The Kinder Kitchen

Veggie Nuggets With Quinoa and Brown Rice

What kid doesn’t love a nugget?  And what grown-up doesn’t feel the nostalgia of childhood when dunking a plateful of nuggets into their favorite dipping sauce? 

Of course, if you ask most people what comes to mind when they think about nuggets, they’ll likely say “chicken nuggets” from a fast-food restaurant.  Well, here in The Kinder Kitchen, our nuggets are made from veggies and grains, not living beings who don’t want to be your lunch!

The good news is, not only are there many vegan chicken-style nuggets available in stores that kids ADORE (our favorite brand is Gardein), there’s also a bazillion recipes floating around the interwebz for both meaty and more veggie-based nuggets.

You might be asking, “What makes YOUR recipe so special among those bazillions, Shannon?”

Well, I worked for awhile to come up with a veggie-packed recipe that was healthy, with no oils or other refined ingredients, that would hold together beautifully, bake up crispy in both the oven AND the air-fryer, taste awesome with a variety of dips and coatings, and of course my kids had to LOVE it! 

We sampled these veggie nuggets with ranch dressing, marinara, and my homemade vegan cheddar cheese sauce, all with rave reviews, and also tried them coated in Frank’s Red Hot which was a HUGE hit!

 

 

Well alright, let’s get to making some nuggets!


5.0 from 1 reviews
Veggie Nuggets With Quinoa and Brown Rice
 
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Cook time
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These fun and healthy veggie nuggets are sure to please even the most discerning nugget afficianado! They're packed with veggies and whole grains for a nutritional punch and taste great!
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner, Kid-Friendly
Cuisine: Vegan
Serves: 40 to 50
What You'll Need
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper *
  • ½ cup finely chopped kale *
  • ½ cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1 large or 2 small green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped *
  • ½ cup frozen peas, defrosted and finely chopped
  • ½ cup frozen corn, defrosted finely chopped
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • few twists cracked black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 flax eggs (2 TBS ground flax seed mixed with 6 TBS warm water- let sit til thickened)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • Frank's Red How Buffalo Wing Sauce (optional)
  • Your choice of dipping sauces
  • *I use my food processor to make quick work of finely chopping these ingredients.
Make It Happen!
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. If using an air fryer, no need to preheat.
  2. When all ingredients are prepped, gathered, and measured (remember mise en place?), add them all to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Thoroughly mix- using your hands is the best way to get everything combined as good as possible!
  4. Once mixed, place mixture in the refrigerator for half an hour to firm up.
  5. FOR OVEN BAKING:
  6. Using your hands, form mixture into small oval or round nuggets, approximately ½ an inch to ¾ inch thick, an inch or so wide, and 1½ to 2 inches long. Really, you're in control of what shape to make them!
  7. Place nuggets on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with nonstick coking spray, no closer than an inch apart.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the nuggets, then bake another 15 minutes.
  9. **If making Buffalo-style nuggets: after baking, toss in wing sauce. Serve immediately while nuggets are still crispy.
  10. FOR AIR-FRYER BAKING:
  11. Spray the bottom of the air-fryer basket with a very light mist of cooking spray, OR, if you're avoiding oil, cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the basket.
  12. Form nuggets, then assemble as many as you can at a time in the air-fryer basket without the nuggets touching. If you have a rack apparatus that allows you to cook multiple layers at a time, your cooking time may need to be adjusted from what follows, because I don't have such a rack and tested this recipe in a single layer only.
  13. Air-fry nuggets at a temperature of 380 degrees for 8 minutes, flip nuggets, then cook another 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  14. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce and enjoy!
Stuff You Should Know
To save time and multitask, cook brown rice and quinoa, and chop veggies the day before, OR prep your veggies and seasonings while your brown rice and quinoa cooks.

Brown rice and quinoa should be fairly cooled before proceeding, because you'll be shaping the nuggets with your hands.

These freeze beautifully! Simply layer cooked and cooled nuggets on a baking tray and freeze, then plop the frozen nuggets into a freezer container.

