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broccoli tots

We are so lucky to be living in a time when you can take an old-fashioned recipe, update it with healthier ingredients, and make it just as good or better than the original. While tater tots are a popular classic, they are usually fried and not the most nutritious snack in the world. So when we were looking online for tasty alternatives and stumbled upon this crowd-pleaser, it wasn’t long before we were buying the simple ingredients and trying it for ourselves. Made with fresh tender broccoli and seasoned with a hint of lemon and chives, these crispy tots have pockets of melted cheddar cheese in every bite. They are incredibly addictive, but since they are good for you and high in vitamins, you can have as many as you like!

This hearty appetizer that we adapted from gimmedelicious has a full, sharp flavor and an irresistibly creamy inside. The cheddar is blended with finely chopped broccoli, mixed with garlic, lemon, fresh minced chives, and tossed with breadcrumbs, giving these small crunchy bites so much flavor that you can truly enjoy them without any sauce. Or, you can get creative and try them with your favorite dips. They go well with simple condiments like ketchup and mustard, as well as spicy combinations like Sriracha ranch. Whatever way you choose, when these toasted broccoli bites come out of the oven, golden and crispy with hot melted cheese, you will soon find out that they are delicious either way.

A food processor makes it quick to chop the broccoli, but even if you don’t have one, you can easily do it by hand. Everything gets mixed in one big bowl, so it comes together fairly quickly. And the best part is making the tots! If you have any young helpers in the kitchen, they will love getting their hands dirty with you. This is easy to prepare, and a fun way to eat your vegetables. As a side dish, they bring a splash of color to any meal. They also make a great party appetizer or a tasty afternoon snack. While everyone will always love tater tots (what’s not to love about fried potatoes), these seasoned crispy broccoli-cheddar tots are a healthy and delicious alternative!

Broccoli Tots
adapted from gimmedelicious
makes about 25 tots

12 ounces broccoli, cut into florets
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely minced onion
2/3 cup (2.6 ounces) sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil. When boiling, add the broccoli florets and cook for 1 minute, then drain into a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Place the broccoli in a food processor, and pulse a few times until it is finely chopped, being careful not to purée it. You can also finely chop the broccoli by hand if you prefer.

Place the chopped broccoli in a large bowl, then add all of the remaining ingredients. Stir well to combine, then use your hands to form the mixture into tots, using about a tablespoon for each one. As you make the tots, squeeze them gently to remove excess liquid before placing them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 18 to 24 minutes. Let cool briefly, and serve warm with dipping sauce if desired. Enjoy!