Crispy and crunchy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, these Quinoa Chicken Tenders are a delicious take on a dish that everyone already knows and loves. Serve them up with all your favourite sides and dipping sauces for a satisfying and filling meal any day of the week!
I always joke with the boyfriend (who has just shy of 20 years on me, by the way), that the older he gets, the pickier he gets when it comes to food. Now, he’s not too much of a picky eater by any means (thank GOD!!!) and normally has absolutely no issue mowing down every last crumb of anything I put in front of him. Heck, he has no issue mowing down every last crumb of things I don’t put in front of him, if you know what I mean. There are certain things I just refrain from making, though, because all I’ve heard in the last 7 and a half years we’ve been dating is how much he hates them. Quinoa being one of those things. Or so he claims.
If you’ve been here for a little while, you know I’m a huge fan of hiding veggies in sh*t. Exhibit A: My hidden Zucchini Turkey Burgers. I do it mostly for the purpose of sneaking in extra servings of vegetables whenever I can. I know, as if we don’t already eat enough, lol. But sometimes, like these Fudgy Avocado Brownies, it’s to actually get me to eat a particular veggie (in this case – Avocado, which we all know I hate).
And sometimes, just sometimes, I take my veggie hiding magic powers and use them to hide foods that the boyfriend claims to hate jusssst so I can feed them to him anyway. He mostly never knows his arch-nemesis is all up in there some way, somehow. And there’s nothing more satisfying then when his so called hatred unknowingly turns into a new found undying love for the thing.
But hey, in his benefit, if he didn’t see the mixture of quinoa sittin’ up on the counter as I was preppin’ these bad boys, he might still be going around telling people he doesn’t like it. These Quinoa Chicken Tenders also just so happen to be Low FODMAP and gluten free. And I promise, your kids will love ’em just as much as I tricked my boyfriend into loving them!
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE QUINOA CHICKEN TENDERS
I’m not going to lie, I’d somewhat have to agree with the boyfriend that quinoa is a little boring or bland if you don’t spice it up. However, that’s definitely not the case here! Most of the ingredients for these Quinoa Chicken Tenders go into the delicious crispy coating. They’re so flavourful, no one will ever know it’s quinoa. Let’s get into the ingredients you’ll need in a little bit more detail down below:
- Chicken: You can either choose to use chicken that has already been cut up into strips or tenders by the grocery store or butcher. Or, you can choose to cut up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts yourself. PRO TIP: If you’re doing it yourself, try your best to cut them into even, similar size pieces.
- Quinoa: The star of the show in these Quinoa Chicken Tenders and the majority of our coating. When baked, the quinoa crisps up beautifully in the oven mimicking a traditional golden brown coating you’d normally see on chicken tenders. The quinoa makes these babies crispy and crunchy.
- Parmesan Cheese: Adds a sharp, rich flavour to these Quinoa Chicken Tenders. Grated parmesan cheese works best in this recipe.
- Parsley: Adds a herby freshness and vibrant pop of colour to the dish. Therefore, fresh chopped parsley works best in this recipe.
- Paprika: Adds a bit of colour and flavour. Feel free to use smoked paprika, if you prefer.
- Oregano and Thyme: Adds a herby, Earthy flavour to the coating. Dried herbs work best in this recipe since they’ll better mix in with the coating and stick to the chicken. However, if all you have on hand is fresh, use 3 tablespoons instead of 1 dried.
- Chili Flakes: Adds a subtle hint of heat and kick to these Quinoa Chicken Tenders. However, the chili flakes are totally optional. For no spice, omit them completely. For extra spicy, add more.
- Salt and Pepper: As always. For extra flavour and to make the rest of the ingredients pop.
- Egg: Part of the dredging process. Adds flavour and texture and ultimately allows the seasonings to stick to the chicken.
- Flour: Part of the dredging process. Seals moisture to help prevent the chicken from drying out and turning tough. To keep these Quinoa Chicken Tenders Low FODMAP, I used gluten free flour. But, you can use whatever flour you have on hand.
HOW TO MAKE QUINOA CHICKEN TENDERS (KEY TIPS)
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil before beginning for easy clean up and to prevent sticking.
