I’m not going to sit here and claim that burgers are a health food. Or that schnitzel is. Or that making it with nuts instead of bread crumbs is ‘better’ for you. It does taste so amazing though. This recipe is more about realising that it’s okay to eat whatever it is you want to eat. But if you make the food your craving yourself rather than swinging through a drive through your undoubtedly going to end up eating something far more wholesome and real and that’s worth celebrating. This burger is made from scratch (you could make the rolls if you’re feeling really time rich) using the best quality ingredients you can afford and that makes it super tasty. Just look at all that melted cheese too. Oh my.
Being too obsessed with a concept of ‘healthy’ eating doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t make me happy, and if I’m not happy then I can’t claim I’m well! Also, this blog is all about sharing the food I make at home. My general approach to food is to eat a varied diet full of real food with as much home made goodness in there as possible. But I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist so if you’re after diet advice those are the people to chat to! I’m just here to inspire you to get into the kitchen and make yourself yummy food full of a variety of plant foods and goodness. And sometimes that yummy food will be chicken parma burgers, because I love a burger.
I’m all about having more of the things I love in my life at the moment. I feel like the older I get the less tolerant I get of things and people that aren’t good for my overall well being. But conversely, I also have such an appreciation for those things and the people that are. This is definitely the time of year for self reflection and thinking about what I’ve learned in the last year. One thing I’ve been reflecting on a lot is hating less and loving more. I mean this in so many ways, in terms of what I project out into the world, what I project on to myself and what I need from the people I include in my life. I need people in my life that make me laugh, believe in me and think I’m a decent human. I don’t need those that do the opposite, mostly because I don’t need anyone else hammering home my faults, I’ve got that covered – been practicing that one for years! I so hope all of you have the kind of people in your life that lift you up and make you see your own particular brand of wonderful.
My own particular brand of wonderful is all about burgers today so enough waffling let’s talk about that cheesy goodness. This burger is a chicken parma but in a roll. It’s glorious. A layer of yummy pesto on the bottom, then roasted slices of tomato topping this. Followed by golden crumbed chicken, topped with melted mozzarella and a handful of mixed greens to add to the mix. And that crumb. That crumb is perfection. I double coated this chicken to make sure you get that crispy texture in every bite. The crumb is a well seasoned mix of chickpea flour and almond meal to make it super crunchy. The coated chicken gets baked to make sure that crumb won’t fall off in the pan and then it’s seared in the pan in a light coating of olive oil to finish off. It’s everything I want in life in a burger. Flavour, texture and fun times. You can’t not enjoy this one. I promise.
The cheese choice is important: you want to use a hard mozzarella pear as it melts really well but still keeps some shape and won’t just slide right off.
You can make this gluten free by using gluten free bread rolls. Serve with some crispy zucchini or vegetable chips on the side.
2 chicken breast, free range organic if possible
2/3 cup chickpea flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp garlic granules/powder
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
2 ripe tomatoes cut into 5mm slices
1 tsp olive oil
80g firm mozzarella (mozzarella pear works best) sliced into 2-3mm thick slices.
3 cups mixed lettuce
1/2 cup basil leaves
4 Tbs basil pesto of choice
4 rolls of choice
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line 2 trays with baking paper.
Cut each chicken breast horizontally in half so you have 4 approx 1 – 2cm thick portion of chicken.
Prepare 3 bowls, the first should contain 1/2 cup chickpea flour, the next the beaten egg (add 2 Tbs of water to this one) and the final one should have the remaining chickpea flour, almond meal, oregano, galric, salt and pepper. Whisk the ingredients in your final bowl together so that they’re evenly combined.
Take 1 chicken portion and coat in the chickpea flour, then dip it in the egg, then into the almond meal mix, turning to coat evenly. Place on one of your prepared baking trasy. Repeat these steps with the next 3 chicken portions. Then, gently return the first chicken portion to the egg mixture and then back into the almond mixture again, coating evenly a second time. Repeat these 2 steps with the remaining chicken. This will create a thicker crispy crust.
Place in your preheated oven and bake for 7 minutes. Turn and bake for another 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a single layer on your second tray. Season and drizzle with the teaspoon of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and increase oven temp to 200 degrees celsius. Spray or coat a non stick oven proof frying pan with olive oil. Place on medium high heat and once hot add the chicken. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until just golden on the first side. Turn, lay a couple of slices of mozzarella on top and cook for another minute. Transfer to the oven and allow the cheese to melt (2 minutes max).
Toasting the buns is optional but I used a fresh sourdough bun and it wasn’t necessary. Assemble burgers by spreading the pesto on the base. Following with 2 slices of roasted tomato, then the lettuce and a few basil leaves. Top with the cheese covered chicken and the burger ‘lid’. Dig in.