We are knee deep in toddlerhood over here and one of my tyrants is refusing vegetables with amazing vigor. He will reject broccoli over and over, even when it is sprinkled with cheese, dipped in hummus or homemade ranch or combined with his favorite food (yes I put broccoli on pizza; no he didn’t eat it). All the parenting experts tell me that if I let him have a hand in preparing it and I stay calm and emotionally neutral when he tries it (or doesn’t, as is our case) he will eventually come around. And so while I not-so-patiently wait for him to come around, I also make these.
Broccoli tots. Because they are shaped nothing like broccoli and they get dipped in ketchup so the toddler tyrant will try it, but they still contain all the vitamins, minerals and fiber that broccoli has to offer. And that ketchup? It’s made with veggies too! Organic carrots, sweet potatoes and beets offer added nutrition and organic dates sweeten it naturally.
Sneaking veggies into your kids without them knowing is somewhat debated amongst the picky eating experts. Many argue that hiding veggies from them leads to bigger issues down the road. How will kids learn to enjoy veggies if they don’t even know what they’re eating? And lying to your kids at the dinner table doesn’t exactly build their trust and faith in you.
But we do want them to eat and learn to love healthy and nourishing foods, which is why recipes like these are getting us through these tricky picky years. The vegetable is transformed but not hidden, disguised but not secret. We let the toddler dump and stir and help shape and sure enough, he was willing to taste test (dunked in ketchup of course).
A little about the recipe:
We couldn’t help but utilize the amazing array of riced vegetables on the market these days. They are popping up in the freezer section and with the prepared produce and it is making our lives easier for sure.
We wanted this recipe not only to work for tots, but also fritters, mini veggie pancakes, or any shape your toddler would like to create. The flour here is necessary and nut flours just didn’t hold up the same. Gluten free flours are available almost all grocery stores these days and depending on the brand, use different blends. We tested with King Arthur Gluten Free Flour and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Blend and both worked beautifully.
We also tried these without the cheese in case you or your littles can’t have dairy, and they hold up just fine.
Last thing; these freeze beautifully, so go ahead and make a double batch. Freeze in a single layer and then store in an air-tight container with parchment paper in between layers. Bake from frozen at 400 F for 18 minutes.
Serve these with Mama Jess ketchup for a fuss free snack or side, or form the batter into fritters and top with a drippy egg!
2 T coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 bag of frozen riced broccoli, equivalent to about 3 cups
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 T chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/3 cup cheddar cheese
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
Preheat oven to 400F.
Sauté onions in coconut oil for 2 minutes over medium low heat, then add garlic and sauté for another 2 minutes until mixture is fragrant and onions are translucent.
Add the broccoli and turn the heat up to medium. Sautee for 3-5 minutes, or until most of the moisture has cooked off the broccoli and it is tender. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, add the cooled broccoli mixture and combine with all other ingredients. Mix thoroughly and form into tot shapes, fritter shapes, or press the mixture inside of a cookie cutter for fun shapes of your choosing!
Place tots on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 400 for 10 minutes, flip and bake 10 more minutes.
Enjoy these delicious Broccoli Tots! #eatyourveggies
the Mama Jess Team