Friday, June 13, 2008

McChick'n Nuggets

I was leafing through a Homemakers magazine today from a few years ago. You can pick up old magazines for dirt cheap at the thrift store and look through the recipe section to see what the non-vegan world is up to. Sometimes it can lead to new ideas and inspiration for vegan dishes. This particular issue did not have any good ideas, but it did have a McDonald's ad that made me snort. The ad shows a young boy, around seven years old, with his face and hands all amess from the BBQ sauce he has been dunking his McNuggets into. The caption reads, "At least what made it in him was all white seasoned chicken breast." Well, that's not all he is getting (and, seriously, I used to eat McNuggets. I find this chicken breast claim dubious). According to McDonald's own website, McNuggets contain "chicken meat, chicken skin, salt, flavour [hydrolyzed plant protein (corn, soy, wheat gluten), disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate]. Coated with: wheat flour, water, toasted wheat crumbs, modified cornstarch, corn starch, yellow corn flour, salt, vegetable oil shortening (soybean), sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum phosphate, spices, sodium aluminum silicate (manufacturing aid), modified milk ingredients, wheatstarch. Cooked in 100% vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethypolysiloxane)." All of this boils down to 310 calories, 19g of fat (29% daily value for an adult!), 45mg of cholesterol, and a whopping 670g of sodium. And let's not forget the fries and the drink. Needless to say, I felt compelled to make chickenless nuggets tonight.

Makes 24 nuggets
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1 tsp poultry spice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 2 cups panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, crushed between your fingers
- 1/4 tsp tumeric
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground flax seed
- 1 1/2 cup soy milk
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1. Whisk together flour and spices in a bowl. Whisk together water and oil and a separate bowl and add to flour mixture. Stir and bring into a dough. It's rather hard to knead this dough, so I stretch out the sides and then fold them into the centre. I then press down to mold it back together again. This works the gluten and helps mix everything together.
2. Roll dough out into a long log, about 12-14 inches long. Let rest while you mix together the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, tumeric, and paprika in one bowl, and the flax seed, soy milk, oil, and vinegar in another.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with oil.
4. Slice dough into 24 pieces (about half inch each). Press down a bit to get a nugget shape, dip in soy milk, then lightly roll in bread crumbs. Repeat with all pieces of dough.
5. Re-dip nuggets back in soy milk (let it soak up so you get a thick breading), and roll again in the bread crumbs. Press the nugget into the crumbs to get a nice thick coating and to maintain the nugget shape. Place on baking sheet.
6. Bake for 10 mins, flip, then bake for another 10 mins. Flip again and cook for 4 mins, then flip and cook another 4 mins (this keeps the breading from browning too much).
7. Serve with dipping sauce of you choice. These are a bit chewy when they are piping hot, but firm up nicely when they cool down a bit.

A NOTE ON BREADING: the key to a good breading is to keep one hand wet and the other dry. Use one hand to dip the nuggets and place into the breading. Shake the bowl to coat the nugget in crumbs, then use your dry hand to handle/press the nugget.


Paulina said...

Chicken-less nuggets? Yummy! I think I'll have to make this soon!

Amy said...

Wow! I am so making these..... What do you use for 'poultry seasoning'?

Love your blog (long time lurker, first time poster).

Vegan Dad said...

I buy a pre-mixed spice called "poultry seasoning." It is pretty widely available. I think it is sage, thyme, and other green spices.

Jan Scholl said...

This is similar to another nugget recipe I have made recently using a different coating. I substituted Panko (the whole wheat one worked best) but I used a different spice mix. I made up a morrocan type spice mix for a North African taste. and the aroma was really out there. I like the meatiness of gluten better and I used minced fresh garlic (I could live on garlic).

I haven't been in a McDonald's since the mid 90's-what are they even serving these days that might pass as healthy?

romina said...

I would love to see what would happen to the McDonalds sales if they were to post their ingredients list on the menu.

kindkitchen said...

These sound great!

Also, I just blogged about your meatloaf-sooo good.

Eesh said...

Oh my goodness! I'm definitely making these sometime this weekend! Thanks for posting this!

Virginia said...

i have everything to make these except for panko and poultry seasoning...a trip to the store is in order!

Sharon R said...

These look really good & seem easy to make, too. I've seen the poultry seasoning in one supermarket & should really buy some..
I have to rely on yard sales for books & mags that my 2 fav thrift stores have recently closed; they were in business for over 30 years & suddenly called it quits!

Anonymous said...


I'm a total fan of your blog, and it's inspired me to start up my own for vegan eating - and I made a super fabulous vegan mac and cheese based on your recipe for wings, but I made 'buffalo chicken strips' instead and cooked them in the mac and cheese.

Definetly try something like it - it was sooo delicious. All my brothers (serious meat eaters) loved it (and ate thirds!). Just an idea for you to try with your kid friendly meals.


Virginia said...

I think I am going to make these tonight with a link to your blog for credit, if that's okay. I don't have any poultry seasoning, but I think I can make my own. I did pick up the Panko, though!

Erin said...

Yes, these sound so good, I'll have to try it. I actually remember the last time I ate McNuggets, a long long long time ago. It was disgusting, to say the least.

Sarah said...

I made these tonight b/c I hoped my 2 year old would eat them. She didn't really, but I ate too many :) Thanks!

Maria said...

Made these tonight, and they totally hit the spot. Thanks!

Do they freeze well? They seem like good things to make in large batches, but I'm a bit suspicious of what will happen to the texture in the microwave.

Vegan Dad said...

I don't know--there a rarely leftovers in our house. I suspect that they might get a bit rubbery in the microwave, but that the trade off of convenience would be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff! Its been a long time since I've had a McNugget, but from what I recall, the texture is very similar.

Laura said...

mine turned out really really chewy and inedible. they LOOKED really good, and the flavor was pretty good... but they had the texture of chicken fat. :(

Jenna Z said...

Thanks so much for your awesome faux meat recipes!! I made these last night and they were fantastic! I've also made several of your other recipes, the lunch meat, sausages, BBQ ribz, etc and haven't been disappointed!

Becky said...

I just did a Google search for seitan nuggets and this was the one I decided to try out, and I am so glad I did. These are delicious! They were fun to make, they get golden and crispy and they have a really nice texture to them. Thank you so much for this recipe! Definitely going to be making it again.

Anonymous said...

These were horrific, it was like chewing whale blubber or animal fat. Is that what vital wheat gluten is like? Holy Geebus mother of Tom and Jerry, it was disgusting. I followed the directions, did I miss something?