Getting edible green things into a toddlers mouth can take the stealth and creativity of a secret agent.  Mission accomplished!


A few weeks ago, this recipe was passed from a mommy friend to her sister to me.  It is easy to get stuck in a major rut with a toddler’s food since little ones tend to promote habit.  

My husband read an interesting tidbit a year or two back that I remember often.  It said that toddlers are picky eaters due to an innate survival instinct.  From the time that they can walk until they are old enough to make their own, reasonable decisions about food, they do not like to eat things that they don’t recognize. In primitive hunting and gathering days, this instinct kept toddlers from eating poisonous things. It makes sense and gives us a little reason to cut the tiny tykes some slack.

I am lucky that Mini Whipped is not an overly picky eater.  She is able to detect and reject the most minute morsels of onion.  And, she isn’t a huge fan of green things.  But, she DID accept the broccoli in these nuggets and even lauded me with a “Like chicken nuggets Mommy. Mum mum!”   That is equivalent to a double thumbs up.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Made about 18 1 1/2 inch patties

2 chicken breasts
1 head of broccoli (florets only, not big stem)
2 cups of shredded cheese
2 eggs, lightly beaten and then mixed in.
1/2 cup of panko for coating patties
Start by poaching the chicken breasts. If you need instructions, find How to Poach Chicken here.  Wash broccoli and cut florets off.  Steam the broccoli until tender.  Chop the poached chicken in chunks and put it in a food processor pulsing until finely ground.  Add broccoli and cheese and pulse until combined.  The mixture should be very fine.  Pour the ground mixture into a bowl and stir in the lightly beaten eggs.  

Put the panko or bread crumbs on a plate.  With your hands, press the chicken mixture into patties.  Press each side on the patty in the crumbs to coat.  Place the nuggets on a cooking sheet that is sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.  Spray the tops of the nuggets as well. 

Bake nuggets in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning them over half way through. Serve with ranch, barbeque sauce, ketchup or the dipping sauce of your little one’s choice.

TO FREEZE: Place nuggets on a cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour.  Then, remove them and store them in a tupperware container or freezer bag.  You can take them out and cook as you need them.  Add about 5 minutes to the cooking time for frozen nuggets.

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12 Responses to “Chicken Nuggets (with broccoli sneaked in)”

  1. LoveFeast Table Says:

    Stealth mommy!! I love it and am pretty sure my 3 year old will too!

  2. Traci Says:

    Great idea! I’m trying them! You should try my broccoli brownies too. They are delicious–and you would NEVER know they are in there! (I made them for a broccoli themed cooking class). Love your blog! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  3. Sprout Says:

    My 3 sisters with 4 kids each will be all over this one. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Acid Reflux Questions » Blog Archive » Acid Reflux Foods to Avoid – 3 Things That Cause Acid Reflux Says:

    [...] Chicken Nuggets (with broccoli sneaked in) [...]

  5. Small Kitch Cara Says:

    I am not a kid, nor do I have a kid, but I think those look amazing–and actually kind of gourmet! I’d serve them to adults, just call em “chicken-broccoli croquettes.”

  6. tagan engel Says:

    Excellent! I love your blog!! I just put out a cookbook with a whole section on “sneaky greens” check out one of the recipes on my blog:, I posted the burgers with sneaky greens recently. the cookbook is a community cookbook, but a beautiful one, and 5,000 copies will be distributed for free to low income families in new haven, ct. They will be available later this week online at Thanks for your inspirational blog, I love your design.

  7. Heather Lewis Says:

    Yay! So happy to see these here!

  8. Romana Says:

    This is great! I make my toddler pizza with my own homemade whole wheat dough. I also sneak in chopped up fine broccoli under the cheese! He doesn’t notice it. My toddler is so picky and the survival instinct you describe makes so much sense!

  9. Stolk Says:

    Just tried them, and alas, the Peanut preferred licking the ranch dressing from the nuggets while avoiding actually biting a nugget. Scott and I, however, loved them and got to dispose of them ourselves. We subbed spinach because it’s what we had around, and they were a pretty, springy green.

  10. Theresa Says:

    These were awesome – my preschooler didn’t eat any nor my toddler but my husband and I loved them. I think both my kids will eat them if I keep making them. This is so in my rotation of dinners – thank you, thank you, thank you. never thought to mix in cheese when making nuggets – great idea!!!!

  11. Melanie Says:

    These were a winner with my 18 month old, thank you! :)

  12. Ajarae Says:

    Can anyone tell me what kind of cheese to use?? Please…. Thanks :)

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