Try these healthy vegan chicken nuggets made from simple ingredients.
My quest to make the perfect vegan chicken nugget was motivated mainly by my daughter’s love for Gardein plant-based nuggets. She loves those and just about any real or fake chicken nugget.
While I love the convenience of frozen prepared foods, I wanted to make a homemade version of plant-based nuggets that were just as yummy. I could use healthy ingredients with less sodium and reduce waste by making my own.
Watch how I make Vegan Chicken Nuggets here:
I adapted this recipe from Miyoko Schinner’s The Homemade Vegan Pantry. Miyoko is easily one of my biggest influences on vegan staples from scratch, especially faux meats and cheeses. She is fantastic, and I highly recommend her many books. Her gold nuggets recipe was my genesis, but I tweaked the recipes to make them simpler and even more palatable to a toddler’s sensibilities. Don’t mistake simplicity for lack of satisfaction. These nuggets hit the spot!
Watch how I made to tofu on Tik Tok
Vital Wheat Gluten
Gluten flour or Vital Wheat Gluten is wheat flour with the fibre and starch removed. The result is a high protein flour that has beed used for thousand of years to make vegetarian meat substitute known as seitan. It can be found in health food stores and many zero waste grocers carry them too.
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Okara is the soy pulp that remains after pureed soybeans are filtered to make soy milk or tofu. If you make my tofu recipe, you’ll likely have enough okara for this recipe. Adding the okara is totally optional but a great way to salvage what may have otherwise ended up in the compost bin.
Toddler-Approved Vegan Chicken Nuggets
- Half a block 225 g tofu
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp mushroom powder* optional
- 1.5 tsp vegetarian chicken bouillon powder or paste
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 cup okara sub 1/4 cup more vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp spice of choice optional: try cajun, or chipotle spice for a little more kick
Wet mixture, sub Just Egg
- 1/4 water
- 2 tbsps chickpea powder
Bread crumbs and oil
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp neutral oil
- Add tofu, water, onion, garlic and mushroom powder, bouillon and optional okara to a food processor and blend.
- Once all ingredients are incorporated, add wheat gluten and blend for about 3 minutes or until a dough ball is formed. If you skip the okara, add the extra vital wheat gluten at this stage.
- Once the dough ball has formed, take it out and let it rest on the counter for a few minutes.
- Roll the dough into a flat sheet about a quarter inch thick. Cut out shapes using your favourite cookie cutters. You can also shape the nuggets by hand if you want the classic shape. Just remember they will puff up a little when cooked so make them slightly smaller than your desired shape.
- Grab four small bowls to build a breading station.
- In a bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the flour mixture.
- In another bowl, whisk together chickpea flour and water.
- In a third bowl, place bread crumbs and the final fourth bowl, add oil.
- Dip each nugget in the flour mixture, then the wet mixture, and finally the bread crumbs. Stick to one nugget at a time, and ensure each is well coated.
- Bake method: Line the nuggets on a baking tray and spray or brush each side with oil. You can opt to use a silicone liner or compostable parchment paper—Bake at 350°F for 45 to 60 minutes.
- Air fry method: Spray or brush each nugget with oil and add them to the air fryer. Don't overcrowd; make sure they do not overlap or touch. You'll need to work in batches. Air fry at 325°F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- You know the nuggets are ready with they are chewy in the middle and not gummy.
- Keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for months. Reheat in the air fryer or oven for the best results.