Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots

I have fond childhood memories of tater tots. What kid doesn’t love tater tots.

Submerging and smothering them in oodles of ketchup is the best.

Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots - You'll never miss the taters! Crispy, crunchy, and sooo good! You'll forget you're eating zucchini!

It’s amazing how closely the texture resembles real tater tots, and after being dipped in ketchup, you’ll totally forget you’re eating zucchini.

I did as I proceeded to eat half the batch.

Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots - You'll never miss the taters! Crispy, crunchy, and sooo good! You'll forget you're eating zucchini!

Bite-for-bite zucchini has far less calories and carbs than potatoes so you can eat way more of it. Nevermind that it’s breaded in Parmesan, but at least it’s baked rather than fried.

Ever since I made Baked Parmesan Edamame Bites and then Crispy Roasted Parmesan Chickpeas with Spiced Ranch Dip, I’ve been looking for things to bread, bake, and dip.

Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots - You'll never miss the taters! Crispy, crunchy, and sooo good! You'll forget you're eating zucchini!

I had lots of zucchini on hand and it works very well with the basic battering, breading, and baking technique I’ve used previously. Also try asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower mushrooms, or most anything in your vegetable drawer.

I used and recommend Panko breadcrumbs. They’re Japanese-style breadcrumbs and are sold next to regular breadcrumbs, but they’re larger, coarser, and get crispier in the oven. You can spice up the breading mixture with jerk or Creole seasoning, or add chili powder or cayenne for extra oomph.

Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots - You'll never miss the taters! Crispy, crunchy, and sooo good! You'll forget you're eating zucchini!

The tots are surprisingly crispy and crunchy on the outside, while the zucchini inside softens but retains some texture. There are mild Parmesan undertones and you could make Creamy Parmesan Dip to intensify the Parmesan flavor, but I love the tots with good old-fashioned ketchup.

Best tots ever. You’ll never miss the taters.

Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots - You'll never miss the taters! Crispy, crunchy, and sooo good! You'll forget you're eating zucchini!

Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots

It’s amazing how closely the texture of the zucchini tots resembles real tater tots, and after being dipped in ketchup, you’ll totally forget you’re eating zucchini. The tots are surprisingly crispy and crunchy on the outside, while the zucchini inside softens but retains some texture. You can use the recipe with asparagus, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower mushrooms, or most anything in your vegetable drawer. I used and recommend Panko breadcrumbs. Optionally, spice things up with jerk or Creole seasoning, chili powder, or cayenne. The tots have mild Parmesan undertones and you could make Creamy Parmesan Dip to intensify the Parmesan flavor, but I love them with ketchup. You’ll never miss the taters.

Did you make this recipe?

Ingredients:

2 medium/large zucchini, sliced into tot-sized pieces, about 1/2-inch diameter and 1-inch long (I didn’t peel)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
pinch Jerk or Creole seasoning, cayenne, chili powder, etc. optional and to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (fresh or green can)
ketchup, for serving (or Creamy Parmesan Dip, Creamy Wasabi Dip, Spiced Ranch Dip , etc.)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat, parchment, or spray with cooking spray.
  2. Slice the zucchini (I quarter it into long spears, then slice the spears into 1-inch long segments) and transfer zucchini pieces to a large bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with flour, salt and pepper, any optional seasonings or spices, and toss to coat evenly; set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs; set aside.
  5. In a separate large bowl, add the Panko breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and stir to combine; set aside.
  6. Using your hands or a slotted spoon, add about half of the floured zucchini pieces to the eggs for a quick dunk.
  7. Remove zucchini from eggs and transfer to breadcrumb mixture. Toss with hands or a spoon to coat evenly.
  8. Place zucchini on prepared baking tray, spaced evenly and without touching. You want the oven air to circulate freely on all pieces so they get as crispy as possible.
  9. Repeat battering process with remaining zucchini and place on baking tray. The process is messy and not every piece will be evenly coated and breaded. Overall, if most pieces are coated, you’re fine.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Start watching closely and checking after 9 minutes. Watch so the undersides don’t become overly browned or burn. Because all ovens, size of the tots, thickness of coating mixture, and personal preferences vary, cooking times will vary. Tots are best warm and fresh. Serve with ketchup or your favorite dip.

Adapted from Baked Parmesan Edamame Bites with Creamy Wasabi Dip and Crispy Roasted Parmesan Chickpeas with Spiced Ranch Dip 

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76 comments on “Tater-Less Parmesan Zucchini Tots”

  1. I remember you mentioning a zucchini recipe was coming–and these look so much like tater tots!! I have really been liking zucchini more over the past several years– it has a rather neutral flavor which makes it versatile in my mind. One of my neighbors said I could pick some of her zucchini. She told me they plant a garden every year but really only eat the strawberries (whaaaat?!?!). I’d be happy to take some off her hands and try this.