 

Easy Vegan and Gluten-Free Crackers

 

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Is there anything more snack-y than crackers?  Who doesn’t love those crispy little squares of herby, cheesy, salty goodness, whether straight out of the box or piled with your favorite toppings- a dab of cheese spread, peanut butter, or avocado perhaps?  Crackers are a year-round staple of the everyday pantry as well as the party buffet.

 
Thank goodness that there’s still many vegan options available to us after we make the switch away from animal products, but gravitating toward the more natural and healthy vegan cracker options can often come with an unwanted side effect- sticker shock! 
 
 
Perusing the snack aisles at several stores tells a story of spendy boxes with flashy promises of healthy treats, most barely half-filled with crackers that often contained high amounts of oil and salt, so I set out to develop a recipe that fit my criteria for the perfect cracker: satisfying crunch, no added oils, minimal salt, BIG taste, and a finished product that I could feel good about eating and giving my family.  
 
 
After several attempts that were either too nutty, too doughy, or otherwise not hitting the mark, I’ve finally found THE right combo of ingredients that results in a cracker I love to eat and that’s a snap to prepare.  
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Looking at the recipe, you might be concerned that some of the ingredients themselves are somewhat spendy, and I won’t lie.  They are.  However, keep in mind that many items such as seeds and flours can be purchased in bulk at a lower cost, and also, these are ingredient that you’ll find are pretty common to vegan baking, so they are handy to have on hand anyway.  For instance, the large bag of whole flax seeds I keep in the fridge costs about $10 upfront, but lasts a very long time and has many uses, like adding them to smoothies, making flax egg replacers, and adding a nutty taste and extra nutrition to breads.
 
 
The only real work that goes into these crackers is the pressing of the mixture into the pan, which takes a bit of doing to get it the right thickness.  You want a cracker that isn’t so thin it’ll crumble to pieces when you pick it up, but not so thick that it resembles more of a flatbread.  Here’s a great trick to getting just the right thickness:  instead of rolling the mixture out with a pin or other tool, use your fingers to press it into a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Keep a bowl of warm water nearby and continually wet your fingers to keep the dough from sticking.  Keep pressing it until it feels just right to you.  You’ll know!  
 
 
I hope you enjoy these easy, vegan and gluten-free crackers!  Be sure to comment below and let me know how they turned out for you.
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Easy Vegan, Gluten-Free Crackers
The perfect cracker for any snack attack!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  3. 1/2 cup pepitas (raw, shelled pumpkin seeds)
  4. 1/4 cup almond meal
  5. 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  6. 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  7. 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  8. 1 teaspoon EACH sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder
  9. 2 teaspoons EACH oregano and thyme
  10. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  11. 3/4 cup warm water
  12. Sesame seeds and addtional whole flax seed, OPTIONAL
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. In a food processor or spice grinder, pulse the sunflower seeds until ground almost into a powder, but you still want many larger, visible pieces.
  3. Measure the remaining ingredients into a large bowl, and add the ground seed mixture. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the 3/4 cup warm water, ans stir until the mixture is uniformly wet.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Trust me, you do NOT want to do this without parchment paper, or the crackers will stick, even to a well-oiled pan.
  6. Turn the mixture out onto the parchment paper. Wet hands, and begin patting the mixture into the pan, continuing to wet your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to you. Pat until you have a uniform thickness- you're going for about 1/8 of an inch.
  7. Next, lightly score the mixture into squares. I suggest using a butter knife or a pizza cutter.
  8. Finally, as an optional step, you may sprinkle the crackers with sesame seeds and whole flax seeds for added flavor and a nice appearance.
  9. Bake at 400 for approximately 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. If, at 20 minutes, some areas still seem too soft, like they need more crisping up, bake an additional 5 minutes, but lay strips of aluminum foil over any areas that look like they're getting too brown.
The Kinder Kitchen http://thekinderkitchen.com/

Crispy Oven Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

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Superbowl mania has swept in and out like a tornado, and Uncle Google has seen the last “Superbowl party snack ideas” search request for a while, but that’s no reason to let your vegan appetizer game get rusty!

 

Any self-respecting hostess or bringer-of-snacks to someone else’s party should, at all times, have a handful of tried-and-true recipes at the ready when the need arises to wow a crowd with vegan eats and treats. Well, I am here to bring you what is sure to be a hit that will be a staple for every potluck and party!

