These Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets are the perfect finger food for little eaters! Loaded with veggies and vegetarian protein! Easy to make and super delicious, enjoy these vegetable nuggets on their own, instead of meatballs, or dunk them in your favorite sauce!
Nuggets are a beloved finger food of childhood. Heck, they are a beloved finger food of adulthood, too!
Maybe it’s because you don’t need a fork to eat them. Or maybe because they are so dunkable in whatever sauce I have on hand. Or it really could be because nuggets have a way of being an easy addition to any meal and kiddos instantly get excited to see them on their plate.
And while there is a time and place for the occasional dino-nugget from the freezer section of the grocery store, I honestly prefer to make my own nuggets so that I can fill them with vegetables (like I do) and since they are so easy to make, nuggets make for an easy weeknight dinner.
These Chickpea Veggie Nuggets are a vegetarian twist on my super popular Veggie-Loaded Chicken Bites. These vegetable nuggets are perfect for a lunch box or to make quickly on a crazy busy Tuesday night after soccer practice. Or to just keep on hand in place of those dino-nuggets for a healthier, veggie-loaded dinner option for when life is…..well life and crazy!
Why these vegetarian nuggets are awesome!
- Bite-sized! Don’t ask me why, but little finger foods are always fun to eat and typically a mega hit with kids AND adults. So these nuggets are not only delicious and healthy, but just plain fun to eat.
- They are like easy, mini falafels. Yum!
- A fun way to get extra veggies in! Great for kids (or adults) who might be feeling a little iffy about veggies at the moment. Or maybe you are like me and just like to add extra veggies in whenever possible.
- A great recipe for chickpea newbies. If you are trying to add more beans into your diet, but maybe you or a family member is feeling a bit iffy about them, this recipe is a great meal to make. The flavors and texture are on point!
To make these Chickpea Veggie Nuggets, I used….
- chickpeas, cooked and drained
- grated zucchini
- grated carrot
- minced onion
- Italian seasoning
- sea salt
- black pepper
- eggs (see below about making these egg-free)
- olive or avocado oil
- oat flour or your favorite breadcrumbs
Some helpful kitchen tools I used to make these Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets…
What to serve with these Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets
Whatever way you normally eat or dip your nuggets in will probably work with these vegetable nuggets, too! But for a little serving inspiration, this is how we love ’em.
- Ranch dressing
- sugar-free or homemade ketchup
- honey mustard sauce
- in place of meatballs with your favorite pasta and sauce
- with oven baked fries
- mashed potatoes & cauliflower
- with butternut squash vegan cheese sauce
- on their own!
Can I make these Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets without eggs?
This is a frequently asked question from readers! The eggs in this recipe work as a binding agent that hold these nuggets together. Basically, they are the glue, so I don’t recommend skipping them.
Some readers have made these nuggets with “flax eggs” or “chia eggs” and were successful in using this egg-free binding agent. However, others (including myself) have not found this to be a successful egg substitute. I have found the nuggets to hold together some, but generally crumble easily.
Don’t get me wrong, these Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets still taste great when made egg-free, but the consistency and end result is quite different. So just a heads up if you opt to go that route when making them.
And I will keep experimenting in trying to find an awesome egg-free alternative for you all!
One thing I feel super passionate about is helping make recipes their own! Here are a few tips and tricks for adapting these vegetarian nuggets to fit your life and what you have in your kitchen!
- Use all zucchini or all carrot. If you don’t have both on hand, no worries, just use more of whatever you have!
- Use whatever breadcrumbs you have on hand. If oat flour is not your thing or you don’t have some on hand, just use whatever breadcrumbs your family enjoys.
- Freeze them. Cook these nugget up a head of time, let them cool and freeze them! I like to toss them in my toaster oven to warm up for a quick and healthy dinner option when life gets busy.
- Jazz up the flavors! We all have different taste preferences, so feel free to add more garlic, salt, pepper or even some spice if that is what your family enjoys! Chickpeas are a pretty blank slate, so you can really get creative with how to make these a family favorite!
Other vegetarian veggie-loaded recipes to try!
- Butternut Squash Vegan Cheese Sauce
- Instant Pot Black Bean & Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Lentil Soup (+ slow cooker instructions)
- Pumpkin Pasta Sauce
- Instant Pot Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets
- food processor
- small cookie scoop
- large pan
- 15 ounces chickpeas cooked and drained
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup grated carrot
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1-2 cloves garlic to taste or sub 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- black pepper to taste
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp olive or avocado oil +extra for cooking
- 1/2 cup oat flour or your favorite breadcrumbs
- Place shredded zucchini and carrots in the middle of a clean dish towel or large piece of paper towel. Wrap them up and squeeze a few times to help drain out some of the moisture.
