These Chicken Zucchini Nuggets are a kid-friendly handheld protein-veggie combo. It’s a protein source that kids of all ages can enjoy! A great way to get veggies into everyone at the table.
What We Love About Them
The ingredients are simple and inexpensive. They can be found at most grocery stores. Plus, the meat is flexible – use either ground turkey or chicken. We prefer the flavor of ground chicken but buy whatever is most affordable.
These Chicken Zucchini Nuggets can be cooked in a pan on the stove, in the oven or your air fryer. These freeze fantastically, so double batch and freeze the extras! Bonus: they Whole30, Paleo, and Keto compliant. Additionally, they are also egg-free and nut-free.
You will be blown away by how simple yet delicious they are! Great for an egg-free breakfast or fast weeknight dinner. And I highly recommend dipping them in my Date Mustard Sauce (pictured).
Salting your Zucchini
Zucchini is a great veggie to add into dishes as it’s decently neutral in flavor. But, it has a high moisture content. This makes it perfect for baking, but terrible for getting crispy.
To make sure these nuggets aren’t soggy, be sure to salt your zucchini! How much? A good rule of thumb is 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon salt per pound of zucchini. Here I use just a half teaspoon. I share my easy method to removing the moisture in the recipe below.
However, if you have a reusable produce bag like these I love from Amazon, you can squeeze out the moisture even more easily! You can see a video of that in this Instagram reel here.
Want more 30-minute Whole30 Meals? Check out this blog post for 20 of our favorites!
Want more kid-friendly Whole30 or nourishing meals? Check out this blog post for our top 25!
New to Whole30 and not sure what it is? You can read more about Whole30, a 30-day elimination protocol, on their website here.
- Grated Zucchini – I love using my large food processor to do this quickly. You can also hand grate it. I don’t peel them before I do.
- Ground Chicken – I prefer the flavor of ground chicken for these, but you can also use ground turkey. I find my ground chicken the cheapest at Walmart. Can’t find ground chicken near you or it’s expensive? Make it at home! Read this blog post to learn how EASY that can be!
- Minced Dried Onion – You can find this spice at most grocery stores in the spice aisle.
- Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic – I have come more and more to prefer the texture of granulated garlic, but either work!
- Salt and pepper – Don’t overthink it. Just basic table salt and ground black pepper here.
- Coconut or avocado oil, if frying on a stove
Chicken Zucchini Nuggets
- 2 cups grated zucchini I use my food processor grating blade to do so quickly!
- 1 lb ground turkey or chicken
- 1 tablespoon dried chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt plus extra to salt zucchini
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- Coconut or avocado oil if pan frying
- Spread shredded zucchini in the middle of a clean towel and salt. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fold up towel from edges and wring out extra moisture out of the zucchini. I usually do this over the sink and be aggressive in your wringing - the more moisture you get out the crispier these nuggets will be!
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, except for cooking oil, stirring until combined (I use my hands here to mix).
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. I use about a 1/4" deep of oil.
- Once heated, flatten a spoonful of the meat mixture in between your hands, then place into the hot oil. You choose how big these nuggets are - my kids like the smaller nugget size, but you will have to do less batches if you make them more of a patty. Up to you!
- Cook until brown on both sides and cooked through (length of cooking time will depend on the size of your nuggets - usually about 5 minutes per side, but keep an eye on them!).
- AIRFRYER INSTRUCTIONS: Form your nuggets or patties the same as above and spray your air fryer basket with oil, as these are goopy and will stick if you don't. Place in a single layer in your airfryer basket. Cook at 350 for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- OVEN INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. As you shape the nuggets, place about an inch apart on the parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes, flip, and then bake another 10 minutes.