When I decided to stop consuming animal products I had a hard time finding products in stores to replace the meat portion of my meals. Most had ingredients that I don’t eat (soy for example), and the ones that seemed to fit my dietary standards were outrageously priced. Being a family with with 3 children 10 and under, nuggets are a frequent request. With my family being on a tight budget, buying these fancy vegan nuggets for all to eat was out of the question. I decided I would simply have to make my own.
My nugget adventure began with searching for a non-soy tofu. My husband found a recipe for chickpea tofu on YouTube. It was very basic. Its only ingredients were chickpea flower, water, and salt. I changed the ratio of water to chickpea flour and added more ingredients to get to a more chicken like flavor and texture. At first I was cutting it into strips and cooking it stove top in oil. After a while I started playing with shapes and texture. Finally I came up with these awesome, family approved, nuggets. The ones pictured above have no breading and were cooked stove top in a mixture of olive oil and coconut oil (I don’t use vegetable oil, aka canola oil.) Breading them isn’t necessary by any means. Even when baked they get a nice crispy outside. Today I breaded half and baked them all. I hate how bogged down I feel after eating a meal with a lot of oil so I’ve been trying to bake more often. Both types came out delicious but the nuggets without the breading had better coloring than the others.
These nuggets are vegan and free from gluten, soy, corn, sugar, and artificial everything. The unbreaded ones are also free from nuts (although I do use a bit of sesame oil, but that’s a seed. Right?) Today I served them with potato wedges (baked), my homemade BBQ sauce, and a side salad.
This recipe does require a little advanced prep-work. I usually put them together about 2-2.5 hours before I intend to cook them. They need to cool in the refrigerator in order for them to firm up properly. They aren’t difficult to make though! You only have mix all the ingredients in a sauce pan and stir until it gets very thick (it will remain clumpy so no worries!) After that you shape the nuggets. The key is to work quickly while also not getting burned. They firm up pretty fast and once they do it’s not very easy to mold them. Next you can bread them if you like. Refrigerate, fry or bake, then done! Below is what they look like after I’ve formed them but before I cooked them (Side note, they don’t taste all that good before you cook them. I promise they are tasty after they’ve been baked or fried!)
If you try this recipe be sure to let me know how you like it! Feel free to comment with any questions. 🙂
Chickpea “Chicken” Nuggets
1 1/2 cup chickpea flour (aka garbanzo flour)
2 cups water
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp ground sage
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp smoked* paprika (using smoked makes a difference)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame oil
Breading (Update: I literally never use the breading. They come out fine without it! But feel free to try if you like!)
1/2 cup almond meal (I just put raw almonds through my blender.)
1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour. (I use Bob’s for this and the chickpea flour.)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 cup water
- For the nuggets, add all nugget ingredients to sauce pan. Heat on low-medium stiring continuously. Mixture will thicken as it heats. Continue heating and stiring until mixture becomes very thick and is harder to stir.
- Working quickly, place spoonfuls on a large plate or cookie sheet. After all the mixture is placed go back to the spoonful you dropped first and begin to shape them into nuggets. Be sure to move quickly as the mixture hardens as they cool.
- One all the nuggets are shaped you can place in the refrigerator (2 hours or more is best) or move on to breading them.
- If breading, place almond meal in a shallow container, then mix remaining breading ingredients in a separate bowl. Dip nuggets into wet mixture then into almond meal.
- Refrigerate for 2 hours (1 or less will work but it doesn’t give as firm a nugget.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Put a nice layer of oil (I use olive oil) on a cookie sheet then place nuggets.
- Bake for aproximately 35 minutes, flipping once half way through.
- Let cool, eat, and enjoy!