Childhood memories of my mum’s homemade chicken schnitzel makes my mouth water. She slices chicken breasts thinly and could feed a family of five with only two fillets! To this day, when I make schnitzel’s at home I thinly slice them like she used to and one fillet feeds myself and my boyfriend, Adam – who eats a lot, I might add.
I’ve altered mum’s recipe to make it gluten + dairy free and paleo friendly. It also has fewer ingredients than you would expect, and the coconut oil and almond meal keeps the chicken moist during cooking. Don’t be scared of the amount of fat used in the recipe either; multiple studies have shown that almonds are cardio-protective – reducing LDL (the ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels which significantly reduces the risk of heart disease: the number one leading cause of death in Australia.
Don’t hate on the Coconut
There is a lot of conflicting evidence when it comes to coconut oil and your heart: is it good or bad? Indeed, coconut oil contains mostly saturated fat – almost 90%! Compared to butter, which is 60% saturated fat, why is it that coconut oil is claimed, by some, to be healthier?
Saturated fat is actually an umbrella term that is used to describe a broad range of saturated fats. For example, coconut oil is comprised of 52% lauric acid, 19% mystiric acid, 11% palmitic acid, and 9% caprylic acid – all saturated fatty acids. Some of these fatty acids may be more harmful than others; conversely, some may have positive effects on health. Lauric acid which makes up the bulk of coconut oil, for example, has been shown to modestly affect blood cholesterol levels and in this particular study, increase ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL). The medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil are rapidly metabolized in the liver into energy and don’t participate in the biosynthesis and transport of cholesterol; this means that coconut oil is used by the body primarily as energy.
Now that we’ve established that the fats in almonds and coconut oil are good for you, let’s cook up a storm with them!
Healthy Chicken Schnitzel
1 chicken breast trimmed, thinly sliced horizontally
4 or 5 Tbs almond meal
2 Tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small cup and set aside while you slice the chicken.
Mix the almond meal and parsley together on a large plate.
Using one slice of chicken at a time, brush a little of the melted coconut oil with a pastry brush on both sides and coat it in the almond mixture – firmly pressing the almonds onto it so they’ll stick. Note: do one piece of chicken at a time otherwise the coconut oil will harden on the cold chicken and you won’t be able to get as many crumbs onto it.
Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken and set aside in the fridge until ready to cook.
When you’re ready to cook, melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a non-stick fry-pan over a medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 4 or 5 pieces of chicken at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes either side or until golden brown and cooked through. Keep an eye on the chicken whilst it’s cooking in case it burns. Add more coconut oil to the pan as the chicken starts to soak it up to prevent it from burning.
Drain chicken pieces on a paper towel and cook any of the remaining chicken, repeating the process above.
Serve with your choice of vegetables or salad.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
Love Stace x