 
One of the most ubiquitous vegan dishes floating around on the internet at the moment is the buffalo cauliflower wing (or “bite” for those that don’t want to call them wings). Google that, and you’ll likely find hundreds of recipes, but something tells me that I know just what you’re looking for: a bite that’s tender but not mushy on the inside, with a light, crispy-crunchy coating on the outside. Oh- and you’d like them to be healthy, so you want them baked, not fried, only you just KNOW they can’t be crispy unless they’re fried in gobs of oil, right?

 
While I have sampled fried cauliflower buffalo wings before and beheld their crispy, crunchy awesomeness, let’s face it- that’s a TON of unnecessary fat. I wanted a recipe for crispy cauliflower wings that still had that satisfying crunch without the added calories of oil. I tried dozens of recipes that claimed to result in a crispy bite, but was disappointed every time. In developing this recipe, I used elements of many others and tried a few ideas of my own. The result is a healthier wing that is tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside. When I first made these for my husband, Chris, his eyes lit up like a little kid’s! I don’t make these just for parties, either- they’re great any time, and are kid (and husband) tested and approved.

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Using panko breadcrumbs and a two-step baking method is KEY for a great crunch, and these are best served right away for optimal crispiness, so if you’re making them to take to a party, I suggest shortening the cooking time in the second step by about 10 minutes, then finishing them in the oven of your host- IF there’s room!

Crispy Oven-Baked Buffalo Cauliflower Wings
Serves 6
Oven baked, tender cauliflower with the crispy coating and classic taste you crave. No oil....no kidding!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 large head of cauliflower, or 2 small ones
  2. 1 cup of brown rice flour (NOTE: a variety of flours can be used, but in my experimentation I have found that brown rice flour resulted in the lightest, crispiest batter, while whole wheat flour yielded the heaviest, soggiest results)
  3. 1 ¼ cup non-sweetened, non-dairy milk of your choice
  4. 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and sea salt
  5. 1 cup (plus extra if needed) panko bread crumbs, regular or gluten free
  6. Large bottle of buffalo wing sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot!)
Instructions
  1. 1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. 2) Cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces- I cut mine a little smaller than the size of a golf ball. Cauliflower can be tricky to cut up and you’ll likely end up with a lot of little bits. Save those for salad!
  3. 3) In a large bowl, whisk together the brown rice flour, non-dairy milk, and seasonings. I like to throw in a few dashes of the hot sauce, too.
  4. 4) Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, OR you can use cooling racks sprayed with cooking spray on a baking sheet. I do NOT recommend simply greasing the baking sheet, as I’ve found that the wings tend to stick even on a heavily greased sheet. They release much easier from parchment paper.
  5. 5) Toss the florets in the batter a few at a time, shake off excess batter, then toss in the breadcrumbs in separate bowl. To keep things tidy, I like to use one hand for handling the battered ones, and my other hand to handle the ones finished in the breadcrumbs. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. If you need to use more than one baking sheet, switch racks in the oven halfway through each phase of the baking time.
  6. 6) Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.
  7. 7) Remove racks from the oven and set aside. In another bowl, dump in about half your bottle of wing sauce . One at a time, dunk the baked cauliflower florets in the wing sauce, turning gently with a fork to coat. Using tongs, return the sauced florets back to the baking sheet.
  8. 8) Bake an additional 20 minutes, turning florets halfway through baking time. This is key to prevent sticking.
  9. 9) Optional: for a little extra crunch, I sometimes like to finish them with a little blast under the broiler. Your call! Also optional: brush with a little extra wing sauce for added zinginess. This will, however, make the wings a little less crunchy.
Notes
  1. To make this a totally gluten-free appetizer, look for gluten-free panko breadcrumbs!
  2. Note about the sauce: You may choose to use another sauce such as barbecue or teriyaki sauce rather than wing sauce. However, if your sauce is thick, I would advise thinning it out a bit with water prior to the second baking stage. If the sauce is too thick, it will result in a less-crispy finished product.
  3. Serve with a vegan ranch dressing such as Follow Your Heart's High-Omega Vegan Ranch or Bleu Cheese, and carrot/celery sticks
The Kinder Kitchen http://thekinderkitchen.com/
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