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Crispy Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch with Gluten and Dairy Free Options!

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.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword cast iron, easy dinner recipe, gluten-free recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Linda Spiker


The 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

The Dressing:

  • 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

The Salad:

  • 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


Do Ahead:

  1. Whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce.
  2. Place tenders in a small bowl and pour mixture over chicken.
  3. 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.

While chicken marinates, make dressing:

  1. 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.
  2. Add the juice of half a lemon.
  3. 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!

The salad:

  1. Plate chopped greens and veggies, set aside.

Back to the chicken:

  1. Remove chicken from fridge. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
  2. Dip chicken tenders into bread crumbs making sure the bread crumbs are evenly coating the chicken.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Remove chicken and place onto salad. Dress and serve!