This healthy chicken parmesan is breaded with almond flour and baked instead of fried. It’s moist, full of flavor and perfect for satisfying a craving for Italian comfort food. Gluten-free + grain-fee.
Thesebaked chicken tenders have become one of my most popular recipes here on EBF and for good reason. They’re easy to make, gluten-free, grain-free and they’re absolutely delicious, not to mention Whole30 approved! I love serving the tenders withbaked sweet potato fries or over a fresh salad, but I thought it would be fun to give them an Italian spin by adding a little marinara and parmesan cheese for upgraded healthy chicken parmesan.
Traditional vs. Healthy Chicken Parmesan
Traditional recipes for chicken parmesan are loaded with multiple kinds of cheese, bread (or flour) and sometimes butter. There is nothing wrong with any of those ingredients, but sometimes I don’t want to feel like I need to be rolled away from the dinner table… you feel me? This simple, cleaned-up version is perfect and won’t leave you feeling overstuffed or bloated. The chicken base is coated in egg, almond meal and spices to create a flavorful, crunchy base and then it’s topped with marinara sauce and freshly grated parmesan.
Here’s What You Need
boneless skinless chicken breast – chicken tenders work well too!
egg – egg helps the almond meal and spice mixture stick to the chicken breast! Whisk an egg and then dunk the chicken in the egg before coating.
almond meal – almond meal is a bit coarser than almond flour which works great for this recipe to mimic coarse breadcrumbs. Allergic to almonds? You can use traditional breadcrumbs or try any other type of flour.
spices – a mixture of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper season the almond meal, giving it a delicious flavor!
marinara – homemade or jarred works. I’m loving Rao’s Homemade marinara right now but any store-bought works just look for ones that don’t have any added sugar.
freshly grated parmesan cheese – can’t have chicken parmesan without parmesan! I recommend using a high quality parmesan cheese and freshly grating it on the dish as opposed to using a container of parmesan. If you need this recipe to be dairy-free you can use a store-bought vegan parmesan or try my vegan parmesan cheese with hemp seeds.
How to Make Chicken Parmesan
Start by mixing the almond meal and spices in a small bowl. Crack and whisk the egg in a separate shallow bowl. Dredge each chicken breast in the egg bowl, allow any excess egg to drop and then dip the coated chicken into the almond meal mixture, making sure the chicken is fully coated.
To bake in the oven, place the coated chicken on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 400ºF for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. The chicken is done when it’s golden brown and completely cooked through
For extra crispy chicken, bake the chicken on a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet.
To cook in an air fryer, place the coated chicken breasts in the air fryer basket and cook at 400ºF for 6-8 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
Once your chicken is cooked, top each chicken breast with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Return to the oven or air fryer and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Meal Prep Chicken Parmesan
I really like doing the cook-once, eat-twice method by making a batch of the tenders on Sunday night. The recipe makes four servings so we’ll have the tenders for dinner on a big salad and then I’ll save the leftovers to make this chicken parm the following night. The only additional items you need to have on hand are a little marinara and fresh parmesan cheese.
The baked chicken breasts will last for 3-4 days in the fridge so make as much as you’d like ahead of time! If you can’t eat them that quickly you can also freeze the baked chicken breasts (without the tomato sauce and cheese) for up to two months.
What to Serve with Chicken Parmesan
I love serving this dish with a side of roasted broccoli but there are so many side options! Here are some ideas:
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-4 days. I recommend baking or placing in the air fryer for a few minutes to help the chicken crisp up again! You can microwave if you’re in a pinch but the chicken won’t be crispy.
This healthy chicken parmesan is breaded with almond flour and baked instead of fried. It's moist, full of flavor and perfect for satisfying a craving for Italian comfort food. Gluten-free + grain-fee.
Place almond meal, paprika, cayenne, garlic, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
Crack egg into another shallow bowl and whisk.
Dredge each chicken breast in the egg bowl, wipe off any excess and then dip into the almond meal mixture. Roll until each chicken breast is covered completely. Place the coated chicken on a baking pan lined with parchment paper or on a wire rack that fits on a baking sheet. The wire rack will make for a crispier texture. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping the chicken once at the 15-minute mark. When done, the chicken will be golden brown and completely cooked through.
Once cooked through, top each chicken breast with 2-3 Tablespoons of marinara and 2 teaspoons of parmesan cheese. Return chicken to oven and bake 5-10 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted and bubbly.
Serve with roasted broccoli or another green veggie.
Almond meal: Allergic to almonds? You can use traditional breadcrumbs or try any other type of flour.