Chickpea Vegetable Nuggets
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…
Wondering how to store your carrots so they stay fresh as long as possible? Check out my post on How to Keep Cut Carrots Fresh and get the most out of your produce buck!
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
- 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
- food processor
- small cookie scoop
- large pan
- 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