Recently, the culinary blogsphere has been boasting the exploits of cooking with almond meal instead of traditional flour. So, I thought “why not give it a try?” Years ago, I used to prepare this awesome Asian recipe for Walnut Coated Chicken Bites. It was an outstanding recipe, but was a bit labor intensive requiring marinating, dipping in egg, etc. This new recipe, though, comes together in a snap!
(Oh ... by the way, I’m now homeschooling my littlest chicken tender, too! I’m in heaven with 2 out of 3 of my brood here during the day. Homeschooling rocks!)
Back to our regularly programmed chicken story ...I already knew that the walnut recipe was fantastic, and so it was a natural leap of faith to experiment making chicken tenders using almond meal. I wanted to keep it really simple though, so I didn’t go through the steps of marinating and egging, et al.The results were really good! As you know, homemade chicken tenders far, far, far outshine anything you could buy pre-made. This almond meal coating approach keeps the recipe gluten free, and is super-d-duper simple to prepare. I made a TON of these using multiple pans because I wanted to have leftovers for lunch the next day. I turned the left overs into chicken parmesan, and let me tell ya folks, that was GOOD EATS!I didn’t measure out the ingredients, but it’s so easy that even a first time cook could do this with ease. I’m guess-timating pared down volumes for you here.
- 1 cup almond meal (I used Bob’s Red Mill brand – it’s gluten free. You could finely grind your own blanched almonds if you wanted to. Your food processor may enjoy the workout! Your ears may not appreciate the noise level, though!)
- Your favorite seasonings: I used Lawry’s seasoned salt, garlic salt, and black pepper.
- Olive Oil – to coat the pan
- Chicken tenders – about a dozen
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Brush oil around to evenly coat the baking surface. Combine the almond meal and the seasonings in a bag. Drop the tenders into the bag and shake vigorously to coat. Place on the baking sheet taking care not to crowd the pieces. Keep those molecules apart people! It’s better to use two pans than shove them close together on one pan. Place in the oven and bake for around 8 – 10 minutes. Flip the tenders over, and bake for another 8-10 minutes. Take out of the oven and let sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove and serve.Um, does uh anybody else besides moi like to nibble on the crusty parts left on the foil? hehe Oh come on, don’t judge me!These were really tasty! The almond meal actually is very mild allowing the chicken flavor to easily dominate. I served these with a super yummy sour cream dill dip (which my children didn’t touch – hubbyman liked it though).
For the day two recipe, I used the left over tenders, topped them with marinara sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and had a terrific new taste sensation. Praise be to who ever first came up with that tasty combo.Best of all, chicken tenders prepared this way are ridiculously easy to prepare, full of flavor, and gluten free. My picky eaters club members snarfed them down and demanded more. They even choked down the lonely couple of green beans on their plates so they could present a clean platform for round 2.I’ll be trying out more ways to use the almond meal as a coating. YUM!