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Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

This Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad is fresh and satisfying with crispy oven “fried” chicken tenders, mixed greens, summer berries, avocado and a light balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious, healthy and easily made dairy and gluten free.

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

How to Make Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

This cornmeal crusted chicken is super easy to make. It does dirty a couple dishes in the breading process, but baking is so much easier than heating up all that oil to fry. Plus, cleanup is a breeze.

I like to use chicken tenders because they’re easy to bread and they’re the perfect size for tossing with a salad. You could also use a sliced chicken breast if you can’t find the tenders. Instead of a traditional egg-flour batter, this recipe uses a yogurt based marinade that will tenderize the chicken and help keep it moist in the oven. I use a dairy free coconut yogurt, but feel free to use whatever unsweetened/unflavored yogurt you like.

Start by whisking together your yogurt of choice, a bit of milk (I used soy milk) to thin, honey, a few spiced and good amount of salt. Add your chicken to the bowl and make sure every piece is covered by the marinade. Let that sit on the counter for about 10 minutes or so while you prepare the other ingredients.

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

The next step is to mix together the dry ingredients for the breading. If you choose to use panko breadcrumbs, it’s super easy, just mix them with the cornmeal and toss with a bit of olive oil. I opted to make my own breadcrumbs by drying out some sourdough bread in the oven while it preheated and then pulsing it into fine crumbs in my food processor. I recommend this method because it yields larger, craggier crumbs that crisp up really nicely in the oven. However, it is a bit of a hassle, so panko is a great option if you’re in a hurry.

Final step, take that chicken from the marinade and coat it on both sides with the cornmeal mixture. Lay all the tenders on a parchment liner baking sheet then use your fingers to gently press them down so the breading sticks. To ensure maximum crispiness I like to give each one a little drizzle of olive oil before placing in the oven to bake for about 10ish minutes. It’s kind of hard to tell when these guys are done. Aim for that golden brown color, but you may need to cut one open just to be sure.

To serve, place the tenders (cooled slightly) on top a bed of mixed greens and top with avocado and fresh berries. Drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette and enjoy! (A little flaky salt on that chicken doesn’t hurt either!)

Tips for Crispy Oven Baked Cornmeal Crusted Chicken

  • If you can’t find chicken tenders, substitute a boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1 inch thick pieces. Proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Whichever yogurt you choose to use for the marinade, make sure it’s unsweetened and unflavored. If using dairy free, try to pick something thicker, with a higher fat content for best results.
  • To make this recipe gluten free, use a gluten free brand of bread crumbs or make your own using gluten free bread.
Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

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Yield: 4 servings

Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Salad

cornmeal crusted chicken salad

Cripsy oven "fried" cornmeal crusted chicken tenders served over mixed greens with avocado, fresh summer berries and a simple baslamic vinaigrette.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1 lb chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened yogurt of choice*
  • 2 tbsp milk of choice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup Panko or homemade bread crumbs**
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
  • For serving: mixed greens, fresh berries, and avocado

For the balsamic vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard


    1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, honey, spices and salt. Add the chicken tenders and toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes.
    3. Combine bread crumbs, cornmeal and 1 tbsp olive oil in another bowl. Remove each chicken tender from the marinate and coat both sides with the cornmeal mixture. Arrange in rows on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown and the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
    4. Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard until combined. Serve chicken tenders over mixed greens with berries, avocado and balsamic dressing.


*I use a dairy free coconut yogurt. Make sure whatever use has a thicker consistency and higher fat content.

**For easy homemade breadcrumbs, place a 4-5 slices of sourdough bread in the oven while it preheats. Let those dry out for 5-10 minutes then pulse them into fine crumbs in a food processor.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 636Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 1093mgCarbohydrates: 74gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 20g

All nutritional info is an estimation

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