Perfect for after-school snacks, party finger food, or as part of a meal, these kid-approved vegan baked cheesy pumpkin tots are really easy to make, nutritious, and they freeze well too. Why not make a few batches to keep for emergency snack attacks?!
I'm sure that most of us have, at some point, looked into the freezer cabinet of our local supermarket, and reached for a bag of frozen potato treats, only to get them home, and discover that they're nowhere near as good as the image on the pack would have us believe. I know I have.
Mine was potato croquettes; I remember the ones my gran used to make. From scratch, of course. They had a crisp, golden shell, with light and fluffy mashed potato inside. They were very simply seasoned with salt, white pepper, and fresh parsley.
I think parsley and mint were the only herbs my gran ever used. And the mint was only to make mint sauce for the Sunday roast, or to put in the pot with fresh young peas from the garden!
I freely admit that as an adult, there have been one or two times - usually if I've been shopping when hungry (don't do this at home, kids!), and I've been tempted by potato products in the frozen aisle. They've always been inherently disappointing though. Dry, powdery, and generally pretty bland. The only way to get any semblance of comfort-food satisfaction has been to deep-fry them.
Mmmm.... fried food!
Baked cheesy pumpkin tots
It's not that I object to deep-fried foods (not in the slightest!), more that I object to foods which are supposed to be baked only having any real flavour when fried.
If you're sitting there, nodding your head, then these cheesy tots are for you!
And your kids... regardless of their age. Mine are in their thirties, and they still love comfort food like this!
How to make pumpkin tots
Making these baked cheesy pumpkin tots couldn't be easier; first,
catch your pumpkin peel and prep the pumpkin or squash, season, bake in the oven, then smoosh.
(Tip: you can do this a day or two in advance if you're pushed for time, and keep the cooked pumpkin in an airtight container in the fridge.)
Then dump the other ingredients into a bowl, mix well, and shape into tots. Set up a dredging station, give those little critters a nice crispy Panko coating, then bake until crispy. Easy as that!
Serve these delicious little orange pillows of veggie goodness with your favourite dips (e.g. veganaise), and bask in the glory of all the praise from your family!
Tips for making cheesy pumpkin tots
- Do I have to use ground flax? Nope, you can use 1 tablespoon ground chia seed instead.
- My pumpkin mix is too wet, what can I do? Adding another tablespoon of potato starch should fix it.
- I don't have time to make vegan cheddar, can I use store-bought Of course but since it's not as flavoursome as my vegan cheddar, you may need to add some nutritional yeast to the grated cheese.
- What is savory? Savory is a herb, similar to rosemary. You can get summer and winter savory, with the summer variety being sweeter, and winter having a slight bitter edge. Despite its name, winter savory grows all year round, and is an evergreen.
- I can't get fresh savory, what can I use instead? ½ tablespoon of dried savory will be fine.
- I can't get dried savory either! What can I use? Rosemary! Either 1 tablespoon fresh leaves, or ½ tablespoon dried.
To store these pumpkin tots
In the fridge:
Once cooked, these pumpkin tots don't keep well, as they tend to go soggy if left for any length of time, so I recommend serving and eating immediately. (Oh, the hardship!)
In the freezer:
Before baking, arrange the tots on the cookie sheet, cover with cling film or aluminium foil, and freeze in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container or Ziploc bag.
To cook from frozen
Bake at 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6), for around 20 mins.
You'll love these Vegan Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Tots
- full of goodness
- perfect for snacks
- deliciously more-ish
I love to have these with my home-made veganaise mixed with some sweet chilli sauce or Thai chilli jam. They're great with ketchup or salsa too! If you really want to go overboard on the cheesy goodness, you could even serve them up with some nacho cheese!
Vegan Baked Cheesy Pumpkin Tots
- 1 medium-sized pumpkin or butternut squash (c.1,5kg/3 lbs) peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt divided
- ½ teaspoon white pepper divided
- 1 large head garlic excess loose paper removed
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh savory
- 1 large onion minced
- 100 g dried breadcrumbs
- 6 tablespoon potato starch
- 12 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (note 1)
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 9 tablespoon rice flour (not glutinous!)
- 8 tablespoon aquafaba
- 150 g Panko
- A few squirts of spray oil
- grated vegan cheese to taste
- Place the prepared pumpkin into a bowl with the olive oil, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix well, ensuring each piece is coated.
- Turn out onto the cookie sheet, and spread evenly in a single layer. Add the entire garlic head, and bake for 25 minutes, until it's soft, and the pumpkin is tender enough to stick a fork into.
- Remove from the oven, and put the pumpkin into a food processor bowl. Squeeze the garlic from its skin into the bowl too. Either discard the parchment, and re-line your cookie sheet with a new piece, or wash any pumpkin juice from the silicone mat, and replace on the cookie sheet.
- Add the parsley and savory to the food processor, and pulse a few times to make a rough mash. Don't process too much, or else the mixture will be too wet, and won't hold together. (note 3)
- Turn out the mixture into a large mixing bowl, and add the minced onion, dried breadcrumbs, potato starch, nutritional yeast flakes, the rest of the salt and pepper, flax, and grated cheese, if using.
- Mix well - I find it's easiest to do this with my hands - then form into tots.
- Set up a dredging station: take three dishes, and place the rice flour in one, the aquafaba in another, and the Panko in the last one.
- Dredge a tot in the rice flour, then roll in the aquafaba, and finally, coat with Panko. Place onto the cookie sheet. Repeat for all the tots.
- Spray with a few squirts of oil, then bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, until the tots start to become crispy. Flip over (they should be golden-brown in the underside), spray again, and then bake for another 15 mins.
- Serve immediately with your favourite dips.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tablespoon = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml