I love chicken nuggets. I live off of them. I have a hard time feeding myself, and I’m generally a picky eater, so nuggets help me keep sustained on the most challenging days. Thanks in part to the alternative meat movement, I have also developed a particular affinity for most soy-based or mushroom-based patties with a bit of seasoning on top. They’ve gotten so sophisticated they’re hard to distinguish from meat. I’ve even come to prefer them over the real thing. That’s why I was super curious about Impossible Foods’ Wild Nuggies.
The latest animal-alt offering from Impossible looks like the dinosaur-shaped nuggets I used to eat as a kid, except they’re plant-based. My family and I enjoy Quorn’s meatless nuggets from time to time. We’re constantly finding excuses to go to Burger King for the Impossible Whopper, which is why I figured we’d be the perfect guinea pigs for Impossible Food’s not-chicken nuggets. And I was right — we managed to finish off the whole bag.
I’ll go ahead and say it: the Wild Nuggies are genuinely delicious. My husband and I ate through all the nuggets that Impossible Foods sent over for a taste test. I tried to get my kid to try one of these to see if she’d take to them like the Quorn brand but to no avail.
The Wild Nuggies are shaped like “critically endangered” animals, so I’ll keep trying to appeal to her on that point. The animals include the Black Rhino (I thought it was an elephant, also endangered), the Galapagos Tortoise, the Polar Bear, and the North Atlantic Right Whale. That concept may be a little heavy for a young kid, but hey, dinosaurs are an extinct species. And these things taste like the Yummy Dino Buddies of old.
I cooked the Wild Nuggies like I would any other kind of nug. I put them on a pan on top of a sheet of parchment paper and baked them. Impossible Foods recommends setting the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, but I put it to 400 because I like a darker bake. You can air fry and microwave the nuggets, too, but I always talk people out of doing the latter because no one likes soggy food.
According to the ingredients list, Wild Nuggies are mostly wheat flour and soy protein concentrate. It’s different from the ingredients featured in the Quorn nuggets that my family likes, those are made from mycoprotein — essentially mushrooms. Other faux-nugs, like KFC’s Beyond nuggets, are made with a mishmashed “pea protein,” which sounds unappetizing. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get my hands on a serving of those to compare but our colleagues at The Takeout recently wrote up their impressions.
Because we’ve enjoyed so many Impossible burgers before, my husband and I had no problem diving in head-first to tasting the Wild Nuggies. I was pleased with the way they cooked in the oven. They were crispy on the outside and fluffy and porous on the inside.
I paired the Wild Nuggies with cross-cut fries and dunked them into a few different sauces, including barbecue sauce, regular ketchup, and America’s favourite, Hidden Valley Ranch. The Wild Nuggies were delicious with every flavour. They’re less dense than what I get out of a bite with the Quorn meatless nuggets, and I think that might be why there’s a bit of a “tendon-y” feel to it. Whatever I was eating, it was convincingly meaty.
It fooled my husband, too, but not enough to sway him away from Quorn. He said, and I quote, “It’s not Quorn, that’s for sure.” While he liked the texture, he said the flavour felt “more neutral.”
I’m not surprised that I liked the Wild Nuggies. Impossible Foods has had a relatively positive track record over the years, enough that it landed its food into the rotation of some fast restaurants. If anything, it’s a testament to how much plant-based “meat” has evolved in the years since it became a concept.
As for me, food that’s easy to eat like this is a godsend for the days that getting anything down your gullet feels like a task. While I’m disappointed I couldn’t get my daughter to try out the Wild Nuggies (she’s the demographic, hence the animal shapes), I’m happy I’ll be able to add some variety to my diet of chicken and plant-based nuggets.