    • Pick extra, I have another zuke recipe next week. LOL And yes, it’s very very neutral to me anyway. It takes on the flavor of whatever it’s mixed with, seasoned with, etc, and it’s nice and moist so perfect for baking!

  2. These look great! What a fun spin on tator tots (my computer totally wants me to call them gator tots…) :)

  3. I LOVE that you used zucchini for this! I have made taterless tots with cauliflower, but zucchini is my absolute vegetable love. And I eat it with parmesan almost everyday, so my name is all over this, and in capital letters! Pinned!

  4. I haven’t had tater tots in forever! I am all sorts of excited about this idea. Love the idea of adding a kick from the Jerk or Creole seasoning. That just sounds so good!

  5. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
    The time for zucchini galore. I love it. I have no shortage of recipes that I want to get through in the next few weeks. Just put 2 on the blog this week.
    I’m so glad my whole family enjoys it too. So we can harvest and eat all on the same day. :)
    These look perfect. Love Parmesan with zucchini.
    Pinning!
    Have a great day.

  6. I love tater tots mainly because they are a vessel for eating ketchup which I’ve adored since childhood. I have so much zucchini from my CSA I can’t wait to make these.

  7. Hello! I tried making something similar to this not that long ago and I was a bit disappointed because I was so used to lovely moist fried versions. I do love the idea of a healthier ‘zucchini fry’, though, so I’d like to give these a whirl! Love the fact that yours have got parmesan in. Maybe the panko crumbs are the key to them not being dry! I’ll give them a go!

    • I really find the Panko to be VERY key in this recipe as well as the other recipes I’ve done that are similar to this one with the breading/coating mixture. Baked and fried, apples and oranges in ANY recipe, but I do love these and prefer that they’re baked!

  8. I cannot handle how yummy these look! What a great way to use that abundance of zucchini this time of year :)

  9. Ooooooh my gosh, Averie! You really knocked it out of the park with this one!!!! We are swamped with zucchini right now, so I KNOW we’ll be trying these out. LOVE!!!

  10. What a great idea to use zucchini, Averie! I’m sure you have loads of it, too, since it’s summer. I’m loving all of your creative twists on fun foods. Pinned!

  11. Haha, what kid doesn’t love tots? What ADULT doesn’t love tots! :) These are the perfect use for summer zucchini. Thanks, Averie.

  12. Love these! Great variation.

  13. I was just thinking the other day about how I wanted a tater tot recipe… this one looks awesome!

  14. These looks delicious! I just got a bunch of zucchini in my CSA and this recipe would be a perfect way to use them!

  15. Since Mel’s diet is anti-potato, these are perfect. And the idea to make them with broccoli? I bet Jordan would eat that. (Hallelujah) Pinned!

  16. I think we are the only people in the world who struggle to get zucchini to grow in their garden–but if we get lucky this year and get an abundance of them, I’ll be sure to try this!

  17. These are so beautiful and such a freakin’ great idea!!! My kids would even eat these and that’s a lot to say!

    When we moved to the States and I was introduced to tater tots, I thought, Americans have the BEST FOOD!! Then I gained 20-pounds in a year and thought, their food makes you fat! haha True story. :)))

    • That is such a telling tale on the commentary of food in this country! It tastes good but it will make you fat unless you’re careful :) I bet your kids would like these. My daughter inhales these things if I don’t inhale them faster! lol

  18. These look yummy and they would be a great way to get my picky brothers to eat zucchini!

  19. As a fried potato addict who is trying to cut out carbs (ahem, wedding season I’m looking at you!) I love these! I’m definitely making them and then coating them (and my fingertips) in a ketchup + sriracha love child!

  20. tater tots are the BOMB! I love them so much. I love the crispy texture on the outside but soft tenderness inside/ these look amazing

  21. What a great, yummy, and healthy take on tater tots!

  22. I love this idea! It is very creative and looks delicious too! Thanks for sharing!

  23. YUMYUMYUMYUMYUM!!!!

    I love zucchini. Anything with it is so delicious. I fell in love last summer with vega Parma even though I never liked real parmesan. I stopped buying it because it isn’t cheap, but this recipe….damn you! ;)

    • I actually think you could probably skip the parm (knowing you, you will) and sub with nooch, and you could probably replace the panko with rice krispies (to keep GF – I’ve read that online but haven’t tried). Honestly these were one of the best savory recipes I’ve made in a long time. LOVED these things!

  24. So fun! I actually made meatballs with shredded zucchini tonight and my 4 year old was all “EWWW! I don’t like zucchini!” when he saw me making them but he gobbled them up! Gotta try these!

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