Comfort and Pulses: Lentil-Crusted Chicken Parmesan Recipe
The boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the most convenient, affordable and healthy kitchen staples out there. Simple yet versatile, chicken can be prepared in many ways and is chameleon-like when it comes to flavor, easily taking on the attributes of seasonings and sauces. I usually roast a batch of seasoned chicken breasts on Sunday to enjoy throughout the week. Then I can add chicken to my salads and sandwiches, or make a stir-fry for dinner in a pinch.
There are some days when I like to make a comforting chicken dish that doesn’t require too much cooking time. Chicken Parmesan certainly fits that criteria. It’s a popular Italian-American dish that traditionally consists of breaded and fried chicken cutlets smothered in tomato sauce and cheese. Just reading that description makes my mouth water.
Since I don’t like to fry anything at home (in an attempt to keep my stovetop somewhat clean), I typically bake my chicken instead. And in this version, I used red lentils as part of the breading mixture. While you can use regular all-purpose or whole-wheat flour, I chose almond flour to introduce a slight element of nuttiness to the flavor profile.
Once the chicken comes out of the oven, garnish it with freshly chopped basil for a pop of brightness. Serve it alongside pasta or vegetables and this simple and healthy chicken dish is sure to be a hit!
Lentil-Crusted Chicken Parmesan
Serving size: 1 chicken breast
Prep Time: 5 to 10 minutes; Cook Time: 40 minutes
1 cup red lentils
1/2 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breasts, sliced in half to make 8
Olive oil cooking spray
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
Garnish: freshly chopped basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet lightly with olive oil spray. Place lentils in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add flour, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to the lentils and pulse until blended.
Transfer flour mixture into a shallow bowl. Dip each piece of chicken in flour, shaking off excess.
Place chicken on baking sheet. Lightly spray a little more oil on top of the pieces and bake in oven until cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes. Top with marinara sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan and return to oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling. Once out of the oven, sprinkle fresh basil on top.
Per serving: Calories 250; Fat 10 g (Saturated 2 g); Sodium 450 mg; Carbohydrate 12 g; Fiber 3 g; Sugars 5 g; Protein 27 g
Min Kwon, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian who specializes in food sensitivities. She has a passion for translating the science of nutrition into real-life, applicable advice and tips. In her healthy food blog, The Adventures of MJ and Hungryman, she focuses on sharing simple yet healthy recipes made from wholesome, REAL foods.