Baked Chicken Parmesan (Gluten/Dairy-Free + Paleo Friendly)
My husband, Frank, has two favourite dishes.
Pizza and baked chicken parmesan.
For his birthday this month, I made a healthy chicken parm that’s gluten/grain/dairy-free and still delicious.
When I start working with a new client in The Clear Skin Solution, a common thing I hear is they’re a little nervous about removing things from their diet. The two things they always mentioned is gluten and dairy. These two are common acne food triggers and tend to make up a big portion of people’s daily diets.
My #1 goal with new clients is to make sure they never feel deprived. If we ever need to remove something, I make sure they have a healthy substitution in place.
Let’s talk why dairy is enemy #1 when it comes to acne.
Hormones: even organic, hormone-free dairy STILL contains over 60 naturally occurring hormones that are big time acne triggers.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Leaky gut: the proteins in milk, casein and whey, are difficult for most to digest and thus can lead to gastrointestinal distress, inflammation and potential damage to the gut lining. Gut health is the foundation to clear skin.
Zinc: casein has been shown to negatively impact the absorption of the skin-healing mineral zinc — which is bad news for acne sufferers. Zinc is also important for healthy hormones. And an imbalance in hormones is common place for adult women dealing with chronic breakouts.
Insulin levels: dairy contains insulin-growth factor (IG1) which increases insulin levels. An elevation in insulin can causes blood sugar swings that contributes to acne.⠀
In this baked chicken parmesan, the cashew cheese adds that creamy factor without the need for dairy.
About the Recipe
This is a pretty standard mix I use for chicken fingers, fish ‘n’ chips or even baked pickles. Feel free to make a double batch and save the unused amount for any future breading needs. I sprinkle the amount I think I’ll use for breading the chicken into the dredging bowl. Doing so ensures I don’t waste any of the almond flour mixture.
A staple in our house, this recipe is a variation of my Nonna’s homemade sauce . The surprise ingredient is a cinnamon stick. It was my Nonna’s secret weapon for her sauce and gives it an incredible flavour.
My cashew cheese is something I always have on hand. It’s super creamy and can be used in a variety of ways. You can thin it out with some water and use it as an Alfredo-style sauce, use it in tomato soup for a creamy addition, or as a dip alongside veggies.
Delicious baked chicken parmesan that’s been coated in a paleo breading of almond flour and herbs. Topped with creamy cashew cheese and baked in my Nonna’s homemade tomato sauce recipe.
30 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
1 hrTotal Time
- 4 large chicken breasts, halved
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ¼ cup arrowroot starch
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Unrefined salt to taste (I used 1 tsp Herbamare seasoning salt)
- Avocado oil for sautéing (I used 2-3 tbsp avocado between two batches)
- 1 793mL can diced tomatoes
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2-3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Unrefined salt to taste
- Avocado oil for sautéing
- ½ cup cashew cheese
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- Desired amount of pasta
- Warm a little avocado over medium heat in a medium-sized pot.
- Add onions and garlic. Sauté until translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
- Add remaining sauce ingredients to the pot and stir to combine.
- Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 350F. Set a large Pyrex dish to the side.
- Combine the almond flour, arrowroot starch, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and salt in a large bowl to create the breading. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside.
- Set up an assembly line for dredging the chicken. I place the chicken on the far left, whisked egg in a medium bowl in the centre, breading bowl to the far right and a clean plate for breaded chicken before it gets pan fried.
- Using one hand for the egg and the other for the breading, dip chicken in the egg and then place in the breading bowl. Make sure all areas of the chicken are covered. Place on the clean plate. Repeat until all pieces of chicken have been breaded.
- Heat pan and 1-2 tbsp avocado oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add chicken to pan.
- Cook about 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown crust forms.
- Place on a clean plate. Set aside.
- Once the sauce is done, remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick.
- Use an immersion blender (or pour into regular blender) and blend the sauce until smooth.
- Pour enough sauce into the Pyrex dish to fill ½”. Set remaining sauce aside.
- Set chicken pieces on top of the sauce.
- Pour desired amount of cashew cheese on top of each piece of chicken. Place in the oven and bake 8-12 minutes (or until cooked through).
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with parsley.
- Pour remaining sauce over desired type of cooked noodles (chickpea or zucchini noodles are my favourites).
- Serve chicken and noodles alongside a green salad.