Tater tots where a common side dish growing up in America. Imagine it as the child equivalent of mush peas with fish and chips. I would normally have these in school with a side of ketchup for dipping. Classically, these are potato based and fried so that you have a crunchy outside and soft inside. Not like a chip mind you, as they are cylindrical and I suppose a bit like a hash brown. As you can imagine, not waist line friendly. Definitely not the worst offender in the world and can be had in their own right as an occasional treat. I got a random craving for them yesterday afternoon and I know from past experience, they aren’t easy to come by in the UK. It got me thinking if I could come up with a healthier version that I could make at home.
The first thing that came to mind was cauliflower. I swear I’m not obsessed with this vegetable, it’s simply a fantastic low carb substitute such as tortillas or a pizza base. I had a look at some basic homemade tot recipes and got to work on creating my own low calorie and low carb version. My take uses cauliflower, bread crumbs and cheese to create these skinny tots. Each serving, which is about 5 tots, comes in at only 67 calories! Tack on a few more if you’re using a dip, but to be honest I ate a few straight from the oven and they were divine. A batch will yield around 30 tots, depending on how big you make them. This recipe is quite time consuming and forming the tots can be a little tricky, but it is hands on fun and well worth the time spent.
Skinny Tater Tots – Serves 6
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 slice of wholemeal bread, torn into chunks
25g light mozzarella cheese, diced finely
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 red onion, minced
2 medium eggs
2 tbsp skim Milk
Preheat your oven to 180c and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower in the food processor and blitz until you have a rice-like consistency and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Place the wholemeal bread into the food processor and blitz until you have breadcrumbs and transfer to the mixing bowl. Place the kale into the food processor and blitz until the leaves are in small pieces and transfer to the mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir until well combined.
Using your hands, grab around a tablespoon size of the tot mixture and form a cylindrical shape. To do this, place the mixture in the palm of your hand and give it a good squeeze. Liquid should drip from out of your hand, don’t worry you haven’t added too much liquid, this should happen. Keep squeezing the mixture in the palm of your hand while using your index finger and thumb from your other hand to press each side. It is a little tricky to get the hang of this and it took me a little while to get it right. If the mixture starts to crumble in your hands when forming it, just give it another hard squeeze.
Place the tots in a row on the baking sheet, roughly about 2cm apart from each other. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, turning half way through. The tots are done when they are crispy and golden brown.
Plate these up as a snack with some dip or as a side to chicken and veg. You can even channel your inner child and have these with some beans and chicken nuggets (the healthier version, of course!). If you want to reheat these later on, just pop them back in the oven for a few minutes at 180c. These can also be frozen and thawed out in the fridge overnight. Let me know if you tried these and what you think!