Chicken, Sweet Potato & Apple Nuggets

2013-11-28
  • Yield : 20 - 30 balls
  • Prep Time : 20m
  • Cook Time : 15m
  • Ready In : 35m

DSC_6820 v2
These chicken, sweet potato and apple nuggets are really just a delicious accident.  I was big batch cooking one day planning to make the sweet potato, carrot, apple & spelt muffins and the chicken, halloumi and quinoa balls.  The sweet potato and cocount oil was prepared for the muffins and I had all the chicken ball ingredients prepped when I realised the halloumi was mouldy.  Without an alternative I abandoned the muffins and added the sweet potato, carrot and apple to the chicken mixture.  End result? Delicious :)

Nutrition Note: Who knew chicken nuggets could be packed full of fruit and veg?

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut oil (optional)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 500 g chicken breast or mince
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp parsley or coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • sunflower or rice bran oil to fry

Method

Step 1

Place the sweet potato in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil over high heat and cook until the sweet potato is soft. Drain, stir though the coconut oil and set aside to cool. -

Step 2

In a food processor combine the onion, chicken, carrot, apple, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley or coriander and process until well combined. Add the sweet potato and pulse until mixed through. -

Step 3

Transfer the chicken mixture into a bowl and stir through the quinoa, breadcrumbs and egg. Roll tablespoonfuls of the mixture into nuggets (you can freeze the nuggets at this point). -

Step 4

Heat the oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add the nuggets in batches and continue turning until all sides are golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. -

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by BK on December 5, 2013

    This looks amazing! Do you know if they can be baked instead of fried?

      Reply
  2. posted by Elsa Hietbrink on December 8, 2013

    Just cooked these for my 17 month old and she are three in about a minute! I baked them in the oven instead of frying them because I can never seem to get the frying part right- mine always stick!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on December 8, 2013

      Hi Elsa, that’s great! So pleased to hear your little girl loved them. How long did you bake them for and at what temperature? Someone else was asking so would love to pass it on – thanks, Jx

        Reply
      • posted by Elsa Hietbrink on March 10, 2014

        Hi Jess. I just came back to check the recipe to make a new batch and saw your question. I bake them for about 20 minutes in a moderate oven flipping half way through. Elsa

          Reply
        • posted by Jess on March 10, 2014

          Thanks so much Elsa :) Jx

            Reply
  3. posted by Jaana on December 11, 2013

    I made these yesterday. Delicious!!! my 11mo gobbled 5 up straight away! I have a lovely batch in the freezer now too. I made a slight modification, I omitted breadcrumbs and instead I crushed cornflakes and then rolled the nuggets in egg and cornflakes for a crispy texture :-) yum

      Reply
  4. posted by Erak on December 11, 2013

    I tried baking these today… they were lovely. Slightly crispy on the outside and a little mushy inside – similar to an arancini ball. I baked then on 180°C for 20mins though I checked it at 15mins & they seemed done but I just wanted to be sure! This recipe makes loads. . for those with limited freezer space (~40 balls).

      Reply
  5. posted by Delwyn on December 22, 2013

    Just making these – did everyone use quinoa flakes? My mixture is very wet – extremely wet infact – is it suppose to be?

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on December 22, 2013

      Hi Delwyn, we used cooked quinoa seed. With the mixture, you should be easily able to shape into little nuggets. If it is too wet, you could try using extra quinoa flakes or if you can save until tomorrow pop the mixture into the fridge and try adding some cooked quinoa seed, rice or couscous tomorrow to help thicken it up. I hope that helps a little. Enjoy, Jx

        Reply
      • posted by Delwyn on December 23, 2013

        I think using the flakes made it so wet as I cooked it with 2cups of water – I managed to get into balls and freeze so when i take them out will add cooked quinoa seed and hopefully this will work – suppose I could have not bothered cooking the flakes and just added them which would have made the mixture much drier. Many thanks for your advice :-)

          Reply
  6. posted by Emma on January 7, 2014

    These tasted delicious but fell apart while cooking. Admittedly I substituted quinoa for cooked couscous as I read the recipe wrong. Do you think that would have made a difference? I omitted the egg as the mixture was quite soggy. Would this have added to the patties falling apart? Any advice would be great.
    Ps. I love your site!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on January 7, 2014

      Hi Emma, thank you for the feedback. Sorry to hear they fell apart, I have not had that problem with these nuggets before. The egg helps to bind the mixture so omitting it could contribute to them falling apart. I’m not sure if the couscous would have made too much of a difference. It is finer so possibly? I also drained as much of the liquid as I could from the sweet potato before mashing it. It could also help to squeeze the juice from the grated apple too? I hope this helps next time. Jx

        Reply
      • posted by emma on January 8, 2014

        Thanks – I will give the apple a squeeze next time. I steamed the potato so it wasn’t too wet. They were still delicious though!

