These “Chicken” Nuggets Are Vegetarian, and Taste Way Better Than Nuggets with Meat

January 12, 2020

We came into this with every intention of making this recipe taste as close to chicken nuggets as possible. We failed, and have resolved into thinking you can’t really recreate that. But our effort led us to something better. And honestly, what are you doing looking for vegetarian chicken nuggets expecting it to taste like McDonald’s?

You can even shape ’em, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“[We’d] eat these, no problem,” was the general consensus from the Pepper team after tasting these nugs. They have a varied mix of textures, enveloped in a crunchy exterior. Their flavors are similar to that of a falafel, just earthier, and generally heartier. Feel free to dip them in whatever sauce you like—diet-friendly or not.

PS: To be fair, they do look like chicken nuggets.

“Chicken” Nuggets

  • Serves: 6-8 people
  • Active time: 1 hr
  • Total time: 1 hr
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Special tools: Food processor



  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms
  • 1 cup cauliflower
  • 1 small white onion
  • 2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 cup fine breadcrumbs
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, for frying


  • ½ cup rice flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 to 1 ½ cups cold water


  1. Place chickpeas, mushrooms, cauliflower, onion, cayenne pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, oregano, breadcrumbs, and salt in a food processor.
  2. Blitz ingredients until well combined (should be a rough dough).
  3. Using an ice cream scooper, form mixture into nuggets and set on a lined baking tray.
  4. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Heat oil in a large pot to 350F/175C.
  6. For the batter, whisk together rice flour, cornstarch, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  7. Slowly whisk in water and keep mixture cold.
  8. Remove the nuggets from the fridge and dip into the batter.
  9. Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove from oil and set aside on paper towels.
  11. Serve immediately.​
Jica Simpas Jica Simpas

Jica hopes that by writing about food she'll actually learn how to cook. But for now, she'll happily just eat everything—especially cookies.

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