the way. We create our own amusement!
Now – let’s talk Broccoli Balls!
Today is Monday Meatball Mania, yet another “thing” I do to create my own amusement. My friend Jo from Jo Cooks and I agreed to each share a meatball recipe on the last Monday of every month. And that’s just about the only rule there is.
Except….that it needs to be a meatball recipe… and these Baked Broccoli Cheese Balls are completely devoid of any form of meat. Hmm…..I wonder if Jo will declare this to be a foul? 😉 We shall see!
These babies certainly don’t taste healthy – but they are. You’ll be surprised how much broccoli you use – an entire very large head – and they are baked, not fried. They come out beautifully golden, they stay pretty round, and they’re really juicy and moist inside.
I haven’t served these Baked Broccoli Cheese Balls at a gathering yet but I definitely plan to in the near future because they reheat well and I think they’ll be a total crowed pleaser. And they’re fabulous as a meal too. In the photo below, I served this with a lemon pilaf and a quick sautéed kale side (recipe in the notes!). – Nagi x
MORE FABULOUS BROCCOLI RECIPES
If you love broccoli as much as me, have a browse of all my broccoli recipes! -> Broccoli Recipes
You'll be surprised how much broccoli is crammed into these! They certainly don't taste healthy - but they are. They are juicy and moist inside, golden on the outside, they stay pretty round after baking, and are gorgeous to serve as a vegetarian main or as bites! Serves 3 - 4 as a main. Recipe video below and Gluten Free option in notes.
- 2 cups (packed) roughly chopped soft cooked broccoli (well drained) (~400g/13 oz raw broccoli) (Note 1)
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Colby or Tasty cheese are my usual)
- 2 shallots / scallions , finely sliced
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- ¼ tsp salt
- Black pepper
- Olive oil spray
- 2/3 cup plain yoghurt
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ½ garlic clove , minced
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (adjust to taste, depends on fat % of yoghurt used)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 200C/390F (all oven types).
Line tray with baking / parchment paper. (Note 2)
Place all ingredients (except oil spray) in a bowl. Mix well to combine, mashing up the broccoli as you go (like when you are cooking mince).
Scoop up a heaped tablespoon, then press in firmly. Flick out into your hand then form into a ball. Place on tray. Repeat with remaining mixture - should make 15 - 18 balls.
Spray with oil then bake for 25 minutes, or until the surface is slightly crisp and golden.
Serve with Lemon Yoghurt Sauce – it also goes great with ketchup!
Sauce: Mix ingredients together then set aside for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
1. This can be made with fresh or frozen broccoli. If using fresh, you'll need 1 giant head or 2 medium heads. Ensure the broccoli is cooked until soft so it is easier to “mash” and mould into meatball shapes.
Chopping and cooking fresh broccoli: Cut the florets off the broccoli then break up into medium pieces. Cut the thinner stem into about 2.5cm / 1 inch pieces. If you want to use the thick main stem, peel the outer skin (which is tough) then cut into 2.5 cm / 1” x 1cm / 2/5” batons. Boil water in a large saucepan (or do this step in a steamer). Plonk the stems in first, cook for 2 minutes. Then add the florets and cook for 3 minutes, or until soft. Drain well.
2. Storing: Cool then place in an airtight container. For a quick reheat, use the microwave, or otherwise reheat in the oven. These also freeze well once cooked, thaw then reheat at 180C/350F for about 5 minutes. Can be made ahead, form balls, then refrigerate (not freeze), then bake later.
3. Pictured in the photo in post with: Lemon Rice Pilaf and quick sautéed kale (tear off a few handfuls of kale, rip leaves off the tough centre stem, tear into bite size pieces. Saute in a bit of oil with a handful of pre shredded carrots (I always have Just Veg from Woolies on hand), season with S&P and finish with a sprinkle of crushed almonds.
4. GLUTEN FREE OPTION: Sub breadcrumbs with 3/4 cup almond meal.
5. Nutrition is for 1/3 of the recipe which is a meal size serving (for an adult). Gluten free option: increases to 387 calories, carbs decreases to 17g.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
Baked Broccoli Cheese Balls recipe video!
LIFE OF DOZER
If it isn’t bad enough that he can’t even go for walks until the cut on his paw heals a bit, now I’m making him wear a sock…..!!!
PS Before you mock me (and him), it is VERY practical rather than re-bandaging every day because it gets so filthy. I mean, I have four of these socks. So I only have to wash them every 4 days! 😉
PS Reminder: let’s not feel too sorry for him. He lives a darn good life.