I jumped on the Whole 30 bandwagon and I am doing “my version” which has some modifications from the traditional Whole 30 plan.
One of my favorite dinners is typically some version of coated chicken (think Shake-and-Bake or Oven Fry). There is just something so special about baked or fried chicken, am I right? Over the years after learning more about health and wellness I dropped the boxed stuff and started making my own BUT it did always contain wheat, which is not Whole 30 compliant.
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The Boxed Stuff
The prepackaged, boxes of baked chicken coating like Oven Fry & Shake-and-Bake contain soy and wheat amongst a ton of other additives that may be harmful to your health including caramel color (gross). To learn more about carmel color check out this article from Live Strong and why it’s harmful. Also, the boxed “fried” or baked chicken typically contain one of the worst ingredients plaguing peoples health- high fructose corn syrup, yuck.
My Version of “Fried” Chicken
I wanted to get the same texture and flavor of a baked or fried coated chicken without using wheat or soy. Hard to get a crunch if you don’t have “bread” right? WRONG- cue cashews! PERFECT for a delicious chicken coating.
Who doesn’t love cashews? They naturally have the perfect amount of sweet and savory, making them an excellent choice to replace breadcrumbs.
When purchasing cashews, make sure to look for the unsalted variety as lots of commercial bags will throw in heaps of added salt and no one wants that, including your chicken. I love these cashews, plus you don’t have to twist my arm to take a trip to Target.
Many recipes call for dredging the chicken in egg first-If you have been following me you know that my daughter is highly allergic to eggs so that doesn’t work for our family. Although the egg does help keep the coating on, it’s ABSOLUTELY not needed in order to achieve a crunchy coated crust. Instead of egg, I use unsweetened almond milk.
The perfect amount of spices: paprika, garlic powder, cumin and chili powder are added to the cashews in a food processor and mixed up to give it impeccable flavor.
The chicken is seasoned with salt and pepper, dunked it in a giant bowl of unsweetened almond milk, then firmly pressed the cashew mixture. Pop it all onto a parchment lined baking sheet and prepare to taste something truly unique.
Cashew Crusted Chicken
Cashew crusted chicken is the perfect addition to your weeknight dinner menu. Prepare the coating ahead of time, and pop it in the over for an easy family friendly meal. This easy chicken recipe is sure to win over the whole family.
- 1 lb chicken breast tenderloins
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 8 oz bag of unsweetened cashews
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Salt and Pepper
- Set oven to 400 degrees
- In a food processor pulse/chop cashews. Add paprika, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, and salt. You want a combination of chunky and finely ground pieces of cashews. Spread mixture onto a large plate and set aside
- Add the unsweetened milk into a large bowl
- Lightly season chicken breasts with desired amount of salt and pepper
- Dunk the chicken breasts first into the bowl of almond milk and then transfer to plate with cashew mixture and firmly press down to ensure the mixture completely covers and sticks to chicken. Then transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat until all chicken breasts have been coated.
- Bake for a total of 25 minutes, flipping the chicken half way during baking.