Lately I’ve had to really focus on my health and get more creative doing so. I used to have the occasional cheat every now and again: pizza from my favorite shop, buffalo wings with Caribbean Jerk sauce, and crunchy chicken tenders with my favorite buffalo sauce. I was doing okay without all that stuff because my healthy depended on it, but then I started really craving the one I missed the most: buffalo chicken fingers.
So I hopped into the kitchen and started experimenting and came up with a win. You’re going to love these quinoa breaded chicken tenders! Easy to make, crunchy, filled with flavor, so-good-you-won’t-even-miss-them-from-your-favorite-restaurant amazing. You’re welcome.
Look at that plate. What’s not to love? I’ll have two or three of these beauties for lunch with a crunchy pickle and that mouth-watering sauce and I’m practically singing because I’m so happy. So how does this magic happen?
Quinoa ‘Bread’ Crumbs
- Make your quinoa. See how I do it on the recipe card below. (I usually make up 2 cups or so at a time and have leftovers that I’ll use for another recipe.)
- Spread your cooked quinoa out on a cookie sheet. Do a nice, thin layer so that it can really dry out. Put it in the oven at 300 for 25 minutes. Take out the quinoa, stir it, then place the tray back in the oven. Even though it’s no longer on, the residual heat will continue to toast up your soon-to-be ‘bread’ crumbs.
- After another twenty minutes or so, pull the try out and use your coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to crush your toasty grains into breadcrumbs. I personally coarse chop it, because I like the crunchier texture of a thicker breading.
- Put your crumbs in a completely airtight container for storage if you’re not going to use immediately. I have actually made up large batches and frozen them, but I do like them fresh best.
Quinoa Breaded Chicken Tenders
- Pull out 1-1 1/2 cups of your awesome quinoa crumbs and place in a wide bowl. Add in 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. Optional (for those not on the paleo diet): add in 1 TB grated parmesan cheese.
- Put 1 cup of egg whites in another wide bowl.
- In a third bowl, place 1/2 cup oat fiber or oat flour (I’ve done it both ways and it really just depends on what I have on hand). If you need more, add it when you do.
- Slice up 1-2 chicken breasts into what will be your fingers. I don’t like to do them too small, but I don’t want them too big either. If my chicken breast is too thick, I’ll pound it out a little, but rarely do I take that extra step; I usually just cut it in smaller pieces.
- Dredge your chicken in egg white, then in the oat fiber or flour mix. Put it back in the egg whites, then roll it in your bread crumb mix.
- Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 250 for 20-30 minutes.
And for my favorite buffalo sauce, see the recipe cards below! **For those on the THM plan, please note that the sauce is an “S”, so you can either use a very small bit of it for an E, have fewer chicken fingers (2 instead of 4) and be in S Helper territory, or crossover with it.
Eat up! And PIN IT!
You can toss the tenders in the sauce or serve it on the side. I put it on the side these days because the quinoa makes the chicken so filling that sometimes I can’t finish the plate I’ve made for myself!
- 3/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve thoroughly.
- Toast in a pan over medium heat without oil.
- In a pot, bring chicken broth or water to a boil, add in quinoa.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.
- Spread cooked quinoa out on a greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 300 for 20 minutes.
- Remove from stove, stir, and put back in oven without heat on to finish toasting.
- Use a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder to coarse grind grains.
- Quinoa is low glycemic, gluten free, Paleo approved, and THM compliant. If you need a gluten free option, be certain to bread your chicken with the quinoa crumbs and gluten free oat flour or oat fiber.
- 1-1 1/2 cups oven toasted quinoa (see post above on how to make)
- 1 cup egg whites
- 1/2 cup oat fiber or oat flour (more if needed)
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1-2 chicken breasts, sliced into cutlets
- In a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder, reduce toasted quinoa to coarse crumbs. Mix crumbs with spices.
- Dredge chicken in egg whites, then in oat fiber/flour.
- Dredge a second time in egg whites, then roll in quinoa crumbs.
- Place on greased cookie sheet.
- Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.
- This recipe is sugar free, gluten free, paleo friendly, and THM compliant.
- For THM, please note that 1/2 of the recipe is an E when made with chicken breast. 1/4 of the recipe puts you in S Helper territory.
- 1 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
- 3/4 stick butter
- 1 tsp cayenne
- Gently heat butter in microwave or on stove top
- Stir in Frank's Hot Sauce and cayenne
- Serve hot
- Any sauce that is left (what?!?! You had LEFTOVER? Inconceivable.) can be stored in the refrigerator and just reheated when ready to use. This sauce is sugar-free, gluten-free, paleo friendly, and THM compliant in an S or Crossover setting.