Bite-sized and delicious, these Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Tots are great for a snack or a low-carb side dish!
When a food idea takes off on Pinterest, it can quickly spread around the web, and I know that's where I first saw the idea of finely chopped cauliflower made into cauliflower "Tater-Tots." The original deep-fried Tater-Tots are one of those foods from childhood that I kept liking way into adulthood, and I love the idea of a healthier version made from cauliflower, so the minute I saw this I knew I'd be trying it. I saw ideas for califlower tots that looked tasty from several other bloggers, but every recipe I found had an ingredient I didn't want to use (like breadcrumbs, cornmeal, heavy cream, or butter) so I started experimenting to come up with my own version.
It took me four tries to make what I thought was a perfect recipe for Cheesy Baked Cauiflower Tots, with just enough cheesy taste but still a little caulflower flavor and slightly crisp from the oven. Along the way I had to buy a Mini Muffin Pan, and using a One Tablespoon Cookie Scoop helped me get them all the right size. Cooking the cauliflower before we chopped it in the food processor also gave a better result, and we drained the chopped cauliflower to keep the tots as crisp as we could get them.
My nephew Jake was cooking with me when I made the final keeper version of these, and although he's definitely not a cauliflower fan, Jake kept nibbling on them until he had eaten pretty much the entire batch. And the whole time he kept commenting on how good they were, so even if your family is a little suspicious of cauliflower, you might get them to like the cauliflower tots, and they're perfect for a healthy Meatless Monday dish! (For more meatless recipes, click on the label Meatless Monday or browse Vegetarian Recipes in the recipe index. If you'd like to see some Meatless Monday ideas from other bloggers, follow our Meatless Monday board on Pinterest or check out my weekly post for Meatless Monday at BlogHer.)
Put cauliflower in a bowl, cover the bowl with cling-wrap, and microwave on high for about 2 minutes. (If there's any water in the bottom of the bowl, drain the cauliflower before you put it into the food processor.)
Process the cauliflower with the steel blade in the food processor until it's finely chopped (but be careful not to over process so it's starting to get pureed.) It should still be slightly chunkly. Drain it again if you see any water in the bottom.
Stir in the reduced-fat sharp cheddar, coarsely grated Parmesan, almond flour, Vege-Sal, Spike Seasoning, and black pepper and mix until it's well-combined.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C. Spray a Mini Muffin Pan with non-stick spray and use a One Tablespoon Cookie Scoop to scoop out rounded scoops of the mixture and put in the muffin pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
Here's how they looked after the second 15 minutes of baking. Serve hot. Jake and I ate them all, but I doubt these would reheat that well, and they were definitely best right out of the oven.
(Makes 24 small Cauliflower Tots; recipe developed by Kalyn with inspiration from several other bloggers who also made Cauliflower Tots.)
1/2 large head caulflower, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup reduced-fat sharp cheddar
1/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
2 T almond flour
1/2 tsp. Vege-Sal (or a slightly smaller amount of salt)
1/2 tsp. Spike Seasoning (Probably optional, but it does add flavor. You can substitute another all-purpose seasoning blend that tastes good with cauliflower)
fresh-ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Spray a Mini Muffin Pan with non-stick spray.
Cut away the leaves of the cauliflower, but use most of the inner core part. Coarsely chop the cauliflower, place in a micro-wave proof bowl, cover with cling wrap, and microwave 2 minutes on high. (Microwaves can vary so you may need to experiment with the time, but the cauliflower should be just slightly soft.) Quickly take off the cling-wrap and let the steam escape, and if you see any water in the bottom of the bowl, put the cauliflower into a colander and let the water drain off.
Put the steel blade in the food processor, add the cauliflower, and pulse until the cauliflower is finely chopped but still slightly chunky. (Be careful not to over process so you don't end up with cauliflower puree!) If there is any water in the food processor bowl, drain the cauliflower again in the colander.
Put finely chopped cauliflower into a bowl and add the reduced-fat sharp cheddar, coarsely grated Parmesan, almond flour, Vege-Sal or salt, Spike Seasoning (if using), and fresh-ground black pepper. Stir until ingredients are well-combined. Add the egg and stir until the ingredients are mostly coated with egg. (You might be tempted to add another egg, but don't. You'll be surprised how well this sticks together.)
Use a One Tablespoon Cookie Scoop or a steel one-tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out rounded spoonfuls of the mixture and place it in the mini muffin pan. Bake 15 minutes. Carefully turn each cauliflower tot over in the muffin tin and bake 15 minutes more, or until tots are nicely browned on both sides. Serve hot; these are best served right out of the oven.
South Beach Suggestions:
Cauliflower is a great low-glycemic food for the South Beach Diet, and with the use of reduced-fat cheese these Cauliflower Tots would be a perfect snack or side dish for any phase of the diet.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Cheesy Ideas with Cauliflower You Might Like:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Cauliflower-Crust Vegetarian Pizza with Mushrooms and Olives ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Caulflower Tots ~ Skinnytaste
Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan
Baked Cauli-Tots ~ Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Cauliflower Gratin with Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Cheesy Cauliflower Tater Tots ~ I Breathe I'm Hungry
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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