Monday, March 12, 2012

Grain-free Chicken Parmesan

 One of hubby's biggest comfort foods is chicken Parmesan and that was his request this week. I made it for him the traditional way but made a grain-free version for my own Mealpods. It was just a matter of having two different crusts on the chicken and coming up with a pasta substitute to have it with. 

For the grain-free crust I used a simple walnut and Parmesan crumb mix and then crisped it in olive oil.

Hubby said he didn't know if the extra calories of the walnuts were worth it, but if you pair it with julienned veggies instead of pasta the calories naturally even themselves out to the calories of traditional bread crumbs and pasta noodles. 

Walnut Parmesan Breading for Chicken (or fish)

  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup walnuts 
  • 1-2 eggs
  • Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 large chicken breast
  • mozzarella cheese sliced to top
  • pizza sauce 
  • tomato paste
  1. Measure out 1 cup of walnuts and then chop in a food processor until small, but not pasty. Pour into a large bowl. 
  2. Empty the food processor and grind your Parmesan cheese. You will need about 1/2  cup (or less if you like) after it is ground. Add the Parmesan to the ground walnuts. 
  3. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. 
  4. If using large chicken breasts, pound them to make them thinner and cut in halves or thirds. 
  5. Dip them in whipped egg first then dip them in walnut mixture to coat. 
  6. Preheat 2 tbs olive oil in a nonstick skillet on med-med high heat and brown on both sides. 
  7. Mix a cup of pizza sauce of your choice (look for organic, with good oils like olive oil and minimal sugar) with one can of tomato paste. Add extra seasoning if you like. 
  8. Place the cooked chicken on a cookie sheet, top wit a spoonful of sauce, and a thin slice of cheese. 
  9. Broil until the cheese bubbles. 

Julienned Butternut Squash and Zucchini 

  • 5 zucchini
  • 1/2 butternut squash peeled
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Italian seasoning

Julienne Peeler from Amazon

If you do not own a little Julienne peeler (ABOVE) you have to get one (click on it to see it on  It is as easy to use as peeling a carrot and you get great long thin strips of veggies. You can only use it on firm veggies or fruits but there are plenty to choose from. I used it on my butternut squash first. You have to have it peeled already because you don't want to eat the peel. My grocery store sells them cut in half and peeled or I am not sure I would have chosen it even though it works perfectly and the sweet taste is so good with tomato sauce. Just place the julienne peeler at the top neck of the squash and using downward pressure (quite a bit of pressure) pull the peeler towards the other end of the squash and oila squash noodles! Do the same with the zucchini, but the center part with the seeds won't work well, so stop when you get to the seeds. You also can and should keep the peel on when julienneing the zucchini because it is yummy! The extra squash I could not get to julienne I just cubed up and through in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil for a snack. 

The rest I put in my nonstick skillet with a little olive oil, garlic, and Italian spices and cooked until al dente. I had to do the butternut squash first because it takes longer to cook. Keep on turning it over so all the "noodles" get their fair share of heat. It may take a while. You know it is finished by tasting them to see if they are getting sweet. Remove the squash and do the same for the zucchini. The zucchini cooks really really quick - just a couple of minutes. 

You want to make sure you cook them al dente or pretty firm if you are going to freeze it in a Mealpod so when you reheat they don't get mushy. To make this into a Mealpod, just place a little nest of squash on your tin foil (or glass container) and top with a piece of chicken, fold and place in a plastic bag. To get full packing instructions and other freezing tips see our website.


  1. This looks great! I have been meaning to tackle Chicken Parmesan!

  2. It was pretty good. I'd love to see what you would do different!

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