Vegetarian Buffalo no Chicken Tenders with Lighter Blue Cheese Dressing

vegetarian buffalo chicken tenders

This is a weird story, but a relatable one.

But, Annie, how can a story be both weird AND relatable?

Let me tell you, and then you’ll get it.

On Tuesday morning, I walked into the little staffroom at my new fieldwork/residency site and immediately smelled something good. Buffalo sauce. So, it’s 5:45 in the morning, and all of a sudden I wanted some buffalo foods. I guess night shift must have had them for dinner or something and the smell was still lingering. Wanting spicy bar food at the crack of dawn is a little weird, but I feel like we’ve all been there at some point. Like you open your eyes and right way you want sriracha fries or something. And no, I’m not pregnant.

vegetarian chicken tenders

The moment I got home that day, I set to work on making a meatless tender that I liked. Since I knew I was going to use blue cheese on the side, I didn’t bother with trying to make them vegan.  Sorry.

These came together remarkably quickly and easily. They have a bigger yield and are cheaper than boxed meatless tenders, and again, no weird ingredients. Soy allergy friendly.  The diy blue cheese dressing was a little more expensive than bottled dressing, but not by much.

But let’s talk about the taste here, since that is truly what’s important. I was so pleased with the way that they tasted that I ended up having them as part of my dinner for the next two or three nights. (what? i had a kale salad each one of those nights too!) And the texture is so filling and satisfying and not rubbery or weird in any way. I was one happy panda. Snow-panda happy.

light blue cheese dressing

And, dude, you can also make them into a sandwich! I melted a little cheese onto some udi slices, and then put on some of the dressing and smashed a few tenders in the middle. Buffalo chickpea tender sandwiches might be my new favorite sandwich. It was so hard to wait till lunchtime.

(this is where annie was supposed to insert some paragraph about how this is just right for your game day spread, and how if you have veggie folk/health-conscious folks coming to your football party, you should make this for them. but since y’all are smart, annie doesn’t need to write that. you already inferred as much, right?)

But seriously. Game day spread. Football food, woooo

vegetarian buffalo chicken tenders 2

Oh! I finally set up my recipe index page, so hopefully things here will be easier to find. Sorry it took so long.  Check it out, and feel free to offer any constructive criticism on it. Thanks!

Amazing Buffalo Chickpea Tenders

Yield: 18 tenders

Amazing Buffalo Chickpea Tenders

Ingredients

    tenders
  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and patted dry
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves (yes they have to be roasted!)
  • 1 3/4 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/3 cups corn chex
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce
  • blue cheese dressing
  • 2 5.3 oz containers of nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 oz blue cheese crumbles
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the eggs, the roasted garlic cloves, the nutritional yeast, and a small handful (about 1/4 cup worth) of the chickpeas. Blend into a paste.
  2. Scrape the the paste into a bowl.
  3. Pulse the rest of the chickpeas to a very coarse grind. Do it fast so they don't become a paste.
  4. Stir the coarse-ground chickpeas with the egg paste until well-combined. Cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper, and place int he freezer for about 35 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 and generously grease a foil-lined pan with coconut oil
  6. Blend the chex cereal to a fine sand.
  7. When you take the chickpea mix out of the freezer, it will still be kind of wet, but cold enough to that it won't stick to the spoon when you scoop it to shape.
  8. Shape rather heaping tablespoon-fulls of the mix into triangles and coat on both sides with the chex mix. See the notes section below for specific instructions on how to successfully shape the triangles.
  9. Place the triangles on the baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes on one side and 8 minutes on the other.
  10. Towards the end of baking, microwave the buffalo sauce till it's nice and hot.
  11. When the tenders come out of the oven, let them cool just a sec and then use a fork to toss them in the buffalo sauce.
  12. for the dressing.
  13. Use about 3 - 4 tbsp water to thin out the yogurt. Mix in the lemon juice and half of the blue cheese, smashing up the blue cheese as you go, so that it gets good and mixed into the yogurt. Thin out a little more if you wish. Add the rest of the blue cheese, maintaining the crumbles whole. Add a dash of pepper, salt, and garlic powder, just to taste.
  14. Serve with love.

Notes

+do not use low sodium chickpeas

+the chickpea mix will still be rather wet when it comes out of the freezer. What to do: Drop a large tablespoon-full of the mix over the breading. The breading will hold it while you use the sides of your fingers to shape it into a triangle. Now you can pick up the triangle and turn it over to that the other side gets coated. It sounds like it's hard, but it's not and you can work rather fast

*I got my roasted garlic recipe from Real Simple. It doesn't taste quite as mild as long roasted garlic, but it's still good and only takes about ten minutes. What you do is, chop off the top of the head so that all the cloves are somewhat exposed. Put in in a bowl with olive oil and two tbsp water. Cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 7 minutes on 50% power. Leave the plastic wrap on for about three more minutes and then you're good to go. you can make batches of this and keep the cloves in the fridge in the oil they were cooked in, so they are ready for use whenever.

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Vegetarian Buffalo Chicken Tenders

 

6 thoughts on “Vegetarian Buffalo no Chicken Tenders with Lighter Blue Cheese Dressing

  1. My husband works in a hospital and once he worked night shift and came home at my breakfast time and wanted tacos sooooo bad so I made eggs and toast for me and tacos for him. What a weird morning! haha! Sometimes food cravings get the best of us!

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