Dinner Tonight: Gluten-Free Chicken Fingers

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chicken-fingers2Gluten is a protein in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Eating gluten gives many people symptoms including diarrhea, gas, cramps, bloating, fatigue, headaches and irritability. These symptoms are common to both celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and they tend to worsen the more gluten we eat.

Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity have been on the rise, with the prevalence of celiac disease doubling in the past 25 years. Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease triggered by consuming gluten, which causes the small intestine to produce antibodies that damage the small intestine. The only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life.

People with gluten sensitivity have many of the same symptoms as people with celiac disease, but gluten sensitivity does not produce antibodies or damage the small intestine.

Eating can be a challenge. Gluten can be hidden in sauces, candies, crackers, soups and condiments. Fortunately, with the popularity of gluten-free eating, more and more wholesome choices for familiar foods are available. When choosing gluten-free convenience foods, look for 100% whole grains on the ingredient list.

Choose a variety of alternate whole grains such as quinoa, millet, cornmeal, brown rice, black rice, wild rice, buckwheat and teff. A variety of wholesome gluten-free grains can actually improve the nutritional quality of your diet.

This recipe is a twist on the traditional breadcrumb-coated chicken fingers that kids love. Coated with quinoa, this tasty alternative will become a family favorite!

Gluten-Free Chicken Fingers

• 1/2 cup quinoa
• 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
• 1/4 cup brown rice flour
• 1 egg beaten
• 450 g boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in 16 thin strips
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a food processor, pulse together quinoa, parmesan cheese, thyme, salt and pepper until well combined. Transfer to a shallow dish. Stir in parsley.

Place brown rice flour in a separate shallow dish, and the egg in third shallow dish. Dip chicken strips into the flour, shaking off excess; dip into the egg, letting excess drip back into the dish. Dip in the quinoa mixture, turning to coat all over. Set aside on a platter or baking sheet.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat half of the oil over medium-high heat. Cook chicken strips in batches, adding remaining oil as necessary, turning once, until coating is crisp and golden and chicken is no longer pink inside, about 6 minutes.

Serve with your favorite gluten-free dipping sauce.

Photo from here, with thanks.

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January 2023