These healthy bites are fit for an appetizer, a side dish, or an afternoon snack. The crunch of the walnuts and the aromatic taste of the lemon zest both add something special. I love to have these for brunch, especially if there are vegetarians coming.
makes 20–25 bite-size cakes
6 ounces drained and chopped cooked spinach (a 16 ounce bag of frozen spinach yields about 6 ounces once drained)
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons toasted and chopped walnut
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
zest of 1 lemon
8 tablespoons olive oil, divided (half for sautéing the onions and half for frying the cakes)
salt and pepper
For the Herb and Labneh Cream
1 cup labneh (or unsweetened Greek yogurt)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon of za’atar
salt and pepper
To make the herb and labneh cream, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Top with a sprinkle of fresh mint and za’atar. Set aside.
For the mini spinach cakes, you can used either frozen spinach (as I did) or fresh spinach. If you are using frozen spinach, let it thaw then put it in a cheesecloth or a colander and squeeze out any excess liquid. If you are using fresh spinach, just throw it into the skillet after the onions are done for a few seconds to cook. After it is wilted, let it cool a bit, and then squeeze out any excess liquid.
To make the spinach cakes, heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the chopped onions and garlic until the onions are soft and translucent. (If you are using fresh spinach, add to the skillet and cook now.) Transfer the onions and garlic to a bowl. Add the spinach and the remaining ingredients. Form little bite-sized patties. You should be able to make 20–25 mini cakes. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Fry the mini cakes in batches, flipping halfway so both sides are golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and serve with the herb and labneh cream.