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Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)Yes, you read this post title correctly. And right now as I’m writing this post, I’m noshing on some simply amazing Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets. But don’t get confused, there’s no nasty processed soy-food-like-substances used, nor are there complicated blends of ingredients used.. just one simple, nutritious & delicious secret ingredient!

Oh – and no – I’m not a vegetarian but it’s totes cool if you are.

Did you know that nature already makes the perfect vegan/vegetarian chicken substitute? No need to recreate the wheel, when nature has already provided perfection!

Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)

What is a Chicken Mushroom?

Laetiporus is a genus of edible mushrooms found throughout much of the world. Some species, especially Laetiporus sulphureus, are commonly known as sulphur shelf, chicken of the woods, the chicken mushroom, or the chicken fungus because their taste and texture is similar to white meat chicken.

One of my favorite wild edible mushrooms is undoubtedly the Chicken Mushroom! And it’s perfect for beginner foragers with it’s distinct yellow/orange color and no poisonous look-a-likes. @rayryczek just found this beauty and I can’t wait to enjoy it this evening ? #chickenofthewoods #chickenmushroom #foraging #wildedible

A photo posted by Hayley Ryczek (@healthstartsinthekitchen) on Sep 28, 2016 at 1:18pm PDT

Young mushrooms are characterized by a moist, rubbery, sulphur-yellow to orange body sometimes with very bright orange tips. Older mushrooms become pale and brittle almost chalk like and are often dotted with insects & damage.

Chicken Mushrooms are a great beginner mushroom, since there are no poisonous look-a-likes and it’s distinct appearance. However, it’s always best to consult with an experienced forager before eating any foraged mushroom for verification, cook mushrooms throughly and do not combine with other mushrooms or alcohol. COMING SOON: 5 Safe Beginner Wild Mushrooms 

In addition to these delicious Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets, I also love making my Vegetarian/Vegan Chicken Mushroom Hashbrowns, Chicken Mushroom Rice Pilaf and they can also be used in many other recipes where boneless skinless chicken breasts are used.

How to Make Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets from Chicken Mushroom

I’m sure at least one of  you is getting your panties in a wad – proclaiming BUT I don’t like mushrooms! Relax. Not all mushrooms have the same flavor/texture! Chicken Mushroom is totes different.

I promise to you that these don’t taste anything like standard mushrooms. They have a fiberous texture, almost identical to chicken. And honest to goodness, they taste more like chicken than any mushroom I’ve ever tasted – and I’ve pretty much eaten every single choice edible mushroom found in the northern hemisphere!

After cleaning your freshly harvested Chicken Mushroom, cut the tender pieces into nugget sized chunks. Then using beaten eggs (always pasture raised!) and your favorite breading (I recommend my grain-free breading) – bread each piece and arrange in a single layer on a tray/plate.

Now – Here’s the life-changing trick to better-breading that my grandmother taught me: ALWAYS freeze your breaded food for at least 30 minutes before cooking. No excuses. For some crazy reason, the freezing makes the breading adhere to the food so much better, it will not puff off and separate from the food while cooking.

And with these Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets, feel free to bread and freeze your abundant harvest to enjoy them later. Store your breaded chicken mushroom nuggets in an airtight container, between wax paper layers. Just take the breaded/frozen/raw mushrooms right out of the freezer and pop them into hot lard.

Is Frying Food Healthy?

How and when fried food is a part of your healthy diet is a highly individual decision. Are fast food deep fried foods healthy? heck no. Can you make healthier fried foods at home? Yes!

But just because unhealthy foods are made healthier it doesn’t mean to enjoy them daily… However I’d rather you eat real-foods fried in healthy fats at home instead of junk processed foods any day!

There are 2 factors that determine how healthy or unhealthy frying foods are: #1 the fat used and #2 the temperature of your fat. Vegetable, Canola, Soy, Corn or Peanut oils are NOT HEALTHY,  not cold, not heated, never. Choosing an unhealthy fat is how to instantly destroy any health benefit of the food you are cooking.

To learn what fats we use, check out my post: Oh, For the Love of Fats and Bacon Grease. After you choose your healthy fat, keep the temp below 350 degrees so that you don’t destroy the good stuff in your fat. By default I’m recommending Coconut Oil for frying in this recipe to keep it vegetarian friendly 🙂

P.S. If you have a fear of fats and don’t find that fried foods ever fit into your healthy way of eating, that’s ok too, there’s no need to tell me about it. Disagreeing is totes ok, you can just pretend you didn’t read this post, I won’t be offended. You are also welcome to experiment with baking these nuggets, however I absolutely HATE baked versions of fried foods so I don’t bother to play around with those variations in my kitchen. I embrace fats as an important part of my healthy way of eating and don’t shy away from them. Personally, I prefer to have the real deal less frequently, rather than try to enjoy a sub-par faux version. 

Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)

Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets (using Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms)

Vegetarian Chicken Nuggets

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Ingredients

  • Chicken Mushroom Nuggets
  • Egg(s), Organic Pasture Raised from pasture raised hens, please!
  • Grain Free Breading Mix
  • Coconut Oil (unrefined) or lard if you are an omnivore
  • Homemade Seasoned Salt <– get my recipe
  • Last Minute BBQ Sauce <– get my recipe

Instructions

  • Bread each chicken mushroom nugget by first dipping in beaten egg, then in breading mix.
  • Arrange in a single layer and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
  • In a dutch oven or other heavy bottomed pot, bring fat to 340 degrees F.
  • Working in small batches, fry frozen breaded chicken mushroom nuggets until golden brown, roughly 3 minutes.
  • Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and season with seasoned salt.
  • Enjoy immediately with BBQ Sauce!

Notes

It’s nearly impossible for me to give you measurements for this recipe. Adjust as needed based on the amount of chicken mushroom you have.

Tried this recipe?Mention @HealthStartsinthekitchen or tag #HealthStartsInTheKitchen!