- In your food processor, combine drained zucchini and carrots and remaining ingredients. Pulse a few times to combine. DO NOT OVER MIX. Mixture should be wet but scoopable. See photo in post for reference.
- Heat cooking oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Using a heaping tablespoon or a small cookie scoop, portion out the mixture into the pan. Cook nuggets 3-5 minutes and flip, using the back of your spatula to gently flatten them a bit. Cook an additional 3-5 minutes or until outside of the nugget has a slightly golden color.
- Enjoy warm and with your favorite dipping sauce. Allow leftovers to cool completely and store in an air-tight container in fridge for 4-5 days
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!
These chickpea vegetable nuggets are amazing. My 2 year old and I are obsessed. We dip them in a mix of yogurt & dill. So delicious.
Oh yum! I love that dip and I am so glad they were successful with your little!
I made these and they completely crumbled in the frying pan, any tips? Thanks!
Did you omit the eggs? Or not squeeze out the veggies? I usually find those are the two major reasons they don’t hold together for people. But if that wasn’t it, let’s troubleshoot! Any other changes to the recipe?
Wow I made these last night and I must say they were delicious! I did use “flax seed eggs” instead of regular eggs, and I thought they were still great! Looking at them, I thought they were just going to taste like a typical fritter, but something about them actually did remind me of chicken nuggets! I dipped them in a brava sauce… Vegan mayo, ketchup, and hot sauce.I Will probably try baking them next time, to make them a little healthier and I find that way to be less of a process…
I am so glad it was a hit! And it is so good to hear that the flax “egg” worked for you…as it has been hit or miss with other readers. I did make them with “Just Egg” and that worked pretty well! Other readers have baked them with great success, so I think you will enjoy them that way. However, baking does remove the lovely crisp outside the frying gives these nuggets.
I would love to make these as they look great but we are vegan, could flax egg or almond butter work to bind them?
Hi Laira! I have never thought to try these with almond butter as a binder! What a great idea. If you try that, please let us know how it goes! I know some readers (and myself) have tried these with flax eggs with mixed results.
Have you tried messing with garbanzo flour? Like an Indian pakora.
Oh fun! I haven’t but that is a good idea.
I did chia egg replacement for vegan (I use ground chia 1 TBSP to 1/4 cup water per egg). I also baked them, 425 for 30 min flipping half way. Turned out excellent! Crispy on the outside, dippable (hold together very well), and super tasty! When forming them, if they get too sticky, just keep your hands wet with water and it prevents the stick so you can get your desired nugget shape 🙂
Such excellent tips, Patricia! Thank you!
Thank you for sharing … Overall they came out good, but a bit dry. I followed the instructions and ingredients required. Do you have any suggestions?
I’m glad you enjoyed, Kas! Let me troubleshoot with you! Perhaps your chickpeas were a bit drier than mine…I feel like some canned beans vary in texture depending on brand. Maybe you did an extra good job of squeezing out your veggies and maybe there wasn’t enough moisture left in them. Or perhaps your eggs were smaller than mine!
THESE ARE FANTASTIC! I have a very picky 5 year-old daughter, and she gobbled them up. These are going on our monthly rotation!
I am SO glad to hear that, Melissa!
This recipe looks great. I’m looking for lunch foods for my kindergartener.
Have you tried baking these ? If so, would you recommend a temp & time?
I decided to just try baking the nuggets. I did 12 minutes at 425, but I could not turn them without breaking them apart. So I turned the broiler on with the rack two tunes below the element for about 7 minutes. Perfect. And my kiddos loved them.
Hi Kat! I was going to say that I haven’t tried baking them but know some readers have with mixed results. I LOVE the idea of using the broiler! So smart! I need to try that. Thanks for sharing!
I found your website via Robyn’s podcast ‘Feel Good Effect’ – so happy with your recipes, so far have cooked several of your recipes and am loving getting extra veggies on my family’s and my plate! I am a novice when it comes to chickpeas – am I using dried chickpeas and cooking them or can I use canned chickpeas (I have canned chickpeas sitting in my pantry which I have been wanting to use!) and if so how do I use them? Do I just drain and rinse with water before adding to the food processor or should I do an extra step?
