broccoli quinoa nuggets

broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! //

For years, I’ve been telling people what to eat. Giving gentle (and at times not so gentle) nudges towards balance and moderation, eating lots of plants, and enjoying the food you eat. So I thought that when it came to feeding a tiny human I’d be a natural. Wouldn’t that make sense? But when the time arrived to start offering food to my little man, I felt overwhelmed by the prospect. The responsibility seemed immense, and well beyond the scope of what 10 years of nutrition studies had taught me.

Over the summer, as we inched towards that magical six-month mark, I read the book on Baby Led Weaning (BLW). Though I found the reading painfully slow and repetitive, I liked the concept and was determined that this is how we would approach feeding; we would give him whole foods and he would feed himself and he would be a gloriously good eater.

The thing about babies, though, is that they are tiny little humans who have not only ideas of their own about how these things will go, but also, at the age of six months anyways, have terrible dexterity. So when the auspicious day rolled around and we dutifully lined up some chunks of banana and slices of avocado on the tray of his highchair, the food flew out of his slippery little hands and onto the floor as quickly as we could scoop it back up for another try. After a week or so of this going on, I thought two things: hot damn we are wasting a lot of food, and, omg I am going to be breastfeeding forever (this coincided with the arrival of two rows of razor sharp little teeth, and a period of nearly impossible, fussy, distracted nursing).

broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! //

There is also the issue of iron, which, as my mother pointed out to me somewhat repeatedly, BLW may not properly address. It’s a fair point though, as the recommendation is to introduce any iron-rich food by six months of age, when the iron stores accrued in utero begin to deplete. The ever-so-popular first foods of avocado and banana do little to rectify this.

Now that I have an almost-nine-month-old and a few months of experience under our belts, I realize that I’ve circled around to approaching feeding in the same way that I do all things nutrition: focused on balance and moderation. Two meals a day are spooned, and when he is hungry and in the mood for eating our little man cranes towards the spoon with his mouth open in earnest, like a famished baby bird. We start the day with an iron-fortified baby cereal and some fresh fruit, and end it with an assortment of increasingly chunky homemade purées.

Another two meals each day are self-fed, and as time goes by less and less of that food lands on the floor and more and more actually goes down the hatch. He loves toast with peanut butter, or tiny waffles, or rice cakes smeared with cream cheese, lightly steamed broccoli and carrots, and, when it was in season, corn on the cob was a bit hit. I like to make him little baby omelettes with shredded zucchini, and, of course, he’ll go for a taste of whatever we happen to be eating along side him.

broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! //

Lest you think it’s all tenderly prepared homemade food for this boy, let me assure you that he is obsessed (obsessed!) with those pre-made baby smoothies that are sucked from a pouch. If he sees one of those he’ll lurch forward with a crazed look in his eyes and the boy who just moments before was refusing his dinner will suddenly be starved for the contents of the pouch. Feeding a small person has taught me to relax, and to let go of any notion I had about the way things should be done. Being firmly attached to doing something a particular way seems like only a recipe for frustration.

These broccoli quinoa nuggets were something I made to be a complete meal, more or less, that could be picked up and eaten with little hands, or for those more mature among us, eaten alongside a green salad and eaten with knife and fork. They do generate a fair number of dishes, but many of the components can be made in advance which makes quick work of the actual nuggets. And you can bake up a big tray of them and then, once cooled, pop them into a freezer bag and just pull out one or two at a time.


You already knew that Broccoli is good for you, right? It is a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and high broccoli consumption is thought to be beneficial in the prevention of heart disease and some cancers. Quinoa not only has a very high protein content (about 18%), but this super seed also contains a complete set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s a great source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron.

broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! //

One year ago: No Sugar Banana Bran Muffins 
Two years ago: Low-Carb Pak Choy Stir-Fry
Three years ago: Lemony Roasted Cauliflower
Four years ago: Pumpkin Smoothie
Five years ago: Spicy Red Lentil Soup
Six years ago: Vanilla Bean Rice Pudding

broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! //
Print Pin
4.86 from 7 votes

broccoli quinoa nuggets

Broccoli quinoa nuggets are perfect for little hands to pick up and much on. One or two nuggets is a complete meal for baby, or delicious served alongside a green salad for bigger folk.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 16
Author Katie Trant


  • 1 bunch broccoli both stems and florets, chopped (to yield 2 cups of broccoli pulsed to rice size)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 4 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. 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 couple of tablespoons of quinoa mixture into your hands (wet hands help with this) and press together to form a patty. If the mixture is does not hold together add up to a 1/4 cup more breadcrumbs.
  • 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.


-This recipe makes about 16 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.


broccoli quinoa nuggets - tasty little nuggets of goodness perfect for baby led weaning and grownup meals alike! //


  1. TK says

    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?

    Thank you!

    • Katie Trant says

      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.

  2. Justine says

    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.

  3. Joy says

    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.

    • Katie Trant says

      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!

  4. christelle says

    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?

    • Katie Trant says

      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!

  5. Lindsay says

    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!

  6. Susan says

    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?

  7. kellie@foodtoglow says

    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. 🙂

  8. Jen says

    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. 😉

  9. Anne says

    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 :).

  10. Rita Gfeller says

    Hey Katie
    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.
    Rita, Switzerland

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


No spam (we hate it too) only quality content right to your inbox.

Join the HNL community and get the 5 Secrets to a Healthy Vegetarian Diet