Kale + Tofu Balls with Pasta

January 27, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

a vegan take on pasta + meatballs. —Lan | MoreStomach

What You'll Need
  • 28 ounces extra firm tofu (2 containers), excess water squeezed out
  • 1.8 ounces carrot, minced
  • 3 ounces red onion, minced
  • 5.5 ounces baby kale, rough chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons panko flakes
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1 box of pasta of choice, i use linguine
  1. 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.
  2. get your mise en place in order: wash, skin and mince carrots. mince the onions and garlic. rough chop the baby kale.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. divvy up pasta in bowls and top with kale tofu balls. BAM!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Michelle Giroux
    Michelle Giroux
  • onnijatoivo
  • Lan | MoreStomach
    Lan | MoreStomach

5 Reviews

Michelle G. October 16, 2018
Do you think these could be asked instead of fried?
Michelle G. October 16, 2018
Do you think these could be baked I meant.
Lan |. October 23, 2018
sure. though frying it gives it that crust to keep it all together and formed.
onnijatoivo March 5, 2014
Hi, I would like to try out these kale+tofu balls, but how much tofu is needed? Thanks!
Lan |. March 5, 2014
hello! sorry about that, thanks for pointing out that i COMPLETELY FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE TOFU. i've since edited the recipe. you will need two containers of extra firm tofu (about 28 oz), excess water squeezed out.
please do let me know if you try this and how it turned out for you.