Coconut Crusted Chicken with Cilantro-Pesto Farro and Kale Salad

It all started with a fresh, chilled one, a straw, and a white sand beach. So darn refreshing that pipa fria and loaded with vitamins and nutrients…

Since we came back from Costa Rica I have been consuming coconut water left and right. Clearly I’ve become crazy for coconut, which is weird because I didn’t really dig it so much before. It’s funny how one’s tastebuds continue to change even into [my] 30’s.

By nature, I’m not a very good “rule follower,” so it is really hard for me to follow recipes. I am easily distracted, love to improvise, and feel the need to add a little “me” to the concoction. Good thing it is the art of cooking and not an exact science. So in tonight’s lineup for the coconut lovers is a conglomeration of recipes I’ve adapted to what I thought sounded like a good fit and would appease my coconut craving. [and thank goodness it worked out!]

For the Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of chicken breast (boneless, skinless, tenderized)
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Pound the chicken breasts with a meat tenderizer to equal thickness and then slice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Further shred the coconut into smaller pieces using a food processor (or chopping it finely the old fashioned way). Then mix the coconut with the bread crumbs in a medium sized bowl. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper in a separate medium sized bowl. Beat the 2 eggs in yet another mixing bowl. Line up the bowls in this order: four mixture – eggs – coconut mixture

Heat a large skillet with the coconut oil over med-high heat. Grease a baking sheet and place it nearby.

Roll pieces of chicken first in the flour mixture (shaking off any excess), next dip in the beaten egg (also avoiding any excess liquid), and finally roll through the coconut mixture before placing in the pre-heated skillet. Flash fry the chicken in batches until slightly golden on each side (about 2 min per side) and place them on the baking sheet.

After you have all of the chicken spread out on the baking sheet, bake the chicken for 7-10 minutes (until thoroughly cooked). Allow to cool while you finish the salad portion.

For the Salad

Ingredients

Veggies and Grain

  • 1 cup farro (quick cook)
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red onion (chopped)

Pesto

  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you want a little kick)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • fresh ground salt and pepper (to taste)

Optional Toppings: unsweetened coconut flakes, avocado, fresh cheese

Directions

Cook the farro, drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl. Note: I chose to use the fast cooking kind from TJ’s to save time. Follow the directions on the packaging of whichever kind you choose.

Chop the red onion and kale and add both to the bowl of farro.

Combine the cilantro, cashews, garlic, red pepper flakes, and lime juice in a food processor and blend to your desired consistency, slowly adding the olive oil into the mix as you blend. I prefer to have my pesto a bit on the crunchy side (I’m also a crunchy peanut butter kind of gal), but either way works. Play around with the lime juice, but start will less since it’ll be harder to undo too much! Same with the salt and pepper…season to taste.

Once you are finished, pour the pesto into the salad and mix well.

Top the salad with the crunchy coconut crusted chicken and Voila!

 

Leave a Reply