Thanks so much for your help,
Hi Erin! Welcome and I am so glad you found me! Robyn is a dear friend and I’m so glad she sent you my way.
Okay, so chickpeas. This recipe called for cooked chickpeas. I used canned but some people prefer to cook their beans from dry before using in this recipe. When using chickpeas, you are always going to want (unless the recipe says otherwise) to drain off the extra liquid and rinse them really well until you don’t see any more bubbles/foam. Give them a good shake to get the extra water off and you are good to go!
I hope that helps! Enjoy!
Made these for supper. They are very good and I am not vegan. Just eat that way from time to time. Gives the body rest from too much protein. Thank you. Will
Make again. Carol
I’m so glad you enjoyed them, Carol!
my husband and I LOVE this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing it. Have you ever tried freezing them?
I am so glad you enjoyed them! I haven’t tried freezing them yet (they disappear too quickly!) but I bet they would do great!
These came out very tasty. And the recipe is really forgiving! Used brown lentils instead of chickpeas and had to omit the onions and garlic (not allowed on the acid reithflux diet I’m on at the moment), used panko breadcrumbs. Oh yeah, I don’t have a foodprocessor- just chopped up the carrots and zucchini as small as I could after grating and mashed the lentils with a potato masher. Great recipe!
I love that you were able to make it work for YOU! Always a goal with any recipe of mine.
Just made these and flax egg worked for me🤗 after shaping a few nuggets I rolled some of them in Panko and tossed them in my air fryer at 400 for 15 minutes and love them.. Great recipe!
Hello, thank you for sharing this awesome recipe! Would a vitamix work or is a food processor required?
I haven’t tried but I think that a blender of any kind would over process the ingredients.
I really wanted this to be a hit. However they fell apart in the pan and the ones I could salvage were an absolute no go from my 6 yr old and 2 yr old…even covered in ketchup. You said to not over mix but that left a lot to interpretation. I think I should have mixed it much more so there were no recognizable pieces. The flavor was there (I liked it) but the texture was a hard sell. I might try again next time but mix a lot more. I love the idea of these.
Hi Casey. Thank you for your honest review. Were there any changes made to the recipe??
The texture should be kind of like that of a falafel, with a little bit of chickpea texture but not huge chunks. There is a picture in the post for reference so readers can see what the mixture should look like when done. I mention not over mixing because I know some readers have heavily pureed these and the mixture has been mush in the middle once cooked.
Yum! These pass the picky toddler test! I subbed butternut squash and a few leaves of baby kale for the carrot and zucchini because they were on hand. I can’t stop munching! I used oat flour in the nuggets, and pressed panko around after I formed them, and sprayed with olive oil. Popped them in the air fryer 5 min each side at 375. Perfection!
I love those subs! I need to try them with those! And in the air fryer. Thank you for sharing!
Hi there! This recipe looks amazing 😍 besides the salt, is this fine for my 10 month baby? I see it says toddler but wondering if it’s also baby food weaning friendly?
Hi Ana! I’m totally not an expert on BLW. They are soft and easy for a baby to gum, IMO.
I made these this evening for my one year old and totally would have served them as early as 6 or 7 months. I left the salt and pepper out so they came out a bit bland for the rest of us, but my little guy enjoyed them! I used just a bit of olive oil in the pan and they had only a slight crust to the outside. Somewhere in between a pancake and a fritter.
My 9 month old loves these! Scrubbing little bits off the high chair tray tonight. They smelled so good and it was so cool getting so many yummy healthy foods in him with one recipe 🙂
I am so glad, Kate! I love when littles love a veggie-loaded recipe!
I am so looking forward to making these tomorrow for my almost 1 year old! Are they freezer friendly? I’d love to add these to my freezer stash, especially since my Babygirl loves her some chickpeas! 🤗
Many followers have made then for the freezer with great success!
Simple to make and very delicious! I’ve made these twice now. The second time I added some panko breadcrumbs along with the oat flour and made a double batch. Thanks 🙏 for sharing.
Love that addition! I was just thinking about how I need to make these again and I have to try with Panko now!
Do you have any tips on how to freeze these? Cooked or raw? Would like to batch prep, freeze and pull them down when ready to heat or cook. Thanks!!
I would absolutely cook them first and then freeze. Let them cool and then freeze on a plate or a baking sheet in a single layer so they don’t freeze stuck together. Once frozen, transfer to a bag or container and store in the freezer. I’d reheat in the oven or air fryer!
