Recipe: Spinach Matzo Balls

The decision to stop eating “meat” was an easy one for me.  At the time, it had very little to do with ethics and was almost entirely driven by health. I gave up eating red meat first, but that didn’t last long and soon I was eating veggie burgers while the rest of my family continued in their carnivorous ways.

I knew that there would be things that I’d miss.  My mom’s fantastic brisket with ladles of gravy and a side of braised carrots or the whole roasted chicken we’d have virtually every Friday night.

And I did miss these for a period.  That feeling, however, faded when I became a more adventurous pescatarian and learned the simple pleasures, and enormous flavors, that came from vegetables or tofu or a fillet of salmon.

Despite this, some of my cravings still linger.  But it’s not what you think.  I’m not itching for a big steak or a hunk o’ hamburger.  What I miss the most are the dishes that contain meat, but are masked by vegetarian-friendly ingredients  Try finding a bowl of matzo ball soup that doesn’t have chicken stock in it and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

So, I decided if there was ever a chance that I’d get to eat it again, I’d have to make it myself.

Matzo ball soup is a staple in our house this time of year.  The dumplings are filling and flavorful and can be made in under an hour.  A cup of matzo meal, a pinch of salt and pepper, a couple of eggs…. there isn’t much that goes into the preparation.

But the result is the ultimate in comfort food.  Each week, I prepare a batch and we consume it over a few days, Eric bringing it to work, then having a bowl in the evening.  For those who grew up with matzo balls, it’s one of those things that’s hard to get bored by.

That being said, it is a lot of fun to play around with their flavor.  I’ve used curry powder, sriacha sauce, and tomato paste in others.  But the simplest, lightest, and most aesthetically interesting, in my opinion, are ones made with spinach.

Spinach Matzo Balls

Makes approx. 10 matzo balls


1/2 cup matzo meal

2 eggs

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

2 tablespoon seltzer

3/4 cup fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried


In a bowl, add all of the ingredients, with the exception of the spinach.  Mix everything together and set aside.

Run the spinach leaves through a food processor until finely chopped.  Add to matzo ball mixture and stir until full incorporated.

Place the bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a large pot with 1 1/2 quarts of salted water and bring to a boil.

When it has come to a rolling boil, spoon a tablespoon of the matzo ball mixture into your hands and roll into a ball.  Gently drop it into the water.  Repeat with the rest of the mixture.

Cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.

At this point, heat up your veggie or chicken broth (either homemade or store bought), add some chopped carrots and celery if you’d like.

Ladle some soup into a bowl and add two matzo balls.  Top with fresh dill or parsley.

  • December 17, 2010 - 6:25 am

    Monet - Hello my dear friend! What a wonderful post about your decision to forsake meat…and all of the yummy food you have discovered/created to fill its absence. This soup looks like such a wonderful and inventive twist on the classic. I want to make some right now! Thank you for sharing your talent with us. Job well done, again and again!ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 11:30 am

    Jackie - I made matzo balls once when I was in my first year of University. My Halls of Residence at Uni were 95% Jewish and I became an "Honorary Jew" that year. I went home and made an entire Passover dinner for my family and made matzo ball soup from scratch (chicken, of course). The matzo balls were, however, far from light and airy: they were like little lumps of coal in an otherwise flavourful broth. Not the greatest success in the world, then.

    These look delicious and that green! Wow. Beautiful. I love it. I guess I'll have to foray into the world of matzo once more to have a go at these, especially now that the snow's starting to come back to London…

    Jax x

    PS: Balls. Hee hee.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 11:43 am

    Joanne - Even though I am not and never have been Jewish (not for long if my current stint on JDate has anything to do with it!), I absolutely adore matzo ball soup. Those big pillows of matzo balls that have sucked up all of that liquid…moan love it. Your veg version makes me crazy happy. The only time I would ever NOT be completely grossed out by green balls.

    Oh and yes. I had to go there. You understand. 😛ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 1:03 pm

    Cake Duchess - Oh I love matzo ball soup and yours looks perfect, my dear. I have to try your spinach recipe. My kids love when I make them. Delicious soup for these cold days.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    Fun and Fearless in Beantown - I love the vibrant color of the spinach matzo balls! I am making a 30 by 30 list (30 things to make before I turn 30) and one of the items I added was to cook a full vegan dinner for one of my vegan friends. I think it will be an interesting challenge!ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 2:05 pm

    Belinda @zomppa - Great that you thought so thoughtfully about meat. These spinach balls look delicious!!ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 3:13 pm

    Elizabeth - I cannot tell you how many times I have been served a bowl of traditional matzo ball soup by someone who very well knows I do not eat meat and they do not put the connection together that that mean I won't eat matzo balls in chicken broth. I LOVE the color of your balls (hehe). But seriously, they're beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 4:50 pm

    Dom at Belleau Kitchen - small stroke of genius my friend!ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 5:10 pm

    RJ Flamingo - Wow, Brian! I'd never get the rest of my family to eat this, but my husband would probably scarf it right down. So would I, for that matter. :-)ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 6:25 pm