- Make sure the quinoa mixture is extremely well combined before starting to coat the chicken. All the ingredients should be distributed properly and evenly throughout so that all of the flavours will get nicely dispersed all over the chicken. EXTRA TIP: Feel free to use your hands to get this job done!
- Ensure your dredge station (bowls of egg, flour and quinoa mixture) is set up and ready to go before beginning. Once you begin the process of coating the chicken, you shouldn’t have to stop, other than to wash your hands a few times throughout.
- Shake the excess flour and egg off the chicken tenders before attempting to coat. This will ensure you have enough surface area for the flavourful coating to stick to the chicken. EXTRA TIP: Use both hands while dredging and coating the chicken. Try to keep one of those hands dry while the other can get wet in the egg mixture.
- Really use your hands to push the coating into the chicken on both sides in order to get them nicely coated. It’ll be tough to make sure the mixture sticks without firmly pushing each piece of chicken down into it with your fingers. EXTRA TIP: This will be a bit of a messy and sticky process. Simply wash and dry your hands after doing every few.
- Don’t overcrowd the baking sheet and give the chicken tenders enough room and space in between them to breathe. Work in batches if you have to as you don’t want to risk them cooking and crisping up properly by overcrowding the pan.
- Since we’re broiling these chicken tenders at a high temperature, keep an eye on them in the last few minutes of baking to ensure that the quinoa doesn’t burn. Additionally, don’t have the oven rack too high. EXTRA TIP: Try to clean up as much of the loose quinoa off the parchment paper as you can before baking as those loose pieces WILL burn in the oven.
- Flip the chicken tenders halfway through cooking to ensure even browning and crisping up on each side.
- Don’t forget the dipping sauces! Sure, these Quinoa Chicken Tenders are great on their own! But I’m always a firm believer that a dipping sauce makes ANYTHING better. Here are a few of my favourites: 5 minute chipotle mayo, easy garlic aioli or 3 ingredient spicy mayo.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
To save on time and for convenience, you can opt to buy chicken that has already been cut into strips or tenders. They’re generally meant for a recipe like this and therefore, are the perfect size. However, if you can’t find them pre-cut or have some extra time and are feeling up to it, it’s also pretty easy to cut your own strips or tenders out of boneless, skinless chicken breasts using scissors or a sharp knife.
Like magic, my friend! Quinoa is small and crisps up as it bakes providing the perfect crunchy coating or breading for things like chicken. It turns a nice golden brown colour in the oven, too, actually making it resemble a real breading coating. It can easily take on other flavours making it the perfect stand in for traditional breading as you’ll see with these flavourful Quinoa Chicken Tenders.
Ah, these Quinoa Chicken Tenders are so good with so many things! Of course, french fries, potato wedges, mashed potatoes or roasted potatoes are always a good idea. If you want to keep things on the healthy train some roasted veggies such as broccoli or cauliflower or a side salad such as this kale caesar salad are delicious options.
Whatever you do, don’t forget the dipping sauces! Homemade mayonnaise, Greek yogurt ranch dressing and tzatziki sauce are some of my favourites and pair deliciously well with these Quinoa Chicken Tenders!
- 1.5 pounds Chicken Tenders (or chicken breasts cut into strips)
- 1.5 cups Cooked Quinoa
- 1/2 cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tbsp Dried Thyme
- 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tbsp Pepper
- 1/2 tbsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Chilli Flakes, optional
- 1/4 cup Flour
- 1 Egg
- In a shallow dish, crack the egg and beat. Place at the beginning of an "assembly line."
- In a separate dish, add the flour and place it next to the bowl with the egg.
- In a third but larger bowl, combine cooked quinoa, chopped parsley, grated parmesan cheese and all the spices. Place it at the end of the "assembly line" beside the bowl of flour.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray it with cooking spray.
- Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, letting the excess slide off. Gently press it into the flour to lightly coat and then the quinoa mixture. Press the quinoa firmly onto the front and back of each strip using your hands to ensure that the whole thing is nicely covered. Line 'em on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer*
- Broil on high for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Serve immediately with all your favourite side dishes and dipping sauces!
This is a bit of a sticky and messy process so wash and dry your hands after every few. During the coating/dredging process, try and keep one hand dry at all times for the flour and quinoa mixture. And one wet, for the egg mixture so as not to combine the two.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 17 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 162Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 559mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 9g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
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