“By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Kikkoman and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”
I have a confession to make: I hate tater tots. Maybe it is because I never tasted one until I was in my late 20s and so I don’t have any sentimental attachment, but to me they just taste like clumps of sad, soggy, kind of greasy, overly salted French fries. I just don’t get the appeal. And yet, when I started seeing recipes for vegetable tots floating around I was curiously intrigued. I loved the idea of small nuggets of vegetables that could be made to go along with a meal, could be a new spin on vegetables in the lunch box, or could be a fun new snack option, so I started experimenting to see what would work well, because more than anything I didn’t want to end up with a tater tot equivalent that would leave me feeling bummed out and disappointed.
And I have to say, I think that the idea resonated with some of you as well! As I have started posting my weekly meal plans (new in 2017! If you don’t follow me on Facebook yet, I’d love to have you join in the fun!) people have noticed the veggie tots listed and have asked about them more than any other dish. I guess it is a sign!
So I wanted to share one of the versions I have been working on, Broccoli Tots. As you may remember, broccoli was a go-to vegetable in this house for years but recently my 8-year-old started resisting it. He declared himself sick of roasted broccoli (how is that possible?!), then tired of my garlicky sautéed broccoli, then was just generally unwilling to even look at the stuff… until these tots! Now he’s back on board in a big way and I’ve got to say, I can’t blame him.
One of the things that I have found in making vegetable tots is that they need flavor! You can’t just mix in some bread crumbs and egg and call it a day. Well, I guess you could but they’d be kind of sad. So I have become a fan of adding cheese and seasonings. So when the Kikkoman Sodium Saving, Flavor Raising Recipe challenge was announced, these tots felt like a perfect fit! I could reduce the sodium, boost the flavor and serve up some tasty tots. Woo hoo!
I know it may sound counter-intuitive that using soy sauce would reduce sodium, but it is true! By using ½ tsp. of Kikkoman Soy Sauce in place of ½ tsp. of table salt, the sodium content is cut by 1000 mg. Similarly, a study in the Journal of Food Science showed that replacing salt with soy sauce reduced the sodium content by up to 50%, without decreasing consumer acceptance! How cool is that?! And if you are still nervous about making the switch, Kikkoman offers a ton of less sodium products including, Less Sodium Soy Sauce, 50% Less Sodium Gluten-Free Tamari Soy Sauce, Less Sodium Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce, and 50% Less Sodium Gluten-Free Teriyaki Marinade & Sauce.
Ready to get cooking? Here is the recipe for Broccoli Tots. Please let me know what you think and if there are other vegetables that you’d like to see tot-ified, let me know! I’m working on a couple of other versions for you!
- 2 cups fresh or frozen broccoli florets
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ½ cup grated cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan all work well, or use a combination!)
- ½ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 Tablespoon Kikkoman Soy Sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with either parchment paper, a silicone mat, or spray with cooking spray.
- Steam your broccoli on the stove or in the microwave. Strain out any water.
- Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until everything is well-mixed and the broccoli is all chopped up.
- With slightly wet hands (this will help with sticking), pick up about 2 Tablespoons of the mixture and form it into a little patty or cylinder. Place on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the tots are formed.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, flipping about half-way through. The tots are ready when they are beginning to go golden brown. Serve with favorite dipping sauce, marinara, or just as they are.