Step aside classic tater tots – these crispy baked broccoli tots are the ultimate! Featuring fresh broccoli florets, cheddar cheese and a crispy quinoa coating, these broccoli bites are bursting with flavor and loaded with nutrients! Healthy broccoli tater tots are fun to make and even better to eat!
Featured comment: I tried making this recipe for my family on Father’s Day and it was very well received and tasty! – Stephanie
Update: This recipe for broccoli tots was originally published in June 2015. I made updates to the post below to include more information about this healthy, kid-friendly veggie snack!
Happy Friday, friends! If you are a lover of fresh broccoli, then I have the perfect healthy snack recipe for you – broccoli and cheese tots!
About this broccoli tots recipe
I am a huge fan of broccoli and cheese, but then again who isn’t a fan of anything cheesy?? So, when I saw a promotion for Sonic broccoli cheddar tots, I knew they absolutely needed those in my life, stat! However, never one to leave well enough alone, I wanted to give those broc tots a healthy touch. And, since I love quinoa, coating these vegetable tots in crispy quinoa seemed like a no-brainer. And oh-my are these so good!!
Featuring a perfectly crispy, nutty quinoa coating and a creamy, savory broccoli and cheese interior, these quinoa broccoli and cheese tots healthy and nutritious without sacrificing flavor (which is crucial if you ask me)! One bite and you’ll be popping these bites into your mouth on repeat (don’t say I didn’t warn you!).
What are broccoli tots?
Broccoli tater tots, also known simply as broc tots, are chopped broccoli formed into bite-sized cylinders and deep-fried or oven-baked. Broccoli tots are a healthy take on the popular American frozen food, Tater Tots™ by Ore-Ida.
Ingredients in broccoli cheddar tots
You need just a few easy to find ingredients to make this yummy broc tot recipe. Here’s what you’ll need to gather:
- Broccoli: Fresh broccoli florets are the star of this snack recipe.
- Eggs: You’ll need a total of 5 large eggs.
- Onions: Green onions, also known as scallions, offer a mild onion flavor.
- Cheese: Cheddar cheese lends a sharp, umami flavor. You can use any variety of cheddar you love, such as white or sharp. However, make sure you purchase a block of cheese and shred it yourself for the best results.
- Substitution: I typically use Colby Jack or Monterey for a touch of spicy heat, but you can use any relatively hard cheese you love.
- Seasoning: A combination of Italian seasoning, cayenne pepper, kosher salt and ground black pepper all add flavor.
- Flour: You’ll need all-purpose flour for dredging the tots before dipping in egg wash and coating in quinoa (or breadcrumbs).
- Quinoa: While entirely optional, coating the tots in quinoa, versus traditional breadcrumbs, adds a subtle nutty flavor and boost of nutrients.
- Substitution: You can swap out the cooked quinoa for Panko breadcrumbs or Italian breadcrumbs instead.
Tips for the best broccoli tater tots
Follow the simple tips below for preparing this broc tots recipe.
- Prep time: Forming vegetable tots is a time consuming process. This is the perfect recipe to make with your children. Encourage kids to help in the kitchen and empower your family to eat healthier through fun recipes!
- Dry florets: You want to make sure the broccoli florets are very dry before chopping up into little pieces. To quickly dry out your broccoli, use the oven! While the water is coming to a boil (to cook the broccoli), preheat your oven to the lowest temperature possible. Once preheated, turn it off. Continue with the recipe – blanch, shock and drain the broccoli. Then, arrange the broccoli on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and place in the semi-warm oven to completely dry.
- Forming broccoli cheddar tots: When forming your veggie tots, make sure you really squeeze the ingredients together in your hands to get them to stick and stay together. After you form the broccoli and cheese tots, but before you coat them in flour, egg and quinoa, I highly recommend you refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes. It will help them keep their shape and hold together as you coat them.
- Chill tots before baking: After you form and roll the tots in the flour, egg, and quinoa, I recommend you refrigerate them. Chilling will ensure the tots stay formed together during baking.
- Dipping sauce: These baked broccoli tots taste great with ketchup, sriracha, ranch, and honey mustard; however, our favorite dipping sauce for these tots is Monterey Jack Queso (queso recipe is in the notes section of the recipe card below.).
