Baked Broccoli Bites or broccoli balls, a deliciously healthy meal that is perfect for toddlers and older kids alike. Whether you make them for a picnic, kids' school lunch box, or simply a healthy snack in between meals, my fantastic cheesy broccoli bites are sure to please the whole family.
If motherhood has taught me something, it's that the kids' taste buds are forever changing. If they don't like something from the first try, just try again, and you will be surprised how quickly they can go from hate to love.
Greens are not quite a child's favourite veggies, but it doesn't have to be this way. Fun, yummy-looking finger foods can be enjoyed by little ones too, if cooked the right, tasty way.
For these broccoli bites, all you need are a few simple ingredients: cooked broccoli, grated cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, spring onions and seasoning to taste. No need to fry at all, they can be baked to perfection with very little oil.
Ingredients needed to make baked broccoli bites
- broccoli head - cut into florets
- breadcrumbs - either regular breadcrumbs or panko breadcrumbs
- cheddar cheese - or any other hard cheese
- spring onion
- black pepper to taste
- oil to grease the baking tray
Step-by-step photos and instructions
These bites are really easy to make, and you can use either fresh or frozen broccoli - both need to be cooked beforehand:
- break the broccoli head into florets and cook in a pot of water until tender - it shouldn't take more than 5-7 minutes
- rinse the broccoli with cold water, and use your hands to squeeze as much liquid as possible
- chop the broccoli finely
- chop the spring onion finely too, and add them all to a bowl together with the breadcrumbs, cheese, egg and black pepper
- mix everything well, and, with wet hands, shape balls out of the mixture
- arrange them on a baking tray lined with non-stick paper, spray them with plenty of cooking oil spray, and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden, turning them around half the way through
Spring onions are for added taste, but you can safely omit them. I do like spring onions though, so I wholeheartedly recommend using them. I used regular breadcrumbs, but panko breadcrumbs can be used as well.
The egg gets to bind the mixture together, so not to be missed here. If you are not a fan of Cheddar cheese, feel free to use anything else you like, grated mozzarella should do too.
So, no frying needed here, we are talking healthy food only. No added salt either, although I guess it could be argued that the Cheddar cheese is already salty. Not massively salty, anyway. I only added a tiny little bit of black pepper, and that's pretty much it.
Yet, you get the most amazing broccoli balls, perfectly baked, with just a tablespoon of oil to grease the pan to prevent them from sticking. And that's it!
As for the texture, they hold their shape amazingly well, but they are soft on the inside, while the outside slightly browns beautifully in the oven.
What to serve with broccoli balls
Serve them with ketchup, tzatziki, garlic yogurt sauce or any sauce of your choice. Or just enjoyed them on their own, they are still super delicious.
Other baby-led weaning recipes
Greek Courgette Fritters with Tzatziki Sauce
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- 1 large broccoli head
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup grated cheddar cheese
- 1 egg
- 1 spring onion
- black pepper to taste
- oil to grease the baking tray
- Break the broccoli head into florets, add them to a pan of boiling water, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 5-7 minutes until tender.
- Chop the broccoli finely, you should get about 2 cups of chopped broccoli. Leave to cool.
- Add the broccoli to a bowl, add the cheese, chopped spring onion, breadcrumbs, egg and black pepper, and mix everything well.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 Fahrenheit).
- Grease a baking tray with vegetable oil, then shape small balls out of the broccoli mixture, I ended up with 13 balls, but depending on the size, you might get more or less.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden brown, turning them on the other side half the way through baking.
- Serve warm or cold.
This recipe inspired me to see what I could do with broccoli while under a stay at home order in CA. I didn’t have all the ingredients so I improvised with what I had. I didn’t have bread crumbs, so I used an extra egg and some Greek yogurt to help bind the mix. I also added roasted mushrooms, onions, garlic and various spices into the mix (after blending well in a food processor). Turned out well! I had enough to snack on for a couple of days (household of 2) and to freeze for later.
Glad you liked the recipe 🙂
Hi can you clarify if it’s 39kcal per ball or 39kcal in total for all 18 balls, which seems very low?
Hi! That’s per ball.
Can you freeze these after cooking?
I have no teeth. Just got major mouth surgery. I love broccoli bites. Are these SOFT? or can I undercook them to be soft?
Yes, they are very soft. As long as the broccoli are cooked until tender, the bites will be soft and easy to eat.
Do they do well in an air fried?
I have never tried an air fryer before, but I presume they should work well.
Can you use frozen broccoli?
Absolutely! Just make sure it’s not too watery when added to the mix, perhaps squeeze a bit of liquid after chopping it.
Michelle A Tremblay
I used regular onion chopped fine, 4 eggs because I had so much broccoli. I steamed it, I didn't boil the brocolli . I also used stuffing mix, indtead of bread crumbs, that was the perfect texture as it was broken up in the bag from being tossed around too much, pepperidge farms brand. Garlic powder.