Bob Ross once said, “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.” I like to think this recipe was a happy accident; I made it up the first time I put it together and it turned out great. If you ask my parents what my standard go-to meal used to be when trying a new Italian restaurant, it was always chicken parmesan. The chicken parm became my ruler for comparing Italian restaurants against one another. (For the record, one of the best I ever had was right after moving to Jersey at a place called Roxanne’s… highly recommended, but not if you’re eating low carb.) Being able to re-create a recipe I love and make it really low carb friendly is why I started this blog, so I am really happy to be bringing this to you today.
As an aside, today is my 27th birthday and I am so lucky to have generous parents who gave me a DSLR camera to use for this blog moving forward. I am beyond thrilled with how these first images turned out and I know they will only continue to get better as I learn more about my camera and food photography. My goal is to someday go back and re-shoot the recipes already posted at a later date as I was only using my cell phone for all of those.
I start by pre-heating my oven to 350°F, lining a baking sheet with foil and spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. I seasoned my chicken breasts with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings. I also pulled out my favorite marinara sauce from Rao’s, pork rinds and the 365 3 Cheese Blend from Whole Foods (click on the photo to enlarge).
That’s right, I will be using pork rinds for this recipe. I know what you’re thinking – this is going to be gross – but stay with me. Since panko and other breadcrumbs are not keto-friendly, a lot of low carb foodies substitute them with crushed pork rinds for breading. I’ve done this for boneless buffalo wings and zucchini fries as well and it could not be easier. The best part is the pork rind-y taste does not transfer to the food when used as breading but holds its crunch through the cooking process.
I used my Ninja food processor to crush about 9 pork rinds and blended them with 6 tablespoons of the 3 cheese blend. The first time I did this for another recipe I did it by hand in a large ziplock bag; it took too long and was inconsistent, so if you have a food processor I recommend this route. It only takes 10-15 seconds for them to be evenly crushed and combined (click on the photo to enlarge).
After crushing the pork rinds, I beat 1 egg until the yolk and white were thoroughly combined and made an assembly line with the egg, pork rinds and baking sheet. I dippped each chicken breast into the egg wash until coated, then pressed firmly into the pork rinds on both sides before gently setting them on the baking sheet. I repeated until they were all coated, then placed them in the oven on the middle rack for 15 minutes.
I like to get the chicken started first with just the breading before adding the sauce and cheese. It keeps it crunchy and adds a nice browning. After the 15 minutes were up, poured a bit of marinara sauce on each chicken breast and sprinkled some shredded mozzarella cheese on top before returning them to the oven for another 25 minutes.
When they were finished, I sprinkled a little more of the 3 cheese blend on top and let it melt into the sauce. The chicken is juicy and tender on the inside and slightly crunchy on the outside. This would be delicious over some buttered zoodles or spaghetti squash or with a side of roasted vegetables. It’s equally delicious on its own as well.
Do you have a go-to recipe you’d like a low carb version of? Let me know down below!