In my recent post, I mentioned that while traveling I hoped to come across some dish that inspires me to create some new recipes. Well, being in Cowboy Land, we ate a lot of steak and potatoes, bison and elk burgers. Two things that stood out most to me were a bison burger with brie and strawberry jam (what an interesting combination!), and one restaurant that had sweet potato tots as a side instead of french fries. I thought the sweet potato tots were brilliant! Sweet potatoes have so many nutrients and are so much healthier than regular potatoes, plus there’s only so much fries one can eat in a week.
I will definitely try making sweet potato tots at home sometime, but they also made me wonder what other vegetables I can cook in tot form. Since it is squash and zucchini season, I decided to make yellow squash tots. I used yellow summer squash, but any combination of squash and zucchini can be used for this recipe.
Squash/Zucchini tots are a great way to eat vegetables. If you eat a dozen tots (which is so easy to do because these are addictive!), you are eating more than one squash in a meal. How easy is that?
The recipe below is double of what I made. Since we ate all 2 dozen tots in one sitting, I definitely recommend using the proportions below to make 4 dozen tots.
Summer Squash Tots
Makes 4 dozen bite sized tots.
- 6 small squashes or zucchini
- 2 eggs
- 4 oz colby jack or mild cheddar cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup grated)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Olive oil or butter for greasing pan
- Cheese cloth or kitchen towel
- Baking dish and aluminum foil
- Melon baller, or rounded tablespoon (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Grate the squash. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix it together. Put the grated squash into a cheesecloth and squeeze all the juice out of it. This step is super important, because if you don’t remove the juice, the tots will end up soggy inside, and won’t brown as nicely on the outside.
You will have about equal parts juice and pulp when you are done – approximately two cups of each. You can either save the juice or discard it. If you choose to keep the juice, you can freeze it and add it to your vegetable broth next time you are making soup.
3. I personally don’t like raw onions, so I sauteed the chopped onion real quick before adding it to the squash tots. You can keep this step if you don’t mind the reminiscence of raw onion in your tots. I sauteed the onions in some olive oil for a few minutes until they turned translucent and started browning.
4. Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix well. The mixture will be sticky and wet, but it shouldn’t be dripping wet. If you didn’t squeeze enough juice out of the squash, you might need to add more breadcrumbs so that the mixture is not too wet.
5. Line a baking dish with foil, and grease it well. You don’t want any non-greased spots because the tots will stick to it.
6. Using a melon baller, or a tablespoon measurer (or your hands) make small tightly packed 1 inch tots out of the squash mixture. Place them on the aluminum foil.
7. Bake for 20 minutes, until the tots start browning on top. Remove from oven and wait 5 minutes for them to cool. Remove tots using a spatula to un-stick them from the pan.
We ate these as a snack, but these tots would be grate (I mean… great) as a side dish. Enjoy!