          Reply
        • posted by Jess on January 8, 2014

          Glad they were still a hit :) My little George thinks they are delicious too, enjoy Jx

            Reply
  7. posted by kate on January 22, 2014

    Hi, what could I substitute fro the quinoa? It is quite an expensive product and when the recipe calls for 1 cup it is a bit expensive for me overall.
    Cheers.

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on January 22, 2014

      Hi Kate,
      Rice or couscous would work well as substitutes for quinoa in this recipe. I hope you enjoy, Jx

        Reply
  8. posted by Mish on January 22, 2014

    I have a quick question – it says to freeze before cooking in the recipe. Is it possible to cook first, then freeze and then just reheat, or will that not work? i’m wanting something to take out and about with me. Thanks!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on January 22, 2014

      Hi Mish, yes – you could also cook, freeze then reheat as an alternative. We just find they tend to dry out a little more if you cook then freeze and reheat. But I’m sure it will be fine especially for your convenience. Jx

        Reply
  9. posted by Lucy on January 23, 2014

    I have cooked these both ways – frying and baking (180deg for 20 mins). I found baking much easier but they were delicious both ways! I agree with previous comments that the recipe makes heaps so I froze a few batches of uncooked mixture. Thanks for the recipe!

      Reply
  10. posted by Jakki on January 27, 2014

    Made these tonight with cous cous instead of quinoa. Yummy!!!

      Reply
  11. posted by Leah on January 29, 2014

    Hi! I made these today for my 15 month old daughter and she demolished them. Mine were very wet too and I used quinoa seed, perhaps there was too much water in the sweet potato? How did you ladies freeze the nuggets before cooking? I think mine are way too wet and will stick together in the one glad bag? Thanks!

      Reply
    • posted by Vicki on February 1, 2014

      My 10 mo demolished them too, I think he had 8 or 9 for dinner, lol. I cooked a small batch of 10 to start with – half in the oven and half in a small pan (still have LOADS of mix left over) and I think the oven worked a little better. I used quinoa seed and then added some extra breadcrumbs to stiffen the mixture up a bit. When I have made similar things previously I lined a baking tray with paper (greaseproof or freezer paper) and put them in the freezer in a single layer, then put in a container or bag once they were frozen.

        Reply
  12. posted by Sarah on February 19, 2014

    Just made these for my kids and they are soooo yummy! Stayed together perfectly too. thank you

      Reply
  13. posted by Rachel on March 3, 2014

    Silly question but is it one cup of raw quinoa cooked, or am I just cooking one third to make one cup??

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 4, 2014

      Hi Rachel, it’s one cup of cooked quinoa, so just cook one third to make one cup. Thanks, Jx

        Reply
  14. posted by Amanda on March 4, 2014

    Hi what could I use instead of the egg? My son is allergic to eggs.
    Thanks

      Reply
  15. posted by cel on March 19, 2014

    What could you substitute if you cant use egg? Thanks

      Reply
  16. posted by Lisa Lewis on March 23, 2014

    These sound delicious. Would these be ok to freeze after cooking? Looking for quick easy meals that can be pulled out and reheated? Thanks

      Reply
  17. posted by Claire on March 24, 2014

    Hi Jess, what could you substitute for the egg to bind them? My daughter has a egg and dairy allergy.

    Thanks

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 27, 2014

      Hi Claire,
      We just posted this on our Facebook page which might help with ideas for an egg substitute: (Personally, I would try the chia seed suggestion)

      EGG REPLACER: Whether your child is allergic or you just ran out, sometimes you just need to replace the egg. Here are a few we have used; have you tried them? Do you know of any more?

      Bananas (1 ripe banana=1 egg)
      Apple puree (1 tbsp=1 egg)
      Egg replacer powder
      Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons hot water and leave to soak for a few minutes.
      Mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons hot water and leave to soak for a few minutes.

      A few people suggested other alternatives such as tahini and olive oil. You could even try omitting the egg without a replacement to see if they hold together OK before you try adding a substiute. Good luck & please let us know how you go. Jess x

        Reply
  18. posted by Anne grant on May 17, 2014

    To fry or not to fry….frying is scary for people averse to the extra oil. I use an air fryer and if I use any oil at all, I use spray…..Best investment I ever made.

      Reply
  19. posted by Jo on May 30, 2014

    My fussy toddler wouldn’t eat them unfortunately, may be the lemon flavour he isn’t used to, so will keep offering. I loved them ! Was wondering if you freeze them uncooked, what oven temp and time would you cook them from frozen?
    I did these without a food processor just grated the onion and mixed it all together in a bowl. Also coated in breadcrumbs for a crispy texture. Yum!

