Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets [vegan & gluten-free]

Not your average nuggets: Crispy, slightly spicy vegan nuggets that rival the originals’ addictiveness minus unnecessary additives or deep-frying. Bye bye, McDonald’s!

Whenever my mum would allow me to get food from McDonald’s my order would be a small size of Chicken McNuggets – sans sauce. In light of that it’s surprising I had yet to recreate them in a veg-friendly way. Maybe it was because I’m not a huge fan of all those tofu mock meats. Who knew the solution was growing right on the field [or at least only a few kitchen steps away]?? Cauliflower for the win again. One of these days I’ll write an ode to this magically versatile wonder vegetable: couscous, pizza crust, mash, nuggets… Who knows the whole potential of this unsuspecting member of the crusciferous family?

Blumenkohlnuggets_cauliflower nuggets

Interestingly enough it was Juli bringing up the nugget issue for me again. Her recent decidedly not vegan plate of coconut-crusted chicken nuggets sparked a craving. Further proof that any blogger can show meal inspiration independent from their diet. So while my weekend wasn’t bad in other terms either, the most marvelous food part was this newfound snack favourite.

Cauliflower Nuggets_6

These are obviously not your average deep-fried and greasy nuggets.  However, what these have in common with their non-vegan contenders from the Golden Arches is the addictive potential. In fact, if I was you I’d make a double batch right away. That’s what I should have done because the first time I baked up a tray of these I wasn’t even able to get a proper picture. All of that ‘I wonder if they’re done already’ snacking? Well, there weren’t a lot of fully cooked bites left by the end of the baking time. Which just meant I had to whip up another pan the next day – the things I do for blogging …

Cauliflower Nuggets_1

Vegan Cauliflower Nuggets [gluten-free]

adapted from Foodie Fiasco

1 3/4 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces [175-200 g]

Dry mix:
1/4 cup chickpea flour [30 g]
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp onion powder
Pinch of garlic powder
1/8 cup unsweetened crispy/ popped amaranth [8-10 g; see note]*

salt and pepper to taste

Scant 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk [I used soy] [50 ml]
Pinch of smoked paprika powder
1 tbsp salsa

  1. Mix both the dry and wet ingredients in separate shallow bowls.
  2. Dip the cauliflower pieces into the milk. Then dip in the flour mixture and coat.
  3. Spread the auliflower on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in one single layer.
  4. Bake for ten minutes, then flip the pieces.
  5. Bake for another ten minutes to brown all around.
  6. Remove the sheet from the oven. Dip the cauliflower into the remaining milk and return to the oven for five more minutes.
  7. Serve hot or cold.

* If you can’t find this in stores here’s a tutorial on how to easily make popped amaranth at home.

Caulflower Nuggets_8

If it’s any indication for how much I like these I bought another head when there was still half of the first left Saturday night. Because you never know of any upcoming cauliflower shortages, right?!

In hopes others will save some chicken by eating cauliflower nuggets, too, I’m sharing these with Gluten-Free Tuesdays, Strange but good, RecipeFriday, Gluten-Free Wednesdays, Recipe of the Week, Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Real Food Recipes and Tasty Tuesdays.

Have a marvelous Monday!

Happiness-inducing today: Listening to good music on a walk outside in the sunshine.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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If you had to write an ode to cauliflower or any other vegetable: what would it look like?

What was or is your typical order at McDonald’s?

Have you ever recreated any former fast food favourites [yes to unintentional alliteration!]?




59 thoughts on “Crispy Cauliflower Nuggets [vegan & gluten-free]

  1. Marfigs says:

    Yum! This sounds delicious – I’m always intruiged by cauliflower nuggets but most of the recipes require all manner of sauces/add-ons that suddenly make a healthy treat unhealthy – this looks tasty and wonderful with simple but effective ingredients. Going to stock up on cauliflower and test them out on my Man-thing: he dislikes cauliflower but anything nuggety should change his mind 😀

    I haven’t recreated much in the way of fast food – other than maybe sweet potato chips and homemade pizza! I’m definitely tempted to make vegan sweets such as snickers and the like, but that’s just the sweet tooth!

      • Marfigs says:

        Ooohh my goodness that candy bar looks nom! Can I make my own peanut flour, since I don’t think we get that in packages here? I’m a sucker for a twix-type bar – delicious caramel and nomness! Going to scout out some almond butter and make these this weekend! I’ve been craving chocolate something fierce 😀

        Will let you know about the nuggets – I honestly don’t know how it will not be approved by the committee 😉

      • Marfigs says:

        Aloha! I want to make the nuggets for tomorrow, so I have a q – how long does it stay “fresh”? If I want to share it tomorrow morning can I make it tonight and store it in the fridge, or will it lose its crispiness? Yum yum!

      • Miss Polkadot says:

        I wish I could be of any help here but none of the batches I made so far lasted more than a day. Scratch that: more than an hour ;). However, I assume it’s really best served right after baking and I wouldn’t store it in the fridge not only because of the crispiness. I’ve found cooked cauliflower’s texture changes when refridgerated.

      • Marfigs says:

        Ha, I suspected they never lasted long! I decided to save my cauliflower and make it for us tomorrow as a dinner treat instead, because you’re right – the fridge does wacky things to cauiflower. Thanks! 😀

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      I like how everybody says they were going to make them for their husbands or families – lucky guys! Let me know how you and Alex liked them if you get around trying the recipe.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Sophie, I’m glad you’re asking. Actually, I have metric measurements for these as well as any other recipes on my blog. Being from Germany it’s the way I grew up measuring, too, I usually post both the metric and converted cup measurements but forgot when writing this recipe. I’ll edit the recipe to include the metric ones, too. I’d be happy to hear how you enjoyed the nuggets if you try them.

      • Sophie at Franglaise Cooking says:

        That would be great, thanks, as I’d really love to try it out. I’m terrible about coming back to blog posts so if you get a chance to tweet me when it’s changed that would be fab! We’re @FranglaiseFood on Twitter. Thanks so much!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Experimenting with ingredients for the first time can be such a lot of fun – I hope you enjoy it! Just make sure to add a generous amount of spices – maybe even more than I stated depending on your preferred level of spicyness – to the chickpea flour.

  2. Ashley says:

    I love finding new ways to use cauliflower, and I have almost all the ingredients needed for these, so I know exactly what I’ll be making with the cauliflower sitting in my fridge! These nuggets look so good and easy too!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      They’re really easy to prepare and take a lot less time than you’d imagine – the clean-up aside. (:
      If you happen to make them I’d be curious to hear your opinion, Ashley.

  3. Emily says:

    I’m already falling back in love with cooking being in my new apartment– these will definitely be on my must-make list!
    I don’t have chickpea flour but maybe whole wheat or oat flour would work?
    I’ll let you know!

    Thanks for sharing, love!

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      Thanks, Heather! I hear you on the trouble of finding dishes that meet more than one ‘special’ dietary requirement so I hope you like these if you happen to try them.

  4. tessadomesticdiva says:

    i adore cauliflower nuggets, and my kids will gobble them down too. I have never tried a breading variation, this looks great, featuring your recipe of Allergy Free Wednesday this week, thanks for sharing!

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