Wonderful, thanks for the tip!
These look great!
I’m wondering- after cooking them, could I freeze them?
That should work just fine!
Hi my picky son didn’t love these but he loves all variations of pancake in this shape and loves hummus. Wondering if you ever tried adding tahini and if so would it need to be a replacement for another ingredient to get the same nugget texture? Wondering if it tasted a little like hummus he might enjoy them more.
My daughter and I absolutely loved this recipe. I tried cooking it on the stove top but I couldn’t get it crispy. I put it in the air fryer at 350 for 7 minutes and they came out amazing.
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This is good, I used the liquid from the chickpeas (aquafaba) in place of eggs and it binded great. But I also didn’t add a lot of veggies.
Thanks for sharing your sub idea! Many have asked about replacing the egg and its great to hear that aquafaba works where things like flax and chia haven’t.
These are so delicious! It’s ridiculous how good they are. My husband who hates onions ate them 😱. My toddler loves them. Is there a way to air fry them? I would love to do that if possible 🙂 thank you for the recipe and your time.
So glad you enjoyed, Raquel! I haven’t tried air frying them yet but it is on my list!
Amazing! My granddaughter loves these – we freeze them and they’re so good! Thank you for such an easy, healthy and delicious snack/meal!
I’m so glad they were a success, Karen!
These were delicious. I made them for our 13 month old, but we ended up eating some too! They will be on repeat in our house.
SO glad they were such a hit, Christina! I love when a recipe can be enjoyed by everyone in the family. Thanks for taking the time to share.
Love this recipe and it’s a big win for my kiddo!
So glad to hear that!
I just made these today, and my 19-month old, who has had a couple of happy meals with her grandmother, immediately asked for fries. They sure looked like nuggets to her!
I’m so delighted they were a success, Christy!
Sorry but this was not good – followed all guidance to the letter but was too wet and collapsed in pan. Also taste absolutely nothing like chicken nuggets!!
Hi Rebecca! These are not meant to taste like a chicken nugget. I was simple saying they had a chicken nugget vibe because they were a fun finger food that you can dunk in dips and dressing. Regardless, sorry to hear they were not for you. Not all recipes are going to be for everyone. If they were too wet, I’m guessing the veggies need to be squeezed out more or the mixture was blended too much.
I misread the recipe and put in 1 tablespoon of olive oil instead of 1 teaspoon so I added some more breadcrumbs, but it was still a bit wet. Also had help from my toddler using the food processor so we definitely over processed. That being said they were still fantastic. I did fry it in vegetable oil instead of olive oil, as I find olive oil burns easier. I think if we did a little tweaking to the mistakes I made they would be even better. What do you think about trying to bread them and bake them? What would you suggest? I would like to avoid frying.
SO glad you were able to save them, Katie, AND that they were a hit! I love the idea of breading them, though I honestly haven’t tried it. If you give it a go, let me know how they come out! I think baking these nuggets would also work, but the outside wouldn’t have the lovely crispiness. So just a heads up! If you have an air fryer, that might be a great option to avoid extra oil but still have the crisp outside and tender inside.
These have become a family favorite! My teens and husband don’t like zucchini, and my son doesn’t like chickpeas, but everyone gobbles these up. I usually triple or quadruple the recipe so we have leftovers. We make a wrap with lettuce/spinach and tomatoes. I like mine with ranch and Tapatío. Thanks for a great recipe.
I’m delighted to hear that, Heather! Love the idea of using them in wraps!
We had these last night for dinner and they were great. I made one batch just following your recipe and another that once cooked I dunked in a hot sauce/ butter mix and rolled in breadcrumbs and then baked. Both were amazing.
I ate mine in a homemade roll with lettuce and mayo and it was so yummy!
We have 6 children and only our 4 year old wasn’t keen but she’s very fussy!
Thank you for a great recipe, I will be making them regularly from now on.
Oh yum! I love your adaptations, Roxie…as well as your serving ideas! So glad this recipe was an overall success in your house!
This is our second time making this recipe. My 11 month old son LOVES them!! We bake them ahead of time (as per the comment below – 425 degrees for 30 mins, flipping halfway through) and then fry them in the pan with a little oil when he’s ready for lunch/dinner. We even double the batch and freeze some for later!
So glad to hear they are such a success!
I have made these twice now for my 1 year old. She really likes them! They freeze nicely too.
Yay! That is awesome to hear, Ruth Ann!