Back-to-School Recipe: Crispy Chickpea Nuggets

Back-to-School Recipe: Crispy Chickpea Nuggets

Giorgina Orofino is a wife, mama, and college student in Queens, NY. She enjoys sharing easy and nutritious meals for busy families that need foodspiration on her Instagram account (@teenytinymeals). She also loves providing advice for those struggling with picky eaters.  

Something that occurs in every home is leftovers.  They can leave us with many containers filling our fridge, potentially being forgotten and wasted. On the other hand, if you are a busy mama like myself, leftovers can be a dream come true since they can open doors to foodspiration! I purposely cook more than I need for myself and my family. The next day, I transform any leftovers into a different meal for us to have for lunch. If you're a busy mama, like myself, and find yourself frazzled when packing lunch for your little ones, then I suggest cooking a little extra for dinner! Many leftovers can easily be transformed into toddler-friendly meals.

For example, last night, we had a vegetarian dinner with chickpeas, carrots, zucchini, and sweet onions. I had ample amounts of leftovers.  So I thought, "How can I transform this into something toddler-friendly (without losing the nutrients), and have it fit in her Bentgo Kids box for her lunch at Mimi’s house tomorrow?" That's when I had the idea to turn our veggie stir-fry into Crispy Chickpea Nuggets.

You can easily duplicate this idea for your little ones:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place 2 cups of sauteed chickpeas and 1 cup of sauteed veggies in a food processor and pulse until you see a thick chunky mixture.
  3. Throw in some of your favorite seasonings (garlic powder, parsley, paprika, etc.) because chickpeas are relatively bland.
  4. Add in ½ a cup of breadcrumbs (I used seasoned breadcrumbs but you can use anything you want–cornmeal, Panko, gluten-free breadcrumbs–the possibilities are endless) and ½ a cup of Parmesan cheese (optional). Pulse for a few more seconds.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix ½ a cup of breadcrumbs and ½ a cup of Parmesan cheese (optional).
  6. Spoon out small amounts of the veggie mixture and drop into breadcrumbs/Parmesan cheese until coated. Form them into nugget shapes and lay them on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray.
  7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Be sure to flip them over halfway through.
  8. Serve with your child's favorite sauce and sides of your choice!

A meal made from leftovers can be perfect for those days when you get home from work a little too late, or when you accidentally fall asleep with your little one during nap time...Anyone? Just me? Okay–well, I know I love when I wake up without feeling too flustered about that day’s meals because I know I have a container of leftovers waiting to be transformed into a new food creation that is both filling and delicious for myself and my daughter.

I’d love for you to show me your creations made from leftovers. Use the hashtag #teenytinymealsleftovers so I can see!


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