If you are a fried chicken lover you are going to love this Crispy Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. It is a simple meal but so tasty, and feels like comfort food even though it’s essentially health food: organic greens, fresh herbs, vegetables, free range protein and healthy fats all on one plate!
This recipe is brought to you by Ian’s Natural Foods makers of allergy friendly foods.
Honestly, these are the crispest fried chicken tenders I have ever made and this homemade buttermilk ranch dressing is to die for! Together they are a winning combination. And for my friends with food intolerances I am including a gluten and dairy free version of this recipe. But don’t worry, you do not have to sacrifice texture or taste because this chicken definitely doesn’t lose it’s crunch and dressing stays swoon worthy even when gluten and dairy free!
How To Make Crispy Fried Chicken Tenders:
It’s really quite simple! I whisk together hot sauce and buttermilk and let the chicken tenders marinate in the fridge. The enzymes in buttermilk make the chicken very tender and the hot sauce adds a little zing! Then I dip the tenders in Ian’s Gluten Free Original Panko Bread Crumbs. These gluten free bread crumbs stay super crispy and they contain no wheat, dairy, eggs, or soy, so those with food sensitivities can rest easy. You can check out Ian’s allergy friendly products here.
Then I fry the Panko coated chicken tenders in a combination of ghee and olive oil for about five minutes each side. The secret to crispy chicken is great bread crumbs and a hot cast iron skillet!
Check out these tenders…and that buttermilk ranch dressing! I set perfectly delectable fried chicken tenders atop chopped greens with tomatoes, cucumber and avocado. So simple, so good and you can have this chicken from fridge to fried to dressed on a plate of greens in less than 30 minutes!
Ranch lovers will be thrilled to know that you can make a homemade buttermilk ranch dressing that is more healthful and so much better tasting than store bought in just five minutes! I use a mayo base of egg and extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil, fresh herbs and dried spices and then add cultured buttermilk. For my dairy free friends, coconut cream works perfectly well.
We start by making a mayonnaise base. It’s really easy but it is important to follow all the directions I give you in the recipe. Skipping any of them can cause your mayo to not set up. It’s happened to me and it’s a bummer. I know some people have success using a regular blender to make mayo, I do not. I use an immersion blender and it saves the day! So here is how it’s done:
- Place room temp egg, lemon juice and extra light olive oil or avocado oil into a jar with a wide enough opening for an immersion blender to fit in.
- Keep the blender at the bottom of the jar and whirl. Immediately you will see the oil and egg thicken up…it’s mayo magic!
- Then add the buttermilk, herbs and spices and voila! Homemade dairy free ranch that is both Whole 30 and Paleo compliant!
The Recipe: Crispy Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch (Gluten and dairy free options!)
Tips and what you will need: To make this recipe gluten free I use Ian’s Gluten Free Original Panko Bread Crumbs. See where to buy Ian’s allergy friendly products here. If you would like to make this recipe dairy free use Organic Coconut Cream in place of buttermilk for both the chicken and the salad dressing. If you are using coconut cream be sure to whisk well as it separates in the can.You will need an immersion blender to make salad dressing. If you need a visual for making the mayonnaise base, click here. A cast iron pan is best for making the crispiest chicken.
A delicious main course salad with a gluten and dairy free version! To make this recipe gluten free I use Ian's Gluten Free Original Panko Bread Crumbs. If you would like to make this recipe dairy free use Organic Coconut Cream in place of buttermilk for both the chicken and the salad dressing. If you are using coconut cream be sure to whisk well as it separates in the can. A cast iron pan is best for crispy chicken.
- 1 cup buttermilk or coconut cream well whisked
- 2 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1 1/2 pound chicken tenders (or make your own by slicing chicken breasts into 1/4 " thick pieces
- 1 cups Panko bread crumbs I use Ian's Gluten Free
- 1 cup light olive oil or avocado oil
- 2 eggs the second is for back up ( both need to be room temp, very important!)
- juice of half a lemon room temp
- 1/2 cup buttermilk or coconut cream
- 2 tablespoon cilantro chopped (or parsley)
- 1 tablespoon chives chopped
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1//4 teaspoon onion powder
- 31 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 heads organic green leaf lettuce
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes halved or quartered
- 1 small Persian cucumber diced
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and diced
Whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce.
Place tenders in a small bowl and pour mixture over chicken.
Place in fridge and allow to rest for at least an hour. Note: the longer you let the chicken rest the stronger the kick the chicken will have from the hot sauce. If like it hot, let it sit for hours or even overnight.
Place an egg and olive in a narrow jar that is wide enough to accommodate an immersion blender. The egg must be room temp. If you forget to take the egg out of the fridge in time, you can place it in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes to bring it to room temp.
Add the juice of half a lemon.
Place an immersion blender into jar with the blender touching the bottom. Turn on immersion blender keeping it at the bottom of the dish. In about 30 seconds or less you will have mayonnaise! Stop blending. If mayo didn't set up, add second egg to jar and blend again. It almost always saves the day. Add chopped herbs, spices and buttermilk (or coconut cream for my dairy free friends, being sure to whisk it before adding) and give one more quick blend to incorporate herbs and spices! Ta-da!
Plate chopped greens and veggies, set aside.
Remove chicken from fridge. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
Dip chicken tenders into bread crumbs making sure the bread crumbs are evenly coating the chicken.
Place a cast iron skillet on high heat. When pan is hot add olive oil and or ghee (I like a combo) into the pan. Use enough to generously coat the bottom of pan.
When oil is hot add the chicken tenders to pan. You may have to do it in batches depending on the size of your pan. Cook five minutes each side until golden brown and crispy, turning down heat if necessary to prevent burning.
Remove chicken and place onto salad. Dress and serve!
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