These quinoa crusted broccoli and cheese snacks are so tot-tastic I just know you and your family will love them! Until next time friends, cheers! To happy bellies and delicious kitchen adventures!
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More easy broccoli recipes!
If you love these broc tots, try one of these delicious recipes for fresh broccoli next:
- Breakfast Broccoli Bake (Easy overnight strata recipe!)
- Broccoli Dip with Bacon (Super easy broccoli recipe for the oven or slow cooker!)
- Grape Broccoli Salad Recipe (A summertime favorite!)
- Creamy Broccoli Pasta (One pot recipe!)
The best recipe for broccoli tots👇
Broccoli Tots with Cheddar
- Mixing Bowls
- Baking Sheet Pan
- Parchment Paper
- 12 oz Broccoli Florets (about 6 large stalks, roughly 2 ½ -3 pounds total)
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Large Egg White
- 1/3 Cup Green Onions – finely sliced (about 4 onions)
- 4 Oz Colby Jack Cheese – grated (about heaping 1 1/3 cup)
- ¾ tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne - or more to taste
- Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper - to taste
- 2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 3 Large Eggs
- 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
- Blanch and shock the broccoli: Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice water - set aside. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the broccoli and blanch the florets for 1 minute. Immediately drain the florets in a colander and transfer to the bowl of ice water. Allow the florets to sit, submerged, in ice bath for 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Place the broccoli florets back in the colander to drain well. Transfer florets to a paper towel lined work surface. Pat very dry.
- Chop broccoli florets: Once the broccoli is completely dry, use a sharp Chef's knife to chop the florets into fine pieces. Transfer the broccoli to a large mixing bowl.
- Combine tot mixture: Add the remaining ingredients - egg, egg white, cheese, green onion, Italian seasoning and cayenne to the bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
- Prepare the Coating: Set out three small bowls. In the first, combine the flour with the salt and pepper. In the second bowl beat eggs with 2 tablespoons of water. Place the cooked quinoa in the third bowl.
- Form and Coat the Tots: Use an ice cream scoop or tablespoon measure to spoon roughly 1 ½ -2 tablespoons of broccoli mixture into your hands (It helps if you spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray). Squeeze broccoli mixture together to shape into tater tots.*
- Roll tots in flour, then egg, and finally quinoa, making sure to thoroughly coat tots. Transfer coated tots onto prepared baking sheet.* Spray the tots, generously, with cooking spray.
- Bake, turning half way through cooking time, for 18-20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked throughout.
- Serve: Transfer hot broccoli tots to a serving platter. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or Monterey Jack Queso (recipe in notes). Enjoy!
- Dry florets: You want to make sure the broccoli florets are very dry before chopping up into little pieces. To quickly dry out your broccoli, use the oven! While the water is coming to a boil (to cook the broccoli), preheat your oven to the lowest temperature possible. Once preheated, turn it off. Continue with the recipe - blanch, shock and drain the broccoli. Then, arrange the broccoli on a paper-towel lined baking sheet and place in the semi-warm oven to completely dry.
- Chopping broccoli: I recommend hand chopping the florets, you don't need to be perfect - just aim for fine pieces. Alternatively, you can use the food processor; however, be very careful to only pulse a few times as it's easy to over-process the broccoli into mush.
- Forming tots: When forming your tots make sure you really squeeze and press the ingredients together in your hands to get them to stick and stay together. I typically form a ball, then shape the ball into a little tot or nugget if you prefer.
- Chill the UNCOATED tots! After you form the broccoli and cheese tots, but before you coat them in flour, egg and quinoa, I highly recommend you refrigerate them for at least 30 minutes. The short chill really helps the tots retain their shape and hold together as you roll them around in flour and egg to coat them in quinoa.
- 1 TBS Butter
- 1/2 small Yellow Onion - finely dice
- 1 large Jalapeno - seeds and ribs removed; finely diced
- 2 cloves Garlic - peel and mince
- Salt and Pepper - to taste
- 1 TBS All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Milk - or more to taste
- 1 Cup Monterey Cheese - shredded or grated (12 ounces)
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