Broccoli Cheddar Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends


When it comes to eating out, I generally prefer small, locally owned restaurants.  They’re unique, charming, and full of heart and soul.  Not only does patronizing them support local businesses (many times right down to the food sourcing), but I’ve found that their food quality is so much better in general.

When I was a kid my parents loved chain restaurants with a passion (and I mean in a strange, over-the-top way that had no rhyme or reason to it).  The Original Roadhouse Grill was their absolute favorite, and it was their go-to spot no matter what the occasion.  Except if it was a lunchtime celebration, in which case they headed to T.G.I. Friday’s (no idea why they made this distinction, lol!).  They also had a few other favorite chains and Bennigan’s was one of them.

I don’t remember much of the food from these places, but there is something from Bennigan’s I do remember:  broccoli cheddar bites.

This was one of our favorite appetizers to order and it was always gone within minutes after arriving at our table.  The honey mustard sauce that was always served with it might seem like an odd pairing but it really works – it cuts through the richness of the dish and provides the perfect tang.  (A squeeze of fresh lemon juice on top is also fantastic.)

I don’t think the broccoli cheddar bites at Bennigan’s have rice (I really don’t remember, it’s been so long since I’ve been there…they closed in our area a few years ago), but I included rice in my recipe with Sicilian arancini or fried breaded rice balls in mind.  When Mike asked what I was making, I told him “Sicilian falafel”.  He isn’t big on trying new things, but he hears Sicilian and/or falafel and he’s in.  (A girl does what she has to do, right?)  Anyway, he loved them.

Broccoli Cheddar Bites with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer

2 cups prepared Broccoli-Cheddar Risotto, chilled

2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1 large egg

1/3 cup breadcrumbs, plus more as necessary to bind the balls together

Canola oil, for frying

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce (recipe below)

Minced fresh parsley (optional, for garnish)

Lemon wedges (optional, to squeeze on top)

Put 1/3 cup breadcrumbs into a shallow bowl and set aside (this is for rolling the balls in).  Use your hands to combine the risotto, cheese, and egg in a medium bowl.  If the mixture doesn’t come together nicely when squeezed, add breadcrumbs a little at a time until it does.  Scoop into bite-sized balls (I use a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop and I get about 25 balls) and roll each ball in breadcrumbs.  Transfer the balls to a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Fill a large Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with about 2 inches of canola oil and heat to 350F.  Once the oil is hot, fry the balls in batches of 5 to 6 until golden brown and crispy outside, about 2 to 4 minutes per batch.  Remove the balls from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.

Sprinkle parley on top and serve with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce for dipping, and/or lemon wedges to squeeze on top.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce

Yields 1/2 cup

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

A pinch each of salt and pepper

Whisk together all ingredients until smooth and refrigerate until serving.

Share on Pinterest
Share with your friends



  1. says

    I too eat at mostly local restaurants, but I remember Friday’s having something similar and loving them. I’m sure your’s are so much better.I liked how you added the lemon water to the photos.

  2. says

    These look absolutely delicious! I have the same feelings about eating out. Now, my husband and I will only eat at local restaurants, but growing up, my parents were big into chains. Back then, Bennigans was among my favorites, only second to ChiChi’s!

  3. says

    Sounds gorgeous Faith! I really like the sound of that dip. This recipe is an excellent way of sneaking in the brocolli! Do you think this would work baked in the oven versus frying?

    • says

      Girlnapurposedress, I haven’t tried baking them, but I definitely think it could work. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! (I think a baked version would be nice and light.)

  4. says

    This sounds like the best kind of arancini I’ve ever heard of. So brilliant, you can’t go wrong with the broccoli/cheddar combo! Now I just need more of that vegan cheddar I reviewed recently… And maybe a party to go with them. That would be such a great way to put it to the test!

  5. says

    I love these little bites. In Greece such treats we call them meze. These ones look absolutely mouthwatering Faith and honey mustard is one of my favorite sauces.

  6. says

    For my parents the chain of choice was/is Olive Garden. :-) These little bites sound so scrumptious, Faith. :-) And I think the dipping sauce would be delish with them.

  7. says

    I seriously LOL’ed at the way you got Mike to try these-you are so smart and creative! I need to think more like you. :) I was also tickled about how your parents LOVED chains to a crazy degree. hahaha! Man, the Bennigan’s in Wichita closed like 10 years ago and I don’t remember much about them but I know I never tried this–it sounds great! Very cool that you repurposed leftovers for it (I’m assuming anyway). I remember that risotto, what a perfect use for it!

  8. says

    That’s so funny – I feel the same way about chains as you, and I never eat at them, though my parents dragged me to Bonanza Steakhouse regularly as a kid. That said, I have an absurd love of Ikea’s Swedish meatballs, and like you figured out a way to make my own better version. So I love what you did here, and am sure these broccoli bites are far superior to anything at Benigan’s!!!

  9. says

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who phrases things in very specific ways to get my family/boyfriend to eat them! :P I haven’t eaten at a chain in a while but I frequented Bennigan’s while living in Boston many a time (my go-to order was the Monte Cristo). I’m so sad I never had these broccoli-cheese bites! Well, at least now I can make them at home!

  10. says

    My parents aren’t really into chains, they prefer small family owned restaurants. Thanks for sharing the bites they look so good. I would eat way too many of them in one sitting.

  11. says

    Since my Dad is a chef, we never really did the chain thing much, and I generally prefer smaller local spots as well.

    These are fantastic Faith…I love that they are filled with risotto, so delicious! And the sauce sounds like a great pairing for the delightful bites!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *