Like so many foods described as simple and comforting, chicken tenders can also be a bit boring. Comfort and excitement, apparently, do not always go hand in hand. That’s why instead of plain ol’ breadcrumbs, we’ve coated this finger food favorite with something worthy of a little more enthusiasm: quinoa! And the thrills don’t stop there. Ketchup and mustard take a back seat to this creamy, zesty chipotle dipping sauce. Finally, comfort and excitement in one nutritious, kid-friendly meal.
Baked Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Tenders with Creamy Chipotle Sauce
1-½ lb. chicken breasts boneless, skinless, cut into ¾-inch strips
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa
¼ cup Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 cups water
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt, divided
½ tsp. ground paprika
2 Tbsp. orange juice
Olive oil spray
Creamy Chipotle Sauce
1 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
½ cup fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
½ cup roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
½ cup sour cream
½ tsp. sea salt
- In a saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to boil. Add quinoa; stir. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until most or all of the water is gone. Drain and spread quinoa on paper-towel-lined baking sheet to dry for about 30 minutes. After, transfer quinoa to a deep plate or bowl.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a bowl, combine orange juice, cumin, ½ teaspoon salt and paprika. Place chicken strips into bowl to soak.
- In a clean deep plate, whisk egg. In a separate deep plate, combine flour and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Place all 3 plates in a line: flour, then egg and then quinoa. Dip chicken into each to coat completely, starting with the flour and ending with the quinoa.
- Meanwhile, place a baking pan in the oven for 5 minutes to warm. Remove and coat with olive oil spray. Place chicken on pan, keeping strips a few inches from each other. Spray with olive oil and bake 20-25 minutes.
- While chicken bakes, prepare the sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine chipotle peppers, cilantro and roasted red pepper. Add sour cream and salt and process until smooth.
- To serve, garnish chicken with extra cilantro. Drizzle chipotle sauce over chicken or serve on the side for dipping.