This recipe started as an experiment. I was craving Italian food and wanted a breaded Chicken Piccata that would meet my dietary needs, but hadn’t made one before. Based on what I had in my pantry, I decided to grind up pecans and walnuts for the breading, because I thought the combination of the two would create a nice, mild-flavored but crunchy breading on the chicken. I’m happy to say it worked perfectly! This dish came together in about 30 minutes and is pure comfort food, and will make you forget that you’re on a “special diet”. The breading on the chicken combined with the tangy, salty sauce is a perfect combination.
I recently started following a Low FODMAP and low carb Keto/Paleo type diet and it has been a new challenge for me when it comes to cooking. It is rare that I find recipes that meet my needs online, which I believe is because the two diets are very opposite. Low FODMAP diets focus on restriction of certain vegetables, and inclusion of gluten free grains, while the Paleo diet focuses on a large variety vegetables (a popular Instagram hashtag for Paleo food is #morevegetablesthanavegetarian), and most baked goods or breadings are made from almond flour and coconut flour, both of which I don’t do very well with. In testing this recipe I found that the pecan meal was a bit drier and more similar to almond meal and a perfect 1:1 substitute. When I tried to pulse the walnuts to become flour, they didn’t grind as finely without starting to turn to walnut butter, so I’d recommend using just pecan meal in this recipe. The sauce is also great on fish or shrimp, so feel free to substitute!
The Low FODMAP Diet
Now you may be wondering what the Low FODMAP diet is. The Low FODMAP diet was developed to help treat IBS, and stands for Fermentable Oligo- Di- Mono- And Polysaccharides. Basically, these are all complex carbohydrates with certain types of sugars and fibers that may be poorly absorbed in the small intestine in people with poor digestion. Since they aren’t absorbed well in the small intestine, they move into the large intestine undigested, where the bacteria in the large intestine digest them. This causes gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, and more. Studies have shown up to 75% of IBS patients experience relief from following the Low FODMAP diet.
While these studies are promising, there are a few things about the Low FODMAP diet that should be strongly considered:
- It isn’t normal to experience digestive distress from High FODMAP foods. If you can’t tolerate FODMAPs well, you need to work with a skilled practitioner to investigate into the underlying causes of your intolerance, which may include SIBO, Leaky Gut, Dysbiosis, Candida, and more.
- The Low FODMAP diet is a short-term solution for symptom relief. The diet should only be followed for a 6-week elimination phase before you begin reintroducing foods again to find which ones you can tolerate. There is new research showing that a long-term Low FODMAP diet can actually negatively impact the bacteria in the gut.
- The Low FODMAP diet excludes a lot of healthy fruits and vegetables, and can be very hard to follow!
All that being said, the Low FODMAP diet has brought me immense relief in my digestion while I work on healing my gut and getting healthy enough to treat my underlying causes. Just make sure you are working closely with a nutritionist if you do decide to try it!
Monash University is the leading authority on FODMAP friendly foods, here is a link to their “Foods to Avoid” and “Foods to Include” list.
Now, onto the recipe!
Chicken Piccata: Recipe
1.5 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 1/2 Cups of Pecans
1/2 tsp of Kosher Salt
1/4 tsp of Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp of Italian Seasoning
2 Tbs of Olive Oil
2 Tbs of Butter
1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
1/3 Cup White Wine
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Capers
2 TBS Butter
1/4 Cup Fresh Chopped Italian Parsley
- Put 1.5 Cups of Pecans in food food processor, and pulse until you have a fine, flour-like consistency. Be VERY careful not to over blend or you will wind up with Pecan Butter.
- Mix the pecan meal with salt, black pepper, and Italian Seasoning. Set aside.
- Slice chicken breasts in half, and pound to 1/2 inch thickness with a meat tenderizer.
- Heat a large sauce pan or cast iron pan over medium heat with 2 Tbs of Olive oil and 2 Tbs of butter.
- Season chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper, and dredge in the pecan meal.
- When the butter and oil starts to sizzle, shake off the excess pecan meal from each chicken breast, then place in pan. Fry for 3-4 minutes, then flip the chicken breast and fry for another 3 minutes until golden brown. Repeat until all chicken is cooked.
- Once chicken is done, deglaze the pan with the chicken broth, white wine, and lemon juice to make sure you get all of the delicious fried bits that are left in the pan.
- Let the sauce reduce by half, for about 5 minutes.
- Once the sauce is reduced, add the capers, then whisk in the butter and fresh parsley.
- Top the chicken with the sauce and serve with your side of choice!