These chicken nuggets are packed with hidden veg and cooked in the air fryer. Ready in 30 minutes, they’re an excellent healthier choice for busy families.
Check ingredient labels to make sure they meet your specific dietary requirements and always consult a health professional before changing your diet. View dietary information here.
Percentage Daily Intake information on our recipes is calculated using the nutrition reference values for an average Australian adult.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add spinach and cook for 20 secs, drain. When cool enough to handle, squeeze excess liquid from spinach and finely chop.
Squeeze excess liquid from carrot, zucchini and onion. Place in a large bowl with mince, spinach, garlic and mixed herbs. Stir until well combined.
Preheat air-fryer to 180°C for 5 mins. Use wet hands to shape mixture into 12 even patties. Place half in the basket of the air-fryer. Spray lightly with olive oil spray. Cook for 20 mins, turning halfway or until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining patties.
Meanwhile, combine yoghurt and chilli sauce in a small bowl.
Serve chicken and veggie nuggets with yoghurt dip.
COOK. STORE. SAVE.
Clever Storage: Store your mixed dried herbs in a cool dark place as they lose their flavour when exposed to sunlight.
Use it Up: Greek-style natural yoghurt is a versatile product that can be used for sweet and savoury recipes alike. Use it in our breakfast chocolate granola recipe or to dollop on a healthy lentil curry.
For many of us, our first experience with the now-ubiquitous chicken mince nuggets was probably from the ‘golden arches’ fast-food restaurant, where they debuted in 1983. It’s little wonder they became a smash hit – deep fried until golden, commercial chicken nuggets are laden with salt and sugar, making them incredibly moreish. But did you know chicken nuggets started their lives as a health food? In the 1950s an American food technician was looking to create a low-fat chicken snack to sway the country away from eating red meat and so the chicken nugget was invented.
With our chicken nuggets recipe we’ve come full circle. Our homemade chicken nuggets are loaded with vegetables and stay true to the original by using lean chicken mince. Not only have we created a healthy version of this popular snack, we’ve halved the cooking time by cooking the nuggets in the air fryer! Our air fryer nuggets are easy on the budget and can be made ahead and frozen – even more reasons to add these veggie chicken nuggets to your weekly meal plan.
Lean chicken mince provides the base for our gluten free chicken nuggets. Not only is chicken mince easy on the pocket, its slightly sticky quality allows the veggie nuggets to bind together without any need for egg or breadcrumbs. This recipe is great to play around with the vegetables – pop in some peas or corn, or swap the carrot and zucchini for some grated cauliflower or broccoli. If you wanted to hide the vegetables even more, you could always coat the air fryer homemade chicken nuggets with panko breadcrumbs. To do this, dip the nuggets in whisked eggs and then roll in seasoned crumbs. Allow the nuggets to rest in the fridge before spraying with oil and cooking as usual. Just remember if you do this the nuggets are no longer gluten- or egg-free.
To retain the spinach’s nutrients, make sure you blanch it only long enough for it to wilt. When cool enough, squeeze the excess water out. You’ll also need to remove any excess water from the carrot, zucchini and onion as this may prevent them from staying firm when cooking. The best way to do this is to place the vegetables in a fine strainer and use a wooden spoon to press down firmly until all the liquid is drained off. Use wet hands to roll the chicken mixture to prevent it sticking to your hands. Transfer half the vegetable nuggets to the preheated air fryer and allow the other half to rest in the fridge until ready to cook.
We serve our air fryer chicken nuggets with an easy child-friendly yoghurt sauce. But this healthy chicken nuggets recipe isn’t just for kids. Serve with home-made sweet potato fries, potato or pumpkin mash or a salad and you have a healthy dinner for the whole family. You can also pop the hot and crispy nuggets in a soft bread roll with a little mayo and lettuce for a healthy twist on a chicken burger. Adding just one teaspoon of chilli sauce to the yoghurt makes a sweet and tangy chicken nugget sauce, but you may want to go with salt-reduced tomato or sweet-and-sour sauce. The cooled nuggets can also be packed in pita bread with cheese for a school lunch box. Just make sure the lunch box is packed with a frozen drink to keep them chilled.
Once kids get to the age when they’re not afraid of vegetables, it’s good to get them involved in the cooking process. Grate the vegetables using a food processor attachment, it’s always fun to watch them quickly shred and then get the kids to help squeeze out the excess liquid. Also ask the kids what vegetables they want to use. Helping kids to link vegetables with having fun can help set up a positive relationship with healthy food.