You may know by now that I am a personal chef, which means I cook for a lot of clients, in various homes, all with different dietary goals or preferences. Recently, a client introduced me to a new product she found that would hopefully help in the effort to eliminate gluten from their diet. “Chickpea Crumbs” as they are called seem to mimic a panko-style breadcrumb, and let me tell you, I love a good chickpea! Immediately, I got excited and started thinking of fun things to do with this imposter ingredient.
To be honest, I’m not always a fan of ingredients that try to pretend to be something else. I believe more in eating foods in their true, real forms, but aiming to consume less of those foods that aren’t so healthy, like cheese or butter or bread, for example. However, I loved three details about these chickpea crumbs right from first glance.
First, upon reading the label, I noticed that two tablespoons of chickpea crumbs is only 80 calories. Better yet, that same serving size provides four grams of fiber. Four grams of fiber is outstanding! I like using fiber as a benchmark to how natural or unprocessed a food is. Plant based foods have way more fiber than, say, a bag of Doritos, for example. But that’s a dietary conversation for another blog post.
Second, the ingredients listed on the label are simply “organic chickpeas”. That’s a substitute ingredient I can get on board with. It’s not a bunch of weird stuff trying to become something else. It’s just chickpeas, dried and crushed (I’m guessing, but that’s basically the idea), and like I said above, I love a good chickpea!
Finally, the third thing I love about these crumbs is their crunch and texture. They aren’t as fine as an Italian breadcrumb and they are even chunkier than panko, so I knew they would lend an awesome, crispy layer to something. My mind immediately went to breading, and eventually leapt to chicken. I’ll save you from all the other details about the rabbit trail my mind traveled after that initial encounter to this final recipe, but let’s just say everyone loves a good piece of crispy chicken. Am I right?
I love that we are essentially taking chicken and rolling it in wholesome fiber crumbs! Makes my healthy-self happy. Since the pieces are small, they bake in just about 20 minutes, which is the perfect amount of time to make the two sauces.
Sauce and dips happen to be one of my favorite food groups, so I decided to make two for this dish. Feeling inspired by crispy chicken, I decided to run with buffalo flavors by combining Frank’s hot sauce with my easy honey mustard dressing. A nice, spicy-sweet glaze is perfect for coating the chicken right after baking so I mix the ingredients in a large bowl and as soon as the hot chicken comes out of the oven I toss them in the sauce.
Of course, you can’t have a good buffalo chicken without a ranch style sauce to go with it. So I also include a recipe for a ranch-style sour cream dip. This is thicker than an actual ranch dressing, but shares those similar flavors, and a few fresh herbs for good measure. Since I’m always tossing together various fridge ingredients to make some kind if dip-able sauce, I encourage you to modify based on the ingredients you keep on hand, too! Yogurt instead of sour cream? Cool. No Parmesan – skip it! Garlic powder instead of onion powder, great. You get the idea.
If you are as intrigued as I am by these chickpea crumbs, I encourage you to pick up a bag. Comment below and let me know what you think, and if you cook the recipe I’d love to hear your thoughts. One tip, I like to make a big batch and then warm them up throughout the week. They go great tossed in a spinach salad, too! I hope you enjoy!
Chickpea Crumbs make the crispiest of baked chicken tenders with a boost of nutrition to boot. And why have one sauce when you can have two? These tenders get tossed with a buffalo-honey-mustard then dipped in a ranch-style sour cream.
For the chicken:
1 pound chicken breast, skinless and boneless
1/2 cup flour, or gluten free flour variety or rice flour
2 eggs, large
1 cup chickpea crumbs
Kosher salt and black pepper
For the buffalo sauce:
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon Frank’s hot sauce
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
For the ranch sour cream – Optional:
1/3 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro or parsley
1–2 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan with a layer of parchment paper. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and spread it evenly over the parchment.
Measure the flour and chickpea crumbs into two separate wide, shallow bowls or dishes.
Crack the eggs into a third wide, shallow bowl and whisk well.
Cut the chicken breast crosswise into 1/2″ thick strips. Season well with salt and pepper.
Dredge the tenders in the flour until evenly coated. Shake off any excess and move to the egg dish. Coat evenly with the egg, shake off any excess, then move to the chickpea breadcrumbs. Coat evenly, then set on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat until all chicken strips are breaded. Sprinkle each chicken tender with salt.
Place chicken in the preheated oven and bake until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees.
While chicken cooks, whisk together the buffalo sauce ingredients in medium heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
If making the ranch sour cream, combine all applicable ingredients in a separate bowl or jar and whisk or stir until well blended. Set aside.
Once chicken is done, remove from oven. Transfer to the bowl of buffalo sauce and toss to coat thoroughly.
Transfer honey-buffalo chickpea-crusted chicken tenders to a serving platter and serve with ranch sour cream on the side, if desired.