I never really noticed just how many baked chicken recipes have cheese until I gave it up. It feels like 99 percent. Would I want a casserole smothered in cheese? Yes. Does my body? No. Alright body, I’m with you.
OK, so on with an alternative. This chicken is covered with a wonderfully crunchy crust of toasted quinoa and walnuts. The nutty, crunchy texture is truly fantastic and versatile.
I usually double the recipe (it’s all about optimizing your time in the kitchen) and leave half in the freezer (or refrigerator) for an easy dinner later in the week. I pair the chicken with a side of sweet potato and broccoli, brussel sprouts and butternut squash, or white rice and spinach.
- Quinoa – Make sure and rinse your quinoa very well before cooking it. If you have time on your side for this recipe, soaking the grains for 8+ hours will help improve digestibility and nutrient absorption. If not, that’s OK. To boost the nutritional value even more of this meal, cook your quinoa in homemade bone broth or add in grass-fed collagen (not gelatin).
- Walnuts – Purchasing nuts in bulk generally saves quite a bit on cost. Buying pieces, rather than whole nuts, saves even more. Always store your nuts in the refrigerator once you get home to keep their oils from going rancid.
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- ½ cup rice flour (can substitute with another fine gluten-free flour)
- 1½ cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375
- Place quinoa on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until quinoa is lightly browned and toasted. Stir half-way through.
- Mix the quinoa, walnuts, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Lower the heat of the oven to 350.
- Prepare three shallow bowls one next each other - the first with the flour, the second with the eggs, and the third with the crust mixture.
- Working with one cutlet at a time (I prefer to use a fork for all this), first place it in flour bowl, coating completely on both sides, next in the eggs, coating completely, and finally in the crust mixture, gently tapping both sides of the cutlet to firm up the crust. Place the cutlet on a baking sheet and repeat the same steps with the other three cutlets.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and cook the chicken for 23-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 170.