Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lunch Made Easy: Weelicious Veggie Nuggets #Recipe {Gluten, Dairy, & Nut Free #GFCF}

Finding new and creative ways to sneak vegetables into our diet is a fun challenge! 

We love baking breads, muffins, and even desserts with hidden veggies. I say "hidden" but since my Little Sous Chef is always helping me, she knows they're in there! 

When dealing with different food allergies or intolerances in a family, meal time can be challenging. That's why I love my Weelicious One Family. One Meal. Cookbook. I have it downloaded onto my Kindle

One of the recipes I had been hankering to make was the Homemade Veggie Nugget recipe. I made some slight changes/ adaptions to fit our family's likes & dietary restrictions (gluten, dairy, & nut free - GFCF). An instant dinner time and lunch box hit!

Little Miss and I typically set aside time on Sundays to cook and create together after church. Whether it's prepping ahead muffins or breads for the week, or even creating something new on our own. 

This past Sunday we were attending a 50th Wedding Anniversary and Vow Renewal ceremony for dear friends, so we got busy in the kitchen on Saturday instead.

Funny thing is we actually had huge storms Friday evening and most of Saturday morning our power was still flickering on/off. Once that got under control, our cable internet/ WIFI was down, so if you can't rot away in front of a computer might as well get creative in the kitchen! I'm totally guilty of spending way too many hours "dreaming of" making recipes I see and repin on Pinterest instead of actually DOING it. lol

At first, Little Miss was skeptical as I was dicing up the veggies and potatoes for this recipe. Once we got into the actual cutting and assembly part, well, that's her favorite. Give the girl a fun cookie cutter and she's game anytime! She wanted to try out a bunch of our mini cutters to see what fun shapes she could come up with for our Veggie Nuggets. 

She... We quickly discovered that some worked better than others. The bears head, hearts, and star shapes held best. The rest, after breading, looked round like a typical nugget shape - which wasn't bad, we just decided to make some by hand that shape instead of meticulous cutting them out for no reason. I do so love the way the stars and hearts came out, though! 

No sugar coating, the recipe is a wee-bit time consuming but only because you have to do it in stages. Worth it in the end, however, for a delicious batch of Allergy Friendly & Gluten Free Homemade Veggie Nuggets! 

Little Miss has some in her lunch box today with organic ketchup for dipping. She also has packed half a SunButter & honey sandwich on Udi's gluten, dairy, nut, & soy free bread. Plus a mix of organic grapes & blueberries. 

In my lunch, I have Veggie Nuggets but with honey mustard for dipping in a lidded Mini Dipper container. Also packed is half a sandwich on a DeLand Bakery Millet Hamburger Roll (gluten, dairy, nut, soy, and HFCS free, & non-gmo), half an orange, and a mix of organic grapes and blueberries, as well. 

Can I just say, I cannot wait until lunch time!! Yummy!

Homemade Veggie Nuggets
Slightly Adapted from Weelicious, by Catherine McCord

  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup of cauliflower florets* 
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels, defrosted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt with parsley**
  • 1/4 teaspoon of paprika**
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all-purpose flour***
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup GFCF bread crumbs****

Changes/ Notes: 
*The book calls for broccoli, but we used cauliflower. It's more of a mental thing for Little Miss - she didn't want to see "green" biting into them. Plus she's used to the flavor in our recipes
**The book calls for 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder. I added the extra garlic salt with parsley and paprika. It just needed an extra kick. You could also use cayenne pepper. Taste and season to your individual liking. 
***The book calls for 1/4 cup of regular AP flour, but I found I needed a bit more, so plan on 1/3 cup of gluten free AP flour. We used King Arthur Flour Gluten Free AP Flour
****We used Kinnikinnick brand Panko Bread Crumbs. They're gluten, casein, dairy, & nut free. Why Panko? We decided to go for "extra crispy" instead of the "original" recipe. ;) 

  1. Place the potatoes and carrots in a large pot on the stove, covered in water, and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium heat and let cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  2. Add the cauliflower to the pot and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  3. Seperate the potatoes into a bowl and mash them. Place the corn, broccoli, and carrots in a food processor and pulse to fine chop.
  4. Add the chopped vegetables, salt, and other seasonings (garlic powder, onion powder, and/or paprika) to the mashed potatoes and stir until well incorporated.
  5. Spread the mixture ½ inch thick on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 to 1.5 hours. I recommend closer to that 1.5 hour mark.
  6. Once you're ready to make the nuggets, place the flour, eggs, and bread crumbs in three separate bowls, forming an assembly line.
  7. (If cooking right away) Preheat the broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray.
  8. Remove the pan from the freezer. Use 1-2" wide cookie cutters to cut out shapes from the potato mixture or use a knife to cut into small squares. 
  9. Gently coat the nuggets with the flour, then the egg, then the bread crumbs, and place on the baking sheet.
  10. Lightly coat the nuggets with cooking spray. Broil for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Make sure to keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn. Nuggets can also be baked at 450°F for 10 minutes.
  11. Serve with ketchup or mustard, if desired.

To freeze: 
  1. After step eight, place the nuggets on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for around 45 minutes.* 
  2. Remove and place in a freezer zip-top bag or freezable storage container, for up to 3 months.**
*By freezing the nuggets on the baking sheet first, they will not get stuck together when you put them into the zip-top bag.
**To bake from freezer, I preheated my oven and cooked evenly on a baking sheet at 425 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes, flipping once in between. You want them to be golden and crispy on the outside.




  1. Wow, those lunches look great! Consider me inspired. I'll have to try the veggie nuggets. Have you thought about using a different lunchbox? I have a PlanetBox and I adore it (I try to avoid using plastic). Here's a link if you're curious (maybe you already have one?): www.planetbox.com

    1. Hi Baker,
      We just recently got a new Planetbox Shuttle. We've been enjoying using it and trying it out! You can read our review here: http://keeleymcguire.blogspot.com/2013/07/lunch-made-easy-new-planetbox-shuttle.html
      I'm glad to hear you're a fan and enjoy yours so much! Anything we can ALL do to use reusable containers and help the enviroment by packing waste free lunches is a wonderful thing!
      Thanks for your kind comment!

  2. This sounds delicious! I'm looking for some interesting school lunches (I'm a teacher) for next year and this will be something to try! I like that you added the option for freezing!

  3. This looks awesome! Thank you so much for providing such fun lunch box ideas:) You are the best!!!
    Heidi Barrett, Dallas, TX

  4. Just wondering, do you eat the nuggets cold in your lunch or do you heat them up at school/work?

    1. Great question! I do have access to a microwave and my daughter did in her class last year, as well. To keep them warm, if you do not, you could also pack them in a thermos!


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