Tempeh “Chicken” Nuggets

September 15, 2014

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.

Tempeh Chicken Nuggets

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).

Tempeh Chicken Nuggets

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.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Tempeh “Chicken” Nuggets
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • 8 oz package tempeh
  • ¼ c yogurt (Vegan, fat free Greek, any will work)
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • paprika
  • agave (or honey)
  • salt and pepper
  • ½ c panko breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat, gluten free or regular will work)
  • nonstick spray (and vegetable/fake chicken broth, optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet by spritzing with nonstick spray.
  2. Slice tempeh into nugget-shaped chunks (I cut my block into 24 pieces).
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Bake for 13 minutes, flip, and cook an additional 7 (total of 20 minutes).
  8. 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.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 nuggets Calories: 150 Fat: 7 Carbohydrates: 13 Fiber: 1 Protein: 12


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    Katie (The Muffin Myth) Sep 25, 2014

    The other day I made a savory sauce so good that when it was a bit too much for the jar I was putting it away in I just took a gulp. No shame. I loooooove nuggets, but I haven’t had them in ages. That’s about to change cause I’ve got everything for these nuggets in my house right now! I make a good crispy tofu nugget that has nutritional yeast in the coating and I tell ya, it’s finger licking good! But these I’ve got to try. Thanks for the recipe!

    Julia Sep 16, 2014

    I used to be of the mindset that it was not “okay” to spoon-feed yourself savory sauces. Those days are over, sista. I say if you need a spoonful of BBQ, you do that ish…lawwww knows I do it!

    These nooogets of joy look so crispy and tasty! I want them while I watch Kaepernick’s arms. Seriously…I don’t watch football, I just watch Kaepernick’s arms. UGH!

    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl Sep 15, 2014

    Aren’t tempeh chicken nuggets SO good? Seriously… I am tempeh obsessed!! 😉 And yay for the Annie’s mac and cheese on the side!

    Joanne Sep 15, 2014

    Well, I wouldn’t judge you if you just spooned bbq sauce into your mouth…but I also won’t say no to these nuggets!

    Emily Sep 15, 2014

    Oh yum!!! I generally go for the faux chicken nuggets that are chicken tasting too but these look so good and I love that it’s tempeh.