When I was younger one of my favorite things to order at an Italian restaurant was chicken parm! I loved the crispy breaded chicken with a flavorful red sauce along with the pasta as the side. To be honest, I probably loved it so much because it reminded me of chicken fingers and at that time my body was pretty much made of them. So ordering chicken parm felt like the only way I could eat something as close to chicken fingers without having to actually order them, since they usually weren’t always on the menu.
The chicken is tender in the middle and has a super crispy crust full of flavor. I used a mixture of panko crumbs as well as nutritional yeast along with sea salt, pepper, and oregano for the seasonings. I love panko crumbs because I think that it always adds extra crunch to just about anything, but if you do not have any on hand you can use your favorite Italian breadcrumbs or even make your own - simply blend together your favorite crackers in your food processor until it resembles the same texture as breadcrumbs! I used nutritional yeast just for added flavor, which slightly resembles that of parmesan. If you aren’t dairy free, replace with parmesan!
Once the chicken breast as been coated with the breadcrumb blend, I decided to lightly fry it in my cast iron pan for about 4 minutes on each side and then transferred the cast iron into my oven and allowed it to continue to bake for about 20 minutes or so. This will greatly depend on the size (thickness) of the chicken breasts. If they are thick, I do suggest baking them in the oven so they can cook all the way through. However, if you flatten out the chicken and they are thin, then you can simply cook the chicken in the cast iron for about 5 minutes on each side! Both ways will taste the same!
I served this with brown rice and sautéed broccoli, but you can do any veggies you like or even pasta! For the brown rice, I cooked according to the directions but I love adding in either 1-2 tbsp. coconut oil or about 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk. It tastes amazing that way and so creamy! You have to try.
The entire dish stays well for left overs the next day and I actually do not mind eating the chicken cold! Dipped in any type of sauce (honey mustard!) it tastes so good!
Hope you enjoy!
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: less than 40 minutes
2 skinless / boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or sub parmesan)
2 dashes of sea salt
few dashes of pepper
few dashes of oregano
2 tbsp. melted butter (Dairy free version, I use Earth Balance)
2 cups broccoli chopped
1/2 cup dry brown basmati rice
*2 tbsp coconut oil or 1/4 cup canned coconut milk if using for rice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Cook the rice according to directions. When the rice has about 5-8 minutes left add either the coconut oil or the canned coconut milk, if using.
While the rice is cooking; prepare the chicken.
5. In a small bowl mix together the panko crumbs, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
6. In a separate bowl, add the melted butter.
*Please see above in story about the 2 different ways to cook the chicken
7. Frist, dip the chicken breasts in the butter so it is evenly coated.
8. Second, dip the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture so it is evenly coated.
9. In a cast iron pan, add 2 tbsp. olive oil, over medium heat. Add the chicken when the pan is hot and allow to cook for 4 minutes on each side.
10. Transfer the cast iron dish into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then slice.
Cook the broccoli in a skillet over medium heat with olive oil until slightly tender, with sea salt and pepper! About 8 minutes.
Assemble and serve immediately!
Store any leftovers in the first for up to 3-4 days.