This gluten-free tater tot casserole recipe is absolutely delicious, comforting, and easy to make. Seriously, this tater tot hot dish is what convinced me that casseroles make living gluten-free so easy.
After all, who doesn’t want to be able to just throw a casserole dish of food in the oven and call it dinner 50 minutes later? Especially when it tastes as good as this tater tot casserole.
What makes a casserole a casserole? More importantly, what makes this tater tot casserole a casserole? (I’m asking the important question here guys).
Well for me, a casserole is simply a dish cooked in a casserole dish. Is that too simple? Meriam Webster’s Dictionary doesn’t think so. It defines a casserole as either “food cooked and served in a casserole” or “a dish in which food may be baked and served”
However other expectations I have for casseroles are that they somewhat hold their shape when served and that they are delicious. And this gluten-free tater tot casserole delivers on all of these expectations.
Because a casserole is quite simply food cooked in a casserole dish, that means that casseroles aren’t inherently gluten-free. In fact, many casseroles include bread crumbs, bread, and pasta that would make the dish not gluten-free.
So if you want to make a casserole gluten-free, pay attention to the ingredients and their food labels, making sure you check the food label for gluten before using the ingredient.
And if you’re trying to make a casserole celiac-safe then you not only have to pay attention to the ingredients but also how you prepare it: making sure you’re avoiding cross-contact for celiac.
That said, as long a tater tot casserole has no gluten containing ingredients, it is gluten-free.
So what’s the difference between a casserole and a hot dish? Maybe you’ve heard of hot dishes maybe you haven’t. On my journey of love for gluten-free casseroles, I ran into the term hot dish and I needed to know: what’s the difference?
According to Minnesota CBS Local, “Hotdish is common terminology in western Wisconsin and Minnesota, while the casserole is the preferred name everywhere else in the country”.
Interestingly, tater tots gained their popularity as toppings for hot dishes and casseroles, but not after failing miserably as a way for brands to sell potato scraps. Even more, interestingly, it was the brand Ore-Ida who started marketing tater tots as an easy and delicious topping for casseroles that helped tater tots gain popularity.
And now we have entire casseroles, like this gluten-free tater tot casserole, dedicated to highlighting the deliciousness of tater tots.
So now that we’ve had a lesson on what casseroles are, and how tater tots entered the casserole scene; are tater tots gluten-free?
Well obviously at least some of them would have to be or else this couldn’t be a gluten-free tater tot casserole recipe. In order to figure out which ones are gluten-free you’ll need to pay attention to what tater tots you’re buying.
Gluten-free tater tot brands exist, but you also don’t always need a gluten-free claim on tater tots to be safe. With tater tots, you want to make sure you’re checking the ingredients for obvious sources of gluten (wheat, barley, or rye ingredients), and also for hidden sources.
Most commonly gluten can show up as wheat starch or modified food starch. But for more on determining if a product is gluten-free check out my celiac label-reading workbook designed to help you determine if foods are gluten-free in the united states.
And if you want to skip the headache of label-reading, the only brand of tater tots that I could find that specifically marks them as gluten-free is Ore Ida. Which I thought was cool since there are the ones who started the tater tot scene.
Now that we’ve got the history, and gluten-free status of tater tots out of the way, let’s talk tater tot casserole ingredients. This gluten-free tater tot casserole recipe is quick and easy and requires a limited amount of ingredients.
Of course, the stars of the show are the gluten-free tater tots. They will be mixed into both the casserole filling and the casserole topping to make a delicious tater tot hot dish.
Then you’ll have the corn and the broccoli to add vegetables, color, and flavor. These will be combined with cooked ground beef (or beans if you’re making this a vegetarian tater tot casserole) and cream of mushroom soup.
Of course, if you’re making this gluten-free make sure to use gluten-free cream of mushroom soup. Pacific Foods has a gluten-free one, and many store-brands are marked gluten-free too (like Walmart’s Great Value Brand).
You could use queso instead of cream of mushroom soup if you’re not lactose intolerant for a cheesier result. And if you want to use other vegetables in this dish, carrots, peas, and green beans all go well with this tater tot casserole.
Lastly, not listed in the ingredients but definitely ended up on my plate was the use of gluten-free hot sauce to add a little kick to this tater tot casserole. If you like things spicy, don’t neglect to add hot sauce when serving.