A common “fall back” for many families with picky eaters are chicken nuggets, quick, easy and designed for little taste buds to like them. This pains me, as the ingredients of some of the most common chicken nuggets on the market are fillers and frankenfoods. Here is the ingredient list for one nugget product (I’ve bolded the ingredients that could be classified as real food):
RSPCA Approved Chicken (45%) Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Salt, Yeast, Wheat Gluten, Canola Oil, Natural Colours (Curcumin, Paprika Oleoresins), Herb Extract (Rosemary)), Water, Canola Oil, Flour Mix (Wheat Flour, Sugar, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Vegetable Powder), Maize Starch, Batter (Wheat Flour, Thickener (1404 from Maize), Salt, Soya Flour, Emulsifier (322 from Soy), Natural Colour (Paprika Oleoresins)), Soya Protein, Marinade (Maltodextrin, Mineral Salts 1451, 508), Thickener (407a), Yeast Extract, Salt, Hydrolysed Vegetable Protein, Acidity Regulators (296, 270, 330), Natural Flavour, Herb & Spice Extracts.
Why is such a simple food FULL of c@#p? Why is ok to do this, simply to make the food cheaper? I was a little cranky (as you can tell!) so, I got to work and created a nugget recipe that you will LOVE! All real food, with real natural flavours! There is a little twist, to change things up a little, but trust me, you’ll love these Lil’ Nuggets.
½ Cup 30g Cornflakes (organic, apple juice sweetened ideally)
2 Tbsp 20g Polenta
⅔ Cup 70g Oatmeal
⅓ Cup 20g Nutritional Yeast
½ tsp Onion powder**
½ tsp Garlic powder, or fresh minced**
½ tsp Smoked Paprika**
1 med. Onion, any
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Salt
1 lg. pkg. 500g Organic Firm Tofu
1 tin 240g Chickpeas, drained
**If making these for kids, you may wish to only add a pinch of each of these ingredients*, or omit all together.
In a clean, dry food processor, blitz the cornflakes until a fine meal texture is reached.
Transfer this into a medium-sized bowl and add the polenta.
Add the oatmeal, nutritional yeast and spices to the food processor. Blitz for a second or two to fine up the oatmeal
Transfer this into a mixing bowl for now.
Since you're using the food processor anyways, have it quickly chop up your onion to a finely-diced texture (smoother is fine too).
In a small saucepan (or Thermomix 7min/105°/speed 1), add the oil and salt, and saute the onion until soft and slightly caramelised.
Cut the tofu into rough cubes and add it to the food processor bowl, with the cooked onions, and chickpeas.
Blitz this until a chunky 'paste' forms. It should be mostly smooth, but also still have a few tiny pieces that are only just distinguishable.
Transfer this into the mixing bowl with the oatmeal and stir evenly through.
Form this 'dough' into your desired size and shape of nuggets and put them into the cornflake bowl.
Once you have 3-4 in that bowl, press each nugget gently into the crumb to coat on all sides.
Arrange the coated nuggets on a baking tray, (it doesn't need baking paper).
Bake for approximately 20min on 190°C (375°F).
Remove from the oven to flip each one.
Continue baking for a final 15-20min.
Enjoy hot out of the oven, or cold the next day. Suggestions below.
Freeze extra nuggets before baking them, for an easy grab on a busy night. Bake straight from frozen at 180°C but put them into a cold oven and allow it to pre-heat with them inside. It may take an extra 10min.
These make a great wrap filling, along with plenty of other salad ingredients and your favourite sauce.
Dipping sauce ideas could include homemade BBQ sauce, tomato sauce, aioli, salad dressings, sweet chili, pesto, etc.
Add any other spices you fancy and turn them into fancy adult appetizers for a party. They could be shaped into tiny balls or large balls with a stick in them. They could even be served similarly to a corn dog.