Tuesday, January 17, 2012

"Rustic" Kale Tater Tots

I always sort of scratch my head when food is called rustic.  It seems to me code word for "not very pretty but tastes good".  So, for that reason I call my Kale Tater Tots "rustic".

Baked tots.

I have been trying to incorporate more leafy greens into my diet, especially kale which, for as much as I like it, I do not use as often as I should. I recently saw a recipe for Coclannon Puffs and that is where the inspiration for the kale tots came from.

Pan fried then baked tots.

The recipe was a bit of an experiment since midway through I realized that things were not working out as I thought they would. I had to get somewhat creative to actually make these work. What I thought would be my tot batter ended up more like a thick soup and so I had to adjust.

I remember my Mother often using potato flakes as a thickener when cooking so I decided to incorporate them into my tots and viola, success! And, as Mr. Meat and Potatoes loves potato flakes I figured it was a good way to ensure he would like them. He did!

I did them two ways- pan fried and then baked as well as a healthier baked only version. Both worked well and I would not say one was "better" than the other.   If you do not want the added oil then definitely go for the baked ones. Both were flavorful, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Given that, I will go for the baked ones next time!

"Rustic" Kale Tater Tots

5 Russet potatoes, peeled
3 kale leaves, stems removed and rough chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
5 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp non dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut)
2 cups unseasoned potato flakes*
1 cup vegetable oil (optional- to be used if making the fried version)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot boil the potatoes in water until they are tender but not falling apart (you do not want them as soft as when you make mashed potatoes).  Once tender remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Set aside.

In the same water the potatoes were boiled in add the kale and allow to boil until tender- about six minutes.  Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place into a food processor.  Cut the potatoes into chunks and add to the food processor along with all the other ingredients except the potato flakes.  Pulse until smooth (it should be the consistency of a very thick soup) and transfer back to the bowl the potatoes were in.  Add the two cups of potato flakes and stir until the consistency of a thick batter.

Form bater into tater tot shapes or roll into balls (or shape into patties).

For baked tots:
Place the tots onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes turn the potato tots and increase the heat to 400 degrees. Allow them to cook for another 15 minutes or until as browned as you would like. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

For fried tots:
Heat vegetable oil over medium high heat and add tots. Brown the tots until golden on all sides, remove from the pan and place on paper towels to drain. Once all of the tots are browned and drained place on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes increase the heat to 400 degrees and allow them to bake another 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve once slightly cooled.

*Note: when selecting potato flakes be sure to read the ingredients as, surprisingly, many contain milk products. 


  1. 5 tblsps of what, there is a measurement with no ingredient listed

    1. Whoops! Thanks for the catch- it is 5 tablespoons of all purpose flour. I updated the post.

  2. Thanks for posting this, I'll try something similar. Good for you making an effort to incorporate dark leafy greens into your diet. If you aren't already, another way to include them is by adding them into your fruit smoothies -- or even vegetable juice.

    I love my dark leafy greens, and eat them raw (most of the time). I do remember, years ago, when I wasn't eating as many dark leafy greens, including them into smoothies helped me with the transition. These days, I can't imagine not eating them often.

    Again, thanks for sharing the recipe!

    1. Thanks Opal! I do really like the dark leafy greens and I am not sure why I do not eat them more often! My nine year old daughter absolutely loves kale but will only eat it raw! She has it as a snack, often. You've gotta love that!

      Yes, I do put a couple of kale leaves into my smoothies. Most recently I have been on a Pink Lady Smoothie kick (I posted about it a few days ago)- beets and kale- what's not to love!

  3. Thanks so much for including an all-baked version. Making them with kale is a pure genius! What brand of potato flakes did you use? I am a tater-totting fool, and I cannot wait to try these!

    1. Gail, they were really good! The potato flakes I used were Richfood brand. My husband ran out and got them for me at Redner's Warehouse Market when the recipe went awry! I think they are the store brand.