The back-to-school craze means back-to-nugget time. They’re perfect for busy days, thanks to their versatility. Nuggets are great served hot for dinner, and yummy eaten cold, too, so you can pack ‘em up in the lunchbox or have them on hand for an easy after-school snack. Nuggets are also so easy to freeze and reheat for those especially hectic weekday dinners.

Chicken nuggets are, of course, way popular with kids. But vegetable nuggets are an excellent choice for the little vegetarian in your family or for your non-loving vegetable child who refuses to eat veggies. And they’re fun to prepare, too. “Veggie nuggets are a great way to add fiber to your diet or your kid’s diet without the bore of roasting or steaming,” says nutritionist Vanessa Rissetto

And because it’s, fall we think autumn vegetables are the perfect choices for veggie nugget recipes. Cheese, eggs and bread crumbs typically round out nuggets and don’t forget healthy dipping sauces like a lemony hummus, or Greek yogurt-based ranch. Hey, even organic ketchup, is the perfect complement for nuggets and makes eating them more fun.

Yes, you can use those bags of frozen veggies you’ve got in your freezer, but we say why not hit the local farmers market on a crisp fall weekend (or, take a road trip and admire the foliage along the way) and stock up on the season’s vegetable bounty to use in your recipes for uber fresh nuggets your little nuggets will love—or at least tolerate.

Here are some ideas:

Macheesmo

This vegetarian nugget recipe calls for autumn harvest vegetables including beets, carrots, broccoli, potatoes and parsnips (which are typically winter vegetables because they thrive after a frost but can also be harvested in late fall). They’re easy  to make and colorful, too—so kids don’t diss them outright. Note: The recipe calls for frying them in a deep fryer, but don’t worry, you can also bake them for the same yumminess (and much healthier, too).

Yummy Toddler Food

Cauliflower is best in fall and when combined with quinoa these pouches pack an impressive punch of vitamins and nutrients. The recipe is skewed to toddlers, but kids and adults will also reap the benefits. Check out this cauliflower nugget recipe

Elephantastic

Pumpkin is, of course, an autumn treat, and these vegan pumpkin nuggets are pillowy rounds of soft pumpkin with a crunchy coating. The recipe calls for fresh chunks of pumpkin and the nuggets are perfect whether baked or pan-fried. How about making these during your pumpkin carving weekend—and go ahead, roast the pumpkin seeds, too to keep the pumpkin theme going. Get the pumpkin nugget recipe here

These vegetable nuggets don’t experiment with unfamiliar vegetable territory like beets or turnips so discerning kids might be more prone to dig in. Instead, familiar veggies like broccoli and carrots are front and center in these baked nuggets. And because broccoli, which can be harvested in spring as well as fall, tends to be less bitter and a little sweeter in autumn, picky kids might give a thumbs-up. Get the veggie nugget recipe here

Red, Round, Or Green

And these crispy vegetable balls are also made with broccoli, carrots, as well as potatoes. They could even pass as tater tots (or you could spin them that way for fussy eaters).

For the healthiest of nugget dips, including a seasonal autumn pumpkin sauce, check out these recipes

Header image courtesy of Red, Round, Or Green.

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