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Posted on May 17, 2011 in Food, Recipes, Working Out | 32 comments

Flax-Breaded Chicken Tenders

Yep. You read that right. It’s (sort of) healthy chicken tenders! Huzzah! I’ll get to that in a second, though. First things first:


Hooray! I exercised! Again! Too bad my Garmin watch took like a million and a half years to load, and so I just gave up on it and turned it off. So I actually don’t really know how far I went, but I imagine it was roughly 2 miles. And I’ll take it! Hopefully I can work myself back up close to 3 miles before Friday… Fitbloggin‘ includes a 5K run/walk, and I’m hoping to put an emphasis on the RUN. Third 5K, here I cooooome!

Hokay, so. Onto the main event. You’ve already gotten a sneak peek of this one if you saw yesterday’s Daily Eats post, but last night I created flax-breaded chicken tenders! Much, much healthier than your typical deep-fried fare, although in all honesty I really should have baked them instead of pan-frying them. Oh well. Baby steps, right? πŸ˜‰

First of all, let me address what some of you may be thinking. You’ve probably been seeing a lot of poultry on this blog lately, despite my post-Lenten proclamations of pescatarianism. Weeeeell, fish is kind of expensive to buy for everyday home-cooking use. And anyway, I like chicken! So, whatever the diet is that just cuts out RED meat, that’s kind of what I’m doing right now. And, as always, I try to support local, organic, and sustainable agriculture, of course! Which is why all of the items in last night’s dinner (and, subsequently, today’s lunch) are organic and almost entirely local! Whoo-hoo!


This is the simplest recipe for any semblance of healthy-yet-indulgent-tasting chicken I think I’ve ever created. All the ingredients you need are in the above picture: chicken (picked up at Whole Foods), milled flaxseed (I use Bob’s Red Mill), and local eggs I picked up at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday! (My fridge is ultra-stocked with local, cage-free eggs thanks to the farmer’s market and my friend Amanda, whose sister has a farm down in Louisa, VA!)


Asparagus, also picked up at the awesome Falls Church Farmer’s Market, for a side dish later.


Back to business!


Scramble the eggs in a bowl, set up flaxseed on a plate and mix in a bit of salt & pepper if you want. Then it’s just dip, bread, done!


From here, you can either bake ’em up oil-free in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes (it really all just depends on the thickness of your chicken – my strips were SUPER thin), or you can do what I did and toss ’em into a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil:


Mmmmm! Then just plate up a serving (3 – 4 ounces) with your side dishes. See? I told ya! Easy as pie. (Where did that expression come from, anyway? In my experience, baking a pie is actually quite challenging!) Behold, the recipe in its entirety:

Flax-Breaded Chicken Tenders
Print this recipe!

Chicken tenders are a feel-good food that is fun to eat. But usually they also happen to be deep-friend in white flour and canola oil. Enjoy these healthified ones that taste just as great yet utilize flaxseed instead, which is chockful of fiber, protein, and nutrition!


1 package chicken breast, sliced into tenders
1 cup Milled/ground flaxseed
2 eggs
Salt & pepper to taste


1. Set up your breading assembly line: scramble the eggs in a bowl, lay out the flaxseed on a plate. Then you will want to drip each chicken tender in the egg, then coat completely with the flaxseed. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

2. Cook ’em! Either bake in an oven at 350 degrees F for 25 – 30 minutes, or you can pan-fry them on medium-high heat in olive oil for 3 – 4 minutes each side.


My sides consisted of the aforementioned asparagus (just done up with salt, pepper, and lemon) and some Annie’s organic shells & cheese. Nomnomnom. And it’s so much better for you than traditionally breaded chicken tenders! Not only because these aren’t deep-fried, but because flax seed is chockfull of nutrition! It has omega 3s (good fat!), and tons of fiber. Yay fiber!

Adding milled flax seed to sauces, oatmeal, cereal, and finding other fun ways to use it (like in this recipe) is one of my favorite ways to healthify perviously less-healthy dishes. Favorite healthifying recipe tips: go! I want to know all your little tips and tricks to sneak nutrition into your dishes. Do you add spinach to your smoothies? Toss chia seeds into every bowl of oatmeal? Let’s hear it!


  1. That chicken sounds tasty! I make fish and chips just about the same way, except I use Panko(? something like that) bread crumbs, and have a third plate for flour (flour+salt+pepper, then egg, then bread crumbs). Quite tasty!

    Also, the Asian grocery store near me (Lotte Plaza) has ridiculously cheap fish… though their chicken is _even more_ ridiculously cheap, and from what I’ve had between the two places, the high price at Whole Foods isn’t worth it. If I recall, there’s an H-mart near your house, Gretchen… πŸ˜‰

    • Yeah I’ve used the egg + flour + breadcrumbs before too. Does taste great! But breadcrumbs have essentially 0 nutrition really, so this was my spin on that. And yeah, there’s H Mart and Great Wall near me but Whole Foods meats are local! Sigh, the eternal dilemma between my conscience and my pocketbook…

      • Haha, true, they are local. I’m pretty sure the meat at Lotte Plaza is local too, though I’d have to check… I can let you know!

  2. Wow! These look truly amazing. I bought a huge bag of flax seeds recently and I’ve been trying to think of new ways to use them. This is perfect! Thanks for sharing.

    • Yay! Glad I could help! πŸ™‚ Did you get whole flax seeds or ground/milled flax seed? If you got the whole seeds, make sure to grind them up with a coffee grinder or something before you eat them, otherwise they just pass right through you (hehe, gross) without you getting any of the nutritional benefits.

