I created a gluten free version of Chicken Schnitzel for a friend of mine who has gluten intolerance; the recipe appears below. Using almond meal in the place of breadcrumbs, I was able to create a delicious (and healthy!) substitute for breaded schnitzel. I added za’atar spice blend and seasoned the mix for extra flavor. She was so pleased with the result that she now makes it regularly for her family!
Bob’s Red Mill makes a kosher GF almond meal that works great in this recipe, but you can use any GF almond meal you like. Replacing the breadcrumbs with almond meal also makes this schnitzel recipe low carb, so if you’re watching your carb intake, this is a great option.
Za’atar is a traditional Middle Eastern spice blend that is absolutely delicious. It can usually be found in kosher or Middle Eastern markets, but you may have a hard time locating it at your normal grocery store. Also, za’atar recipes vary greatly from brand to brand – it should only be made from herbs, sesame, spices and salt – but some contain fillers, so you want to take extra precautions to make sure your za’atar is certified gluten free. If you can’t find GF za’atar, here’s an easy substitute: 2 tbsp dried parsley flakes, ½ tsp dried crushed mint, and 1 tbsp sesame seeds. Not the same as za’atar, but it will do in a pinch!
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Gluten Free Chicken Schnitzel
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (4 large breasts)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1/4 cup za'atar spice blend (or substitute)
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Salt and pepper
- Oil for frying (pick one with a high smoke point like grapeseed)
- Fresh lemon wedges for garnish
- 2 tbsp parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried crushed mint
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Lay down a 2-foot long strip of plastic wrap on your kitchen countertop. Place chicken breasts on the plastic, leaving a 2-inch space between each breast. Cover the breasts with another strip of plastic, so the meat is sandwiched between two layers of plastic. Use a mallet to pound the breasts until they are a little less than ¼ inch thick. Season breasts with salt and pepper.
- Set up two wide, shallow bowls and a large plate on your countertop. In your first bowl, beat the eggs. In your second bowl, stir together the almond meal, za’atar spice blend, paprika, sesame seeds, and 1 tsp salt till well blended. Leave an empty plate nearby where you will place your coated schnitzels.
- Pour oil into a skillet until it’s deep enough for frying (about ½ inch). Heat the oil slowly over medium. While oil is heating, dip each breast one by one into your breading bowls—first coat with egg, then with almond meal mixture. Pat the almond meal coating onto all visible sides of the breasts, making sure there’s an even layer of coating over all the visible surfaces.
- The ideal temperature to fry schnitzel is around 375 degrees F. When the oil is hot (but not smoking or splattering), fry the coated breasts in single-layer batches until they are golden brown on both sides. If your oil is at the right temperature, it should take about 3-4 minutes per side. Don’t fry more than two breasts at a time in a regular sized skillet, or the oil temperature will drop and the schnitzels will become greasy.
- Frying Note: The gluten free schnitzel coating will shed a bit during the frying process, which dirties the oil. Frying up to four breasts in the oil (two batches of two breasts each, one immediately after the other) will work fine. If you are planning on frying more than four breasts, dispose of the oil, clean the skillet, and reheat a batch of fresh oil before proceeding. Or, you can let the oil cool and strain it clean between batches. If you don’t, you’ll wind up with some dirty looking schnitzels!
- After frying, set the schnitzels on a paper towel and pat them dry to soak off excess oil. Sprinkle the schnitzels with salt to taste. Serve hot garnished with lemon wedges and your favorite condiment.