BY CHRIS ROSS, THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
Lindsay Grimes Freedman, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based food blogger, promotes the adaptability and health benefits of what she calls “the world’s most versatile vegetable” in her first cookbook, “Cauliflower Power.”
The author’s 75 recipes cover everything from breakfast (Cauliflower French Toast), lunch (Cauliflower Falafel), happy hour (Vegan Queso) and dinner (Cauliflower Chili), plus an assortment of desserts that include the cruciferous veggie. Freedman began experimenting with using cauliflower for low-glycemic recipes when her husband was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2011.
She says these “tots” are lower in carbs and calories than their potato cousins, plus they are packed with nutrients including vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants.
Find more recipes on Freedman’s blog, The Toasted Pine Nut.
Without skimping on any flavor, cauliflower stands in for the traditional tater in these tots. Although traditional tots don’t typically have cheese, the shredded Parmesan and cheddar not only add flavor but also help hold the tots together. Want to make them dairy-free? Shredded dairy-free cheese can be subbed 1:1 for traditional shredded cheese.
Makes: 34 tots
- 4 cups (540 g) cauliflower florets
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 onion, grated
- 1 cup (30 g) shredded Parmesan
- 1/4 cup (30 g) shredded cheddar
- 1/4 cup (30 g) blanched almond flour (see note)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Avocado oil cooking spray
- Ketchup, for serving (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bring an inch of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Place the cauliflower in a steamer basket set over the boiling water. Cover and steam the florets for 5 minutes, until they’re easily pierced with a fork.
- Working in batches, place the steamed florets in the food processor and process for 10 seconds until they are completely chopped into a meal.
- Transfer each batch of meal to a clean, thin dish towel or piece of cheesecloth. Continue to process the remaining florets. Once all the cauliflower meal is cool enough to handle, gather the corners of the towel and, working over the sink, squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Transfer the squeezed meal to a large bowl.
- Add the egg, grated onion, Parmesan and cheddar cheeses, almond flour, and salt and pepper to taste to the bowl with the cauliflower. Use a rubber spatula to mix everything together. Allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes so it can come together.
- Spray the prepared baking sheet generously with cooking spray. Use your hands to form 34 small “tater” tots, about 1 inch long by 1/2 inch wide, placing them on the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. All the tots should fit on one pan, though you can work in batches if needed. Spray the tots generously with cooking spray.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Flip the tots and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until they are browned all over.
- While the tots are hot, sprinkle with additional salt and serve with ketchup, if desired.
- Any leftover tots can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 10 days. To reheat, place the tots on a baking sheet and broil them on high for a couple of minutes until heated through and crispy on the outside.
Note: Blanched almond flour is finer than almond meal and has a lighter beige color because the almond skins aren’t ground up with the nuts when processed. While almond meal can be great for recipes that aim for a hearty consistency, when baking, I tend to use blanched almond flour because it results in a lighter, smoother texture and a more traditional pastry color.
Excerpted from “Cauliflower Power” by Lindsay Grimes Freedman; published by Artisan Books.