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Quinoa-Crusted Fish Nuggets with Tartar Sauce

Photo: Monica Buck
Active time 15 mins
Total time 30 mins

Serves 4 (serving size: 5 nuggets and 2 tbsp. sauce)

Frozen fish sticks get a (much-needed) healthy makeover in these family-friendly nuggets. Any firm white fish will work—grouper, halibut, flounder, or cod. Toasted quinoa crust lends earthy flavor and crispy texture while providing an extra dose of protein. If making gluten-free, rice flour works like a charm. Otherwise, you can use all-purpose or whole-wheat flour. Our homemade tartar sauce is enriched with Greek yogurt and fresh dill pickles so it won’t break the fat or sodium bank. Serve these nuggets with steamed green beans or carrots for a fun meal with a sophisticated edge—one your kids won’t be able to resist!


  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound skinless flounder or cod fillets, cut into 1-in. pieces
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dill pickles
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill

Nutrition Information

  • calories 343
  • fat 10.6 g
  • satfat 1.4 g
  • monofat 3.9 g
  • polyfat 3.7 g
  • protein 24 g
  • carbohydrate 36 g
  • fiber 4 g
  • cholesterol 99 mg
  • iron 3 mg
  • sodium 565 mg
  • calcium 91 mg
  • sugars 4 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; lightly coat with cooking spray.

  2. Cook quinoa in a large skillet over medium-high, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; process for 20 seconds or until finely ground.

  3. Stir together flour, paprika, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a shallow dish. Stir together buttermilk and egg in a second shallow dish. Place ground quinoa in a third shallow dish.

  4. Dredge fish pieces in flour mixture; shake off excess. Dip fish in egg mixture; dredge in quinoa, pressing to adhere. Place fish in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Lightly coat breaded fish pieces with cooking spray.

  5. Bake at 425°F for 13 minutes, turning once after 7 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

  6. Meanwhile, stir together mayonnaise, yogurt, pickles, vinegar, mustard, dill, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl. Serve with fish nuggets.

Cook's Notes

How-To FREEZE: Prepare recipe as directed through Step 4, omitting cooking spray. Freeze until solid. Place nuggets in a ziplock plastic bag; return to freezer. THAW: Bake from frozen! BAKE: Place frozen nuggets in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper; lightly coat nuggets with cooking spray. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.