  3. These look delicious!

    I’m a chia seed freak and I usually eat my meals in a salad form or on top of a bed of spinach or romaine — that way it seems a little extra healthy.

  4. I was smelling that while you were making it, it smelled very good! And your portion size looks very reasonable too.

  5. I love everything about your dinner. Seriously…winning.

    I usually turn my Garmin on and place it near a window that’s pretty clear (no big trees right outside) and it loads while I finish getting ready/tying my sneaks/whatever. πŸ™‚

    • Hmmm, guess that’s what I’ll have to try for today! It kept searching for satellites for almost the entirety of my run. At which point I got frustrated and just turned it off, haha.

      • I *think* if you start running while it’s still searching, it takes way longer, but I could be totallllly wrong! Good luck πŸ™‚

  6. My garmin has been sucking big time! I have the 305 too.

    Sunday at Belle Haven, no go. Used Runkeeper to get an approximate mileage recap.
    Monday on GW trail by work, again, nada – just “looking for satellites”.

    Congrats on getting outside!

    • Yeah, that’s what happened to me! It was just “looking for satellites” for freakin’ EVER. Laaames.

  7. Woohoo! I just bought flaxseed meal. I add spinach and coconut oil to my smoothies. πŸ™‚ I make kale chips and jicama chips when I need something salty and crispy.

    • Do you have a dehydrator? How do you make your kale chips? I’ve always wanted to but I don’t know if I have the patience to do ’em in the oven cause I hear it takes a loooooooooooooong time.

      • Oh no! Just set the oven to 350 and bake for 10-15 min until the edges are just barely brown, but not burnt. Tip: If you don’t have a dehydrator and need one, set your oven as low as it will go and prop it open just a crack. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi Gretchen,

    I’ve been reading your blog since you guest posted on fANNEtastic Food! I have been a lurker, and have meant to comment but you know how it goes–sometimes it’s just easier to read. Anyways, I have really enjoyed reading your blog and the only tip I have to share today is that sometimes when I make oatmeal, instead of using water or milk, I’ll make it with apple juice. I still add flaxseed, but the apple juice gives it a sweet flavor.

    • Hey Courtney!! Thanks for taking the time to comment today — what a great tip! I would never have thought about adding anything other than milk or water to oatmeal, but I bet it tastes aweeeesome. Do you do your oatmeal on the stovetop and heat the apple juice up? This is totally on the docket for the next time I’m craving some oats!

      • I actually microwave my oatmeal–it just saves time, but yeah, you could do it on the stovetop too. Just whenever you’d normally add your milk or water, add the apple juice instead. When I microwave mine, the apple juice isn’t heated, it gets warm as the oats cook.

  9. OMG I had the same problem Saturday with my Garmin. Its sooo frustrating to walk for 20 minutes and realize for whatever reason the thing hasn’t linked with the satellite so you have no idea how far you went.
    Have you done the Wolf trap 5k in October? I love it and have done it the last two years. It’s really beautiful with all the leaves changing. You should put it on your to do list, I would love to see you there!

    • You know, I saw that race back when I was looking at my very first 5K – I bet it’s beautiful! I’m definitely putting it on the list. I love Wolftrap (though I imagine it’s a bit of a hilly run!)

      • It actually isn’t bad. Depending on how they start/end the race it could be hilly like the last ten minutes or first ten. It’s nice because you also go through the residential area over there and the homes are really nice.

  10. Gretchen,
    I’d been wanting to try this recipe, and finally did tonight, and it turned out so well! I put a slight twist in it though, if you are interested: I mixed the ground flax seed with some cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper, then put the cooked chicken on a Southwest salad (mixed greens, tomato, green peppers & corn cooked in a skillet, a little bit of cheddar, a few crumbled tortilla chips, and some light ranch dressing.) It was delicious πŸ™‚ Thanks for the inspiration!

    • That sounds amazing! I will definitely have to try that. I LOVE southwest-inspired flavors, plus putting it over a salad is a great way to get more greens into your meal!

  11. I make meatballs with spinach, eggs, flax meal and ground beef. (and of course some seasonings) You have to bake them as they tend to fall apart any other way.

  12. Did the flax seed breaded chicken taste of somewhat of nutty flavor?

    • I guess you could say it was somewhat nutty — much more so than just plain flour would be, but I didn’t really notice it much one way or the other.

  13. I live in Falls Church and I was googling “flax seed lemon chicken” and it sent me here – how fun!! I am going to add a bit of lemon juice and serve with brown rice- I AM SO EXCITED!! πŸ˜€

  14. I just tried my version of this, and it was great!! Thanks for the idea to get me started. Here are the adjustments I made: I added a little romano cheese to the ground flaxseed oil for some nice flavor (I keep some in the freezer). I used coconut oil for frying them up, which is also very nutritious! They were yummy and not oily after resting for a moment.

    Oh, and I had a bit of the egg left over, so I tossed that into the pan with the remaining coconut oil and at it along with the tenders and some fresh asparagus.

    Next time I’ll pick some fresh lemon verbena from my plant and toss that in for a new twist. Thanks, Didi, for inspiring that idea.

    • oops. Flaxseed meal, not oil. Shesh.

  15. EEEK watch out, dont fry flaxseed!
    It goes rancid when fried!

    I used to do this until I found out, baked in the oven is the safer option.


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