A year ago I tried an older version of NUGGS. I wanted to love them, but my honest opinion was that they tasted like cardboard. The only thing was, I prepared them without any oil in the air-fryer, so that could have been a big reason I hated them so much. So when I got the email below, I was more than willing to give them another chance! Please read my thorough review below, however I’ll give you a spoiler alert: they taste BETTER than chicken.
Cost: NUGGS 2.0
A week ago I finally ordered NUGGS 2.O. The prices are: 2 pounds (about 50 nuggets) for $34.99, 4 pounds (about 100 nuggets) for $44.99, and they humorously sell 420 pounds for $10,000 with a note: you don’t need these. But I assume it’s still possible to buy them if you have a spare 10 grand laying around. These prices include free 2-day domestic shipping. Unfortunately, if you live outside of the USA you’ll have to book a flight to try these.
Let’s do a little cost comparison! I’ll be comparing these to McNuggets, which basically sustained me as a child. As well as Gardein Mandarin Orange Frozen Crispy Chick’n, which are my go-to vegan chicken product – I’ve tried most things out there and this was my favorite.
McDonald’s no longer sells 50-piece boxes, but you can buy 40 ($16.99) and 10 ($6.99), at least in Rhode Island. So that’s $23.98 for 50 McNuggets. Keep in mind that McDonald’s is a huge global chain which allows it to lower prices. If there was a NUGGS store on every corner, their prices would drop too.
Target sells Gardein for record-low prices! They sell a bag of 10.5oz, which is around 8 pieces, for $4.19. That makes the cots for 50 nuggets $26.19 in Rhode Island. So these are also cheaper than NUGGS, but once again, they are a huge company. NUGGS will get there too, I have no doubt. Plus it’s just $10 cheaper for a way more delicious product – yes, I’ll get to that eventually, hold your horses.
Ingredients: NUGGS 2.0
First, let me tell you what they are made of! NUGGS are made with water, soybean oil, textured wheat protein, soy protein concentrate, breadcrumbs, wheat flour, corn flour, wheat protein isolate and yeast extract. Plus there’s 2% or less of some other less appealing sounding ingredients, but do you know how McNuggets are made?
NUGGS also have a significant amount of protein, they are cholesterol free, and they have 40% less fat than animal-based chicken nuggets. Can I mention how much I love that NUGGS doesn’t claim to be a healthy alternative? Instead they are honest about them being healthier than animal-based nuggets but “kills you slower” clearly implies that they aren’t healthy, just a lesser of two evils.
Calories: NUGGS 2.0
NUGGS have 210 calories per 5-piece serving. So it’s 42 calories for 1 nugget. McNuggets actually have the same amount of calories, but the nutritional info is a little different. NUGGS have more of the good stuff and less of the bad. However the difference isn’t as significant as I expected. You can find the nutritional info for McNuggets here.
Gardein Mandarin Orange Frozen Crispy Chick’n isn’t that different either. A serving of 3 pieces has 150 calories. So it turns out that weight loss-wise, all of these are equally unhealthy. But let’s be honest here, no one actually thinks that eating chicken nuggets made out of meat or peas can be healthy – a healthy diet consists of a balance of natural, non-processed foods. So let’s get to the taste comparison!
Neither Isaac or I have eaten McNuggets in YEARS. So we finally gave them a taste. Without the sauce, they tasted much like nothing. Which explains why I loved them as a child. My parents couldn’t get me to eat meat that wasn’t processed beyond recognition. If it wasn’t smooth and bland, it didn’t enter my mouth. As an adult, this is no longer something that I enjoy eating. We also ate some KFC Chicken Popcorn as part of this taste test, and honestly, it blew everything else out of the water. But KFC Popcorn Chicken is not a chicken nugget, so it was disqualified!
We prepared the NUGGS in three ways: in the air-fryer without oil, pan-fried with quite a bit of oil, and oven-cooked with minimal spray oil on the tray only. For the first two we winged it, but for the oven-cooked ones we followed the instructions on the box.
Not surprisingly, the one with the most oil was the tastiest. When we ate them with sauces, they were even better! But we compared the taste of all the nuggets sans sauces to begin with. NUGGS still won (with the exception of the super crispy fatty KFC Popcorn Chicken).
How They Look Side-by-Side
Here’s how they look. The McNugget is obvious the most typical looking nugget, but the NUGGS look way more delicious. Then there’s the Gardein that looks pretty pathetic next to the other two, but when you cut them all in half, the Gardein looks most like real chicken.
Dog Taste Test
Clearly, Isaac and I are not big meat eaters, so we’re not the most reliable taste testers. Our dogs, however, love meat. We thought we’d let them pick their favorite between NUGGS and McNuggets. You can see them make their selection in the video at the end of the article. But it turns out that Pablo was 100% pro real-meat while Smiley was all about the NUGGS!
Another great bonus of these tasty nuggets is that they are much more eco-friendly than chicken farming! You can read all about that here, it’s a deep topic that would require an entire in-depth article about it! Anyway, NUGGS also happens to have minimal plastic packaging. It’s great to see more companies consider our planet and help minimize plastic waste!
NUGGS 2.0 The Tesla of Chicken
I have no idea if NUGGS are endorsed by Elon Musk, but their new campaign compares them to Teslas! If Teslas are vegan and gas cars are carnivorous, does that make hybrids vegetarians? Anyway! Their new slogan inspired the feature photo. NUGGS taste extra delicious when eaten in a Tesla but they don’t drive themselves into your mouth 😉
My first horrible review of the older version of NUGGS was super popular. I feel bad because I don’t want vegan chicken to get a bad rep. But it truly was awful. I was so excited to give NUGGS 2.0 a chance and whatever was wrong before, they fixed it this time. They honestly tasted better than McNuggets, which were bland AF. Give these vegan nuggets a chance even if you’re a meat eater. You may be surprised by how much you love them! My final word on NUGGS 2.0: they are BETTER than chicken.
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