The classics are the classics for a reason—they're delicious!
Chicken nuggets are simple and simply tasty, and with so many options out there—from the grocery store to McDonalds—you may ask yourself, why make them myself?
Well, I'll tell you why!
These nuggets are worth making because they're unlike anything you can buy.
They're actually half lentils and carrots, and yet they taste like the good-old fashioned chicken nuggets you (and your kids!) are used to!
The lentils get slightly pureed, which allows them to pretty much melt into the meat.
As for the carrots, you will see some small specks of them in the mix—so if your kids are super weary, you can always skip them.
Or if you’re feeling crazy, you could use parsnips instead!
Like many of my toddler recipes, these are the kinds of things that I make huge batches of and freeze.
And a freezer full of chicken nuggets is a happy freezer indeed!!
Lentil + Carrot Chicken Nuggets
servings: 36 nuggets
- 1¾ cups chicken stock
- 1 cup dry split red lentils
- 2 cups grated carrots (about 6 ounces)
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Place the chicken stock and lentils in a small saucepan. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and cook the lentils until the broth is fully absorbed and the lentils are very soft—about 15 minutes.
- Add the carrots to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they are crumb-like in texture—ground, but not pureed. Then transfer the cooked lentils to the food processor with the carrots and pulse to combine the ingredients.
- Next add the chicken, parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt to the food processor and pulse again until all ingredients are just combined; avoid overmixing.
- Scoop the mixture by heaping tablespoons and shape it by hand into nuggets (the easiest way to do this is to form the mixture into a ball, then smash it flat and add dents and curves by hand). Then coat each nugget well in the breadcrumbs.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add 10 to 12 nuggets and cook them until all sides of the nuggets are golden brown—4 to 6 minutes per side. Repeat this process until all of the nuggets have been cooked.
- If you prefer to bake the nuggets rather than frying them, preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the prepared nuggets on a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Spray the nuggets with olive oil cooking spray and bake them until they are light golden and cooked through—about 15 to 20 minutes. Note that the nuggets will be paler in color—not as brown—than if you were to cook them as in Step 5.
- From frozen, reheat the nuggets at 375°F for 8 to 10 minutes.