Learn how to make this easy, baked veggie nuggets recipe for the picky toddler (or picky adult too) in your house. These tasty bites have protein dense lentils and tons of vegetables like zucchini, carrots and peas. Bonus, they are vegan, dairy free and perfect for dipping in ketchup, homemade mayo, or tahini!
Kids love dipping, and I find it’s one of the easiest ways to get a toddler to try new things. If you’re looking for lentil recipes for kids, this is definitely one to try.
They don’t even need to know that these nuggets are completely wholesome and protein packed. They won’t see any lentils in this recipe. I gave my toddler some ketchup and he devoured 3 of these bad boys in no time!
Bonus, these nuggets are dairy free and plant based, making them suitable for anyone with lactose intolerance or on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
BIGGER BONUS – they’re oil free, and baked, NOT fried, making them low in fat and heart healthy too.
To prepare your veggie nuggets
Put your lentils to soak in boiling hot water first. Let them sit for about 30 minutes before draining them.
In the meantime, start prepping your veggies and breadcrumbs. Place your bread slices in your food processor and process until a breadcrumb consistency is achieved. Then transfer to a large bowl.
Next, add the carrot and zucchini to your food processor with all the seasoning, and your drained lentils. Process until broken down, finely chopped and well combined. Then add the mixture to your bowl of breadcrumbs and add the corn and peas too.
Mix everything with a spatula before shaping your nuggets. Using your hands, roll the mixture into balls, roughly the size of golf balls and place on your prepared baking sheet. You should get about 20-24 balls.
Once you’ve rolled up all your batter, flatten each ball gently using your hands or a spoon, into a disc shape.
Use caution to avoid breaking them, and reshape if necessary.
Bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes before carefully flipping your nuggets. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes and let rest at room temperature for at least 5 minutes to allow your veggie nuggets to firm up.
As the nuggets are baking, prepare any dipping sauces you’d like to pair with these. My kids love ketchup, but I prefer these with my nut free homemade mayo.
These vegan nuggets will please the entire family, from picky toddlers to picky spouses. Enjoy!
- Do not sub for another lentil. This recipe works best with SPLIT red lentils. Regular lentils take longer to cook and are not as sticky, which is needed for this batter to hold well.
- Make sure your mixture is very finely processed before adding the peas and corn. You want your lentils, zucchini and carrots to be chopped up very finely so your batter will hold nicely.
- Roll the mixture into balls first, and then gently press them down on your baking sheet. If any break while doing so, re-shape them into a nugget shape. If they’re not holding before baking, they won’t hold together after baking.
- Do not add more peas or corn then the recipe calls for. Too many larger chunks will make the batter a little more difficult to hold into a nugget shape.
More healthy picky eater friendly recipes
- Healthy Broccoli Potato Soup
- Baked Chickpea Nuggets [Allergen Free]
- Cauliflower Buffalo Wings – Air Fryer Option
- Lentil Shepherd’s Pie [Vegan + GF + Oil Free]
- Baked Zucchini Tater Tots [V+GF]
- Cheesy Vegan Broccoli Rice Casserole
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- 1 cup split red lentils soaked in boiling hot water for 30 minutes
- 1 medium zucchini grated
- 1 large carrot grated
- 2 slices whole grain sliced bread untoasted, gluten free if needed
- 1/4 cup frozen peas
- 1/4 cup frozen corn
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- Add your bread slices to a food processor and process until a breadcrumb consistency is achieved. Then transfer your bread crumbs into a large bowl, add the frozen corn and peas to the same bowl and set aside.
- Drain your lentils and add them to the food processor along with your grated carrot, zucchini and all the seasonings. Process until broken down and well combined. Then transfer to the bowl with the breadcrumbs, and mix to combine.
- Form 1-1.5" balls using your hands, and place them on your baking tray. Then press each one down gently, without breaking them, to form your nuggets.
- Bake for 30 minutes, carefully flipping them at the 15 minute mark. Let your nuggets cool at room temperature for at least 5 minutes to help them firm up. Then serve with ketchup, homemade mayo, or tahini.