If you’re looking for kid-friendly recipes, these plant-based “chicken” nuggets are sure to hit the spot. Frankly, adults also love them. They’re fun finger-food and these nuggets are perfect for lunch, snack time, or even dinner.
I love them dipped in BBQ sauce or ketchup and they’re great paired with these Thick Cut Wedge French Fries, baked, of course.
The secret ingredient is Vital Wheat Gluten which adds a chewiness that’s more similar to meat. It’s made from the protein portion of wheat so it’s high in protein. The more vital wheat gluten you add to a recipe, the more dense the final product. Less and the final product is softer, with less bite.
If you’d like to know more about this ingredient, read my article, “Seitan, Protein-Packed Meat Alternative.” Seitan, pronounced SAY-tan, is the final product. Vital wheat gluten can be made into many different meat alternatives, such as sausages, burgers, steaks, slice deli “meat,” a roast, meatballs, and more.
You can find seitan in the store, but most of them are made with more oil than we like to eat on a whole food plant-based diet. I do recommend one brand, No Evil Foods, because these are made without added oils… just really good ingredients! They sell sausages, “chicken,” chorizo, and pulled “pork.”
Of course, if your allergic to gluten, this is not the product for you and you can substitute oat flour or another gluten-free flour in the recipe instead.
This recipe comes together quickly because it’s all made in the food processor. Just add the ingredients to the processor and blend until it forms a ball.
It takes a little more work to add the crunchy bread crumbs which are an important part of the recipe. I used plant milk to moisten them for dipping into the bread crumbs, but you could also use the juice from the can of cannellini beans. I tried it both ways and the bean juice (aquafaba) made the exterior more crunchy than the plant milk.
If you have a hard time finding un-salted or low-salt bread crumbs, you can easily make them yourself.
Homemade Bread Crumbs
- 4 pieces of bread (stale is fine but not necessary), cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the ingredients into blender, cover, and blend until coarse crumbs form. On a large baking sheet, spread the crumbs and bake about 5 minutes or until the crumbs just begin to turn golden. Cool the crumbs and then transfer them to an airtight container. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
I also added curry powder, but if you’d like a more neutral flavor, use turmeric instead. This helps add a golden color to the nuggets.
These are not large “chicken” nuggets and if you’d like bigger ones, instead of dividing into 24 nuggets, you can make 20. I find it’s easiest to make your portions if you divide the dough in half, and then half again. Take each quarter and divide it into 5-6 portions.
Then shape each nugget. I like them slightly wider on one end. Maybe you can tell from the photos.
I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below for these Plant-Based “Chicken” Nuggets! If you have a photo, post it on Instagram, tag me using the hashtag #plantbasedcooking in your caption, and I won’t miss it!