Vegetable Chicken Nuggets
These delicious and healthy vegetable chicken nuggets come together in less than 30 minutes. This is an awesome meal prep recipe that can be frozen for easy meals later! Perfect for lunch, dinner, or as a snack – it is something your toddler and the whole family will enjoy! This recipe is full of wholesome nutricious ingredients, high in protein and veggies.
Why you will love this recipe
- These vegetable chicken nuggets are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside
- This easy recipe requires only minimal ingredients
- This toddler-approved recipe is easy to make ahead and freeze for later
- These homemade nuggets are packed with veggies
- Serve with your favorite sauce, condiment or even by themselves
- Feel free to use sweet potato, carrots, or broccoli. This is a great way to use leftover veggies
- This recipe can be made in the oven, stovetop, or in the air fryer
- For those of you who are gluten-free, substitute for gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
Ingredients and substitutions
These vegetable chicken nuggets can be made with ground chicken or ground turkey. Most of the time I make it with turkey because I think it adds more flavor.
Use regular panko breadcrumbs or you can substitute for gluten-free panko breadcrumbs. The panko breadcrumbs give it that extra crunch but you can also use flour or gluten-free flour as well.
Eggs help bind the nuggets together, however, if there is an egg allergy, you may omit them or use applesauce as the binder.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in fiber and B-vitamins. It provides antioxidants and phytonutrients so I love adding riced cauliflower to this recipe. If you or your little one are not cauliflower fans, you can substitute with riced broccoli.
Sweet potato adds a natural hint of sweetness and goes so well in this recipe. You can substitute it with carrots, zucchini, or broccoli.
Black pepper adds a hint of flavor.
Onion and garlic powder give the nuggets a great flavor boost. Feel free to leave it out if you don’t want to use it.
Spray with avocado oil spray before baking. This gives them a crispy exterior. If needed use olive oil or coconut oil spray but avocado oil is better for high heat.
Taste and Texture
These vegetable chicken nuggets are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. They are golden in color and have a crispy exterior texture from the panko breadcrumbs. A light and airy bite from the tender ground chicken meat.
How to make vegetable chicken nuggets
- In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, riced cauliflower, riced sweet potato, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
- Using your hands or utensil, mix ingredients until well combined.
- Scoop about 2 tablespoons worth of the ground chicken mix and form into a ball. Flatten out the sides to turn into a nugget shape. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and whisk them with a fork. Pour panko breadcrumbs into another bowl or plate.
- Dip the nugget into the egg mixture then into the panko breadcrumbs. Make sure all sides are coated.
- Set all nuggets on the baking sheet with parchment paper about 1/2 inch apart so they are not touching. Spray avocado oil spray all over the top of the nuggets.
- Place in oven for 10 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet and flip the nuggets then place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
This recipe makes about 20 nuggets – depending on how big or small you make them. I recommend doubling the recipe so you have more to keep in your fridge for later!
I love the Green Giant brand. They have riced sweet potato and cauliflower packages and it makes this recipe especially easier!
You can find the Green Giant packages in the frozen aisle with other vegetables. Trader Joe’s also sells frozen riced veggies.
To make homemade riced veggies, use a food processor to rice or mince the vegetables yourself.
Make sure you are really mixing up the ingredients so you are not eating just veggie or just chicken.
Spraying with avocado oil spray makes them extra crispy.
How to make this in the air fryer
I think they turn out better and quicker in the air fryer so if you have one, definitely use it! Set at 390 degrees and cook for 12 minutes. No need to flip halfway.
How to serve and store
Serve with Potato Cakes or Zucchini Fries. You can also serve with avocado pasta or sesame rice ball which both recipes can be found in my ebook!
These healthy homemade nuggets go well with no-sugar ketchup, mustard, barbeque sauce, ranch, or your favorite condiment!
Store in an airtight glass container for up to 5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. I reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave or 1 minute in the air fryer. You can also reheat it in a pan on the stove with some oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can you make vegetable chicken nuggets for meal prep? Absolutely! It’s a great meal prep recipe that stores and reheats well. I reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave or 1 minute in the air fryer. You can also reheat in a pan on the stove with some oil.
- Can I freeze the nuggets? Yes! You may freeze in an airtight container or bag for up to 3 months. You can freeze them before cooking or after. If you’re freezing before, pop them straight into the air fryer or oven to cook and if freezing after cooking, thaw in fridge overnight then reheat using same instructions as above.
- Can I swap out the vegetables in the nuggets? Of course! You may substitute with any of the ingredients noted above under the “Ingredients and Substitutions” section.
- Can I make it with ground turkey? Yes – they are equally, if not more, delicious with ground turkey.
- Are vegetable chicken nuggets healthy? Yes, and they don’t lack the taste! You and your family will love this recipe.
- Can I make these on the stove? Yes. You will cover the bottom of a medium to large sized pan with avocado or olive oil and cook on medium heat for about 3 to 5 minutes per side, making sure the internal temperature rises to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.