Buckwheat & Chickpea Nuggets

The word “nuggets” has been used a lot lately in my home because it’s what I like to call my twin nephews. I can’t help it. That’s what they are—my nuggets. Little morsels. And now that I have these munchkins in my family, I can’t help but think about all of the foods and treats I can make for them someday. I’ve already claimed dibs on hosting the first birthday party. Yes, I’m that aunt.

I haven’t seriously thought about a chicken nugget in almost a decade, but lately, I have been thinking about how it can be done in all its plant-powerful glory (not its pink slime glory). I guess the nickname planted a seed. Now, there are a lot of faux chicken tenders and TVP nugget recipes out there in the universe, but I think know we can be more creative than using highly-processed gluten, wheat and soy to create a fake meat. Why do we even need to create a fake meat? Can’t we make a tasty, crunchy little nutrient-rich nugget using beautiful plant-based ingredients like chickpeas, buckwheat and fresh herbs and call it what it is? Yes. We can. And hopefully, YU will…

Me & The Nuggets

Photo ©Marta Sasinowska

Makes about 40-50 nuggets

Tools:
Chef’s knife
Food processor
Blender
Large skillet
Baking sheet
Large plate
Unbleached parchment paper

Ingredients:
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth (make your own)
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Tenders
3/4 cup hulled buckwheat groats*
3/4 cup dry chickpeas*
2 tbsp kombu, cut into small pieces
2 medium yellow onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tsp unrefined coconut oil

Seasoning
1/4 cup + 2 tbs fresh, chopped parsley leaves
2 tbsp fresh, chopped sage leaves
2 tbsp fresh, chopped marjoram leaves
1 tsp fresh, chopped thyme
2 tsp fine ground sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Gluten-free breading
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (can sub Garbanzo/fava)
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper

OR

Gluten-free Pine Nut breading (a bit more “cheesey” flavored)
1/4 cup Almond flour
1/4  cup Garbanzo bean flour (can sub Garbanzo/fava)
1/4 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper

*For extra flavor, you can cook your chickpeas and buckwheat in vegetable stock (try making your own) instead of water.

Dippin’ Sauces (highly recommended):

creamy-dairy-free-soy-free-ranch-dressing

Dairy-Free Ranch or

impossibly-delicious-raw-bbq-sauce

Impossibly Delicious Raw BBQ Sauce

Let’s get started.
Soak sunflower seeds for 4 hours in pure water. Soak buckwheat and chickpeas 8-12 hours (try while you sleep). Rinse well and cook buckwheat according to these instructions, and cook chickpeas according to these instructions. Make sure you add 1 tbsp of kombu to the water for each as you cook. Leave the kombu in there once cooked—it not only adds texture that we need, but important trace nutrients (without adding a detectable “sea” flavor).

While chickpeas and buckwheat cook, prepare herbs and spices.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Herbs

Chop onion and mince garlic. Add coconut oil to skillet and warm to medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While onions cook, place soaked and rinsed sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup veggie stock and lemon juice in the blender and mix until creamy. Pour into food processor. Use a silicone spatula to get all the goodness out of the blender.

Add garlic to onions and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Place onion, garlic, cooked buckwheat and cooked chickpeas to the food processor with sunflower mixture. Add seasoning.

Pulse 40 times—that’s it—YU don’t want a paste, you want some texture like below.

pulsed

Now, stir together almond flour, garbanzo flour, salt and pepper for breading. If you want a cheesier parmesan-like breading, you can pulse together pine nuts and nutritional yeast in a clean, dry food processor and then add to your flours.

Crumbs

Stir well.

Time to shape some nuggets. YU can use a cookie cutter like the heart-shaped one below, or you can simply use your hands and fingers to shape traditional rectangles.

For hearts (or other cookie cutter shapes)…

Cookie Cutter

…take a dollop of chickpea/buckwheat mixture and drop it into your breading. Sprinkle breading all around it so you can easily pick it up.

Dollop

Press into mold and lift it up.

press_mold

Gently pat down any edges…

pat_edges

… sprinkle with a little more breading…

nuggets_top

… and repeat steps until you create all of your nuggets.

Nuggets_unbaked

You can also hand-shape your nuggets into little rectangles or any shape YU like.

Rectangular nuggets

This is an extra step (and you can skip it), but I like to put a little coconut oil in a skillet and brown the nuggets on each side for 2 minutes, then bake.

brown

Bake nuggets on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and flip them all. Bake another 25 minutes. Allow to cool a bit before serving warm.

bite

Be sure to make one or both of the dipping sauces to take them to the next level.

dip

You can freeze these guys for up to a month, in an airtight glass container. Reheat them either in a skillet or the oven (never the microwave).

They keep in the fridge for up to 10 days—just reheat as mentioned above.

Try them crumbled into a salad and topped with ranch dressing to change it up.

Now, I want to hear from YU. Have you tried this recipe yet? Tell us what you think with a comment below.

Read the comments or add yours.

Comment Rules

  1. Um, wow. These look AMAZING, and I bet taste so much better than the fake meat out there. THIS is what I love about your mind – always pushing the boundaries. Can’t wait to try these!

    • Heather Crosby

      Thanks sister, I think YU will like ’em 😉

  2. Hi Heather – these look yum. I’m sure these would go down well at feeding time in my zoo. You mention freezing them in a glass container. I’ve always been a little wary of freezing in glass after seeing too many beers bursting in my younger years. What sort of glass containers do you use to freeze in?

    Thanks!

    • Heather Crosby

      Ha Nicole… frozen beers—memories. 😉 I use pyrex glass storage containers with success. Just be sure that you don’t subject them to extreme temperature differences.

      • Thank you! Made these yesterday and 2 out of 3 kids loved them which is a success. And no need to freeze leftovers as there were none.

  3. Kristine

    Wow! I can’t wait to try these for my 4little “nuggets” at home- lol! My hubby and I have been plant based since December, but have been having a hard time getting our 4kiddos there. And I agree with you, Heather, we do not want to use all that processed stuff! Thank you!!

    Kristine

    • Heather Crosby

      You’ll have to let us know how your nuggets like them! 😉

  4. Rachel Saebens

    The Print feature on this recipe is AMAZING! Thank you for making it so easy!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    • Rachel Saebens

      And oh…I also can’t wait to try the recipe! Hahaha

  5. Robin Stahl

    Hi Heather –

    These look amazing and I’d love to make them for my daughter. However, she’s allergic to tree nuts. What do you recommend as a substitute for the almond flour? Thanks!

    • Heather Crosby

      Thanks Robin! I’d try gluten-free oat, sorghum or garbanzo flour instead of almond flour. Let us know how it works out 😉

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