Cruciferous vegetables + cheese = magical formula.
Hmm, maybe anything combined with cheese is quite special. But cruciferous veggies are particularly enticing, their slight bitterness hushed and wrapped in a cozy cocoon of melted goodness.
If you are not convinced, try this recipe for my cauliflower mac&cheese – my kids refuse to eat any other variety because they love how cheese works its magic on cauliflower.
Or mix these broccoli tater tots. These little guys tick all the boxes.
Easy – tick!
Fast – tick!
The winning broccoli+cheese combo – tick!
Nutritious finger food for babies 6 month+ and toddlers – tick!
A healthy snack for parents – tick!
Freezer friendly – tick!
The best part is that they not only teach your baby to self-feed but also taste so good that can be shared by the whole family! And this is the best way to help your baby enjoy a variety and eat in a balanced way for years.
If you would like to get the whole framework and all the steps to start your baby on solids using the mixed approach, check my Stress-Free Solids program – it’s completely online and has videos of babies eating both finger foods and purees, in addition to recipes, schedules and the latest scientific advice on introducing allergens.
I adapted this recipe from dozens of others I found on the internet to make it baby-friendly and easier to remember. I also added a little extra fat to it, because it upgrades the taste and nutrition.
Baby-Friendly Broccoli Tater Tots
Two medium potatoes or 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (about 1.5 cups of potato cubes).
1 medium broccoli stalk or 2 cups of frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1/2 cup of grated parmesan + optional 3 tablespoons
1/4 cup of grated cheddar
3 tablespoons of bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 400F/gas mark 6 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Note: It is very important to use parchment paper to prevent the tots from sticking to the baking sheet.
Place the potato into a microwavable dish, cover it with a plate and microwave at high for 3 minutes or until they are easy to pierce with a knife but still too hard to eat. Remove from the microwave and let cool. You can also boil or steam the potatoes.
EDIT: I got some comments about the tater tots not holding their shape when cooking. It could be due to the fact that the potatoes were overcooked at this stage. Make sure not to cook them until they are soft, they should be slightly undercooked at this point so they can bind the tater tots properly.
In the meanwhile, chop the broccoli into 2-inch pieces and microwave in the same way as potatoes for 1-2 minutes. Or, if using frozen and thawed broccoli, skip this step.
Pulse the broccoli in a food processor, until it has the texture of couscous. Make sure to not over-process the broccoli or it will be too wet. Scrape the sides of the food processor if necessary. Measure 1.5 cups of broccoli and transfer to a large bowl.
Add the potatoes and cheese to the food processor and pulse until it all comes together. Do nto overprocess, the texture should remain grainy like in the picture above.
Add the potato mixture to the bowl with broccoli, add the breadcrumbs, garlic powder and mix together.
Scoop a large spoonful of the mixture, shape tater tots with your hands and roll them in the 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan if using. You can also skip this step and just spray the tater tots with a little oil once they are on the baking sheet.
Arrange the tots on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart.
Bake for 8–9 minutes. Flip and then bake for an additional 5-6 minutes on the other side until golden brown.
Serve with tomato sauce, salsa, ketchup or ranch.
For a baby under 12 months, choose salt-free or low sodium dips, like sour cream or low sodium tomato sauce.
Check the list of 10 Foods to Avoid When Feeding Baby
Place uncooked tater tots on a greased tray and pop them into the freezer until firm, then transfer into a labeled ziplock bag. They can keep in the freezer for 2 months. To cook from frozen, just place them directly on a baking tray and into the preheated oven. No prior thawing is required.
More finger food ideas:
More on starting solids with babies:
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