Cauliflower tater tot casserole is a weeknight dinner is sure to please your family and your waistline. A secret ingredient gives this classic comfort food a healthy makeover!
Growing up, my nickname was “Tater-tot”
Partially because I was really tiny (not much changed. WAH) but mostly because I couldn’t pronounce “Taylor,” so I called myself “Tate.”
Of course, that snowballed into “tater-tot,” and then it just kind of stuck.
Because of this, I always felt just a wee bit strange about eating tater-tots for dinner when Mom made them. I mean, would you feed a piece of steak to a cow?
That’s what I thought.
If you must know the truth, I got over my weird feelings pretty darn quick. Let’s be real: Tater-tots are Nom Central. I couldn’t not eat them for my whole life.
But, then I grew up and I couldn’t eat them every single day, for all the days of my life. Ugh, adult metabolisms…WHY.
But tater tots, among other things like hamburger pie and mac & cheese, are just an ultimate comfort food that I couldn’t part ways with.
Challenge accepted. Operation “Don’t-part-with-comfort-food-OR-skinny-jeans” was born.
I’m sure ya’ll have heard of the wonders of cauliflower. There isn’t much it can’t do. It can be turned into cauliflower rice, or even cauliflower mashed “potatoes.” And now, we’re adding another thing to the list:
It can make INCR-EDIBLE “cauli-tots.”
That make an equally amazing Cauli-Tot Casserole.
Did you eat this growing up? It’s comfort food times a billion. Meat, Tater tots and cheese. The “yum factor?” It’s out of control.
This casserole has just as much “yum factor,” but a whole lot less of the “unhealthy factor.” PLUS, it took a little trip south of the border and got “Mex-i-fied.”
Basically, a fiesta for your taste buds. Sorry, had to.
I will tell you that it is a wee bit time consuming to make all the tots, but it is VERY EASY. Also very, VERY worth it.
A wise person once said “Gimme all your tots.”
…In the form of a Mexican Cauli-Tot Casserole, that is.
For the Cauli-Tots:
- 1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, Shredded, about 1 cup
For the Casserole:
- 3 cups Cauliflower, Roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup Onion, Plus 2 tablespoons, diced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Garlic, Minced
- 3 tablespoons Fat Free Cottage Cheese
- Salt and Pepper, To taste
- 3/4 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- 1 large Egg White, (3 tablespoons liquid egg whites)
- 3 tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, Chopped
- 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Panko Crumbs, Plus 1 tablespoon
- Cooking Spray
- 1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 cup Onion, Diced (roughly 1 small onion)
- 3/4 cup Red Pepper, diced (roughly 1 large pepper)
- 1 tablespoon Garlic, Minced
- 16 ounces Salsa, Of choice, 2 cups
- 1 cup Reduced Fat Shredded Cheddar Cheese
For the Chicken:
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil, and boil the chicken until no longer pink inside, about 10-15 mins. Shred with two forks and set aside for later use.
For the Tots:
Preheat your oven to 400°F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Put the chopped cauliflower into a large food processor and process until broken down, and it looks similar to rice.
Transfer the cauliflower into a large bowl and microwave for 3 minutes. Stir, and microwave an additional 2 mins
Add the onion, garlic, and cottage cheese into the cauliflower. Stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Microwave for 20 seconds more.
Stir the cheddar cheese, egg white, cilantro and panko into the mixture until well combined.
Using a heaping Tablespoon, form the mixture into little ovals, packing together and placing them onto the prepared baking sheet. Spray the tots with cooking spray
Bake for 15 minutes, flip and spray with some more cooking spray, and bake for an additional 10-15 mins or until the tots are crunchy and golden brown.
While the tots are baking, heat the olive oil for the casserole in a large, oven safe pan on medium/high heat. Cook the diced onion, red pepper and garlic until nice and soft, 2-3 minutes.
Add in the salsa and shredded chicken, stirring until well combined.
Once the tots are cooked, sprinkle half of the cheese onto the salsa mixture, and then lay the tots on top of the cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 - 7 mins.