A Crowd-Pleasing Super Bowl Staple: Crunchy Chicken Fingers

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With the Super Bowl coming up this weekend, I’ve been thinking about my favorite game-time snacks to please a crowd (and stay healthy). Despite the fact that most common Super Bowl foods – wings, chips, dips – are generally unhealthy, you can still enjoy similar snacks that are just as tasty and fit the bill for a cancer-protective diet. 

This year, I’m making up my favorite alternative to deep-fried chicken fingers with lightened-up, Almond-Crusted Baked Chicken Fingers. These tenders are flavorful, crunchy and a definite crowd pleaser (you don’t even have to let on that they are better for you).

They are also incredibly easy to make and gluten-free. Added herbs and spices provide excellent flavor and the almonds add a nice crunchy texture with added nutrients. Nuts like almonds contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fiber and vitamin E, and are known for their antioxidant properties.

In place of ranch and traditional honey mustard, I paired this dish with a side of veggies and two Greek yogurt-based versions (recipes below).

For the chicken, you can buy either tenders or thin-sliced breasts cut in half again. 

I prefer to buy whole, unsalted roasted almonds and pulse them to a fine crumb along with the spices in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender or just chop the almonds by hand until they are broken down into small bits. You can also buy almond meal, but I prefer the chunkier bits created when making your own. Having some extra larger bits of almonds adds nice texture to the chicken tenders. 

Dredge your chicken in egg and coat each tender completely in the almond mixture. Lay the tenders on a non-stick baking sheet (they can be close together) and bake until crispy and cooked through (20-25 minutes). While the chicken is baking, you have the perfect amount of time to chop up your vegetables and make the dips. 

I chose carrots, celery, and broccoli to serve with the tenders, but any raw veggies would work (e.g. tomatoes, snap peas, cucumber).

If you’re looking for other tasty sides to pair with these chicken tenders, check out a past blog on Sweet Potato Fries and Kale Chips

What are your favorite lightened-up game-time recipes?

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    Author: Sonja Goedkoop

    Sonja Goedkoop, MSPH, RD, is the lead registered dietitian at Zesty, Inc. She is passionate about helping others improve their health through diet and physical activity and believes eating nutritious food should be easy and taste great. You can follow her on Twitter @SonjaGoedkoopRD.

    One thought on “A Crowd-Pleasing Super Bowl Staple: Crunchy Chicken Fingers”

    1. Can’t wait to try these! But I have a question: Are there really raw eggs in the Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip? Eww! Sounds awful.

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