Chicken Nuggets Made Better

How does one elevate the humble and rather boring chicken nugget? It’s a question I found myself asking the other day, after I had failed to thaw any meat for supper and had no vegetarian options on hand. I needed something I could cook quickly–hence the box of frozen, breaded chicken pieces–but wanted to dress it up so it had actual flavour and some degree of, dare I say, elegance.

Okay, elegance is a bit much, but I wanted to move beyond bare chicken nuggets on a plate accompanied by ketchup and some variety of frozen potato.

My solution? Sauce. Preferably something intensely flavoured and brightly coloured. I looked into my fridge and saw a large bunch of cilantro, left languishing after I had used only a tiny amount in homemade salsa. “Yes,” I said to myself, “Two birds, one stone: a sauce for dinner and a new way to use up leftover cilantro, which I always have too much of.”

I quickly searched for recipes and, as is my wont, combined two that didn’t quite work for me on their own, but together created exactly what I was looking for.

To switch things up even more, I changed the accompanying carb from potatoes to basmati rice. Brown rice is healthier, yes, but I wanted the bright white basmati as a visual contrast to the green sauce.

The final dish was delicious. I marketed it to my husband as “lightly breaded chicken and zesty cilantro sauce on a bed of rice.” He wasn’t fooled, but he agreed that it was really good.

chicken nuggets in cilantro sauce

Very refined, no?

Whether or not you pair it with chicken nuggets, I highly recommend this sauce. It would be great with any white meat, fish, or seafood, or in a wrap or sandwich. I even paired it with leftover rice and some chopped pistachios for a tasty lunch the next day.

Cilantro sauce is easy and a great starting point for transforming frozen chicken into something more interesting. Enjoy!

Chicken nugget sketch: 133868661 © Topgeek |

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