Perfect for kids and adults alike, these crispy, savory cauliflower nuggets are as tasty as can be. Roasting the cauliflower adds so much flavor that you can easily skip the salt if making for babies or toddlers. There are multiple flavor twists that you can add, so you will never get bored of making these!
- Florets from 1 head of cauliflower (small to medium sized)
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1-2 tsps of smoked paprika (optional but so yummy)
- 120g (4.25oz) of grated cheddar cheese – choose a nice strong one
- Up to 200g (3 cups) of soft, fresh breadcrumbs*
- 1 egg
- A handful of fresh chives
- On a baking dish, toss your cauliflower florets and whole garlic cloves with a little bit of olive oil. Sprinkle with smoked paprika and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until browned and crispy on the edges.
- Leave it to cool down for about 15 minutes, just to take the edge off the heat, while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.
- Add all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a dough is formed.
- Try to leave the dough a little bit textured and don’t over-process it – you don’t want it to be a paste.
- Add the breadcrumbs in stages. You may not need as many as the recipe calls for. I only needed the full amount when I used a very soft, fluffy breadcrumb. It will also depend how big your cauliflower was. Stop if you feel the dough is becoming very dry or crumbly.
- At this stage, the dough needs to be substantial enough to form into nuggets with your hands, but still moist enough to stick to your hands a little. And that’s OK because it will dry out and firm up in the fridge.
- Refrigerate for at least a few hours, until completely chilled.**
- Once it comes time to make your nuggets, preheat the oven to 200C / 390F.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and brush some oil on top.
- By now your dough should be really easy to shape. Use your hands to form nuggets. You want them to be fairly small – a couple of inches long. See my photos for a rough guidance on size and shape.
- Lightly brush the top of your nuggets with olive oil.
- Bake until they are starting to brown and crisp up on the edges, around 15 minutes. You can go a little longer if you want them extra crispy, especially if you’re making them for older kids or adults.
- Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
*The breadcrumbs I prefer for this recipe (Waitrose brand) were super soft and fluffy. I’ve also made this with dried breadcrumbs, but they are generally saltier and bland tasting. If you do use dried breadcrumbs you will need around 2/3rds of the amount but it also depends on the brand so just pay attention to the notes on texture.
**This step is pretty essential. I wish it weren’t, but I tested this many times and the recipe works far better when you refrigerate the mixture. If you make nuggets immediately from the warm mixture, they may spread and go flat. Or you’ll need to add so many breadcrumbs that they might end tasting dry and bland. Refridgerating the mixture ensures the nuggets can stay as moist as possible and still keep their shape.
Optional Flavor Twists : Add 1-2 tsps of white truffle oil to the mixture. Try different mixes of herbs. Substitute the cheddar for parmesan or a hard goat cheese.
Keywords: cauliflower, vegetarian nuggets, healthy kids food