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.
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.
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.
More Recipes to Try:
- Farro and melon salad with prosciutto
- Burst cherry tomato chicken and rice skillet
- Balsamic lentil ragu with sweet corn polenta
- Blackberry basil grilled chicken salad