Adventures in Healthier Eating with 2 Kids and a Picky Husband

Oven-Baked, Teff-Coated Chicken Nugget

4 WWPP Posted by 4 years ago 5 Comments

Have I confessed my obsession with non-bread breading?


OK …  I’m obsessed with breading things in anything other than bread.

It’s not that I have anything against traditional breadcrumbs, I just find them boring. Plus, why not have a little fun coating things in options that offer some additional nutritional value?

Come to think of it, my stance on breading is similar to my stance on baking. Anyone can follow a tried-and-true brownie recipe. There are millions and millions of them out there. I’d much rather experiment with my own and create a yummy brownie with some nutritional value because it’s challenging and fun! Not to mention, I feel really, really good when my kids eat more balanced at home so I don’t have to be a czar when they are out.

Anyway, this is turning into a pretty long introduction considering I still need to tell you what teff is!


I would have never bought it in a million years considering it wasn’t even on my radar until “Bob” sent me some last year. It’s a super tiny grain and according to the Whole Grains Council.

Teff leads all the grains – by a wide margin – in its calcium content, with a cup of cooked teff offering 123 mg, about the same amount of calcium as in a half-cup of cooked spinach. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, a nutrient not commonly found in grains.


Teff is…  high in resistant starch, a newly-discovered type of dietary fiber that can benefit blood-sugar management, weight control, and colon health. It’s estimated that 20% to 40% of the carbohydrates in teff are resistant starch. A gluten-free grain with a mild flavor, teff is a healthy and versatile ingredient for many gluten-free products.

Since teff’s bran and germ make up a large percentage of the tiny grain, and it’s too small to process, teff is always eaten in its whole form. It’s been estimated that Ethiopians get about two-thirds of their dietary protein from teff.  Many of Ethiopia’s famed long-distance runners attribute their energy and health to teff.

Fascinating, right?

Why isn’t this stuff more popular? It’s easy to grow, fast to sprout and cooks in moments.

When I first saw and felt it I thought “breading” because it’s so small. I experimented a few times using it as a coating when shallow frying and the family didn’t seem to notice. So I decided to take the leap and bake some chicken nuggets with it.

I thought the results were FABULOUS! The flavor was great and although the texture wasn’t crunchy as expected, the tiny seeds added a fun twist, in my opinion anyway. The kids didn’t quite agree.

kids at dinner

Oh, they both ate it without much argument but I think the 8-year-old’s exact quote was.

I really like the chicken except the coating.

I just don’t think the texture was what they expected and I really can’t blame them. That being said I could have eaten the whole darn batch! Even The Husband enjoyed them.

Oven-Baked, Teff-Coated Chicken Nugget I’m going to share what I did in hopes it gives you a few ideas. Next time, however, I may mix in a little traditional breadcrumbs or oats or panko or something.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into nuggets
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1/4 cup teff
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Pinch kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the chicken and set aside.

Mix the olive oil and mustard in a bowl.

oil and mustard

This is my replacement for egg and adds a ton of flavor, too. If you like spicy, a dash or two of hot sauce is an awesome addition!

Add the cut chicken and coat it in the mustard. Set aside.

chicken coated in oil and mustard

On a plate combine the teff and spices.

Teff "Breading"

Spray a foil-covered cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Coat the chicken in the teff breading and arrange on the cookie sheet.

chicken coated in teff

Bake for about 13-15 minutes, turning once during cooking.

I pulled mine out while the boys colored dinosaurs. :)


Let them rest a minute and then test for doneness by breaking the largest nugget in half.

cut chicken nugget

I served mine with a side of broccoli and oven-roasted french fries — click here for the recipe.

teff nugget dinner plate

The boys waited patiently while I photographed before dinner.


It was a great meal all around and I love that my family is getting used to my crazy dinner adventures.

Approx Nutritional Information per serving
Servings Amt per Serving
4 1/4 recipe – amount will vary based on size of nuggets
Calories Fat Fiber WWPs
215 4g 2g old: 4 new: 4
Sugar Sat Fat Carbs Protein
1g 0g 11g 26g

See other recipes using: chicken, teff

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There are 5 comments so far. Join in on the conversation.


    April 11, 2014

    Wow, they turned out beautifully! I love the rich brown color. And your family...just too cute for words.


    April 12, 2014

    Thank you for introducing me to teff. It sounds wonderful and looks tasty!


    April 13, 2014

    I didn't know Bob's sold Teff, I'm wondering if I could find it at my local Trader Joes or somewhere like that. Teff is a grain common to certain parts of Africa and it's integral to characteristic flavor and texture of Injera used in Ethopian food (it's like a tangy, spongey flat bread that's used to scoop up the delicious food instead of using utensils.) Substituting other grains just doesn't quite have the same result. I've never had in any of other form, but if I could readily find it I'd love to try it out more. Good find!


    April 15, 2014

    have you tried Zatar? not sure the rest of your family would love it, but you might! I take about equal parts zatar and olive oil and put it in a baggie and mix it up. Then I add I chicken (I like boneless skinless thighs) and then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and drop in the squeezed wedged. Grill over low heat. The consistency of the spice is kind of like breading, but it is all spices.


      April 20, 2014

      I haven't but I'm intrigued!