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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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