Quinoa, Chicken & Broccoli Nuggets

  • Servings : 24 Nuggets
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 45m

I have a few friends whose babies are allergic to gluten. They find it really hard to find/bake tasty finger foods for their children. So I did a bit of research and found this amazing grain and flour called quinoa. And it is not just for those searching for a gluten free option, this stuff is wonderful. 

Tip: if you want to freeze these they are best flash frozen before cooking.

Quinoa is nutrient-rich and has so many nutritional qualities your child will benefit from.  It’s is easy to digest and low in allergens meaning you can introduce it to your baby early.  Babies often love the flavour too. You can think of it as a win-win food.  They enjoy eating it and you feel great feeding it to them.

Quality Protein: Quinoa is famous for being high in protein, containing all the essential amino acids.  It is the only plant food that does contains all the essential amino acids making it perfect for vegetarians.

Carbohydrate-rich and Low GI: Quinoa is carbohydrate-rich and has a low glycaemic index (GI) resulting in a sustained energy release giving children the energy to play and learn.

High in Fibre: Quinoa is high in fibre, which is important for bowel health and helps to keep babies feeling full and satisfied after they have eaten.

Low in Fat:  Quinoa is relatively low in fat and predominantly the favourable unsaturated fats, including omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.

High in Iron: Quinoa contains 3 times more iron than wheat and 4 times more iron than rice making it a great addition to babies’ food.  Serving some vitamin C-rich foods along side quinoa will help boost the amount of iron absorbed.

High in B-vitamins:  Quinoa contains many B group vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin and thiamine that are important for energy production and release.

Nutrient Rich: In addition to iron and many B-vitamins quinoa also contains notable amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and copper.

Gluten Free:  Quinoa is gluten free making it a nutritious option for anyone with coeliac disease.

Antioxidants: Quinoa contains many health-promoting, disease-fighting antioxidants your babies will benefit from for years to come.  Note: red, purple and black coloured quinoa are higher in antioxidants compared with white quinoa.

 If you want to find out more you can read our posts of Quinoa the Superfood and Cooking Quinoa

Quick Tip: it’s pronounced “keen-wah” – so you can avoid the eye rolling that I copped when I asked the health food assistant for “quin-oh-ahh”. Embarrassing.

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  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup quinoa (white grain)
  • 500g chicken mince (or finely chopped chicken)
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (packet, fresh or gluten free)
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh thyme
  • ½ cup finely grated cheese
  • ½ cup cooked broccoli
  • 3 tbs butter, melted (optional)


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a tray with baking paper.  -

Step 2

In a small saucepan bring water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat but leave the saucepan on the hot plate for another 5 - 10 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.  -

Step 3

In a medium bowl, combine the minced chicken, quinoa, and broccoli. Mix to combine. In a separate bowl combine the breadcrumbs, cheese and herbs. -

Step 4

Using your hands, create tablespoon sized balls (1 cm thick) and dip in the breadcrumbs. Place the balls on the baking tray and gently squash to flatten into a nugget shape. Brush with butter (if using). -

Step 5

Bake for 10 - 15 minutes, then turn each nugget and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and nuggets are brown.  -

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Recipe Comments

  1. posted by Renee on November 12, 2012

    Hi I just wanted to let you know I tried making the above nuggets and they were a success the first night by Miss 6 & Master 2. Fussy Miss 6 decided the second time I cooked them (from the original batch but had been par cooked and then frozen) she wasn’t fussed as she could see “green” bits. ARGHHHH darn fusspot kidlets! They eventually got eaten but I thought next time I might use cauliflower as the whiteness may blend a bit. I also used Multigarin breadcrumbs to coat them. Thank you we will be trying more of your recipes.

  2. posted by Tiffany on March 22, 2013

    What’s the best method for freezing these?

    • posted by Allie on March 22, 2013

      Hi Tiffany. The best way I have found to freeze these is to make them up to the point of cooking. Then cover, and place the tray of raw nuggets in the freezer. Once frozen you can put the nuggets into a freezer bag without them sticking to each other. Then cook from frozen allowing extra cooking time as needed. Hope that helps, Ax

  3. posted by Sarah on June 5, 2013

    I just made these for my 10 month old, who has been turning her nose up at food, and she loved them! Great recipe.

    • posted by Allie on June 5, 2013

      Yay, thank you Sarah 🙂 Ax

  4. posted by Courtney on September 27, 2013

    These nuggets are amazing! Although my 2 year old isn’t super fussy she loves these!! Ill be looking for other recipes from you!

    • posted by Allie on September 30, 2013

      Thanks Courtney, so glad she loves the nuggets, you can try replacing the broccoli for other veggies too 🙂 Ax

  5. posted by Jaana on October 1, 2013

    I made these little beauties for lunch today for my 8.5mo he gobbled up for before I could say “slow down”. I also had a couple with hummus. Really yummy and super easy to make!

    • posted by Allie on October 1, 2013

      Oh Jaana, I never get sick of hearing things like this. Thank you Ax p.s. I made hummus today, totally get it. Yum.

  6. posted by Lisa Lewis on November 8, 2013

    Yum. Sounds like a great recipe I have to try for my fussy 12mth old who just wants to eat finger foods. Question, I like making big batches to freeze, instead of cooking from frozen could you defrost before hand or not recommended? Thanks

    • posted by Allie on November 10, 2013

      Hi Lisa, I like to do big batches too – it’s the only way. I think defrosting them in the fridge is best actually as you wont have to cook them for as long as you would have if they were frozen meaning they hopefully won’t dry out! Ax

  7. posted by Lisa Lewis on November 15, 2013

    Thanks so much. How long roughly would you keep them in the freezer for? Thanks, can’t wait to try them

  8. posted by Kate on January 9, 2014

    Made these today for my 3 year old & 11 month old. We substituted the brocolli for grated zucchini and green apple. Thanks for the recipe!

