Whenever I see these on the menu at a restaurant, it’s so hard to resist. In all their deep-fried goodness, the little broccoli nuggets are crispy golden brown on the outside and ooey, gooey on the inside. And sometimes they even have bacon in them. I mean, what can possibly be better than that?
But of course, it’s not good to sit there and binge on fried broccoli bites every day of the week. Like it’s good. But it’s not good.
You know what I mean.
So I set out to make broccoli bites at home with the goal of making them as crispy as possible via the oven. It’s certainly not an easy task, folks. But I have to say I’m pretty darn pleased with how these babies turned out. First off, the bright green broccoli just makes me so happy. I love green. And then there’s the cheese. You can really use whatever kind you want, but I’d recommend sharp cheddar or colby jack (who doesn’t love colby jack…), and plenty of it. And because I just love broccoli and cheese and bacon together, I opted for the bacon. 2 crispy slices gave all 18 of these babies the most amazing smokey flavor. YUM.
I also opted to roll ’em in breadcrumbs, but I’ve seen them without the crumbs… more like tots… so you could go that route, too.
Either way, these Cheesy Broccoli Bites (a.k.a. my new best friends) are the absolute best mini snack. Ever.
- 4 cups cooked broccoli florets
- 2-3 slices cooked bacon
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar or Colby jack)
- 2 Tbsp. + ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs, divided
- ½ tsp. each garlic powder and onion powder
- ¼ tsp. each coarse salt and ground black pepper
- Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Place broccoli and bacon in a food processor*. Pulse until broccoli and bacon are in small crumbles. Place broccoli/bacon crumbles in a medium bowl. Add eggs, cheese, 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes, if using. Stir to combine. Place mixture in the freezer for 1 hour or refrigerator for at least 2 hours, until chilled.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
- Using a medium cookie scoop, form balls of mixture, using hands to shape. Roll in remaining ¼ cup breadcrumbs until coated. Place on baking sheet, about ½ inch apart. Coat bites with cooking spray. Bake 15-20 minutes, until breadcrumbs are crispy and lightly browned. Allow to cool slightly before eating.
- *Note: If you don't have a food processor, use a chef's knife to chop the broccoli and bacon until crumbled.