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Hellooo friends! This Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots recipe has been on my mind for a while, and then I realized that a VERY GREEN-THEMED holiday is coming up—St. Patrick’s Day! What a perfect time to make something super green and squeeze some veggies in. While traditional tater tots are made with potatoes and fried, these tots are made with broccoli and spinach and they are baked. I love a good tater tot but this is a tasty & healthy substitute, or just a fun and unique way to eat those veggies!
- Broccoli: The basis to our tots! You could use fresh or frozen broccoli. We’ll steam or blanch it to soften the texture.
- Spinach: I use fresh spinach for this recipe, though you could use another green like kale if you want. I have not tested this recipe with frozen spinach, but I would think you could use it just fine if you squeeze all the excess water out.
- Eggs: Eggs act as a binder for this recipe. They also add some protein! If you wanted to omit eggs, you could try using mashed beans.
- Breadcrumbs: This is another binder ingredient. You can make the recipe gluten-free by using oats or coarse almond flour.
- Garlic, red pepper flakes, onion powder, pepper, dill, mustard, salt, & nutritional yeast: For flavor!! I went with a ranch-like flavor profile here, because I love broccoli + ranch dressing. Feel free to mix it up and use whatever spices you like!
How to Make Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots
You can bake these tots in the oven or the air fryer. (See below for top-rated air fryers under $100!)
- Cook the broccoli. I like to steam broccoli in the microwave. I put my broccoli and about 1/4 cup water in a glass dish with a microwave-safe lid and microwave for 5 minutes or until fork-tender, then rinse broccoli with cold water to cool it down. You could also boil & blanch your broccoli by dropping it into boiling water for 3–4 minutes, then transferring to an ice bath. Make sure all water is drained before using the broccoli so that you don’t accidentally make broccoli soup!
- Chop using a food processor. A food processor is really going to work best for this, it may be hard to make this recipe without one. We’ll process the garlic and spinach until it’s, like, crumbly and fluffy?? Hard to explain but it’ll be chopped into little pieces, not a wet puree. Transfer spinach mixture to a large bowl, then pulse the broccoli until it’s riced—again, not a wet puree. Transfer broccoli to the bowl.
- Make the tot mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl—the eggs, breadcrumbs, and spices. Mix until combined.
- Shape & bake! Using a tablespoon, shape the mixture into a tot-like shape. Or if you don’t have the patience for that, a little ball is fine too! Place tots onto a greased baking sheet at least an inch apart, or directly into a pre-heated air fryer. Bake or air fry at 400 degrees for 10–15 minutes. Enjoy!
You can make these tots in an air fryer!
Don’t have an air fryer? I got mine as a wedding gift and I’ve grown to really love it! It’s a great way to cook a lot of things that you could cook in the oven, but in less time and with crispier results, like my Air Fryer Shrimp Cakes with Cilantro Lime Mayo. Air fryers are becoming more and more affordable—check out these highly rated ones below under $100! (You may not be able to see them if you have an ad blocker on.) These tots can be baked no problem in the oven, but they do get a little crispier in the air fryer.
- If you are enjoying these Healthy Broccoli Tots for St. Patty’s Day, they could be part of a fun green-themed meal! (Will likely be a very healthy and vegetable-overload meal haha) Liiike, green stuffed peppers as the main, Simple 4-Ingredient Guacamole on the side, and Broccoli Tots??
- Dipping sauces: I like to eat broccoli with ranch dressing but blue cheese dressing would be good, seasoned sour cream, ketchup, hummus, or even mayo for you weirdos. (I say this with love—I have friends who love fries with mayo so I feel like they’d like broccoli tots with mayo too?)
- These Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots would make a great side with a more protein-heavy main like chicken, steak, meatloaf, etc.
Questions about Broccoli Tots, Answered
Yes, you could use oats, coarse almond flour, or crushed gluten-free crackers in place of the breadcrumbs.
I have not tested egg-free alternatives to this recipe, but I would suggest using mashed white beans or possibly a flax egg. You’ll need a kind of “wet” ingredient to bind the tots together. Mashed potato could probably work nicely as well!
More healthy broccoli recipes…
- Easy Vegetarian Carbonara with Broccoli & Lemon
- White Bean & Kale Salad with Garlic Rosemary Vinaigrette
- Broccoli Kale Salad with Parmesan Potatoes
These Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots are made with broccoli AND spinach for an extra green boost! Make them in the oven or the air fryer for a delicious alternative to tater tots.
- 1 lb broccoli, chopped into smaller florets (you can use the stalk too, just peel the outer layer first!)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 6 oz fresh spinach (~6 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- several grinds pepper (about 1/4 tsp)
- 1/2 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- Preheat oven or air fryer to 400° and grease a baking sheet if using the oven.
- Cook the broccoli. Option 1: Steam. Put 1 lb broccoli and about 1/4 cup water in a glass dish with a microwave-safe lid and microwave for 5 minutes or until fork-tender, then rinse broccoli with cold water to cool it down. Option 2: Boil & blanch. Drop 1 lb broccoli into boiling water for 3–4 minutes, then transfer to an ice bath. For both options, make sure all water is drained before using the broccoli so that you don’t accidentally make broccoli soup! Set broccoli aside.
- Prep using a food processor. Add 2 cloves garlic to food processor and chop until garlic pieces stop flying around. Add 6 oz spinach and chop until spinach is looking rice-like and fluffy. Transfer garlic & spinach to large bowl. Add broccoli to the food processor and chop until broccoli is “crumbly” and rice-like—not a puree.
- Make the tot mixture. Transfer broccoli to bowl with spinach + garlic and add 2 eggs, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (if using), several grinds pepper, 1/2 tsp dried dill, 1 tsp mustard, and 1 tsp salt. Mix until combined.
- Shape tots. Roll about a tablespoon of the broccoli tot mixture in your hands until they are tot-like. Or just make balls. The mixture will be slightly crumbly but should hold their shape. Place about an inch apart on the greased baking sheet, or directly into the air fryer.
- Bake. Bake in the oven for 12–15 minutes or until the outside is looking crisp. Or, air fry for 10–12 minutes or until the outside is looking toasty. (The tots brown more all over in the air fryer, while they just brown on the bottom in the oven.)
See the post above for modification ideas!
Keywords: vegetarian, green, spinach, broccoli, tater tots