These Cheesy Cauliflower Nuggets are delicious, easy to make, and kids love them! The perfect blend of rice, cheese and oodles of cauliflower they are naturally gluten-free and the perfect finger food for any meal!
I’m pretty sure making anything into a nugget makes it automatically taste better and more exciting to eat.
And as I learned, this includes cauliflower. Especially when you throw cheese into the mix! Cheese makes all veggies a little better in my book.
You see, I am not a big fan of cauliflower. Like, at all. Nor is my family. And while I don’t believe in forcing myself to choke down food I don’t like (I love food too much to hate eating) or glaring at my family over the dinner table until they have eaten what I’ve made, I do know cauliflower is worth our time to TRY and find a way to enjoy…since it is loaded with so much goodness!
It is for reasons like this and veggies such as cauliflower that the veggie-loaded approach was born. To make eating veggies (especially the ones we know are good for us but that we don’t love to eat) exciting, delicious and a joy over something we just have to get through at the dinner table.
So these Cheesy Cauliflower Nuggets are my newest way of downing that oh-so-healthy cauli in a way that is delicious, fun and that my family enjoys as much as I do! So much winning with this recipe, TNNers.
Health benefits of cauliflower
Cauliflower is pretty awesome veggie to add to your life and diet.
Why? Because it is high in fiber, is a great source of antioxidants, is high in choline (a nutrient that many people are low in and that is important in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and brain development (source)), and is rich source of vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Can these cauliflower nuggets be cooked on the stove top instead of baked?
I tested that and they did not hold together well for me. However, baking was successful and highly suggest sticking with that method for cooking these cauliflower nuggets.
Can these cauliflower nuggets be made vegan?
No. Sorry, friends! Unfortunately These did not hold together well without eggs.
They *might* work with vegan cheese for a dairy-free option. However, in my experience, each brand of plant based “cheese” melts very differently, so it will depend on if you have a vegan cheese that you love that melts well in the oven.
Suggested adapations for making cauliflower nuggets
- Used 3 1/2 cups cauliflower rice instead of florets. Cook as directed, but be sure to to carefully squeeze out as much water from the cauliflower rice as possible so that your nuggets are not mushy.
- Replace 1/2 or all of the cauliflower with broccoli.
- Use brown rice instead of white.
- Adjust seasoning to fit your personal taste. Add more. Leave some out. Add something different! Make them your own!
- Make them extra cheesy! I reheated these in a skillet one day and threw some extra cheese on them to make these cauliflower nuggets extra intriguing to my cauliflower-iffy daughter. She loved that little extra topping and gobbled these up. So after you flip them the second time, add a little bonus cheese on top for the cheese-lovers in your life.
Other cauliflower recipes your family will love.
If cauliflower is something you need to get creative with to help you family get jazzed about eating it, here are some other healthy, cauliflower-loaded recipes that are always winners in our house!
- Mashed Instant Pot Potatoes with Cauliflower
- Creamy Cauliflower Alfredo Sauce (vegan)
- Chicken & Cauliflower Meatballs
- Creamy Cauliflower & Blueberry Smoothie
Cheesy Cauliflower Nuggets
- 1 cups cooked rice I used white but brown would work too
- 3 cups cauliflower florets fresh or frozen (about half m medium head of cauliflower)
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Preheat oven to 400℉ and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up.
- Bring a pot with a steamer basket to a boil. Add cauliflower and steam for 5 minutes. When done cooking, transfer to a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Let cauliflower drain very well and press down on it with the back of a spoon to help draw out extra water.
- Run cauliflower through your food processor with your “S” blade until finely chop. Alternatively, you can finely chop the cooked cauliflower by hand, pulse it in a blender or mash it with a potato masher. DO NOT OVER PROCESS. The cauliflower should not be pureed but rather still have a bit of texture
- Place cauliflower in the middle of a clean towel or some paper towels. Wrap it up and press down on the cauliflower to help drain out as much water as possible.
- Add chopped and drained cauliflower to a large bowl with remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- Using a heaping tablespoon or small cookie scoop, portion the mixture into your hand and form a nugget. The mixture will soft and this is normal, but just luckily they will taste great no matter how they look! Place nuggets onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 7 minute. Flip, and press down gently on each nugget to flatten them a bit. Return to oven a bake for 7 more minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before enjoying warm with your favorite dipping sauce or as a side to any meal.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!