If it hasn’t been obvious, I have a bit of an obsession with barbeque sauce. And part of that obsession includes looking for various vehicles to transport barbeque sauce into my mouth, because it’s apparently not socially acceptable to just spoon it into my mouth like people do with Nutella or peanut butter.
For some reason, back-to-school time makes me think if chicken nuggets, so I figured why reinvent the wheel? Chicken nugs + BBQ sauce are natural BFFs and I can’t deny my sauce a nugget buddy. I’d remembered seeing a tempeh nugget recipe somewhere floating around the internet, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that this was an easily Google-able inquiry (I later realized it was Hannah at Clean Eating Veggie Girl).
These nuggets aren’t super chicken-y tasting and definitely not chicken-y in texture (which is oddly the way I prefer my faux-meats), but since chicken is the most common type of nugget, it’s really what first comes to mind when you see and eat these. Not something you could trick people with, just worth eating in their own right. I’m loving the technique of dredging the tempeh in yogurt — the coating REALLY sticks. Plus, then you don’t need any eggs, making this appealing to vegetarians who don’t eat eggs and more accessible to vegans if you use a dairy-free yogurt. I served mine with Annie’s mac and cheese (obviously not a vegan side dish!) for a be-a-kid-again kind of dinner. Dipped in agave-mustard (plus BBQ sauce, obvi), it was an incredible meal.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet by spritzing with nonstick spray.
Slice tempeh into nugget-shaped chunks (I cut my block into 24 pieces).
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Line pan with vegetable or no-chicken broth or use nonstick spray. Cook the tempeh until heated through (this will help remove some of the bitterness associated with tempeh).
Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt, garlic, onion, thyme, and a few shakes of paprika in a bowl. Add the milk, in tbsp., until it is creamy and falls through a fork easily, but is still thick enough to stick to the sides of the bowl. Add a few drops of agave until the yogurt is no longer tart, but not sweet. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
Put the breadcrumbs in a second bowl. Once the tempeh is cool enough to handle (pat dry if you used broth), dredge in the yogurt and press into the breadcrumbs, until coated.
Place the tempeh nuggets on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with all nuggets. Spritz tops with nonstick spray. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, if desired.
Bake for 13 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 7 (total of 20 minutes).
Serve while hot and crunchy with your favorite dipping sauces. Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat in the oven or a toaster oven.
Cooking time includes quick cooking of tempeh before baking. For vegan nuggets, use vegan yogurt and opt for agave over honey. For gluten free, buy certified gluten free panko breadcrumbs.