Crispy Almond Chicken Salad (GF)

Happy Monday my food loving friends! We have a beautiful light dusting of snow on the streets, and I didn’t fall walking to work, so bonus! But I’m mostly excited because today on “WILL IT SKILLET?” we have a crispy almond chicken salad! Almond flour is the perfect alternative to traditional, heavy breading or batter that you would normally find on crispy chicken- it’s light, packed with protein, gluten free, low in carbs and has fiber. It also gives you a light, airy, crispy crust! Using a cast iron pan makes sure it does get really crispy without having to use a lot of oil. This is a delicate breading, so you will find that it will crack a little when you cut into it – so don’t worry if you that happens to you – it happens to the best of us! You can see that even some of mine cracked!

I normally cook with chicken thighs. Mostly because I’m not super comfortable cooking meat, and I know that if I use chicken thighs they won’t dry out as easily as chicken breast does. I found these chicken breast fillets though – they are perfect. They’re chicken breasts that are pre-cut into evenly thin pieces, making it way easier to cook properly. If you can’t find those you can use chicken thighs, or you can butterfly cut a whole chicken breasts to make it into thinner, more even, fillet like pieces.

The chicken is super easy to make. Dunked into an egg wash, covered in a delicious, spicy, nutty, chipotle spiced almond flour mixture, and then cooked until brown and crispy. You can spice the almond flour mixture however you like, which makes it perfect for adjusting to your taste! Honestly, you could make these into chicken tenders and eat them with dipping sauce and veggies instead of going through the drive through (or for a kid friendly meal)! You could also cover these in a buffalo sauce to make a healthier version of buffalo tenders. This chicken is quick and easy to make on a weeknight, and you can freeze the leftovers and pop the chicken back into the oven/toaster oven to reheat to keep it crispy!

I like my crispy chicken over salad though, especially when I know I’ll be bringing it for lunch the next day. Not to mention, I LOVE making salad dressings. My favourite salad dressing will always be balsamic vinegar and olive oil (especially flavoured vinegars from All of Oils). My second favourite dressing is honey mustard, and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is! It’s sooooooo much better than the store bought stuff, you’ll never buy it again, trust me. Put all the ingredients into a mason jar, shake shake shake (or whisk whisk whisk) and just like that you have a homemade honey mustard vinaigrette! It stays fresh in the fridge covered for up to two weeks, so no fear if you have leftovers. Even better if you have leftovers, actually!

I kept the base of the salad quite classic – cucumber, tomatoes, peppers and radish over spinach – but you can use whatever kinds of greens and veggies or fruit you like!

If you are like me and planning to bring the salad to work for lunch, the best way to pack it is to pack it all separately. Pack your greens with your veggies in one container, the chicken in one, and the dressing in one. Don’t pre-dress your salad because it will be soggy and wilted by the time you get to eat it. No bueno.

This salad is a perfect healthy lunch or dinner:

  • The chicken is light and crispy;
  • Quick and easy to make;
  • Gluten free and much healthier than traditional breaded chicken;
  • Made with an easy, delicious homemade dressing that you may just eat off a spoon;
  • You can change up the greens and veggies to your preference;
  • Chicken can be made ahead and frozen;
  • You can spice the chicken to your own taste;
  • Perfect for a quick, healthy dinner or make-ahead lunch;
  • Chicken can be made as healthy dippable chicken tenders for kids (or fun adults);
  • Will convert any salad haters that’s how delicious this salad is.

Crispy Almond Chicken Salad (GF)

Chicken (4 servings)

  • 4 chicken fillets or thighs
  • 1 cup of almond flour
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1-2 tbsp chipotle powder, to your taste. Or use your own favourite spice blend!
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Cooking oil (olive, vegetable or grapeseed)

Honey Mustard Vinaigrette (4 servings – keep leftovers in a container in the fridge for up to two weeks)

  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For serving (4 servings)

  • 5 cups of your choice of greens, divided up (I used spinach)
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced and divided up
  • 8 radishes, sliced and divided up
  • 2 peppers, sliced and divided up
  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced and divided up

To make chicken:

Dry chicken fillets or thighs off with a paper towel. In a bowl whisk eggs and water to make an egg wash. In a separate bowl, whisk almond flour, salt, pepper and chipotle powder (or whatever blend of spices you used).

Heat up a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with a couple tbsp. of cooking oil, enough to coat the bottom of the pan.

One chicken fillet at a time, and using one hand (this will be your wet hand) dip chicken into egg wash and gently shake of excess. Using your other hand (which will now be your dry hand) dip chicken into almond flour mixture and coat both sides.

Once all the chicken is coated, place into hot pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping once halfway though – until the chicken is brown, crispy, firm, and no longer pink in the middle. You may have to do this in batches to avoid overcrowding your pan. You may also have to cook the chicken for more or less time depending on the thickness of your chicken fillet or thigh!

If you’re nervous or don’t want to cut into the chicken, use a kitchen thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken fillet – it should read 165 fht. I normally just poke mine and see if the juices are running clear, or put a small cut into it! I’m old fashioned that way.

Once the chicken is cooked, drain on a paper towel. Chicken can be frozen and reheated in the oven or the toaster oven to stay crispy.

To make the dressing:

Put all the dressing ingredients into a small mason jar, dressing shaker, or even a bowl. Shake or whisk until combined. Store covered in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To assemble:

Place greens in a bowl and topped with sliced/chopped veggies. Cut chicken into strips and place on top. Drizzle dressing to your liking.

Packing up leftovers:

Do not dress the salad until you are ready to eat. If you think you are going to have leftovers, only dress the serving of salad that will be ate (single servings) as opposed to the whole salad at once. Pack up greens with the veggies in separate container. You can even place the veggies in a container on their own and greens in another. Pack chicken in a separate container. Pack dressing in a small separate container. Heat chicken up in a toaster oven/oven to reheat and assemble salad before eating.

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