It has come to my understanding spinach balls are retro. Who knew? However, our family clings on to this holiday appetizer, outdated or not. Sadly, the version we grew up with are not gluten free, so my life’s work (shoved into one afternoon last week) became to create Gluten Free Spinach Balls with Hot Sweet Mustard identically tasting to the ones my mom makes at Christmas.
Every Christmas Day spinach balls are ceremoniously laid out onto the snowman platter, and we all throw elbows to get to them. Mom only puts out 1.2 spinach balls per person, so we have to get all Hunger Games on them or we’ll miss out.
She’s got us covered, though, because upon noticing the empty snowman, she’ll nonchalantly say, “Oh, we need more spinach balls? I have more in the freezer I can bake.” I guess she likes to perform her own “Christmas miracle,” where devoured spinach balls are replinished.
I’m not exactly sure why she goes through this whole rigmarole instead of baking the whole cache at once. I assure you spinach balls are SOLELY reserved for Christmas Day appetizers in our family, so she isn’t trying to ration them for some other random holiday down the road. I can also attest they are always efficiently polished off and we pine for more. Maybe she just doesn’t want to cover up the snowman’s cute belly with a mass of green balls? Let’s go with that.
Through the years the spinach balls’ rationing has not changed, but my zeal for the Hot Sweet Mustard has. Growing up, my sisters and I would dare each other to place the smallest iota of mustard on our tongues while all the grown ups would go crazy scarfing it down. We’d dramatically take big gulps of water and claim how it was burning our nose hairs. Maybe you just have to be mature (*cough, old) to get it because now I like to have my spinach balls take a couple laps in the mustard before I pop them in my mouth. The Hot Sweet Mustard is as good as the spinach balls are themselves, so I definitely don’t recommend short changing yourself.
These Gluten Free Spinach Balls with How Sweet Mustard are the perfect make-ahead party appetizer. You can mix everything up, freeze the balls on a baking sheet, and then transfer them to a freezer bag until you’re ready to bake them. The mustard also can be made several days ahead and stored in airtight container in the fridge. I promise you, they will not sit around for very long, so make sure snatch up your quota fast.
- Spinach Balls:
- 2 -10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 1/2 cups about 5 oz. corn chex cereal, crushed
- 1 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 stick butter melted
- 4 eggs
- 4 green onions sliced
- 3/4 tsp. dried sage
- 1/2 tsp.onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Hot Sweet Mustard:
- 1/2 cup dry mustard such as Coleman's
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 egg yolks
- In a small bowl mix together dry mustard and vinegar. Let sit for at least 2 hours. This is crucial for developing the "heat" in the mustard.
After a couple hours combine mustard mixture, egg yolks, and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mustard is hot to touch, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool. If using later, store in airtight container in refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl and then combine with the rest of the ingredients until well mixed.
Roll into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes until golden and hot. If frozen, add about 10-15 minutes to time.
Spinach balls can be rolled into balls and frozen UNBAKED on cookie sheet. After they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag until ready to bake.