If you just want to skip to the crispy, bite-sized goodness that are Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Tots, I feel you. Just click here.
These last couple of almost-winter weeks have been a dream, filled with kitty purring, Zeus walking, and GARTH BROOKS LIVE watching!!!! The house has been inundated with dog hair…so much hair. We’ve been sweeping and sweeping and vacuuming and sweeping.
And it’s endless. I guess that’s not a ‘dream’. But what’s a gal to do?
Eat tater tots (of course).
My freshman year of college, I remember how endless Sunday mornings felt. I wasn’t one of those college kids who partied all night and slept all day. I woke up. Bright. And. Early.
And when your roommate is sleeping and you’ve finished your morning run and no one is awake and you’ve shot 100 free throws – there’s not a lot to do. So I ate tater tots.
And guuurllll (or guy) – I could eat tater tots…and pretty much anything else you put in front of me. I was an eater. A good eater. A great eater. Thank goodness my parents were onboard. Because once when I ordered an appetizer, salad, entrée and then asked for my second burger with all the toppings and the waiter said, ‘You know that’s another entrée?’ – my mom nearly jumped out her chair and pummeled the pour gent.
But let’s not stray from the important points. The tater tot points. The crispy, bite-sized goodness points.
We used to call the cafeteria ‘Saga.’ Do the students at St. Mary’s still call it that? Or have I officially reached that ‘old woman’ status where I say things like ‘I remember when’ and a 20-something young college buck looks at me like I’m crazy?
Who knows. What I do know is that in my world, good Sundays were tater tot Sundays. Good Sundays were crispy bites of goodness dipped in ketchup and eaten with my fingers. And the best Sundays? Those were the Sundays when my friends woke up in time to share said tater tots.
Which brings me to the broccoli-cheddar goodness that is Broccoli Cheddar Tots. If you haven’t guessed already – these are the (guilt free??) tater tot heaven of my college days. They are the Sunday Football goodness.
So…with no further ado…
Spicy Broccoli Cheddar Tots
Makes Roughly 20 tots
Adapted from Gimme Delicious
Garrett and I (he’s a great taste tester) developed the following recipe after some tinkering and testing. No, sweet potatoes don’t make a good addition.
No, we don’t like a mix of panko and Italian breadcrumbs. Rather, we preferred all panko with some Italian seasoning to get the maximum in flavor and texture.
Yes, we definitely like these cooked on the crispy side. Yes, they freeze (though, they’re not quite as goods once frozen). Yes, I DEFINITELY recommend using a Cuisinart to turn the broccoli into ‘broccoli rice.’
Yes, they aren’t the most attractive appy you’ve ever seen. Yes, you can skip the spicy spices, if that’s not your thing.
And yes…OMG are these good. I once made these in St. Louis for my sister and brother-in-law (a less spicy version). We ate the whole pan and then practically didn’t have room for dinner!
2 cups broccoli, cut into small(ish) florets
1 large egg
½ medium yellow onion, diced
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 TBS Italian seasoning
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley
½ TBS pepper
1 TBS cayenne
1½ TBS chili powder
1 TBS garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Blanch broccoli in boiling water for 1 minute, quickly transferring to an ice water bath to quickly cool. Drain thoroughly.
Place blanched broccoli in a Cuisinart. Chop in quick pulses until broccoli resembles rice. (Error on the side of fewer pulses or else your broccoli rice can become broccoli mush.)
Combine broccoli rice and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until fully combined. Scoop a heaping TBS of the mixture into your hand and gently press into a firm ball and then shape into a tater tot (aka 1-inch log).
Evenly space tater tots on lined baking sheet. Bake for 24 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove from oven, transfer to a plate, and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce or no sauce at all!