We don’t paleo-ify things often around here. This is mostly because if it doesn’t taste like the real-deal, my husband won’t eat it. Plus, we just really like our meat and veggies.
The other day I got a serious craving for chicken tenders. I had tried Paleo chicken tenders a few times in my years of eating Paleo, mostly with nut and coconut flours. They never really turned out that delicious… edible, but not delectable.
The breading on these ones is made with plantain chips and tapioca flour. It is seriously the bomb! They taste so much like real chicken tenders!
Tapioca flour and tapioca starch are the same thing and they come from the root of the cassava plant, which is a starchy tuber. We liberally consume Paleo friendly carbohydrates around here, so we are happy to add some extra starch to our meal!
Also, we shallow fry these using this type of coconut oil. We prefer this one because it does not actually taste like coconut. I love the flavor of coconut, but I didn’t want it overwhelm this dish. I have tried it with other coconut oils and it really just tastes too coconut-y! You can also use palm shortening, duck fat or avocado oil to fry these up.
I like to use the already cut organic chicken tenders. It cuts down on prep time. You can also just slice up boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh for this.
Paleo Chicken Tenders (grain, dairy & nut-free)
3/4 cup plantain chips, ground (I use this kind)*
3/4 cup tapioca flour (I use this kind)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
coconut oil for frying (I highly recommend using this kind) (or sub palm shortening, duck fat or avocado oil)
1 lb. organic chicken tenders (or sub chicken breast or chicken thigh, cut up into chunks or longer slices)
*NOTE: Pork rind (preferably from pasture-raised pigs) makes a great substitute for the plantain chips in this recipe.
- Blend plantain chips in the food processor until it has the consistency of flour.
- In a shallow bowl or a plate, combine 3/4 ground up plantains, tapioca flour, salt, pepper, cayenne, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
- In a shallow bowl beat the eggs together.
- Dredge the chicken tenders one piece at a time in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour, then dip the chicken tenders in the egg and again in the flour. Make sure they are very well coated with the flour mixture.
- Set them aside on a clean dish.
- Heat the coconut oil in a heavy-bottomed pan like cast iron over medium-high heat. Start with 1/4 cup coconut oil and add more if needed. You want enough oil in the pan, so the chicken tenders are halfway submerged in the oil.
- Add as many chicken tenders as you can fit without crowding the pan. Fry chicken tenders on each side until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside, about 4 to 5 minutes per a side. The chicken will have to be cooked in batches.
- Place cooked tenders on a plate lined with paper-towels to drain.
- Serve with your favorite Paleo chicken tender dipping sauce!
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