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Bring back a childhood favorite with this nutritious take on chicken nuggets. 

By April Cumming, Photo by Gabriella Nolen

For those making the commitment to eat healthier this year, chicken nuggets might not make an appearance at the top of your grocery list any time soon—and understandably so. But what if there were a loophole to the madness? Try making these chicken nuggets Claire Siegel, Snap Kitchen’s lead registered dietician, shared with us and see what you think.

“[These] are the perfect afternoon snack,” Siegel says. “They’re high protein to keep you satisfied—without any later sugar crash—and have that craveable throwback feel.”


Almond-crusted Chicken Nuggets With Herb Ranch Dressing

Makes 16 nuggets

Ingredients for the chicken nuggets

1 pound chicken breast cut into 1-ounce cubes or nuggets measuring 1.5 by 1.5 inches

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup almond breading

Directions for the chicken nuggets

  1. Combine the Dijon mustard and egg. Toss the prepped chicken with the mustard-and-egg mixture, then marinate it overnight or for at least six hours.
  2. When you’re ready to continue, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and place a rack on a baking sheet and lightly spray it with the nonstick cooking oil of your choice. (Note: If you don’t have a cooking rack, spraying parchment paper is fine. Cooking on a rack allows the nuggets to brown evenly on all sides.)
  3. Place the breading into a bowl or rimmed baking dish. With one hand, place the nuggets into the breading. With the other hand, sprinkle the breading onto the exposed pieces of chicken and press the nuggets down into the breading to ensure they are evenly coated.
  4. Shake off any excess breading and place the nuggets on the rack or parchment paper, leaving about an inch of space between them.
  5. Bake for approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Cut one nugget open after 20 minutes to check the doneness.
  6. Serve with herb ranch dressing.

Almond Breading

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients for the almond breading

3/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup paleo flour mix

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 teaspoon dry sage

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions for the almond breading

  1. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients and store the mixture in an airtight container at room temperature.

Herb Ranch Dressing

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients for the herb ranch dressing

1/2 cup cashew sour cream

1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon parsley, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dill, chopped

1/2 teaspoon green onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions for the herb ranch dressing

  1. Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
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