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Vegan Chicken Nuggets Recipe: Kid-Friendly Vegan Meals


You can make some of the most delicious meals in the world with vegan ingredients, but they tend to be light and full of fresh fruits and veggies. Sometimes, vegans want comfort food too! These meat-free nuggets made with baked, breaded tofu are just the right thing to hit the spot on days when you want a childhood indulgence. 

When I was growing up, chicken nuggets night was always a big deal - my parents made relatively healthy dinners, and my siblings and I loved a good "junk food" dinner night!

As times have changed, many of us adopt vegan diets that no longer make space for these animal-based foods. 

I love eating healthy, fresh vegan meals for the most part, but they tend to be a little lighter than meat-based ones. When I first transitioned to veganism, I began to struggle as I couldn't find any good treats to satisfy the rare cravings I have for a more decadent meal. 

Since then, I've slowly discovered ways to indulge in a plant-based diet, and one of my favorites are these vegan chicken nuggets. 

They're salty, breaded, and rich - everything you'd get out of a classic nugget! Cut them into any shapes you'd like, though the kids say they taste the best when shaped like dinosaurs, and I can't argue with that.

You can prepare these nuggets in the oven or air fryer, so they'll be deliciously crisp but still lighter than the deep-fried, oil-laden versions. These nuggets require a bit of prep work, but I promise they're well worth it!

Chicken tofu nuggets recipe - FAQ

What are vegan chicken nuggets?

Vegan chicken nuggets can be homemade or store-bought, and obviously, they contain no chicken. 

Instead, most vegan chicken nuggets contain seitan - a wheat gluten dough that tastes and feels more like meat than other plant-based proteins. The nuggets take on the chicken flavor from the seitan and the spices, like chicken-flavored vegan bouillon. 

We dredge vegan chicken nuggets through bread crumbs, creating a crispy coating like a classic nugget. 

Are vegan chicken nuggets healthy?

Vegan chicken nuggets aren't particularly bad for you, but they're not what we'd call healthy food, either. They're a vegan indulgence you can enjoy once or twice a week in moderation as part of a regular diet. 

Homemade vegan nuggets are generally much better than the processed vegan nuggets from the grocery store, which can be less nutritious and contain strange chemical ingredients.

Vegan nuggets can be high in carbs between the wheat gluten, tofu, and bread crumb coating, but that isn't bad when consumed in moderation. 

A healthy diet is about balance - if you're eating meat-free nuggets for dinner, pair them with a salad or have an extra nutritious lunch, and you'll be just fine!

How do I store my nuggets?

These nuggets require a bit of prep work, but you can make them in batches and freeze them for super simple dinners. 

If you plan to freeze your nuggets, give them a light bake to barely crisp the outside and then seal in a freezer-safe plastic baggie for up to 3 months. When it's time to reheat, remove them from the freezer and cook as instructed above. 

Once baked, these nuggets are best fresh, but they can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat the nuggets in the oven or air fryer before serving. 

Do I have to use extra-firm tofu?

Yes! It's essential to use extra-firm tofu for this recipe for the best results. It has the least moisture, so your nuggets will be firm and chewy- not soggy. 

If you're using firm tofu, press it longer in your tofu press and start with less than ½ c. of water that the recipe calls for and slowly add more as you need. 

Are breadcrumbs vegan?

Many store-bought crumbs contain dairy and other animal products. I use vegan panko crumbs, blending them a little finer for this recipe. 

Can I make these gluten-free?

One of the main ingredients is wheat gluten, so it's almost impossible to adjust it to be gluten-free.

Anyway, some vegan chicken nuggets recipes use only tofu for the filling and gluten-free breadcrumbs, but the texture and the flavor will be quite different and much less authentic. 

Final Notes: Breaded tofu nuggets recipes

Once you try these vegan nuggets, they're going to hook you! Try dipping them in all the best classics - a big dollop of ketchup or sinfully sweet plum sauce. 

We hope you enjoy this tasty vegan comfort food indulgence!

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