Paleo

These Better-For-You “Boneless” Bites Feature a Sneaky Chicken Swap

You’ve made it into rice, into steak, even into pizza crust – now, enjoy this chameleon of a vegetable as a crunchy alternative to nuggets.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

Breaded and fried foods are undeniably tasty, but they usually don’t leave us feeling so great. Until now, that is. We’re taking classic bite-sized “boneless” nuggets and making them better for you – all without sacrificing any of the crispy, crunchy goodness you love. With a few strategic swaps, you can get your crunch on and still feel like a champ.

While bites like these are usually made with meat fried in unhealthy oils, we’re using veggies and a healthier frying process. Cauliflower stands in for the chicken, which gives these nuggets tons of nutrients and gut-friendly fiber. Starting with thawed frozen florets saves time, as they’re already chopped and softer than raw cauliflower, so you can bread and fry without breaking out your knife or steamer basket.

Then, we bread the florets with a mix of mineral- and healthy-fat-rich almond flour and spices, so you don’t get the crash that comes from breading made with refined flour. (Pro tip: Don’t forget to double dip into the breading to get that satisfying crunch.) A dip into beaten eggs adds protein, too. Finally, we fry the nuggets in heart healthy, inflammation-fighting avocado oil. A simple drizzle made from raw honey and hot sauce adds a touch of sweetness and heat.

The end result: Indulgent bites that are full of flavor and crunch, and also loaded with benefits.

You can serve these tasty cauli bites as an appetizer, a snack or even a fun side dish for dinner any night. You can dip them a few hours ahead of time, cover and refrigerate, and fry just before serving. The breading is delicious on chicken tenders, too.

Fried Cauliflower Bites with Spicy Honey Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

Honey dipping sauce:

  • ¼ cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • Pinch of fine sea salt

Cauliflower:

  • 1 cup (104g) almond flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 lb frozen cauliflower florets, thawed, drained, pat dry
  • Avocado oil, for frying

Preparation

  1. Have ready a large baking sheet lined with parchment and a large plate lined with paper towels. In a bowl, whisk together honey, hot sauce and a pinch of salt.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine almond flour, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper; whisk to mix well. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until well combined. Working in batches, dredge cauliflower in flour mixture, then dip into eggs, then dredge in flour mixture again. Place breaded cauliflower on lined baking sheet.
  3. Warm 1 inch of avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot (an instant-read thermometer should read 350ºF). Working in batches, but not overcrowding the skillet, fry cauliflower until golden all over, turning occasionally, about 2 to 4 minutes total per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate. Repeat with remaining cauliflower.
  4. Serve hot with honey dipping sauce.