We could all do with finding ways to get more vegetables in to our diet and these little cheesy baked broccoli bites (broccoli tots) are the best way. Crispy, cheesy and comforting, but packed with broccoli too. Kids will love this finger food and you can be happy knowing they are eating some veg too. You can batch cook them and keep them in the freezer for an easy side dish/snack too.
Broccoli isn't everyone's favourite food, but cheese makes everything better and it certainly makes this green vegetable more appealing to kids.
If you have tried convincing your kids that these little green trees will make them big and strong and with not a positive result, then try giving it to them a different way.
Mixing broccoli with cheese and breadcrumbs and turning it into broccoli tots (as they are called in the US) makes it much more exciting for kids and it's perfect for baby led weaning. Older kids will enjoy getting their hands dirty and making these broccoli bites too.
Why you will love them
- An easy way to get more vegetables in your diet - It can be a struggle to eat more vegetables, especially with fussy eaters, but this is an easy way to sneak them in.
- Kids love them - Kids will love making and eating them. They are really cheesy, which will appeal to kids (and adults).
- Freezable - These freeze really well, so make a big batch to keep in the freezer for easy meals.
- Ready in less than 30 minutes - These are quick and easy to make.
- Broccoli - The star of the dish. You could use a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower.
- Bread - This is used to make your own breadcrumbs. You could use store bought breadcrumbs if you prefer.
- Onion - Make sure this is diced finely. You could use shallots, which would add a sweeter flavour.
- Cheese - We used mature cheddar, as it has a strong flavour so you can use less. Some feta would work well too, or parmesan. We wouldn't recommend something like mozzarella, as it is too stringy.
- Eggs - This helps to bind the broccoli bites together.
- Garlic powder and dried oregano - These add some extra flavour, but they can be left out if you prefer.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add the broccoli to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and then add to a large bowl and mash until very fine.
Two: Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl.
Three: Mix well.
Four: Take out 1 tablespoon at a time and roll in to a small sausage and repeat until you have 20.
Five: Place on a lined or oiled baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for 25 minutes until they start to crisp up.
Six: Serve the broccoli bites with your favourite dip, like our healthy tomato ketchup.
These broccoli bites are a really nutrient dense snack or side dish, and a great way to "sneak" vegetables in to fussy eaters. I say "sneak" very loosely, as these are very green, so clearly have broccoli in them. But, with the easy bite sized shape and the addition of cheese, it's a simple way to get kids to eat more vegetables.
Broccoli is a good source of fibre (which helps with digestion) and protein, and also contains iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, K.
We love the specks of green you can see in these broccoli bites, but you could always swap the broccoli for cauliflower instead, or use a mixture of the two. For a little extra flavour, finely chop some spring onions or shallots and mix them in. You could also add some chopped spinach for extra greens.
A really good quality mature cheddar is what we used to make this and because it's such a strong cheese, you don't need to use a lot of it. But, you could use a mixture of hard cheese like cheddar, Parmesan, Gouda or even add some mozzarella.
You could really mix things up with the flavours here. Like things a bit spicy? Add some Mexican seasoning!
What to serve with broccoli bites
Kids will love these are a snack, but they are also delicious as a side dish. Why not try them with one of these family friendly main meals:
- Crispy Chicken Goujons
- Oven Cooked Sausages
- Easy Pizza Toast
- Oven Egg and Chips
- Hunter's Chicken
- Sausage and Mash Pie
- Easy Shepherd's Pie
- Greek Chicken Skewers
Store: You can keep these broccoli bites in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: These freeze really well and they hold together really well. Freeze them on a tray first and then once they are all frozen you can put them in to a freezer bag. Just take them out as and when you need them, defrost and reheat.
Defrost: You can defrost them in the fridge in a few hours.
Reheat: We reheat them in a frying pan in a little oil for a couple of minutes. This helps them to regain their shape after defrosting too.
We baked these broccoli bites to keep them that little bit lighter as you don't need to use any oil (apart from a little on the baking tray). However, if you want to get them really crispy, then you can fry them for a couple of minutes each side. If you use Parmesan in the recipe instead of cheddar, this will help to get them really nice and crispy.
You can also make these crispier by swapping the wholemeal breadcrumbs for Panko breadcrumbs.
Yes! Roll them in to balls instead of sausage shapes and still bake them and then just gently stir them in to some pasta sauce before serving. No need for vegetarians to miss out on meatballs.
If you use gluten free breadcrumbs and make sure there is no cross contamination, then these can be gluten free.
Yes, you can double this recipe and there is no change to the method or cooking time.
Yes, you can. You will need to steam the frozen broccoli first, and then drain it and squeeze out some of the liquid using a paper towel.
• Use a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower, or just cauliflower to change things up.
• You can stick to just mature cheddar, or you can use a mixture of cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella.
• Roll these in to balls, bake and then stir in to pasta sauce for some vegetarian meatballs.
• Get creative with the flavours! If you like things spicy, then add some Mexican seasoning.
• You can also make these crispier by swapping the wholemeal breadcrumbs for Panko breadcrumbs.
More Broccoli recipes
Cheesy Baked Broccoli Bites
- 300 g (10.5 oz) Broccoli - chopped
- 3 slices Whole wheat bread - blended into bread crumbs
- 0.5 Onion - finely diced
- 60 g (0.5 cups) Mature cheddar - grated
- 2 Eggs - whisked
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried oregano
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C(fan)/400°F/Gas 6.
- Add the broccoli to a pan of boiling water and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and then add to a large bowl and mash until very fine.
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
- Take out 1 tablespoon at a time and roll in to a small sausage and repeat until you have 20.
- Place on a lined or oiled baking sheet and cook in the oven for 25 minutes until they start to crisp up. Serve with your favourite dip.
- Use a mixture of broccoli and cauliflower, or just cauliflower to change things up.
- You can stick to just mature cheddar, or you can use a mixture of cheddar, Parmesan and mozzarella.
- Roll these in to balls, bake and then stir in to pasta sauce for some vegetarian meatballs.
- Get creative with the flavours! If you like things spicy, then add some Mexican seasoning.
- You can also make these crispier by swapping the wholemeal breadcrumbs for Panko breadcrumbs.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.