Chick(pea) Nuggets

Plate of cooked chickpea nuggets

Plate of chickpea nuggets on top of a pita

Last year when we were exploring vegetarian proteins, we started getting all kinds of high protein flours. The most versatile and relatively cheap flour I found was chickpea flour. The first thing I tried to make with it was falafel, using the recipe on the package. We enjoyed them in pita with tahini sauce and lettuce and tomato. They were wonderful, though not the same as the crispy balls of falafel that one sees more often, made of mashed chickpeas. They were very easy to make, just mix some flour and various spices and water, scoop into a pan and cook. Perfect for a weeknight dinner.

Plate of cooked chickpea nuggets

The flour was also useful in helping to bind various experimental gluten-free veggie burgers.

Chickpea nugget from the sideBut I kept coming back to that falafel recipe. It occurred to me, almost immediately, that if they didn’t have Israeli spices, the texture matched that of chicken nuggets remarkably well. I took the falafel recipe, made a few adjustments, and served them with honey mustard instead. Voila, a reasonable substitute for chicken nuggets that are easy to whip up at a moment’s notice.
Chickpea nugget with a bite so the inside texture shows

Recipe: Chick(pea) Nuggets

Adapted from Bob’s Red Mill Falafel Patty recipe

Makes 10-14 nuggets

  • 1 1/4 cup of chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp garlic power or granules
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • a few shakes of black pepper
  1. Mix together all of the above ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl to form a thick pasty batter. Allow to rest for a few minutes while you prepare the pan to fry them in. 
  2. Heat a flat skillet with a few tablespoons of oil for frying. I use regular olive oil. I recommend a non-stick type of pan, as these do try to leave a film of flour behind unless you use a lot of oil. Prepare a plate with a paper towel to drain the nuggets as you remove them.
  3. Spoon tablespoons of batter into the hot pan and press down with the back of the spoon. When one side is crisp and a darker shade of golden brown, flip and cook on the other side. I usually fry them in batches, even with a large pan, so that they have space to brown nicely. 
  4. Remove fully cooked nuggets to paper towel and allow to drain. 

Enjoy warm for the best texture, though they are fine cooled and reheated in the microwave as well. Dip in honey mustard (mixture of yellow mustard, honey and a bit of mayonnaise) or whatever sauce you enjoy with your chicken nuggets. I can’t imagine any child who loves nuggets wouldn’t enjoy these. Try it and let me know!

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