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.
This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.
(Related: 10 Ways to Get More Vegetables Into Your Diet)
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 a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and broccoli consumption is thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and some cancers.
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:
Vegetarian Quesadillas with Pumpkin and Black Beans
Baked Zucchini Fries
Baked Taquitos with Pumpkin and Black Beans
Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Easy Baked Risotto Balls
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 ¾ cup uncooked
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ 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.
Just made these tonight. I swapped the broccoli for frozen diced veggies that I know my toddler likes (potatoes, leeks, carrots, peas and corn). He loved them (and so did I :-). It's the first time I've made veggie patties that didn't fall apart. Thanks for the recipe.
I used them as veggie burger patties and they were perfect!!! Highly recommend 🙂
That's such a good idea!
Our 9 month old granddaughter loves these! Sent the rest of the batch home with her parents. Now I need to make more, for us!
I make these with Italian breadcrumbs because that's what I tend to have on hand and it adds a nice flavour boost!
I don't have kids, but I love having these in the freezer for myself on the nights when all I can be bothered to throw together is a salad and I want something a bit more substantial to go with it. Delicious!
I just made this for my 9m old baby. It’s delicious! Thank you so much!
Quick question though
- can you freeze them after they are cooked? If yes, how to reheat them?
- how long they last if I just put them in the fridge? Or no need to stay in the fridge?
Yes, you can freeze them after they're cooked. I just toss them into a freezer bag, and then re-heat in the microwave when I'm ready to eat. In the fridge (yes you should keep them in the fridge) they'll last 3-5 days.
I only ended up using 3 eggs because they were fairly large and they turned out great. My 1 year old loved them! Thanks for the recipe.
Would these bites still bind ok without the cheese? My 9mo son is having constipation probs, so I'm trying to minimize dairy when I can.
I haven't tried the recipe without cheese, but I think they'd be fine. You may need to add some extra breadcrumbs to get the mixture to bind together. Let us know if you try it and how they turn out!
Hi Katie, I am thinking of cooking those for a party 🙂 as a healthier snack for all. I have made them before and I think they taste great also cold. Except for broccoli what other vegetable can I use, that will be tasty even when served cold?
I think you could use pretty much anything. Shredded carrot would work well, as would diced red pepper. Perhaps chopped spinach cooked in a frying pan before added to the mix as well? And shredded zucchini maybe. Though I haven't tried any of these combos, so I'm just speculating!
I wanted to post a picture of H waiting for these to come out of the oven, but don't think I can do it in the comments!
Ps. I cooked them in mini muffin tins because I had a baby in one arm and a furry toddler at my feet. They turned out great!
Mini muffin tins are a great idea. And thanks for sharing the photo on FB!
I sent this to a new mom who has a 7 or 8 week old baby girl growing fast!
Great stories and good recipes.
I'd give it five stars but my fingers can't seem to get the fifth star to light up. Slippery baby fingers, perhaps?
Thanks for sharing the recipe, Susan! It's one of my favourites for my little guy, and for myself as well.
As a mother with about 21 years of experience under my belt I had to smile whilst reading this, Katie. No matter what our intentions are, knowledge is, goals are, etc - baby leads, if we let them. We shape their experiences of course but, as you have found, they are firmly in charge. The balance you have achieved sounds like a great match of what you and he want out of meal opportunities. I can't remember if I was ever this adventurous with dishes when Rachel was 9 months (she was scarily premature so I doubt it!) but this will certainly inspire any mums-to-be out there - both your advice here as well as the fine recipe. 🙂
this looks wonderful! I started reading your blog not too long ago and I think our little ones are close in age - mine was born 2/15 - he's 9 months old. He's a rockstar eater so I will definitely be making this! Now - my 3 year old was always an "ok" eater - I will have to make these - I have to hide veggies with him. 😉
These nuggets look delicious, and as usual, like something that I could make! It occurred to me the other day that although I read a lot of cooking and nutrition blogs, I've actually prepared more of your recipes than any other author's. And they have all been delicious. I always appreciate the nutritional information, the beautiful photos, and the glimpses into your busy life. Take care, and thank you for coming back to post here :).
Thanks for the kind words, Anne! It's good to be back, though certainly at a slower pace than before.
I am so enthusiastic about your blog. This is once again a recipe that I will add to my repertoire.
Good luck to your little family! Hope to see you again someday.