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a vegetarian chicken nugget being dipped into a small white ramekin of honey mustard sauce a stack of nuggets rest next to the ramekin on a small wooden tray resting on a white linen towel in the background is a stack of small white plates with more nuggets

Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce


Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce! A healthy non-fried version of a fast-food favorite! High-fiber quinoa combines with cheddar, herbs, and eggs to create a meaty texture! Terrific for lunch, dinner, and snacks! A not-too-sweet homemade honey mustard dipping sauce takes this dish over-the-top! 



For the Nuggets:

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup water

4 large eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon sea salt

black pepper, to taste

3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup minced chives

 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, minced

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the Dipping Sauce:

1 Tablespoon honey

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup full-fat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp sea salt

dash of cayenne pepper


For the Dipping Sauce:

  • Whisk all of the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

To Cook the Quinoa:

  • Place the raw quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer.  Rinse with cold water for 1-2 minutes. Don’t skip the rinsing process, or the quinoa will have a bitter taste!
  • Drain the quinoa thoroughly and place in a medium-sized saucepan with the water.
  • Bring to a low boil, uncovered, over medium-high heat.  Once the quinoa is at a low boil, lower the temperature to simmer for 15 minutes gently.  When the quinoa is fully cooked, it will be tender, and you’ll see little tendrils pop out of the quinoa.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes to allow the quinoa to absorb any remaining water in the pan entirely.
  • Cool completely and proceed with the rest of the recipe. To quickly cool the quinoa, you can spread it in an even layer on a cookie sheet.

To Assemble the Nuggets:

Place the cooked and cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine.

  • Heat a large non-stick pan or electric griddle over medium heat.
  • Scoop the quinoa mixture with a small ice cream scoop that portions 2 Tablespoon servings.
  • Pack each scoop tightly with the mixture.  This helps the nuggets retain their shape during the cooking process.
  • Place each scoop on the hot pan.  Let each nugget cook for a minute or so and then use a small spatula to flatten the top of each portion to form a small patty.
  • Cook 4-6 minutes per side.  The nuggets will be golden brown, and if you press the top, it will spring back and feel firm when they are fully cooked.
  • Remove the nuggets from the pan and serve immediately with the dipping sauce. If using a non-stick pan, you’ll cook the nuggets in batches.  Keep the cooked nuggets warm until serving time by placing them on a wire cooling rack over a cookie sheet. Place in a 200° oven while cooking the remaining nuggets.



  • Add a bit more lemon juice or water to the nugget mixture before scooping if it seems dry.  The mixture should be moist, so when you scoop, it holds its shape on the griddle and doesn’t fall apart.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 44 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Griddle
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vegetarian chicken nuggets, honey mustard sauce, quinoa