I've never met a single person that doesn't have at least one comfort food that they love. Pot roast, macaroni and cheese, chili, fried chicken, goulash - the list is endless. This love often stems from our childhood's; memories of something your mom or grandma made, typically.
For me, I have a small handful of comfort food favorites, including my grandma's macaroni and cheese that is right at the top (I have the recipe and have yet to tackle this; I swear it takes 4 hours to make and when I finally do it will not taste the same). I also always loved tater tot casserole and have vivid memories of coming home from school and being super excited to find out that that's what was on the menu for dinner that evening.
As I got older I grew away from making tater tot casserole. In my early 20s I certainly wasn't making an entire casserole dish for myself, and as I got into and fell in love with cooking I was so busy trying to cook the fancy things (then the healthy things, thank you 30s weight gain), that I kinda forgot about how good the basics could be.
That is until I discovered Green Giant's Cauliflower Veggie Tots (this is NOT sponsored, I just love them). Though I'd seen recipes for these floating around (who has the time to make these from scratch?!) I found a bag in the frozen foods aisle at Target one day and was more than happy to give them a try. 2-3 minutes to get out the pan and place them in a row? That I could handle. And the result? They were great!
**Pro-tip: Cook them for about 20 minutes longer than the package says to get them nice and crispy**
Then it occurred to me, if they were this good as just a simple side, they would be great to make a healthier and lower carb faux tater tot casserole. Sans the tater tots. And that was when I set off to see if I could create a healthier version of tater tot casserole using not just cauliflower tots, but also ground turkey, which tends to be my go-to over ground beef when cooking at home.
I used my go-to recipe to the letter, substituting three things:
- Frozen green beans for canned (I know I know, canned - yuck! Though I only use fresh or frozen veggies, canned was what my parents cooked with growing up and in the 80s and most of the 90s no one freaked out over sodium and preservatives.)
- Ground turkey for ground beef
- Cauliflower tots for tater tots
The result? Amazing! Does it taste a little different than the traditional? Yes. But guys - it's still so good and comforting. And it's EASY. No one in middle America has ever said "I'm making that fancy tater tot casserole that takes all day"; it's meant to be easy, accessible, and thrown together quickly.
This dish has become a staple in our home. I don't make it all the time, but I'm no different than anyone else and have my days when I just don't feel like putting much effort into cooking, or I want to make something that I can eat throughout the week because it's just going to be a busy week. With this recipe I now that I have not just an easy dish that I can throw into rotation, but one that's pretty healthy.
Cauliflower Tot Casserole
Serves 6-8 people
- 1 lb. of ground turkey
- 2 packages of Green Giant Veggie Cauliflower Tots
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can of cheddar cheese soup
- 2, 14.5oz. cans of fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 package of frozen green beans
- 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cook the frozen green beans according to the package, than open, drain, and set to the side (it’s okay if they cool off, we’ll be putting them in the oven).
- In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes or until hot. Add the onion and garlic, sautéing for 3 minutes. Add the ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and cook throughly. Drain any excess juice if you have any.
- In a 9x13 casserole dish, spread the ground turkey mixture out on the bottom of the pan. Next, spread out the fire-roasted tomatoes, green beans, then the shredded cheese
- Next, layer the cream of mushroom soup and cheddar cheese soup; spreading the soups out with a spoon or spatula, then layer the tots on top.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the tots are crispy. Enjoy!
If you try my Low-Carb Cauliflower Tot Casserole I'd love to know what you thought. One of the great things about it is that you can customize it; did you add in anything else that you love? Do you have any comfort foods that you've made healthy and love? Tell me about them!