    • posted by Allie on January 12, 2014

      Thanks for the feedback, Kate. We love hearing your substitutions too 🙂 Ax

  9. posted by Yvonne on March 23, 2014

    I was wondering if there would be a possible substitute for the cheese? We are DF and currently also egg free atm.
    Thanks in advance

    • posted by Allie on March 28, 2014

      Hi Yvonne, you could probably just make these without the cheese and they will still taste lovely 🙂 Ax

  10. posted by Jillian Ashley on April 2, 2014

    They fell apart before I could even get them in breadcrumbs … Epic fail for me

  11. posted by Kristie on May 26, 2014

    Was so excited to try these tonight and planned to swap the broccoli for carrott and zucchini finely blitzed in the hand held blender. Had all the ingredients and set out to make them while juggling mr two and mr 6 months…. What’s long and green and kind of looks like a zucchini? These are now chicken, quinoa, carrot and cucumber nuggets. Epic fail

    • posted by Jess on May 26, 2014

      Oh dear… haha. Better luck next time. Hopefully you are laughing about it now though 🙂 Jx

  12. posted by Caspette on July 12, 2014

    I am making my second batch of these today. They were a big win in our household for my toddler and older child. I added cauliflower in as well which you don’t even notice.

  13. posted by Emma on August 20, 2014

    Yum! My toddler loves these chicken nuggets. What a great recipe with plenty of nutritious goodness.

  14. posted by Kate l. on September 9, 2014

    Is the chicken cooked before and then minced? I’ve seen other recipes where they were and not precooked… So, I wanted to make sure.

    • posted by Allie on September 9, 2014

      Hi Kate, you don’t need to pre-cook the chicken for these. Ax

  15. posted by Clare on November 4, 2014

    Stupid question alert- do you use raw or cooked chicken when rolling into nuggets??!

  16. posted by Clare on November 4, 2014

    Whoops already answered sorry!

  17. posted by Katie on December 14, 2014

    Hi, I love your site and the recipes!!! This one is a winner in our house! We are traveling at Christmas and I would like to take these but there is only a microwave at our accommodation….can they be micro waved do you think? Thanks 🙂

    • posted by Allie on January 7, 2015

      They might fall apart a bit but could still work? How did you go? Ax

  18. posted by Megean on February 18, 2015

    These are amazing!
    I have a fussy 4yrs and a 1yr old who eats anything. This recipe is gold, a perfect way of getting veg into both kids. First time I only had Cauliflower & Peas and second time around I have broccoli and pumpkin. Each time the kids devoured them and asked for more. Look forward to trying more recipes from you page 🙂

  19. posted by Caroline on February 22, 2015

    Hi there,
    Can you use egg and breadcrumbs for dairy free option?
    Also I have mixed quinoa in the cupboard, can I use that for the recipe or does it have to be white?

  20. posted by kimberley on February 26, 2015

    Can u leave out the thyme and quinua?

  21. posted by Paige on February 26, 2015


    Great idea but my first attempt today failed. Couple questions – am I starting with raw chicken? I had some rotisserie chicken to put to use, so I tried that as well as refrigerated quinoa that had been cooked yesterday. Those two things in addition to the broccoli probably still being too wet/maybe overcooked, and my omission of cheese due to allergies results in crumbly balls that quickly fell apart. Where do you think I went wrong? On all of the above??

  22. posted by Kelly lenis on March 7, 2015


    I was going to freeze the nuggets, but I realized I took the uncooked chicken breasts out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator for the next day. Today I am going to cook my son the quinoa chicken nuggets, but I can’t freeze them. It’s because I took the chicken breasts out last night. I was told that when I take something out of the freezer and I can’t return it to the freezer. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

  23. posted by Susan on April 30, 2015

    These fell apart completely!! They are now quinoa, chicken and broccoli crumble. Did you all use a food processor to chop everything finely? Maybe that’s where I went wrong?

    • posted by Allie on May 6, 2015

      Sorry to hear that Susan. Yes try using a processor to get a stickier mix. Ax

  24. posted by Erica on May 23, 2015

    The chicken gets cooked well in the oven, even though it’s only in there for 20 minutes?? (I’m a beginner in the kitchen, obviously)

    • posted by Allie on May 28, 2015

      Yes the chicken nuggets are quite small so the chicken will cook well if placed in a hot oven. You can always turn them over and cook for longer if you are worried. Always use your own judgement when cooking, every oven is so different. Ax

  25. posted by Nicole Nelms on May 30, 2015

    Hi there! These sound great! I am planning to make them tonight and freeze the batch…I have made turkey and quinoa meatballs before and cooked, flash froze, and stacked in a freezer bag. Do these need to be frozen BEFORE cooking or can I do the same as before? Also, can I mix in the cheese and breadcrumbs rather than coating the outside? I’m not trying to get them crispy because my 11 month old won’t eat anything hard yet…Thanks!

  26. posted by Janice on November 26, 2015

    Could you use other meat mince instead?

  27. posted by Peanut's Mum on January 26, 2016

    Hi ! Can you fry these then freeze? Also, instead of chicken can i use just minced or grated veggies?

    • posted by Allie on February 17, 2016

      You can try? Let us know how you go. Yes they freeze well. Ax

  28. posted by Mel on March 24, 2016

    Hi I just had a quick question! I have heard a lot about quinoa and there is some contradicting studies done and information of weither it is truly gluten free or not so I would just like to ask has anyones little ones had any issues with these chicken nuggets since I’m still not sold on quinoa as being completely gluten free! I would love to try these for my son who is has sensory issues and doesn’t do well with gluten.


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