Do you remember what it was like to be a child and romp around with wild abandon? To get your hands mucky with dirt, build crooked forts, and scream at the top of your lungs without a care in the world? I'm willing to guess that there is still a flare of this playful youth lingering just beneath your sophisticated grown-up surface too. I mean truthfully, what adult doesn't want to make a mess, curl up for nap time or throw a fitful temper-tantrum on occasion? This recipe for chicken fingers is sure to ignite a bit of this bright childhood spirit. With a "breading" made of protein-rich sprouted nuts and a mild coconut oil coating, this creative twist on a kids' classic is sure to win its way into the hearts of the entire family. Because, well, sometimes we all just need a sloppy plate of finger foods and a puddle of ketchup- no matter what our age.
One of my favorite things about these chicken fingers is that they are quite versatile and can be tweaked to include whatever items you find crowding up your kitchen cabinets. I used an Italian spice blend here and garnished with tomatoes, but you can also experiment with simple black pepper, cumin or powder chili and cilantro sprigs for a southwestern take.
For those tired of cooking with almonds (let's face it- there are a lot of almond flour recipes out there), a homemade nut meal can be created by adding about 1 cup of any sprouted nut variety to a food processor and pulsing until desired consistency is reached. Sprouted cashews and pecans are particularly delicious. Also, if you tolerate dairy, raw milk or cream can be added in place of the coconut milk used below.
I have found these chicken fingers flavorful enough to enjoy with a simple dollop of sauerkraut, kimchi or seasonal veggie sauté. However, if you want to make a more robust meal, sides like a basket of homemade sweet potato fries or slab of coconut flour bread also pair well.
Baked Chicken Fingers Gluten-free, Dairy-free
1 1lb chicken tenders (preferably pastured like these)
1/2 cup almond meal (learn how to make your own here)
1 egg (local and pastured if possible)
2 tablespoons coconut milk (try making your own or canned)
1 tablespoon water (filtered is always best of course!)
1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (virgin and cold pressed like ours)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Preheat oven to 425°F and grease cooking sheet with about 1/2 tablespoon melted coconut oil.
In a shallow bowl, combine spices and almond meal to create "breading". In a separate bowl beat together eggs, milk and water.
One by one, dip the chicken tenders first in the egg mixture, allowing the excess to drain off before dragging through the nut "breading". Coat all sides evenly, pressing lightly to ensure that the breading sticks.
Place on the cooking sheet and drizzle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and tops lightly browned.
Chicken tenders wouldn't be the same without a good sauce for dunking and finger-licking. I've enjoyed this recipe paired with this delectable homemade ketchup and cilantro pesto, but I imagine any type of mustard or BBQ sauce being quite tasty as well.