The dilemma that makes fried spud lovers break out in a cold, clammy sweat?

“Would you like tater tots or fries with that?”

It’s a tough choice — a tater tot’s crispy, crunchy exterior vs. a french fry’s fluffy interior. Indecision will not save you from ridicule: The Twitterverse wants to know: Are you #teamtots or #teamfrenchfries?

But, hey, if you’re trying to shore up your waistline after too many tots and fries, the only answer to the question is give me The Kansas City Star’s Crispy Cauliflower Bites, please!

In fact, these crispy oven-baked morsels made in a mini muffin tin are so reminiscent of tater tots you might not even miss the tater — especially if you dunk them in ketchup.

Preparation tips: If cauliflower feels like it has a lot of liquid after processing, place cauliflower in a kitchen towel and squeeze away excess liquid.

Riced cauliflower is now available as either fresh or frozen at many grocery stores and it is great to use in this recipe. For best results, choose a riced cauliflower with kernels similar in size to rice. For this recipe, we tested it with riced cauliflower from Trader Joes.

CRISPY CAULIFLOWER BITES

Makes 24 cauliflower bites

Ingredients

Nonstick cooking spray

½ medium head cauliflower

2⁄3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour

2 large eggs

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½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray mini muffin tin generously with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the leaves from the cauliflower. You can use the inner core for this recipe. Coarsely chop the cauliflower and place in the work bowl of a food processor with the steel chopping blade. Pulse the food processor until the cauliflower is finely chopped. Do not over process or the cauliflower will turn into a puree.

Place the finely chopped cauliflower into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir to blend well. Place a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into each mini muffin well. Pat down to form a nugget. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Carefully turn each cauliflower bite over and continue to bake for 12 to 15 additional minutes or until bites are crispy brown on both sides.

Serve hot or warm for best flavor.

Per bite (recipe makes 24): 30 calories (percent of calories from fat, 56), 2 g protein, 1 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 2 g fat (1 g saturated), 22 mg cholesterol, 86 mg sodium.

Recipe developed exclusively for The Star by professional home economists Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

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