These Gluten Free Chicken Strips have the BEST texture. It's a pecan crusted chicken recipe, making it deliciously crispy. Add it to your Gluten Free Meal Prep and enjoy a new family favorite!
What was your favorite food as a kid? Would you feel good about serving it to your own kids?
As an RD, nutrition is important to me. The thing is though, if the healthy recipes don't taste great, no one's going to eat them.
This is why I have such a passion for taking kid favorites and comfort foods and creating a healthier spin. And believe me, I set a high bar for these recipes. I want them to be every bit as good as that nostalgic food you ate when you were ten, preferably better. But I also want them to be something you feel proud to serve your own kiddos.
Well, I'll let you be the judge but I think these Gluten Free chicken fingers fit the bill!
When it comes to “kid food” it doesn't get much more classic than chicken strips. The ones from the drive-through are super unhealthy though. And while there are some “healthier” frozen versions out there, they still don't live up to this pecan crusted chicken recipe (and they're definitely not as crispy!)
My own toddler loves this recipe but I have to admit, I think I like it just as much! These gluten free chicken tenders are just as good atop a salad as they are dipped in ketchup.
(No time to make homemade? No mom guilt necessary! Thrive Market has some great healthy options for dips and sauces!)
Okay, I know you're ready for the recipe but one more thing! I have to mention that in addition to being gluten free, these are low carb chicken fingers (keto-friendly) AND Paleo chicken fingers. Basically, they're for everyone who likes healthy, delicious food 🙂
Gluten Free Chicken Strips
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 # chicken tenders
- 1 1/2 cups pecans
- 1 T chili powder
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 1 T cumin
- 2 eggs (Omega-3)
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Whisk ~1c coconut milk with 1T apple cider vinegar. Add chicken and marinate 1-2 hours in refrigerator.
- In a food processor add: 1½ cup pecans, 1 T chili powder, 1 T smoked paprika, 1 T cumin powder, S&P
- Blend until pecans reach breadcrumb-like texture. Put chopped pecans in a bowl.
- In a separate shallow bowl whisk 2 eggs.
- Remove chicken tenders from marinade. Dredge each tender in this order: 1: eggs 2: pecan crust
- Repeat steps until all tenders are covered.
- Place pecan chicken on a sheet tray. Bake 12-15 minutes or cooked through (165 F).
What's the nutrition like for these Gluten Free Chicken Strips?
My Gluten Free Chicken Strips are not just a healthier version of a kid favorite, they're a genuinely healthy dinner for kids and adults alike.
They provide a substantial amount of lean protein and healthy fats, in addition to numerous benefits from the spices used.
I don't personally worry too much about counting macros or analyzing every micronutrient. I'm a firm believer that eating a variety of real whole foods is healthy, regardless of the exact grams of protein or number of calories I consume each day. Still though, it can be fun to think about all of the benefits associated with the healthy ingredients filling your grocery cart!
Here are a few of the vitamins and nutrients you'll find in these chicken fingers:
Chicken (Protein, Iron, Zinc, Choline, B12):
Chicken's nutrients may help with weight loss, build lean muscle mass and support bone health.
Coconut Milk (Manganese, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Selenium, Vitamin C, Folate):
Coconut milk may help reduce inflammation, fight bacteria and viruses and fight stomach ulcers.
Apple Cider Vinegar (Acetic Acid, Potassium):
Believed to help stabilize blood sugar and to aid in weight loss, apple cider vinegar also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
Pecans (Omega-3s, Unsaturated fats, Fiber, Vitamin E, L-arginine):
Excellent for heart health, pecans have plenty of healthy fats to keep you full.
Chili Powder (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K1, Potassium, Copper, Capsaicin, Antioxidants):
The unique plant compounds in chili powder may support weight loss, help fight cancer and prevent chronic disease.
Cumin (Iron, Antioxidants):
Studies show that cumin aids in indigestion, fights inflammation and supports weight loss.
There you have it! Plenty of quality nutrients are packed into this healthy comfort food. Mentioning some of the “superpowers” of healthy ingredients can be a fun way to get kids interested in nutrition too. (Did you know pecans help keep your heart strong? Did you know cumin helps your tummy feel good?) Have fun with it!
Is this good for Gluten Free Meal Prep?
Naturally! These pecan crusted chicken strips are perfect as part of your gluten free meal prep. Marinate and encrust the chicken on your meal prep day and then bake the day-of for maximum crispiness.
If you want more Gluten Free Meal Prep ideas, make sure to check out our Prep Dish meal plans! Subscribers receive Paleo, low carb keto and Super Fast meal plans each week as well! We always provide prep day and dish day instructions for all of our meal plans for maximum efficiency and freshness.
How to Fit These Low Carb Chicken Fingers into Your Meal Plan
So how to these low carb chicken fingers fit into your weekly meal plan?
You can of course simply serve with roasted potatoes and a salad and call it a day. But, these healthy chicken strips are also a great candidate for my favorite prep once, eat twice strategy!
In addition to being great with simple veggie sides, this pecan crusted chicken is wonderful atop a salad, on a gluten free bun or in a wrap (or lettuce wrap to keep it low carb!)
You can experiment to see if these are still crispy enough for you the next day. If not, simply prep a big batch ahead and bake each night that you plan to serve. They literally take only 15 minutes once they're prepped so that's no big deal.
Here's an example of how this might work:
- Night one: Gluten Free Chicken Strips + Rosemary Roasted Potatoes + Salad
- Night Two: Gluten Free Chicken Strips on a wrap with lettuce, dijon mustard and avocado
- Night one: Gluten Free Chicken Strips + Green Beans + Dairy-Free Mashed Potatoes
- Night Two: Build your own salads with Gluten Free Chicken Strips as the protein
What are some other good meal prep chicken recipes?
Meal prep chicken recipes don't have to be boring! Here are a few of my favorite ways to prep chicken for the week. These are great for dinner, but also for easy, healthy lunches. Top a salad with a flavorful batch of chicken and you're good to go.
Slow Cooker Chicken Verde – This one is great on taco salads!
Lemony Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs w/ Roasted Vegetables – A tasty, healthy meal cooked all at once on one pan…what's not to love?!
Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken – Warming spices like ginger and turmeric make this a perfect match for sweet potatoes.
Give me more healthy kid favorites!
There's nothing better than serving your kids a healthy meal and getting rave reviews. Here are a few kid-classics, made over with a healthy flare, of course, to make you feel like you're winning at the dinner table.
Healthy Sloppy Joes – Did you like sloppy joes as a kid? My version has a deep flavor with subtle sweetness from the tomatoes. No added sugar needed!
3 Healthy Popcorn Recipes – Snacks can become a real battle. Sometimes we need grab-and-go options but so many of them are full of sugar, salt and weird ingredients you can't even pronounce. Homemade popcorn is a great solution! It's easy, kids love it and you can mix up the flavor with different spices and add-ins.
Chai Spiced Zucchini Muffins – These were a big hit with our subscribers' kiddos! And they have zucchini in them so they're practically a vegetable 😉
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