It’s been a little quiet on the FYB front the last few days. I had to work over the weekend, and then my daughter and I spent some time visiting family in the country. It was also an opportunity for me to test and photograph some recipes I’m working on for an upcoming project (details coming soon!). I took full advantage of all of the natural light, peace, and quiet. I still have a lot to learn about photography, and my parent’s rural property is the perfect place to practice, without the neighbors looking at me like I’m a complete weirdo (“Look, Fred, she’s at it again. Tryin’ to balance a jar of green stuff on her deck railing and take pictures of it. Weirdo.”) It was a good opportunity to escape busy town life, and stop and smell the flowers, or chives.
I came up with these nuggets using some of the leftover lentils, quinoa, and sweet potatoes from last week’s BBQ Lentil Collard Wrap. My motivation for creating these little bites of goodness came from my desire to get more healthy, yummy foods into my daughter’s diet. She is a very picky eater, and up until a month ago she would hardly touch a vegetable besides sweet potatoes. Oh the horror! Especially for a plant-based mommy and daddy. I try to feed my little family as much whole-food, made from scratch meals as possible. So what to do when your finicky-about-food toddler spits out anything that isn’t fruit, sweet potatoes, toast, dates, or raisins? When the going gets tough, the tough make nuggets.
And by golly, it works. As do smoothies (a.k.a. “milkshakes”) with lots of hidden veggies. Smoothies have been a great way to get more nutrition into my little one. When given the chance, my daughter also likes frozen veggie-based nuggets from companies like Gardein. These aren’t evil, by any means, and we certainly don’t ban them from the house. They also aren’t (usually) brimming with whole, healthy foods. I decided to experiment with making a healthy, simple nugget, full of plant-protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
These nuggets feature only 4 main ingredients: Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Lentils, and Oats. You can experiment with seasonings and spices. The first time I made these, I only used a little salt and pepper to season, the next time I added some nutritional yeast and a little garlic powder. You can also play around with the grains and beans. When my daughter first tried the lentil/quinoa combination, I found her picking out the lentils. Eventually she realized they weren’t so bad, and ate the nuggets without picking them apart. I also used canned cannelini beans as well as canned pinto beans and those mashed up nicely and were undetectable to her ultra texture-sensing palate. I will be experimenting with adding other veggies to the mix as well, and I’ll be sure to report any successful additions!
I tried both pan frying in a little bit of coconut oil, as well as baking them. The winner was definitely the fried version. They have a crisp, buttery outer layer, that I must admit is pretty delicious. I’m not worried about a little extra fat, but feel free to bake them in an oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping once halfway if you want to make these oil-free.
You don’t have to be a wee one to enjoy these crisp and tasty golden nuggets. I added a few to my salad/veggie bowl, and they made a scrumptious addition. If you have a picky little nugget at home, try whipping up these easy four ingredient healthy bites. They just might become a new favorite!
Four Ingredient Healthy Golden Nuggets
- 1 medium steamed or roasted sweet potato (skin removed)
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup cooked lentils or canned beans (any variety)
- 1/4 cup rolled oats, ground into a course flour (choose gluten-free if needed)
- Optional: salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, spices/seasonings
1. Mash all ingredients together to form a thick mixture. I like to use a potato masher to mash the potato (and canned beans, if using), then mix in the remaining ingredients. The mixture should be pretty stiff. Scoop mixture out using a tablespoon and roll into a ball and flatten. Add more ground rolled oats/quinoa or a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast if it seems too wet or doesn’t stick together.
2. Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Once it sizzles, carefully place the nuggets on the hot oiled pan and cook for a 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and crisp. Using a spatula, remove the nuggets and set on a plate lined with paper towel. Let cool for a few minutes before eating.
Hope you’ve all had a wonderful week so far!