Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Texas Tater Tot Casserole

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Little-known fact about me: I didn't know until 9th grade that you could buy tater tots at the grocery store.

I mean, I had eaten them before. I'm not a Martian. But whenever I had seen these modern-day potato wonders, it was always next to corn dogs on a school lunch tray. I assumed they were like those little chocolate milk cartons and tiny ketchup packets. When you're a little eater, you don't always know what's going on. I had no idea what a huge weirdo I apparently was until I was sleeping over at a friend's house and saw their mom pull a bag of these little buddies out of the freezer. For many of us, going vegan meant caring what went into your body, caring about what our food did for the environment, and cutting back on cute vegetable-based foods with sweet little names like 'tater tots'. That's why the second I saw this recipe, I knew that folks were going to love it. It'll give you a chance to make something so incredibly American and campy-fun-awesome-sauce, without being completely and ridiculously bad for you, because we took out the cheese sauce and ground beef.

This recipe is basically a Shepherd's Pie, with a light Tex-Mex Chili and a Tater-Tot top... oh, and there's a layer of Daiya Pepperjack Cheese in there too. When it gets served up, you get a whole bunch of spicy beans and vegetables with a few cheesy crispy tots. So you can enjoy your tater tots again, but in moderation. So ya know, no guilt... especially if you use these organic tots.

Let's get tatered!

Texas Tater Tot Casserole 

  • 1 Can Black Beans (drained and rinsed) 
  • 1 Can Kidney Beans (drained and rinsed) 
  • 2 14oz Cans Diced Tomatoes (Mexican Style) 
  • 3/4 Cup Frozen Corn 
  • 1-2 Fresh Jalapenos (sliced - how much you add depends on how hot you want it to be)
  • 1/2 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced) 
  • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper (diced) 
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (diced) 
  • 1/2 Red Onion (diced) 
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (minced) 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Braggs
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin 
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Sauce (you can add more if you want more heat)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 2 Pinches of Paprika
  • 1 1/2 Cups Daiya Vegan Pepperjack Cheese (shredded) 
  • 2 Cups Frozen Tater Tots
Heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except Daiya and Tater Tots. Put the Chili mix into a casserole dish. Then sprinkle an even layer of Daiya over that and then an even layer of Tater Tots over that.

Bake uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes or until your Tater Tots are a sweet golden brown.


  1. LOVE it! LOVE tater tots! and really love that you describe them as "campy-fun-awesome-sauce" :)


  2. Tip #1: NEVER read a new post BEFORE you've had breakfast! So incredibly hungry now!

    Anyone out there have a recommendation for a Cilantro replacement herb? Or would it taste OK to leave it out entirely?

    1. Parsley. I am in the "I Hate Cilantro" club.

    2. What is "Braggs", please?
      Thank you,

    3. Braggs is Braggs Liquid Amino Acids. It's a lot like soy sauce or tamari and we often use it to replace salt in a recipe because it has a savory "beefy" flavor.

  3. Yummmoooo!! I make something like this but yours sounds way better!! I have to try this!! I don't tell anyone in my house that Daiya is vegan & they all think it's real cheese :)

  4. Some people can't stand cilantro. My husband is one. Parsley makes a good substitute, green, clean without the "soapy" taste some people get from cilantro.

  5. When I showed my husband this, he decided we had to have it for dinner. Luckily, I had some leftover veg chili in the freeze, so all I had to do was run out for tater tots...seriously, this is so incredible delicious and fun!

  6. Made this last night and it was goo-ood! Left out the jalapeno and hot sauce because I live with a bunch of light-weights (come on 4-year-old, really?) but it was great anyway.

  7. I like to try and pretend that I'm a grownup, but then I see a tater tot and I want to eat it. I don't think I'd put them in my pants pocket to eat for later, but still. Damn, I want to make this.

  8. Looks delicious! I'm going to make this for my family this week. What size tomato cans do you use ... 15 oz. or 28 oz.?

  9. Oh thanks for spotting that1 It was 2 14 oz cans.

  10. Cascadian Farms veggie sale at my local co-op + coupon = MAKING THIS. <3

  11. I was not sure what you meant by "Mexican-style" diced tomatoes. I assume you meant tomatoes & green chilis...a la Rotelle. So I used those. They worked PERFECTLY in this recipe EXCEPT, I'll drain them next time. It made my hotdish very soupy on the bottom, which I remedied by spooning off the juice.
    Very delicious recipe! Thank you!

  12. Excuse me....what the h3ll does bull fight have to do with Tater @ all for that matter???? Anyway....sounds great, will mos def try :))