Chicken Tenders with Kefir Ranch Sauce

Crispy, baked chicken tenders are the perfect companion to this probiotic rich Kefir Ranch Sauce.

Crispy, baked chicken tenders are the perfect companion to this probiotic rich Kefir Ranch Sauce.

Dairy.

It's a controversial topic in the health community. Many believe it does more harm than good while others believe it is an essential part of a balanced diet. 

As with so many food items that are questioned, my biggest piece of advice is to truthfully understand how a certain food affects you. Everything from how you physically feel, to how your skin looks to how it impacts your mood, we often forget to take note of these things when we don't mindfully enjoy our meals. Integrative food journaling, which looks at all of those factors, can be an incredibly useful tool to help understand how certain foods affect you. 

For me, I have noticed a few side effects of consuming too much dairy ranging from a stuffy nose to an uneasy stomach. Is it enough to make me swear off my beloved cheese forever? 

No. 

But I am more mindful about how much dairy I consume (I've noticed symptoms when I eat it in excess) and aim for the dairy I do consume to be high-quality, raw (when possible) and free of any additives or pesticides. Additionally, this little bit of personal food research has led me to the conclusion that I do a lot better with cow milk alternatives such as goat and sheep's milk, especially when these are enjoyed in a probiotic form such as yogurt or kefir.

Why probiotic foods? Well first, they are incredibly beneficial for your gut. The benefits of kefir, especially, are numerous as it also is highly anti-inflammatory. It also comes in many varieties such as cow's milk, goat's milk or even coconut milk. It is also incredibly easy to make yourself but if you are in a pinch, a high-quality store bought version works as well.

So now that we know about this nutritional powerhouse, let's talk about ways to consume it. Obviously, straight from the bottle is a simple way to enjoy kefir daily but I also like including it into different foods, like this Kefir Ranch Dressing. 

Look at the label of most store-bought dressings and they are likely filled with additives, sugar (or a pseudo-sugar) and lots of other not nice stuff. Making your own is always a great option, especially when you can use something as healthful as kefir.

Typically for this recipe, I like to use goat's milk kefir but feel free to experiment with cow or coconut milk as well. The blend of herbs has a flavorful punch that goes along well with the Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders. Also, if you prefer your ranch dressing to be a bit thicker, simply use half kefir and half high-quality (preferably homemade) mayonnaise. 

These Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders are the perfect weeknight meal as they are ready in just 30 minutes. Pair with a simple salad or some roasted vegetables and you are good to go!

Do you need help learning how to understand the foods that work best for your body? Contact me to schedule your complimentary initial health consultation. 

Gluten-Free Chicken Tenders with Kefir Ranch Sauce

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

For the Chicken Tenders

1 lb. organic (and preferably pasture-raised) boneless, skinless chicken breasts or pre-cut chicken tenders

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup brown rice flour, divided

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1 egg plus 2 tablespoons water or milk of choice (unsweetened almond, coconut, etc)

 

For the Kefir Ranch Sauce*

1 cup milk kefir (cow, goat or coconut)

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon fresh chives

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you are using whole chicken breasts, cut into thin, even sized strips. 

2. Combine the almond flour plus the 1/4 cup of brown rice flour. Add in salt, pepper, chili powder and mustard and mix well. Place mixture in a shallow dish. In another shallow dish, place the remaining 1/4 cup brown rice flour.

2. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water or milk. To bread each chicken tender, lightly coat each piece of chicken with the brown rice flour, then dunk in the egg wash and finally coat with the almond flour mixture. Be sure to shake off any excess flour before placing on the lined baking sheet. 

3. Once all of the chicken pieces are coated, place the baking sheet in the oven. Flip the chicken tenders over after 10 minutes and then continue cooking for another 10 minutes before transferring to a broiler set on high. Broil for 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

4. To make the Kefir Ranch Sauce, combine all of the Kefir Ranch Sauce ingredients in a small bowl or a jar. Whisk or shake well until fully combined. Let rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes before serving.

*Note: If you prefer a thicker sauce, simply use 1/2 cup kefir and 1/2 cup mayo.

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