Make the kids happy at your next family dinner with this easy veggie nugget recipe packed with quinoa and cauliflower.
These veggie nuggets have a similar texture to chicken nuggets, have boast a nice dose of vegetables and whole grains. Plus, they are an easy food for toddlers to eat AND the leftovers bake up nice and crispy straight from the freezer!
Veggie Nuggets For Toddlers
It can be difficult to get vegetables and whole grains into toddler meals—especially since whole grains can be difficult for toddlers to feed themselves—so this recipe transforms quinoa and cauliflower into a crispy-on-the-outside and soft-on-the-inside nugget that’s perfect for little hands.
Cheesy Veggie Nuggets
This simple veggie nugget recipe is made with quinoa, cauliflower, and some cheese, so they have a nicely cheesy texture and flavor. They are a little Italian tasting, due to the breadcrumbs, but I promise that they are a perfect pair for ketchup!
Did you know you can make frozen veggie nuggets at home?
You can! Cooking toddler dinners is often a challenge since many little ones want (and plead for!) our attention at that time of the day. I like to make a double batch of these veggie nuggets and store half, once cooled, in the freezer in a zip top freezer bag. When I’m ready to serve them, I simply bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees F and they crisp right up!
Veggie Nuggets are Great for Babies
This healthy recipe is a great finger food for older babies and younger toddlers. It’s soft when served warm, and has a nicely balanced mix of nutrients. Let the cooked nuggets cool slightly before serving and dice into smaller pieces before serving. (Skip the breadcrumbs on the outside since the crunch might be too much for some younger eaters.)
How to Cook Quinoa
You can cook quinoa just like you do rice with a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. For this recipe, you’d bring 1 cup water to a simmer and add ½ cup quinoa. Lower the heat as needed to maintain a simmer and stir occasionally until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. (It has a brighter white interior that will gradually become lighter in color as it cooks.)
Some people rinse their quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer to remove bitterness, but I’ve honestly tried it both ways and I don’t notice a difference—so I don’t do it anymore! You can also use leftover quinoa in this recipe. It’s a great way to use up a smaller amount that might be lingering in the fridge.
To create veggie nuggets with a smooth interior, similar to chicken nuggets, be sure to blend the mixture well in the food processor. To create a crispy exterior which older toddlers and kids will like, coat the balls in additional bread crumbs before baking. If you need to make this recipe gluten-free, try these Italian breadcrumbs from Ian’s.
Six simple ingredients team up in these quick and easy veggie nuggets.
- 1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
- 1 cup quinoa, fully cooked and cooled
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs, divided
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bring a kettle of pot of water to a boil. Place cauliflower into a heat-safe bowl and pour water over top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Drain and spread onto a clean kitchen towel. Pat dry well.
- Place the cauliflower, quinoa, cheeses, egg, and 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs into the bowl of a food processor. Grind into a uniform batter.
- Form into 1-tablespoon balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet, flattening slightly. (If you’d like to have the outsides crispy, coat each ball in the remaining breadcrumbs before flattening and placing on the baking sheet.) Bake for 20-22 minutes. Serve warm with ketchup, if desired.
Storage: Store veggie nuggets for 3 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or for about 5 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Or, let cool fully and store in a zip top freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To warm from frozen, place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes at 375 degrees F.
Variations: Try cheddar instead of mozzarella cheese.