Tater tots. It is the childhood favorite side that seems to be appearing everywhere lately. That even includes Think Tasty, as you’ll be seeing a new recipe that utilizes them in a recipe that will be shared in two weeks. But I digress. Tater tots may be a flavorful side dish, whether served simply with ketchup and chicken nuggets at your dining room tabled or drizzled with truffle aioli at a swanky bar. However, we do need to be honest; tater tots are not what I’d call a healthy side dish. Yummy- yes. Healthy- not quite.
While indulging in tater tots might be a fine treat, they shouldn’t be a regular menu item. (At least in my book.) So I considered whether there would be a healthy way to replicate the taste and texture of regular tater tots. The answer was cauliflower, the fine ingredient that also is popping up everywhere- replacing rice, substituting for meat, and now replacing shredded potato. Having cooked cauliflower in all these ways, I find it really is multi-purpose.
As goes with many alternative recipes, you shouldn’t try to pretend that these are real tater tots; the taste is different. If you eat your tater tots like I do (dipped in ketchup), the difference isn’t overwhelming. They don’t have an overly strong cauliflower flavor, but they do lack a small amount of the crunch.
We enjoyed these cauliflower tots as a side to accompany our fruit salad wraps. This gave a nice balance to the meal by adding a bit of saltiness. They also made this this one of the healthier sandwich and a side dinners I’ve seen in quite a while.
Side note: If you don’t own a food processor, although messy, you can get the correct texture for the cauliflower by grating it on the course side of a box grater.
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 egg whites
- 3 Tb. flour
- 2 Tb. panko
- ½ cup shredded cheddar
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Place cauliflower florets in food processor, and puree until the consistency of bread crumbs.
- Place ground cauliflower in microwave safe bowl, cover, and heat for 2 minutes
- Stir, re-cover, and return to microwave for another 2 minutes.
- Uncover and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then transfer to a double layer of paper towels.
- Gently squeeze to remove excess liquid.
- Return cauliflower to cooking bowl.
- Add egg whites, flour, panko, cheddar, and garlic powder, and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture, and form into an oval, tot shape; place on prepared tray.
- When all tots are formed, place tray in oven and bake for 12 minutes.
- Flip tots, and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on both sides
- Serve immediately with ketchup or preferred dipping sauce.