These crunchy and flavorful Vegan Chicken Nuggets are packed with vegetable protein and a favorite for the whole family! They are both vegan and gluten free, with a crispy coating and simply divine dipping into your favorite sauce. An irresistible treat and delicious plant-based take on chicken nuggets!
Made with chickpeas, zucchini and carrot, these vegan nuggets are bursting with vegetables, making them a wholesome snack for any time of day.
This Recipe is:
- The Perfect Finger Food, these vegan nuggets are the real deal!
- Loaded with Veggies and Fiber
- Great for Dipping in Homemade Tomato Ketchup or Spicy Butter Bean Dip
- Quick to Prepare
- Suitable for Baking, Air-Frying, or Pan-Frying
- Low-Fat Option when Air-Fried
- Soy Free, and even better than Tofu Nuggets!
🥫 Ingredients & Notes
You only need a few simple ingredients to make these gluten free vegan nuggets:
- Chickpeas - for texture and extra protein! I use canned chickpeas. Simply drain them and you're ready to go. For best results, make sure to use unsalted chickpeas.
- Vegetables - zucchini, carrots and onion for delicious vegan nuggets bursting with veggies! Both zucchini and carrot are grated or shredded for the nugget recipe, whilst the onion is finely diced and sautéed before it's added into the mix. Instead of fresh onion, you can also add onion powder for flavor - but I recommend adding diced and sautéed onion for the best texture.
- Seasonings - salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning mix, sweet paprika powder. Optional: a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and black pepper.
- Chickpea flour - acts as a binding agent for the gluten-free nuggets. Swap for potato starch or cornstarch, if you don't have any chickpea flour to hand.
- Oil - for brushing the nuggets before baking or air frying. Using a little oil will give the nuggets a crispy coating! Use a heat-resistant oil such as canola oil or sunflower oil. I always buy spray oil to make it even easier to coat the nuggets in a thin layer!
Optional Additions & Variations
For an extra crunch, consider adding gluten-free breadcrumbs, crushed corn flakes, or chips to the mixture. These additions not only amplify the texture but also offer delightful variations in flavor. If you are not gluten-free, you can also use panko breadcrumbs to take them to the next level!
Sprinkle a handful of gluten-free breadcrumbs into the mixture before shaping the nuggets to create a textured coating that crisps up beautifully when baked or air-fried.
Alternatively, crush some corn flakes or chips and roll the nuggets in the crumbs before baking for an irresistibly crunchy exterior. These variations bring an added layer of texture and taste to the vegan chickpea nuggets, making them even more appealing for your snack time!
- Food processor - for pulsing and combining the ingredients
- Clean kitchen towel, nut milk bag or muslin cloth - used to wrap and squeeze out excess water from the shredded vegetables.
- Small skillet - for frying the onion until soft.
- Medium bowl
- Large Baking sheet or tray, plus parchment paper
- Brush - to brush the nuggets with a little oil before baking
- Oven or Air Fryer - preheated to 340°F (170°C)
👩🍳 Instructions (Step-by-Step)
Here's a concise step-by-step guide for making your chickpea nuggets:
Step 1 - Prepare Ingredients: Drain chickpeas. Shred courgette and carrot, then squeeze excess moisture.
Step 2 - Saute Onion: Fry chopped onion until soft; preheat oven to 170°C (340°F).
Step 3 - Combine Ingredients: In a food processor, mix chickpeas, shredded veggies, spices until combined.
Step 4 - Adjust Consistency: Transfer mixture to a bowl, add chickpea and oat flour until dough is non-sticky.
Step 5 - Shape Nuggets: Portion the chickpea mix to create small pieces and form each serving into a nugget shape with your hands. Place the vegan nuggets in a single layer on a lined baking tray.
Step 6 - Pre-Bake Prep: Lightly brush nuggets with oil, then bake in the oven for 15-20 mins until golden brown and firm.
Step 7 - Cool and Serve: Allow to cool briefly before removing from parchment; serve with preferred dipping sauces.
How to Prepare Vegan Nuggets in the Air Fryer
To prepare these chickpea nuggets in an air fryer, follow the same steps outlined in the recipe.
Once you've shaped the nuggets, preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease the air fryer basket or tray.
Arrange the nuggets in a single layer and lightly spray or brush them with oil.
Air fry for about 10-12 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time for an evenly crispy exterior.
Storing Leftover Nuggets
Place any leftover nuggets in an airtight container once they've cooled completely. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: To freeze, arrange the cooled nuggets on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until solid. Transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container, separating each layer with parchment paper to prevent sticking. They can be stored frozen for up to 2-3 months.
Reheating: When ready to eat, reheat refrigerated nuggets in the oven at 180°C (350°F) for 8-10 minutes or until warmed through. Frozen nuggets can be reheated from frozen at the same temperature for 12-15 minutes or until heated thoroughly.
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Vegan Chickpea Chicken Nuggets
- 1 14-oz can unsalted chickpeas (400g, 240g drained weight) drained
- 1 small zucchini (courgette) grated or shredded
- 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
- 1 large carrot grated or shredded
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning mix
- 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
- 2-3 oz chickpea flour (60-80g) gram flour
- 3-4 tbsp gluten free oat flour
- 1-2 tbsp oil for brushing
- Place the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse 3-4 times until roughly broken down.Shred or grate the zucchini and carrot and place them onto a clean kitchen towel. Firmly wrap the vegetables and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
- In the meantime, heat a little oil in a small skillet and fry the chopped onion until soft. Preheat your oven to 170C.
- Transfer the zucchini, carrot, and onion into the food processor with the chickpeas and add the salt, garlic powder, seasoning mix and sweet paprika. Pulse 4-5 times or until roughly combined. Do not over mix!
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and start adding the chickpea and oat flour. Use a spatula to mix everything and add enough chickpea and oat flour until you can handle the dough without sticking.
- Carefully shape the individual nuggets and place them onto a lightly greased parchment paper. Brush them with a little extra oil and bake them in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden and firm.
- Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing them from the parchment and serve alongside tomato ketchup or your favourite sauces for dipping.
- Nutritional information for reference only.
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