Bacon-Chive Cauliflower Tots

cauli tot 4

i love cauliflower! it’s one of the most versatile veggies out there… you can turn it into rice and mashed potatoes.  you can roast it and toss it with a citrusy vinaigrette or add it to a stir-fry.  you can even puree it into soup and use it as a thickener like in my Chicken NOT-Tortilla Soup… ok, lets move on now that I sound like the Bubba Gump of the vegetable world…

Tonight, however, i turned cauliflower into tater tots!  I’m not even sure where I got the idea for them, honestly… All i know is that i had a head of cauli already broken down into florets in the fridge, and i wanted to try something new.  Adding bacon and chives just played up the potato-iness (yes that’s now a word!) of it all.

Bacon-Chive Cauliflower Tots [makes 40+ tots]

  • 6 strips bacon, cooked til crispy and crumbled fine
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 large cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 8 cups raw riced cauliflower (from a large head that weighs about 2 lbs).  i prefer using a food processor for this task!
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced chives
  • 1/3 c coconut flour
  • salt and pepper to taste… start with 1/2 tsp of salt and give it a taste.  i used almost a whole teaspoon in mine.  that may sound like a bit much, but remember that you’re flavoring 8 cups of cauliflower rice!

note that i call for “8 cups riced cauliflower” and not “8 cups cauliflower, riced.”  what’s the difference? huge!  the former means that the cauliflower has been riced BEFORE being measured, and the latter means that 8 cups of florets have been measured out and THEN riced.  see the difference?

cook your bacon, using whichever method you prefer, until crispy.  drain on paper towel momentarily and crumble until fine.  in the meantime, in a large bowl, whisk your two eggs and the garlic until the eggs are lightly scrambled and the garlic paste has dispersed.  using your food processor, pulse your raw cauliflower florets, in batches, into cauliflower rice.  add the cauliflower “rice” to the bowl with the beaten eggs and garlic, as needed, being sure to measure as you go.  add your chives and coconut flour, and season with salt and pepper.  using your hand… or a spatula if you’re afraid of getting your hands a little dirty… fold the contents of the bowl gently.  be sure to pull out any chunks of cauliflower that didn’t breakdown in the food processor… you know there’s always a couple of those little buggers in the mix!  taste a tiny bit of the mixture and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

yes, i’m telling you to taste raw egg.  you’ll live, i swear.  how many batches of chocolate chip cookies have actually made it to your oven?! i thought so!  believe me, that cookie dough never made it to the oven in my house either! :p

set the bowl in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.  this will allow the salt to pull some of the moisture out of the cauliflower, and the coconut flour to hydrate and soak up some of that moisture… thus helping your tots stick together without the help of that super-pesky protein that we all love to hate- gluten!  preheat your oven to 400°, line a sheet tray with parchment paper,  and clean up your kitchen a bit- wash the bacon pan and the food processor… or check your email.  o maybe even take a catnap… with your cats… who cares?! just set a timer for 10 minutes!

when 10 minutes has passed, scoop the your tot mixture into a tablespoon measuring spoon and lightly pack it down like this:

cauli tot 1

tap it out into your hand and give it a very light squeeze- you want the mixture to stick together, but if you squeeze the crap out of it, they’ll turn out wicked dense.  do to the shape of your hand, your tots will take on a, slightly square, cylindrical shape.  set your tots on the parchment-lined sheet tray, making sure to leave enough space between them so that air can circulate between them and they don’t steam.  mmmmm… steamed cauliflower… blech…

cauli tot 2

bake for 20 min.  remove from the oven.  These guys will only brown on the side that is touching the sheet tray, so gently turn them onto a different side (clockwise of counter-clockwise… doesn’t matter which way!).

cauli tot 3

bake for another 20 minutes.  remove from the oven and turn them once more.  bake for another 20 minutes.  your tots should be golden brown on 3 of the 4 sides, your cauliflower tender throughout, and your tots no longer gooey in the center.  serve immediately… either naked or dunked into your dipping sauce of choice.  just promise me you won’t let these get cold.  you should NEVER ever ever ever ever let cauliflower get cold… please.  i beg of you.

promise me!!