I bring you these vegetarian nuggets as a humble (though translucent) apology for all of the doughnuts and pizza I made you endure all summer.
For a person who almost exclusively wants to eat doughnuts and pizza, I’m actually surprised by the amount of broccoli I eat. This probably has something to do with my mom insisting that if I ate my broccoli, it would make me beautiful… and me being juuuust superficial enough to believe her. (I think I mentioned my mom and broccoli bit before, and I’m ok with that.)
Let’s have these little nuggets be the vegetable version of baked doughnuts. Let’s substitute flour and yeast for potatoes and broccoli. I promise it will work and it will be delicious… just like this Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup.
I like to trick myself. Hence, I insist on insisting that you trick yourself… unless you’re mega into broccoli over doughnuts, in which, nevermind.
These vegetarian nuggets are a bit of a time investment, but like all nuggets… they’re totally worth it.
First things first, vegetables are chopped and prepped for roasting. Salt, pepper, and olive oil are mandatory.
Roasting bring out the best in each vegetable.
Carrots become tender and sweet. Broccoli becomes charred and earthy. Potatoes are wrapped in foil and baked until soft. Easy and everything.
While the vegetables are roasting, I sautéed a small amount of sliced leeks (really any onion product will do), and a clove of garlic. Once everything is sautéed and roasted they’re added to a food processor for a pulverization (totally technical term).
Vegetables are combined with mashed baked potatoes.
Next: Dijon mustard, Old Bay, salt and pepper.
Really…. any excuse to use Old Bay is good by me. In the case of these nuggets, Old Bay adds just the right amount of salt and spice.
I used a small cookie scoop to portion out the vegetable batter.
This is when things get tri-bowled and messy.
Bowl one: flour. Bowl two: beaten egg. Bowl three: Italian bread crumbs (Panko is just too thick).
A dip in each bowl and the nuggets are ready for freezing. Once they’re frozen, they’re ready for storing in a freezer back. Once they’re in a freezer bag, they’re ready for quick baking anytime you need a quick dinner while you watch Project Runway. Real.
These vegetable nuggets are inspired by the Weelicious Cookbook . Turns out you don’t have to be cooking for little kiddos to enjoy this lovely book. Catherine McCord did such a lovely job. It transcends kid food… these little nuggets are proof. I ate a cool dozen. Thank you very much!
These soft-centered nuggets remind me of Indian samosas. They’re creamy and vegetable packed. I love the spice that Old Bay adds, but if you don’t have Old Bay on hand, any sort of chili powder and cumin combination would be just delicious. I dipped the nuggets in a simple mixture of ketchup and sriracha. I’m a class act, beginning to end.
Lastly, this is either the cutest or grossest thing you’ve ever seen. You’re welcome/I’m sorry. Story of my life…
Broccoli & Potato Vegetarian Nuggets
makes about 36 nuggets
adapted from Weelicious Cookbook
2 large russet potatoes
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced into rounds
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
1/3 cup chopped leeks (or diced yellow onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
a few teaspoons of olive oil for baking
Place racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Rinse unpeeled potatoes under cool water to remove any dirt. Wrap potatoes in foil. Set aside.
Toss chopped carrots and broccoli florets on a rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and coarsely ground black pepper.
Place the vegetables on the upper oven rack. Place the wrapped potatoes on a baking sheet on the center rack.
While vegetables roast, place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and set aside.
Roast carrots and broccoli until browned and tender, removing from the oven and tossing several times during roasting. Vegetables will roast for about 30 minutes (depending on how large and thickly sliced they are).
Bake potatoes until tender all the way through. Depending on the size of your potato, this could take 40 minuets to 1 hour. Remove from the oven and carefully remove foil. When a knife is easily inserted through the whole potatoes, it’s done baking.
Allow vegetables to rest until cool enough to handle.
Place carrots and broccoli, along with the leeks and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Blend until finely chopped. Place into a large bowl.
Cut the potatoes (skin on) into large chunks and place in the food processor. Blend until mostly smooth. It’s ok if there are a few lumps. Placed potato into the bowl with the carrot and broccoli.
Add Old Bay and mustard and stir to combine. Taste mixture and add salt and pepper as necessary.
Set out three small bowls for an assembly line: one for flour, one for beaten eggs, and one for bread crumbs. Prepare a baking pan by covering it with parchment paper.
Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until the mixture is done and balls are formed.
Balls can be frozen for 1 hour at this point to make them easier to work with. I just forged ahead without freezing, but it’s just a tip.
To coat veggie balls, first dip in flour, lightly coat in egg, and toss in bread crumbs. Return to prepared baking sheet.
Freeze nuggets, in a single layer, until frozen solid. From here they can be placed in a large freezer bag for future use.
To bake: place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place your desired amount of nuggets on the baking sheet flipping each nugget to lightly coat both sides with a bit of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and flip each nugget. Bake for another 5 to 7 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown on each side. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with dipping sauce of your choice. Seriously delicious.