Chickenless Nuggets

Only recently did I start experimenting with meat subsitutes other than tofu. These include tempeh and seitan. If you’ve ever made seitan, you know the main ingredient is vital wheat gluten. Although it looks like flour, it really is all gluten and very little starch. It is made from wheat flour, but processed to remove everything but the gluten. It’s mainly used to give elasticity to bread and to make meat substitutes. A few nights ago, I was compelled to make chickenless nuggets with the wheat gluten. With a variety of dipping sauces, they turned out so great, the only trace of them were a few crumbs. They are simply fun, bite size, and super tasty.

Chickenless Nuggets Recipe

Makes 15-20 nuggets


  • 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinses
  • 1/2 cup organic TSP (textured soy protein)
  • 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon mixed vegetable seasoning (or any dry herbs of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs


  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Pour the olive oil into a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Pour the panko, garlic powder and vegetable seasoning into a seperate small bowl. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mash the chickpeas using the back of a fork until there are no whole chickpeas left. You want them to still have texture, not smooth. You can also do this in a food processor, but be sure to only pulse a few times so as not to make them completely smooth.
  • Add the TSP, vital wheat gluten, dijon mustard, tamari, and water into the chickpea mash.
  • Knead for a minute or two. You will notice the gluten will start to firm up right away.


  • Using your hands, form the mixture into nugget sized balls. One at a time, dip them into the olive oil, then into the breadcrumb mixture.


  • Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and pop in the oven.


  • After about 10 minutes, turn them over and continue to bake for another 15 minutes or until golden and firm.
  • Remove, and serve with your favourite dipping sauce. My favourite is plum. Enjoy!

Chickenless Nuggets

Chickenless Nuggets


  1. Wow, these are the best chicken-less nuggets I’ve seen! I will definitely be trying these 🙂

  2. Thanks! I ate way too many today. Let me know what you think! 🙂

  3. These look so good! I will definitely try this recipe out!

  4. These looks so fun and inspired! I’ve never seen vital wheat gluten in any store by me – can you recommend something else or is it one of those non-negotiables? Yum!

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Ooooh Margaux that’s a tough one- it’s kind of essential here as it gives the ‘meaty’ texture and stretch. They’d probably work without it but just really different, like little chickpea bites. 🙂 if you have a health food store by you, ask a clerk, they should have it. Good luck!

  5. Mmm, these look great! I don’t usually cook with meat substitutes either, but that’s not to say I don’t like to – and these look well worth a shot! I’ve never seen vital wheat gluten either, though, or TSP for that matter:/ I’ll have a look in the specialist stores.

    • Sophia | Love and Lentils says:

      Hello Shonalika! Yes both ingredients are uncommon in regular grocery stores, I always get them at the health food store. Vital wheat gluten is, well, gluten, and essential in this recipe to give it a stretchy, meaty texture. TSP is textured soy protein and you could probably get away without using it, but again offers great texture and substance to these.
      Good luck! 🙂


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