Cheesy Quinoa and Broccoli Nuggets are a healthy and tasty snack, appetizer, or main dish. These veggie nuggets are oven baked, and are freezer friendly if you want to make a big batch.
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If there’s one thing I’ve learned about feeding kids it is that, at times, it’s all about marketing.
Take these Cheesy Quinoa and Broccoli Nuggets for example. They’re one of my favourite things to make for my kids. They’re packed with veggies, and have lots of protein thanks to the quinoa, eggs, and cheese.
They’re easy to make, and are oven-baked, so I can make a big batch all at once and pop them into the freezer for busy days. Also, the quinoa is neatly contained in the veggie nuggets, which means sweeping up waaaaaay less quinoa from the floor. Parents, you know what I’m talking about.
But if I put a plate of these in front of my kids and say they’re Quinoa and Broccoli Nuggets, one kid will tell me they don’t like broccoli and the other will tell me they don’t like quinoa. (For the record, they like both).
So, maybe I call them Veggie Nuggets instead. Or perhaps Broccoli Tots? Trust me, I’ve tried it all.
Then one day I had the brilliant idea to call them Cheesy Dino Bites. I don’t know why, but anything green I can refer to as “dino” and they’re into it. Just go with it.
What goes into broccoli nuggets?
You’ll find specific amounts of each ingredients in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but let’s go through it together here. Time to gather your ingredients! Here’s what you need:
- Broccoli –> I steam up a bunch of broccoli as part of my weekly batch cooking.
- Quinoa –> Same same with the batch cooking.
- Eggs –> Four large eggs going up in here.
- Breadcrumbs –> This is our binding agent.
- Cheese –> I use a nice sharp cheddar.
- Salt and pepper –> As one does.
Nothing out of the ordinary going on here. You’ll need the following:
- A nice big bowl for mixing the veggie nuggets up.
- A sheet pan lined with parchment paper for baking.
- I use a silicon basting brush to brush oil on the parchment, but if you have one of those oil mister thingies that works fine as well.
How to make veggie nuggets
This recipe is super simple, and if you have the quinoa and broccoli cooked in advance, it comes together really fast. You’ll find detailed instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but let’s walk through it step by step.
Step 1: If you have not already steamed your broccoli and cooked your quinoa, start there! Pro tip: I cook my quinoa in vegetable broth to add in a bit more flavour.
Step 2: Finely mince your steamed and cooled broccoli until it’s somewhere between the size of rice and peas.
Step 3: In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, minced broccoli, shredded cheese, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.
Step 4: Add the eggs, and mix everything together well.
Step 5: Scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture, and use your hands to shape the veggie nuggets. Pro tip: I find that wet hands are best for this task, and tend to rinse and re-wet them once or twice throughout the shaping process.
Step 6: Arrange the broccoli nuggets on a baking sheet lined with oiled parchment paper.
Step 7: Bake! It will take about 20 minutes for golden brown veggie nuggets.
Once your nuggets are done, you can serve them immediately, or cool them down to store for later.
Can I make veggie nuggets in advance?
You sure can! You can make the broccoli nugget mixture in advance, and chill, covered, in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Then when you’re ready to make them you simply scoop, bake, and enjoy.
You can also make these veggie nuggets in advance, cool them down, and store them in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-5 days. You can either serve them cold, or gently reheat them in the microwave.
Freezing broccoli nuggets
This recipe is freezer-friendly, and I love having a batch on hand that I can just pull a couple out of at a time. To freeze your broccoli nuggets, make sure they are completely cooled (you can transfer them to a wire wrack for cooling) and then pop into a freezer bag.
Frozen veggie nuggets will last for up to three months, and can be easily re-heated in the microwave.
Is broccoli healthy?
Broccoli is rich in a host of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, as well as antioxidant flavanoids and carotenoids. Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli is heart-healthy and also benefits our digestive health by both supporting and regulating our gut bacteria.
Other recipes you might enjoy:
Cheesy Quinoa and Broccoli Nuggets
- Sheet pans
- 1 bunch broccoli steamed (to yield 2 cups of broccoli pulsed to rice size)
- 2 cups cooked quinoa from 3/4 cup uncooked
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- Olive oil for brushing
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with olive oil.
- Lightly steam the broccoli in a steamer basket over boiling water until it is bright green and tender but not soft. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking, and drain well.
- Transfer the broccoli to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the broccoli is between the size of rice and peas. Alternately, you can do this with a sharp knife on your cutting board. Measure out 2 cups of the broccoli rice and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the cooked quinoa, eggs, shredded cheese, salt and pepper, and stir to combine well.
- Stir in the bread crumbs.
- Scoop a 1-2 tablespoons of quinoa mixture into your hands (wet hands help with this) and press together to form a nugget.
- Arrange the patties on the prepared parchment paper with a little bit of space between them. Brush the tops with a little bit of olive oil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.
- Nutrition values are an estimate only.
- This recipe makes about 18 nuggets depending on how big you make them.
- To freeze, place in the freezer on a baking tray in a single layer. Once they're frozen you can pop them into a freezer bag and they'll be good for about 3 months.
- For gluten-free nuggets, use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
This recipe was originally published November 28, 2016. It was retested, re-photographed, and republished on February 9, 2021.