Baked Parmesan Kale Puffs

Modified from


The merit of “puff” as culinary terminology is debatable. The tender texture, fun factor and comforting flavors of these healthy bites is not.


  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 cup Finely Chopped Yellow Onion
  • 2 cups Finely Chopped Green Swiss Chard Or Spinach Leaves (not Packed)
  • 4 cups Finely Chopped Green Or Black Kale Leaves (not Packed)
  • ½ teaspoons Fine Sea Salt Granules
  • 4 whole Scallions (white And Light Green Parts), Minced
  • ½ cups Panko Dry Bread Crumbs
  • ½ cups Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese (plus An Extra 1 To 2 Tablespoons, For Baking)
  • ¼ teaspoons Grated Nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons Prepared Green Pesto (homemade Or Store Bought)
  • ¾ teaspoons Ground White Pepper
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 1 whole Lemon, Cut Into Wedges (optional, For Serving)


  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat, then add onions and cook until just softened but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add greens and half of the salt and continue to cook and stir until completely wilted, another 10 minutes, keeping heat low enough so onions do not brown. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in scallions, panko, Parmesan, nutmeg, and pesto. Taste mixture (before adding eggs) and season, starting with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and adjusting to taste (I used ¾ teaspoon pepper and the flavor was quite prominent, if you’re into lots of pepper). Stir in eggs, breaking up yolks and combining completely into a uniform mixture.
  3. Heat oven to 375 F (if baking immediately) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mixture into balls of 1½ tablespoons each and place on baking sheet. Sprinkle the top of each ball with a pinch of grated Parmesan.
  4. To bake immediately: Bake about 20 minutes in the upper third of the oven, until completely cooked through (no liquid egg inside) and browned on the bottom. When done, the puffs will spring back when squeezed lightly.
  5. To freeze: Place the un-baked tray of balls in the freezer, covered loosely with plastic wrap, until balls are frozen through, about 2 hours. Remove balls from sheet and store in a freezer bag or another airtight, freezer safe container. To bake, follow directions above. Thawing not necessary—just add 5 minutes to the cook time above (25 minutes total).


  1. Makes 20 puffs, about 4 to 6 appetizer servings.
  2. I think these would be a really fun brunch appetizer!
  3. In testing, I used Swiss chard and green kale (the fluffy, curly one). If substituting other varieties of greens, use something mild and tender in place of the chard or spinach, and something sturdy, and possibly slightly bitter, in place of the kale.
  4. Refrigerating the mixture (right in the pan; for 15 to 30 minutes) before forming balls helps it to firm up, making it even easier to handle. I tried it warm and refrigerated, without issues either way.
  5. If making for a strict vegetarian, make sure the pesto and Parmesan do not contain animal rennet. Varieties that work will likely be labeled “vegetarian”.