This recipe has had a few versions and it has morphed into a gluten-free recipe out of necessity. I used to make this with half parmesan cheese and half seasoned bread crumbs but that would send my husband to the washroom for the better part of a day so I make it with ground almonds now. You can buy ground almonds and I actually recommend that if you want to speed up the process. Also, the sound that grinding your own almonds makes in the food processor is deafening. I didn’t grind the almonds really finely for this simply because I was sick of the noise. The little crunchy bits are nice though, so no harm done.
When I slice into the chicken breast to stuff it with the cheese and tomatoes, I try not to cut too deeply so that I don’t cut a whole in the pocket but it isn’t my best skill. If it happens to you, don’t worry too much. This isn’t a recipe that demands the filling stay sealed within the chicken breast like chicken kiev, nor is this a recipe that you need to be an expert chef to make successfully.
I always buy the sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil and I drizzle a little bit of the oil on the top of the chicken breasts right before I put them in the oven. I find this really helps give a crunchy coating without having to go through the bother of frying to give the chicken a crispy crust before finishing it in the oven.
Don’t be alarmed that some of the cheese melts out. It actually makes the bottom of the chicken really crispy and flavourful. I’m sure a trained chef would have a much better way to make sure nothing oozes out, but if you are like me and just trying to get a really tasty dinner on the table, then don’t sweat it. It tastes great and once it is off the pan you wouldn’t know that anything oozed out. I strongly recommend putting some aluminum foil on your baking sheet to help with the clean up.
One of the best parts about this recipe is that you can stuff the chicken and do the ‘breading’ hours ahead of time. If you try this with a regular breadcrumb crust you would likely find that the crust has gotten a bit soggy if you had to leave it in the fridge for a while before cooking. Since there is only a little bit of gluten-free flour in the first stage of coating, and the rest of the crust is cheese and ground almonds, it stays perfect until you are ready to pop it in the oven. I just drizzle the little bit of oil on top of the chicken right before it goes in the oven rather than doing it when I coat the chicken. This makes this a perfect recipe if you are having people over. You can have the messy dishes from when you coated the chicken put away and all you need to do with the chicken is bake it.
As a fast weeknight option, you could omit the stuffing all together and just do the coating. It would cut the prep time down considerably and if you used pre-ground almonds you would make your life that much easier.
A baked chicken breast with a ground almond and Parmesan crust, stuffed with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes.
30 minsPrep Time
30 minsCook Time
- 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup gluten-free all purpose flour + 1 tbsp (any brand)
- 60 grams raw almonds
- 50 grams grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp herb de provence (or Italian herb blend)
- 6 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
- 100 grams goat cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp of oil from the sun-dried tomatoes
- Grind the almonds with 1 tablespoon of gluten-free flour (to prevent the oil from the almonds from creating the beginnings of almond butter) until fine using a food processor.
- Mix the ground almonds with the grated Parmesan, salt, pepper and herb de provence.
- Slice the chicken lengthwise about 1/3 of the way through to the other side. You are trying to make a little pocket in the side of the chicken.
- Chop the sun-dried tomatoes and mix them with the goat cheese until the tomatoes are evenly distributed in the cheese.
- Stuff 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture into each of the chicken breasts. Press the goat cheese into the pocket in the chicken and try to press the opening of the chicken together.
- Set up the chicken coating station by putting the almond and Parmesan mixture in a pie plate, or other deep plate, and do the same for the gluten-free flour. Beat the eggs in a medium shallow bowl. This will get you ready to have your chicken coating station all set.
- Take the stuffed chicken breast and put it in the plate with the gluten-free flour, turning it to coat. Then dip it in the beaten egg to coat it. Next place it on the almond and Parmesan cheese mixture. With a dry hand, move the mixture so that it covers the chicken breast. Make a little pile of mixture on top and press it lightly into the chicken breast. Press the mixture into any area that appears wet with egg. Once it is generously coated, lift the chicken breast out of the mixture and shake gently to remove any excess. Place chicken on a foil lined baking sheet. Repeat this with the other chicken breasts.*
- Drizzle 1/2 tsp of sun-dried tomato oil on each chicken breast and bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 30 minutes or until the coating is golden brown and the chicken is no longer pink if you cut into it.
*At this point, you could place the coated chicken breasts in the fridge for several hours.