Fun story: When I was younger my Mom and Dad used to call me tater. I think it was a variation on ‘Katie’? I’m not quite sure how it got started but I would often respond to tater and tater tot when my parents called. I also liked to eat tater tots because what kid doesn’t like a nice tot?
That’s not why I decided to make this variation on tater tots, I just thought I would share.
I made these tots because while I was dog-sitting last week, my sister had some broccoli in the fridge she wanted me to use up because it was about to go bad. I wanted to do something other than my normal roasted broccoli (even though it’s delicious) and I was in the mood for something crispy and crunchy.
I used yuca because I love it and I had a bag of frozen yuca available, but I’m pretty sure you could do this with regular potatoes. A lot of tater-tot-like recipes call for eggs, but I wanted to try this without eggs or breadcrumbs as a binder which is why I mashed the yuca. It acts like a delicious paste that keeps the broccoli in a nice tot form.
Also, a little tip: If you can find frozen yuca, use that. Fresh yuca works too but it takes a lot more prep work. Frozen you can just cook and go which is much easier to do. I’ve found frozen yuca at Mexican grocery stores and if you’re local, at Valli Produce. You can probably find it at most international grocery stores in your area. If you can’t find it or would rather use fresh, you can follow these steps for getting yuca ready to use.
- 1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
- 8-10 pieces of frozen yuca OR 1 medium/large fresh yuca root
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2-1 tsp salt
- If you’re using fresh yuca, get that ready to go and then boil the yuca until it’s fairly soft. If you’re using frozen yuca, you can skip the prep and start boiling. Remove the yuca from the water and RESERVE THE COOKING WATER. Let the yuca cool for a few minutes and preheat oven to 425.
- While the yuca is cooking and cooling, place the broccoli florets into a blender or food processor and pulse a few times. You want to break up the broccoli into rice-like pieces. Just be careful not to totally pulverize it or puree it. Set aside.
- Once the yuca is cool, cut it into chunks and place it in a flat bottomed bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash the yuca until it’s mostly smooth. You can leave a few tiny lumps but no huge chunks.
- Add the riced broccoli and seasonings and mix together. It will most likely be a little dry, so add the reserved water one tablespoon at a time until it’s easy to stir together. Careful not to make it too watery or it won’t hold together.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat. Take a spoon and scoop out about a tablespoon worth of the dough. Roll and form it into a tot shape and place it on the baking sheet. Continue until you’ve used up all the dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then flip the tots over and bake another 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them the second time so they don’t burn. Let them cool and then dig in!
FYI, these don’t make great leftovers because cooked yuca doesn’t hold up well in the fridge. If you do have leftovers, freeze them and then when you want to eat them again heat them up in the oven until warmed through.