Cheesy Baked Cauli Tots Recipe
Cauliflower Tots are cheesy and crispy and totally kid-approved. This recipe for cauliflower tater tots is going to become your family’s new favorite vegetable side dish, even without the “taters”! They don’t even have to know that cauli tots are a veggie-packed and gluten free recipe.
Originally published on Oct 1, 2013
These may just be one of my best healthy recipes ever. Cauliflower tots are seriously our favorite side dish! All three of us just devour these perfectly crispy, cheesy, dare-I-say potato-ey little nuggets, even without taters in these tots.
What are cauliflower tots?
These tasty little finger food bites are the veggie alternative to tater tots made with shredded cauliflower instead of shredded potato. This recipe was inspired by Zucchini Tater Tots. While those are delicious, 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.
What do you need to make cauli tots?
- Cauliflower – yes, you start with raw cauliflower that you shred.
- Cheddar cheese
- Cornmeal (as noted, ground oats, bread crumbs, and almond meal are possible alternatives)
- Dry mustard
- Salt and pepper
- Food processor with shredding blade – while not necessary, it does make quick work of shredding the cauliflower and cheese. I use the one linked here form Hamilton Beach.
- Old kitchen towel for squeezing the liquid from the cauliflower
- 24-cup mini muffin tin
- Small cookie scoop – again, not entirely necessary, but it makes it faster and easier to fill the muffin tin
How to make cauliflower tots?
- Shred your cauliflower
- Squeeze out as much liquid as possible using a thin kitchen towel. When you think you are done, squeeze some more (see the video).
- Mix with cheddar cheese, egg, cornmeal, and seasonings.
- Fill mini muffin tin and press the mixture down firmly so it binds together well.
- Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, or more if needed to get them golden and crispy.
Since cauliflower is quite neutral, it can really take on the flavor of whatever you season it with. Here are some ideas to take you beyond this classic recipe for cauliflower tater tots:
- Buffalo Cauli Tots add the spice your favorite wings, and are delicious dunked in Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dip.
- Mexican Pepper Jack Cauliflower Tots are like taco tots and go perfectly with salsa or guacamole.
- Parmesan Mozzarella Cauli-Tots are also known as Pizza Tots that you can dip in marinara sauce or Balsamic Ketchup.
- Old Bay Cauli-Tots bring that classic Chesapeake Bay spice to your little cauliflower bites.
- Bacon Cheddar Cauliflower Tots prove bacon makes everything better.
- Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole has the crispy, cheesy flavor and texture, but it’s perfect for those days when you can’t be bothered with mini muffin tins!
How many carbs are in cauliflower tots?
While they have a lot fewer carbs than tater tots, because these cauli tots are made with cornmeal, they do still have 13 grams of carbohydrates in six tots. Almond flour can be used in place of the cornmeal to lower the carb count, but the tots do not hold together as well. They still taste delicious, though.
Are cauliflower tater tots gluten free?
Yes, this recipe for cauliflower bites is gluten free. The tots are bound together with cornmeal. You can use certified gluten free oats or gluten free bread crumbs, too.
If you use cornmeal, be sure to read the package. Some cornmeal is processed on shared equipment with wheat. If you are sensitive to cross-contamination, this will be an issue. Lately, I’ve been buying Arrowhead Mills Cornmeal.
BRIANNE’S CAULIFLOWER TOT RECIPE PRO TIPS:
- Spray your muffin tin really well. I don’t love using tons of nonstick cooking spray, but in this case, it will ensure you can get your tots out of the muffin tin.
- Let them cool before you slide a butter knife around to pop them 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, almond meal gives that same texture, but the tots are a bit softer and don’t bind together as well. They are still tasty though.
- Squeeze out as much liquid as you possibly can and really pack the mixture into the muffin tins. This will ensure nice, crispy tots.
- Be sure to bake them till they are golden and crispy, then let them cool slightly before running a knife around the edge to pop them out.
- 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.
What to dip your tots in?
- I’m partial to Homemade Ketchup. Seriously!
- However, if you are a Ranch fan, try Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.
- Or you could even go with Healthy Honey Mustard.
- Fry Sauce would be pretty awesome too!
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What are more veggie-packed muffin tin recipes?
- Cheesy Quinoa Bites with Veggies
- Broccoli Ham Cheese Egg Muffin Cups
- Carrot Zucchini Muffins or Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini Muffins
- BBQ Meatball Cheesy Sweet Potato Tots
Want more cauliflower side dishes?
- Brown Butter Cauliflower Rice
- Whipped Cauliflower Gratin
- Cheesy Mashed Cauliflower Bake with Bacon
- Horseradish Cheddar Whipped Cauliflower Casserole
- Balsamic Glazed Cauliflower Bites
- Mashed Cauliflower with Bacon and Brussels Sprouts
- Or keep it simple when you see how to make perfect roasted cauliflower.
Easy Recipe for Cauliflower Tater Tots
This healthy side dish is made with cauliflower instead of potatoes, and they’re baked instead of fried! I don’t care if you tell your kids what’s in them or not, but you have to make these cheesy, crispy cauli-tots. They are so amazingly good I’m ready to start calling them Awesome-Tots!
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil or cooking 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 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool slightly before running a knife around the edge to pop the tots out of the muffin tin.