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Vegan Nuggets: Fun for Everyone

The following article was written by Keegan Baur.

Growing up, who didn’t adore eating chicken nuggets? They’re tasty and fun to dunk into sauces. But with chickens inhumanely slaughtered in order to produce poultry products for places like McDonald’s and KFC, one shudders to think of what actually goes into these bite-size snacks. I mean, honestly, how many children would still clamor for Happy Meals if they knew that birds are hung upside down and have their throats cut while they’re still conscious—all to make McNuggets? Instead, I’m guessing that they’d opt to write to McDonald’s ASAP and demand a less cruel method of slaughter known as “controlled atmosphere killing,” which renders birds unconscious before they are killed.

Luckily, vegan chicken nuggets are cruelty-free, tasty, and just as much fun to eat. Here’s a recipe that I recently adapted from a blog post. Happy dipping, everyone!

Vegan Chicken Nuggets
For the Nuggets:
15 oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard (optional)
Dash garlic powder
Dash thyme
1 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup nondairy milk (soy, almond, etc.)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

For the Breading:
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
Salt, to taste
Oil for frying

  • Either pulse the chickpeas in a food processor or mash with a fork or a potato masher until there are no whole beans left.
  • In a medium-size bowl, combine the chickpeas with the TVP, vital wheat gluten, mustard, spices, agave, soy sauce, and water and then mix with a spoon. Gluten should form almost instantly.
  • Turn the mixture out onto a clean surface and knead for about a minute, eliminating any excess bubbles and making sure that gluten strands (little stringy threads) form. Mold the mixture into a ball and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for the breading and mix well.
  • In a shallow third bowl, whisk the nondairy milk and the lemon juice together until foamy.
  • Break off small, nugget-size portions from the gluten and flatten in the palm of your hand so that they resemble nugget shapes. Coat each nugget with the nondairy milk mixture and then dip it into the breading mixture until the nugget is completely covered.
  • Place each nugget on a plate or clean surface until you’ve used all the gluten.
  • Fry the nuggets in hot oil until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. (If you prefer, you can bake them instead. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes.)

Makes approximately 16 nuggets

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  • Mac says:

    My child just hated these. Are there any ideas for what to do with TVP besides drowning it in tomato sauce that kids like?

  • Agave Syrup says:

    Great Post..my girlfriend really likes eating vegan things we lately have been eating thee vegan chocolate chip cookie from whole foods i will show her this recipe

  • Shloka says:

    can i substitute something for the TVP? vital wheat gluten? agave nectar? i cannot get these ingredients near home.

  • Pauline says:

    I made these last night – quite yummy.

    However, they weren’t holding together so I smashed the beans a bit and added a 1/4 cup more of the vital wheat gluten and perfection was achieved.
    I fried some and baked some and the fried (regretably) were better, the baked seamed to dry out too much.
    Very good with Peri Peri hot sauce

    next time I am going to make them into patties and serve on a bun

  • Mackenzie Serpe says:

    Knowing that the nuggets are chicken-free makes them taste even better now! I like my nuggets with extra sauce. Not blood.

  • heba says:

    my son is allergic to chicken.ill definitely try that recipe for him.i think hell love it.looks even healthier!

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