Cauliflower Tots

cauliflower tots with dipping sauces

Pete Scherer 

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Yield: 36 tots
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
160 Calories
11g Fat
8g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 160
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 76mg 25%
Sodium 392mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 10g
Vitamin C 42mg 209%
Calcium 192mg 15%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 238mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

We love finger foods. Bite-sized, cute, and fun, finger foods are irresistible on multiple levels. They're fun to eat, fun to share, and at one time in your life they were probably fun to launch across the school cafeteria towards an unsuspecting noggin.

Cauliflower tots are a perfect finger food. They are super healthy because they're low in carbs and packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and a whole bunch of other minerals. Plus cauliflower is high in fiber, which helps us feel full - nature's defense against the just-one-more impulse we know all too well.

Cauliflower tots taste great, too. Now, we're not going to lie; they do taste like cauliflower. Claims that they taste "exactly like" tater tots are just not true. But cauliflower tots are plenty delicious in their own right. They are actually more savory, and also a bit lighter and softer in texture than tater tots.

A vegetable with amazing powers of transformation, cauliflower has recently come to the rescue to de-carb and keto-ize other high-glycemic index favorites like rice and pizza crust. When baking or frying are involved, however, cauliflower's higher water content makes it more challenging: how, exactly, can we get rid of all that extra moisture?

The solution here is easy: squeeze it! After ricing the cauliflower, you simply need to apply some pressure, pressing as much moisture as possible out of the cauliflower so the final tots are crispy and delicious without a potato or deep-fryer in sight.

As with traditional tater tots, these are tasty with ketchup. They're also good with a garlicky homemade aioli or a spicy mix of mayonnaise and Sriracha. Also, like their potato brethren, these don't get better sitting around, so be sure to serve immediately!

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 cup almond flour

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • Cooking spray

  • Ketchup, optional for serving

  • Aioli, optional for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

  3. With a box grater or a food processor, grate the cauliflower into pieces about the size of a grain of rice. Don't process it too finely to preserve a bit of texture.

  4. Squeeze the water out of the riced cauliflower. There are a couple of ways to do this. One common method is the fold up the cauliflower into a clean dish towel, then twist the dish towel to wring out as much water as you can. Another simple method is to transfer the cauliflower to a strainer or colander, put on a pair of disposable gloves, and squeeze or press the water out of the cauliflower using your hands. You could also put the cauliflower into a chinois strainer, cover the surface with plastic wrap and then press it with your hand or with a large ladel. Get as much water out as you possibly can. The more water you remove, the crispier the tots will get in the oven.

  5. Transfer the drained cauliflower to a large bowl and add the cheese, eggs, almond flour, seasonings, and olive oil. Stir to combine well.

  6. Spray a baking sheet with a thin layer of oil. Portion the mixture into tots. The gnocchi method works well. Take about 1/2 cup of mixture and place it on a work surface. Use a little more almond flour and spray oil if necessary to keep the cauliflower mix from sticking. Gently roll the ball into a rope. Cut the rope into tots and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly spray them with a little more oil. Repeat with remaining mix.

  7. Bake for the tots for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove from the oven. Allow the tots to cool for about 5 minutes, then serve.

Make Ahead

You can make the tots up to three days in advance and store them in a single layer in the refrigerator. You can freeze them in a single layer until solid, and then transfer the tots to a zip top freezer bag. You can place frozen tots straight into the oven, just add about five minutes to your baking time.

Make these tots even cheesier

You can make these tots even cheesier by adding an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded medium cheddar, or other firm, moderately aged cheese.