      Reply
  20. posted by Jess on July 9, 2014

    My toddler wasn’t too keen on them either! I’ll keep trying him on them because I now have heaps…

      Reply
  21. posted by Jessica on July 30, 2014

    Neither my 3 year old or my 9 month old would eat these. After my husband and I tried them we agreed they tasted terrible. Very bland on seasoning and over powering onion flavor. I tried to doctor them up with more spices but no luck. I only used about 1/3 of a large onion but it was too much. Hoping the other recipes I have seen here will turn out better.

      Reply
  22. posted by Eunice on August 11, 2014

    These are yummy! It fell apart a little so I rolled them in breadcrumbs after and pan fry. My little boy ate 3 after his childcare. Total winner. Thanks for this recipe, I’m checking more recipes now.

      Reply
  23. posted by Angela on October 21, 2014

    Mine were a bit wet because I put the sweet potato and quinoa in hot, so I put a bit of extra GF breadcrumbs in. It helped a bit. It makes such a large quantity that I made sausage rolls from half the mixture with some puff pastry. The kids absolutely loved them. As I said to my husband, as long as it looks like something they like (ie wrapped in pastry or as a nugget) kids will eat almost anything. Even my very fussy 8 year old. Thanks!

      Reply
  24. posted by Gemma on November 1, 2014

    Hello OHC – my daughter unfortunately wasn’t a huge fan of these, and I now have a LOT of (uncooked) leftover nuggets. Any suggestions on how I could magic them in to a new dish?

    Cheers

    Gemma

      Reply
  25. posted by Angela on February 16, 2015

    These looks great for my baby to eat on her own! Was just wondering if I can replace the egg? Without eggs, will the mixture crumble? As my baby is only 7.5mths old I’ve not intro her any eggs for fear of allergies. thanks a bunch!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 19, 2015

      Hi Angela, Does your daughter have an allergy? If not the latest infant feeding guidelines suggest there is no reason to delay the introduction of any allergenic foods. If you have a family history of allergies or at all concerned I would suggest avoiding the introduction of any new food 2-3 days before or after so you can determine if there is a reaction and to give you some peace of mind. In addition, baked eggs are often very well tolerated. I have listed some ideas below as an egg replacer that may work well. We hope your little girl enjoys them :) Jx

      EGG REPLACER: Whether your child is allergic or you just ran out, sometimes you just need to replace the egg. Here are a few we have used; have you tried them? Do you know of any more?

      Bananas (1 ripe banana=1 egg)
      Apple puree (1 tbsp=1 egg)
      Egg replacer powder
      Mix 1 tablespoon ground flax seed with 3 tablespoons hot water and leave to soak for a few minutes.
      Mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 3 tablespoons hot water and leave to soak for a few minutes.

        Reply
  26. posted by Sarah on March 11, 2015

    My son devoured these tonight after i had frozen them. just wondering how long they can be frozen for? they have been in my freezer for about 3 months as he went through a very fussy period where he wouldn’t eat anything!

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on March 19, 2015

      Hi Sarah, we would suggest 1-2 months in the freezer as they contain cooked meat. However, if they were OK for you I would try and enjoy them over the next few weeks just to be on the safe side. Enjoy, Jx

        Reply
  27. posted by Allysun on April 7, 2015

    If you use chicken breast instead of minced chicken am I right to assume you’d cook the chicken breast first?? Thanks!

      Reply
  28. posted by Tamara on July 17, 2015

    Yum, added zuchinni, my son loves green things in his food – first thing he eats! I also found my mixture a tad wet so added a bit more rice and breadcrumbs in (I didn’t use quinoa as I struggle to get it right!)

      Reply
  29. posted by Sarah on July 26, 2015

    Hi just wondering, I cooked a huge batch of these up. Are they ok to freeze once cooked? I’ve made some chicken balls by Annabel Karmel and she cooks them then freezes these?

      Reply
    • posted by Jess on July 29, 2015

      Hi Sarah, yes these are great for the freezer. Jx

        Reply
  30. posted by jami on August 3, 2015

    To clarify, did you cook the chicken prior to blending it with other ingredients? Thank you.

      Reply
  31. posted by Rawan on October 19, 2015

    Hi Jess, I was reading through the comments before trying them and I noticed you said in one of the last few comments that they contain cooked meat (before freezing). So are you cooking the chicken before putting it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients? I’m sure not, right? Thanks! Cannot wait to try them on my kids!

      Reply
  32. posted by Brielle on January 22, 2016

    My mixture was fairly moist. It held shape but could not be rolled. This caused problems when cooking as they were too soft. I tried cooking some in the oven which were ok but more dry than pan frying. The best cooking method for me was to dust them in flour before pan frying/shallow frying. They held their shape much better and had no trouble with turning to cook or sticking. I recommend this method if you find your mixture is moist and you are having trouble pan frying

      Reply

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