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A universal favorite of children everywhere, gets a healthy revamp with this recipe for Homemade Quinoa Chicken Nuggets. Simply made using real ingredients: chicken breast, household spices, quinoa and parmesan cheese; you no longer have to wonder what is really in those mysterious frozen nuggets from the grocery store!
I was inspired to create this recipe for quinoa chicken nuggets when a local girl scoot troop in my town asked me to teach a cooking demo to the group of 9 and 10 year old girls. The main lesson idea was to have a discussion about nutrition and to show them how to make a wholesome meal on their own!
I contemplated many recipes to make together, vegetable pasta salad, whole wheat zucchini muffins, homemade granola bars… But then I thought, “why don’t I target something that they are already familiar with and most likely already love??” And so my idea for Homemade Quinoa Chicken Nuggets was born!
So what I love about this recipe for quinoa chicken nugget is that besides incorporating the super food quinoa inside the filling, you are taking actual chicken breast and mincing in the food processor! There is complete transparency, no wondering what type of meat is being used or what the ingredients even are! It’s very simple, straightforward and so so tasty!!
- chicken breast
- cooked quinoa
- grated parmesan cheese
- egg white
- salt , black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, mustard powder
- Panko breadcrumbs
That’s it! No chemical additives, preservatives, cheap fillers or questionable meat sources!
HOW TO MAKE:
First, make the crunchy nugget breading by mixing panko breadcrumbs and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese in small mixing bowl.
Now make the chicken mixture. For this recipe, I wanted to use white meat. So I bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts. BUT if you prefer dark meat, I don’t see why boneless skinless chicken thighs wouldn’t work. Also if you do not have a food processor, you can buy ground chicken meat. The texture of the nuggets would be a little more like breaded meatballs, but it WOULD be a timesaver so if that’s what you need to do- go for it! For the record: I prefer to start with the whole chicken breast, I feel the texture when cooked more closely resembles a traditional chicken nugget.
Take the chicken breasts and quarter them so that they will fit more evenly in the food processor. Turn on the food processor and let the blades go to work. You may need to stop and scrape the sides with spatula to ensure that all meat is the same size. This should take about 1 minute.
Once you have your meat prepared, combine the chicken meat, quinoa, spices, egg white and ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese in medium sized mixing bowl. Mix with fork or by hand to evenly incorporate. Similarly to how you would form if you were making meatballs.
Scooping out about 1½ tbsp size pieces of chicken quinoa mixture, and pressing together in hands to form a small ball, then using finger to flatten top and bottom to resemble the shape of a traditional chicken nugget.
Pressed formed nugget into the panko/cheese breadcrumb mixture. Do this on all sides to evenly coat.
Place formed nuggets on oiled baking sheet or parchment paper lined baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat process until all meat has been formed and breaded.
Bake in preheated oven 425 degree for 15 minutes, until breading is golden brown.
It’s that simple! I served these quinoa chicken nuggets with a rainbow medley of raw veggies, french fries and my kids wanted to ketchup for dipping too!
Just like regular chicken nuggets, you can absolutely prepare these homemade quinoa chicken nuggets in advance and store in your freezer for those night when you need a super quick dinner! You would follow the same instructions as listed above, only after cooking you should let cool on counter . Place cooled quinoa chicken nuggets in a freezer safe ziplock bag and freeze. They will be best if consumed within 3-4 months. Remember to label the bag with the date they were made!
If you like this recipe – try these other healthier versions on family favorites:
SPINACH AND FETA TURKEY BURGERS
BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC AND CHEESE
Homemade Quinoa Chicken Nuggets
- 1½ lbs chicken breast
- 1 cup quinoa cooked
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated divided
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dry mustard powder
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 425°
- Combine panko breadcrumbs and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese in mixing bowl.
- Quarter chicken breasts and place in food processor to finely mince meat.
- Combine chicken meat, quinoa, spices, egg white and remaining ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese in medium sized mixing bowl.
- Scooping out about 1½ tbsp size pieces of chicken quinoa mixture, and pressing together in hands to form a small ball, then using finger to flatten top and bottom to resemble the shape of a traditional chicken nugget.
- Pressed formed nugget into the panko/cheese breadcrumb and both sides to coat.Pressed formed nugget into the panko/cheese breadcrumb and both sides to coat.
- Repeat until all meat has been used and breaded. Place formed nuggets on oiled baking sheet or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Do not overlap.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, until breading is golden brown.