I don’t care if you tell your kids what’s in them or not, but you have to make these cheesy, crispy, so amazingly good Baked Cauli-Tots! I’m ready to start calling them Awesome-Tots! And now make sure you check out my pro tips for no-fail tots!
You guys!!! These may just be my best kitchen creation ever. They are seriously our favorite side dish! All three of us just devour these perfectly crispy, cheesy, dare-I-say potato-ey little nuggets.
OK, now I know it is seriously starting to look like all I do is disguise cauliflower. Mashed potato alternative? Fried rice filler? “Wings”? Now TOTS?!?! Believe it or not, we actually like cauliflower. I’ll roast it with some salt and pepper, or maybe a little parmesan, cheddar, or blue cheese and we eat it up. Even The Bug. Nevermind that… even The Hubby. The man who must have meat. But cauliflower just works so well as a alternative to heavier, carb-ier things, plus it’s semi-neutral flavor really takes on whatever you want to season it with.
So I’m gonna keep doing it, and you’re gonna get more cauli-faker recipes. #sorrynotsorry
Anyways, Cauli-Tots. This was inspired by the Zucchini Tater Tots I made, but while those are super-dee-licious, the addition of zucchini does affect the potato-ey texture. So I tried shredding cauliflower. Lo and behold, it worked! Even The Hubby says that you could fool someone with these babies. The mixture of the shredded cauliflower with some cornmeal gives it the perfect tot texture. They are baked, not fried, which keeps them lighter, and allows the edges to crisp up and get the cheese a little toasty.
And now for a few pro tips, since I’ve made these eleventy billion times now:
- Spray your muffin tin really well. To be honest, I have one tin where they never ever stick, and one where they stick frequently. One thing you can do is let them cool before you slide a butter knife around to pop the out on the pan, then reheat them on a cookie sheet. In fact, I like them better that way.
- Yes, you are reading the recipe correctly – you do NOT cook the cauliflower before shredding it. Trust me on this one.
- If you don’t want to use cornmeal, you can use bread crumbs or ground oats. For a low carb option, I think almond meal would work, but have not tried it myself.
- Squeeze out as much liquid as you possible can and really pack the mixture into the muffin tins. This will ensure nice, crispy tots.
- They also freeze well. I often make a double batch and toss some in the freezer. As I said, reheating them makes them a little extra crispy, which we actually prefer.
- Make the Homemade Ketchup. Seriously!
What is your family’s favorite side dish?
- 3 c (about half of a head) shredded cauliflower (see Note)
- 4 oz. (about 1 c) shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I used Cabot 50% Light Sharp Cheddar)
- 1 egg
- ¼ c cornmeal
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- a few grinds black pepper
- ½ tsp ground mustard
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil or coking spray.
- Place the shredded cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, and mix together thoroughly. I like to use a fork.
- Using a spoon or scoop, divide the mixture between the muffin cups and press down firmly into the cups.
- Bake at 400°F for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Want some more fries and tots? You got it!