These kale tofu balls are a nice change-up from the usual veggie balls. They're light in color and flavor but are a filling addition to pasta. Nutritional yeast and panko flakes give them a unique texture and subtle cheesy tones.

Kale Tofu Balls [Vegan]



  • 2 14-ounce packages extra-firm tofu, pressed
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 5 1/2 ounces baby kale, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, divided and minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 3 tablespoons panko flakes
  • 8 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons parsley, minced
  • Pasta of choice


  1. First, press the tofu if you haven't already.
  2. Wash, skin, and mince the carrots. Mince the onions and garlic and roughly chop the baby kale.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add in the onions, garlic, and carrots, sauté for a few minutes until softened and translucent. Season with salt and 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, aiming for pea-sized crumbles. Add in the panko flakes, nutritional yeast, red pepper flakes if using, and sautéed baby kale mixture. With your hands, mix everything together. Season again with salt and pepper. 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 nutritional yeast or panko flakes to soak up excess moisture, form balls.
  5. In the same pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Carefully fry the balls until golden on all sides. Keep the balls warm by putting them on a cookie sheet lined with a paper towel in the oven, set at warm.
  6. Meanwhile, cook up the pasta according to package instructions.
  7. While the pasta is cooking, in the same pan you used to sautée the vegetables 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 and add in the parsley.
  8. Divvy up pasta in bowls and top with kale tofu balls to serve.