    Megan - I'm new to the whole matzo ball scene (have only been eating them since I've been with my fiance, who's Jewish, for the past three years), so I've never come across spinach ones. I think they sound so good and so interesting!ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 6:51 pm

    FOODalogue - These look a lot more appealing than the traditional ones so kudos to you. Having never made them I didn't know seltzer was an ingredient. Does that make them lighter?ReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 6:57 pm

    Shulie - A play on Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham?! :) That is what came to first to mind!! Love love, ShulieReplyCancel

  • December 17, 2010 - 8:52 pm

    Jason Phelps - Love the last picture. Can't say I have ever had these in any form. Something new to try when I get there…


  • December 17, 2010 - 9:31 pm

    Jackie Gordon Singing Chef - YO Brian, NICE LOOKING BALLS!!! So light and airy, yet firm…and tasty…looking.

    OK now I see how mine were different, besides my making them with schmaltz. I will try NOT to create leaden ones next time by using your formation trick and the seltzer.

    Plus, I'll use Claudia Roden's separating of the eggs and beating the whites as well because I'm scared and I don't want my Jewish ancestors rolling in their graves!ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2010 - 1:36 pm

    bunkycooks - I love a good matzo bowl soup. but I have only had the more traditional one with chicken. I imagine the spinach makes a very flavorful addition for your vegetarian version.ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2010 - 3:09 pm

    The Small Boston Kitchen - The pictures are breathtaking. And I never thought I'd describe pictures of matzo ball soup that way! Well done, my friend. Well done.ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2010 - 4:53 pm

    Chomp Chow Chew - Wow, your pictures are beautiful!!ReplyCancel

  • December 18, 2010 - 6:12 pm

    MyMansBelly - Those are some mighty big green balls sir. 😉

    I feel your pain. While I eat meat now, I was a vegetarian for about 7 years. It is really tough to find some of your favorite foods w/o animal products in them.

    This looks like you knocked it out of the park with a delicious rendition that stays true to the original while meeting your vegetarian needs.ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 5:01 am

    Catherine - Yum!ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 9:54 am

    Hester aka The Chefdoc - These look wonderful, Brian. I've never had matzo ball soup, actually… so, I think recipe up there will be a good place to start :-)ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 10:21 am - YUM! Never had them with spinach before but they look amazing…I love them, they taste like fluffy clouds :))ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 12:13 pm

    David Bez - yum!ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 12:48 pm

    Chef Dennis - Hi Brian
    congratulation on your top 9 today! and my friend I have no doubts you will continue to find great ways to eat meat free dishes, your creativeness knows no bounds! Your spinach matzo look delicious, and your soup so fresh….I can only imagine what a wonderful meal it made!!

  • December 19, 2010 - 1:42 pm

    Kudos Kitchen - Lovely!ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 1:51 pm

    Table Talk - I love a bowl of comforting matzo ball soup on a cold winter's day. Spinach is a fine addition! Look how colorful, and I know it will add an extra bit of flavor. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 2:03 pm

    Andrew Frishman - Mmnn. . . I LOVES me some spinach, especially when it's ballin'

    Espinacas vs Kale. . . Es uno de ellos un súper alimento?. . . Si uno de ellos gana una victoria decisiva, o pueden coexistir en paz?ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 3:42 pm

    shannon - Wow, Spinach Matzo Balls! Very nice and looks delicious…I have saved this recipe! Congrats on food buzz top 9!!!ReplyCancel

  • December 19, 2010 - 11:06 pm

    Linn @ Swedish Home Cooking - Nice to put some spinach in the matzo balls. It makes them very pretty and I guess they taste great too.ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2010 - 1:30 am

    Victoria - I love matzo balls, but have never had any that were flavored differently. I love the idea of incorporating spinach. Makes it a touch more special :)ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2010 - 8:55 pm

    Anna Johnston - Now that is very inventive Brian, love it. Matzo balls are incredibly yummy. Well done.ReplyCancel

  • December 20, 2010 - 9:16 pm

    Ellen (La Pure Mama) - I have never had matzo balls before but this looks so good! I love the addition of spinach… what a nutritional boost! Great job… very inspirational :)ReplyCancel

  • December 21, 2010 - 2:28 pm

    farida - I love spinach and other vegetables for healthy foods. Thanks for sharingReplyCancel

  • December 23, 2010 - 4:48 am

    Kitchen M - This looks a lot prettier than traditional matzo ball soup! I'm not a vegetarian but I'd totally love this kind of dish!ReplyCancel

  • December 24, 2010 - 4:51 pm

    danasfoodforthought - I'm pretty much a traditionalist when it comes to matzoh ball soup, but this sounds like a variation I can get on board with!ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2013 - 5:23 pm

    Dos and Don’ts When Hosting a Passover Seder | Master Cleanse A.K.A. Lemonade Diet - […] minced fresh herbs, such as parsley or basil, to my matzo ball mixture. Additionally, a bit of pureed spinach or carrots can be folded […]ReplyCancel

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