June 6, 2019
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If you love healthy, low carb recipes then these Cheesy Cauliflower Bites are just what you need! They’re highly addictive and a tasty way to sneak extra vegetables into your kids’ day.
Soft on the inside, crispy on the outside Cauliflower Bites are impossible to pass up! They’re a close relative to the regular tater tots and you can enjoy them with marinara sauce, honey mustard, or homemade ranch dressing.
How to Make Cauliflower Bites
Instead of breading and baking the cauliflower florets whole, these bites are made with mashed cauliflower. Texture wise they taste a lot like the beloved tater tot, just crispier on the outside.
First, you’ll want to steam the cauliflower until they are fall-apart tender, about 15 minutes. You can make this recipe faster by using frozen cauliflower which is already pre-steamed and cooks much faster.
Once the cauliflower is cooked, everything gets mashed Cheddar and Parmesan cheese and shaped into tater tot sized bites. Give them a quick roll in seasoned Panko bread crumbs and bake until they reach golden brown perfection.
Now, would be a good time to mention the necessity of doubling the batch, because hot, cheesy, bite-size foods don’t last long with kids around.
Are Cauliflower Bites Gluten-Free?
Thanks to gluten-free panko breadcrumbs these Cauliflower Bites are gluten-free and we still get that irresistible crispy, crunchy coating. If gluten isn’t a problem for your family and you keep regular Panko bread crumbs on hand, go ahead and use them. The cauliflower bites may be a little less crunchy, but no less delicious.
Also, regular bread crumbs will not work the same as Panko. The bites will come out soft with no crisp at all, so make sure you have enough for this batch. If you don’t use Panko that often, no worries I’ve got many kid-favorite recipes like Salmon Nuggets and some epic fish tacos that will convert you to Panko.
Kid-Friendly Cauliflower Recipe
This recipe is excellent served as an appetizer for parties or side dish and kid’s love them for their crispy, cheesy goodness. That’s another reason we LOVE cauliflower around here! It gives kid-favorite recipes an extra boost of nutrition while keeping everything low carb for us adults.
Sometimes the way you serve a vegetable can be the difference between a child loving it or a child refusing to even try it. Kids who turn up their noses at steamed cauliflower just might be begging for MORE of these cheese, crunchy cauli bites.
If you have a picky eater on your hands, and need more kid-approved ways to serve healthy foods and want end mealtime battles at your house, check out my FREE Picky Eaters Course. I share top tips, recipes, and fun printables with you to help you and your picky eaters enjoy mealtime again. Sign up for the free course here.
Best Seasonings for Cauliflower Bites
When it comes to seasoning these bites, I like to leave that up to you. Here’s a list of things I’ve already tried or plan to try in future batches:
- Italian seasoning
- Cajun/Creole seasoning- if you like spice
- Taco Seasoning- For all my taco fanatics
- Any combo you enjoy- garlic & oregano, lemon pepper & dill, you fill in the blank ________.
Easy Cauliflower Recipes
We couldn’t make those family-favorite recipes like Shrimp Fried Rice or Burrito Bowls, Kickstart approved without cauliflower.
Due to its versatility, you can use cauliflower rice for regular rice in your favorite stir fry recipe or roast/mash it instead of regular potatoes. Here are a few of our favorite ways to use cauliflower:
What are some of your favorite recipes with cauliflower? Are there any other recipes you’d like to see made low carb?
Cheesy Cauliflower Bites
- 1 cup water
- 1 head cauliflower cleaned and diced into small pieces
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon favorite all-purpose seasoning divided
- ¼ cup shredded cheese either Cheddar or mozzarella will work
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs plain will work, but panko is recommended
- 2 tablespoons ground flax meal optional
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepot over medium high-heat steam, the cauliflower in the water until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Drain the water and allow the cauliflower cool down to room temperature.
- Before mashing, drain any excess moisture from the saucepan. Add the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the seasoning.
- Using a potato masher, begin mashing the florets until smooth.
- Add the Cheddar cheese and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese to the cauliflower and stir to combine.
- In a separate, medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, flax meal (if using), remaining ¼ teaspoon of seasoning, and Parmesan cheese.
- Using your hands, begin forming balls with the cauliflower mixture, approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter.
- Roll each ball in the bread crumb mixture, then place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cauliflower mixture and breadcrumb coating.
- Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the bread crumbs are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.
- When forming the cauliflower bites, give each ball a squeeze between your hands to remove excess moisture. This will prevent them from falling apart.
- My go-to all-purpose seasonings for this recipe are Garlic and Herb seasoning, Creole Seasoning, and Italian Seasoning.
Am I missing the oven temp somewhere? I looked a couple times and finally just did 400* because I was making chicken strips at that temp. Everything’s in the oven now…keeping a close eye on them ;)
MOMables - Laura
Thanks for catching that! The recipe has been updated and your guess was correct! It’s at 400F.
Made these tonight, and even my veggie-phobic 5 and 7 year old ate them up (with a dipping sauce). Thanks so much for the recipe!!
The Healthy Apple
These look amazing Laura! SO FUN!!!!
Do you have a rough size estimate for a “head of cauliflower”? They seem to vary tremendously…
I’d say about 3 cups chopped cauliflower.
I love this idea, so healthy & fun for every party-goer!
Can’t wait to try! Do you think that some chopped pine nuts mixed in the panko could work? I’m thinking it would be delicious with the Italian garlic seasoning, but I worry they might burn. Maybe safer to sprinkle on towards the end of baking?
Adding some chopped pine nuts should be fine. Let me know how they turn out!
Hi! I just discovered this site and am I excited to try this and the veggie nugget recipe with my toddler. I love finger foods I can make in big batches and have in the freezer for quick lunch/dinner options.
Are these cauliflower bites freezer friendly? Would you recommend freezing before or after baking?
Thanks for a great site and keep up the good work!
Hi Jessica! you can freeze them for sure! I freeze prior to baking so that they are crispy after baking next time. the oven does the work anyway… :)
Do you just cook them straight from the freezer or do you defrost them first?
We’ve got a tonne of beautiful, fresh cauliflower right now and I love this recipe. I’m in Canada and unfortunately don’t have access to Zatarain’s Big & Zesty Garlic Herb Seasoning. Actually not even sure what it is. Do you have a recommendation for spices I could substitute (or maybe just a general list of what’s in the big and zesty mix)?
Thanks for all your great ideas!
Kate, use a creole seasoning if you want it to be a bit zesty and spicy or a taco seasoning. You can also use an italian seasoning. It’s super versatile!
For my food allergy friends who may not know, Ian’s All Natural Foods makes Panko Breadcrumbs that are Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Milk Free, Casein Free, Egg Free, Peanut Free, Tree Nut Free. ENJOY!
Thanks for the tip. And I see they are also soy free!!