Vegan Chickpea Nuggets: the Delicious and Easy Recipe to Make Vegan Nuggets!

Total time: 30 mins.
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

Vegan Chickpea Nuggets are a tasty and easy to prepare appetizer: vegan morsels, wrapped in a crunchy corn flakes breading and alternative to the classic chicken nuggets, ideal for making children appreciate legumes too. Perfect to serve as an aperitif or for a buffet, they are excellent to accompany a ketchup sauce, mayonnaise or a fresh tzatziki.

Very similar to chickpea falafel, they differ from the latter in the use of already cooked chickpeas and in the quicker process: all you need is a kitchen mixer to blend the cooked chickpeas and create the dough by adding flour and spices. After forming the nuggets, we bread them directly in crumbled corn flakes and fry them in a pan, but you can also opt for lighter cooking in the oven.

Tips and Variations

If the mixture feels too wet or sticky when forming the nuggets, add more oat flour in small increments until it holds together firmly. For a softer texture, consider adding a tablespoon of water or vegetable broth before mixing.

– Play around with the flavor profile by varying the spices. Swap smoked paprika with chili powder or cayenne for a spicier kick, or add herbs like thyme, oregano, or rosemary for an earthier flavor. Nutritional yeast can add a cheesy, umami depth to the nuggets.

– Instead of corn flakes, try using breadcrumbs or panko for a different texture. For a gluten-free option, use crushed rice crackers or almond flour as a coating.

– You can use the flour you prefer, instead of oat flour: even a classic type 00 is excellent.

– For a healthier variation, bake the nuggets instead of frying. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spray or brush lightly with oil, and bake at 200°C (400°F) for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through until golden brown.

– Pair the nuggets with various dipping sauces to enhance their flavor. Classic ketchup or barbecue sauce work well, but consider serving with a tahini dip, a yogurt-cucumber sauce, or a spicy harissa blend for a Mediterranean twist.

– Mix in finely chopped vegetables like bell peppers, carrots, or spinach for added nutrition and texture. You can also blend in nutritional yeast, which adds a cheesy flavor, or ground flax seeds to boost fiber content.

Can I Use Fresh Chickpeas Instead of Canned Ones for This Recipe?

Yes, you can, but using fresh uncooked chickpeas is not recommended without significant preparation. Raw chickpeas are hard and need to be softened by soaking and boiling.

Place the dried chickpeas in a bowl and cover with plenty of water. Allow them to soak for 8-12 hours or overnight. After soaking, drain the chickpeas and place them in a pot with fresh water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 60-90 minutes, or until tender.

Can I Cook These In an Air Fryer Instead?

Yes, you can cook these chickpea nuggets in an air fryer as an alternative to frying or baking.

Preheat the air fryer to 180°C (350°F) for 3-5 minutes. Once the nuggets are formed and coated with crushed cornflakes, place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they don't overlap. This ensures even cooking. Cook the nuggets for 10-15 minutes, flipping them halfway through to achieve an even, golden-brown finish. Once done, check the nuggets for a crispy exterior. If necessary, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

Can I Make Vegan Chickpea Nuggets Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can prepare these chickpea nuggets in advance. Make the nugget mixture as per the original recipe, form them into nuggets, and coat them with crushed cornflakes.  To store uncooked nuggets, place them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover tightly with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. They can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

For longer storage, freeze the uncooked nuggets. Once they are firm, transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.

To cook refrigerated nuggets, follow the original recipe's frying or air-frying instructions directly. If cooking from frozen, fry, bake, or air-fry the nuggets for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown and heated through.

More Vegan Recipes You Will Love

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

2-Ingredient Red Lentil Crepes

Crispy Tofu Bites

Cauliflower Fritters

How to Store Vegan Chickpea Nuggets

Fried Vegan Chickpea Nuggets are excellent to eat while still hot. If there are any leftovers, however, you can store them in the fridge for 2-3 days, closed in an airtight container. We recommend heating them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving: they will lose their initial crunchiness, but they will be equally delicious.

Boiled chickpeas
400 grams
smoked paprika
to taste
Garlic powder
to taste
Onion powder
to taste
Extra virgin olive oil
15 ml
oat flour
60 grams
Corn flakes
as much as you need
For frying
Seed oil

How to Prepare Vegan Chicken Nuggets

To prepare your vegan chickpea nuggets, start by taking the chickpeas, canned or already soaked and boiled. Place them in a bowl and blend them with an immersion blender: you will need to obtain a smooth and homogeneous mixture.

Add the smoked paprika, garlic powder, extra virgin olive oil and oat flour to the mixture.

Mix well and combine all the ingredients using a spatula. The dough should be easy to work with: if it appears too dry, add a little water, otherwise increase the amount of flour slightly.

Take some pieces of dough, and work them with your hands to obtain oval-shaped meatballs, the typical nuggets form, and keep them aside.

At this point, crumble the corn flakes with the bottom of a glass and bread the chickpea nuggets.

Prepare a pan with plenty of oil and wait for the oil to reach 347°F (175°C). If you don't have a cooking thermometer, you can check the temperature of the oil with an alternative home method. Fry the nuggets in boiling oil for a few minutes, until they turn golden brown.

The vegan chickpea nuggets are ready: serve them while still hot and enjoy!

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