Crispy Baked Chickpea and Jackfruit Tenders are a flaky and flavorful plant-based alternative to chicken tenders. They use only a few simple to find ingredients - jackfruit can be swapped out for cauliflower or replaced with more chickpeas.
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Ready in 45 minutes | Makes about 20 tenders
1 - 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
1 - 20 oz can jackfruit in brine, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1/4 chia seeds
3/4 cups + 2 Tbsp flour or choice, we used chickpea flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp paprika, any variety
1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
1/4 tsp red chili flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup corn meal
1 cup unsweetened plant milk of choice
Cooking oil spray
Dipping sauces of choice - we suggest mustard, barbeque, vegan ranch, or sweet chili sauces
Preheat oven to 375° F.
To make the tenders, add chickpeas, jackfruit, walnuts, chia seeds, and 2 Tbsp of flour to a food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds until the mixture is well combined, with some of the chickpeas and jackfruit still having a flaky texture. Add to a large mixing bowl. *Alternately, you can add the chickpeas to a bowl and mash with a fork, and finely chop the jackfruit by hand. Add to the mixing bowl with the chickpeas along with walnuts, chia seeds, and flour, and mix mix until well combined.*
To season the tenders, add the vegan chicken seasoning, nutritional yeast, sesame oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp paprika, and red chili flakes to the chickpea and jackfruit mixture and mix until evenly distributed.
To form the tenders, take 2-3 Tbsps of the tender mixture and use you hands to compress into a oblong shapes that are around 3-4 inches long and about 1/2 inch thick. Place on a parchment lined tray or a plate until all of the tenders are formed and set aside. Optionally, you can place in the refrigerator to chill at this point.
To make the wet batter, add remaining flour and plant milk to a mixing bowl along with 1/2 tsp each of sea salt, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Whisk together until well combined and set aside.
To make the crispy bread crumb coating, add bread crumbs, cornmeal, and remaining spices to a bowl. Mix together until well combined and set aside.
To prepare the tenders for baking, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Spray with an even layer of cooking oil spray on the surface. Gently dip each tender in the wet batter on all sides and allow excess batter to drip off. Coat each tender on all sides with the crispy breadcrumb coating. Lay each tender on the baking sheet, about 1-2 inches apart, and repeat the process until all they are all coated. Spray the tenders with an even layer of cooking oil spray and bake for about 30 minutes, removing the tenders from the oven and flipping over after about 20 minutes of baking. When they are done, they should be golden brown and crispy on both sides. You will likely have to bake in batches or use 2 baking sheets to cook all of the tenders at once.
Remove tenders from the oven and serve with your favorite dipping sauces. They're also great in wraps and on sandwiches.
To store, allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container. The can be kept in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.