Let’s just get this out of the way. Wiener Schnitzel.
(God bless you).
It’s a silly name for a pretty simple dish: veal cutlets, pounded until they are Kate Moss skinny, dipped in egg and seasoned bread crumbs, and fried until golden brown. Because the meat is so thin, they cook up real quick. And because the outer layer is so crispy, they disappear real fast too. Which in my book equals a recipe for happy hosts and happier guests. And explains why this fried meat treat is the national dish of Austria — well done, Austria.
But how do we go from veal cutlets to quinoa, you ask?
The answer lies in three simple reasons: I love the texture of fried food, I hate frying food, and seasoned breadcrumbs contain too much sodium for me and many of you. Which is why I turned my attention to quinoa, the perfect low-sodium AND gluten-free substitution for store-bought crumbs.
While you can always buy no-salt-added bread, toast a few slices, and then crumb them up, using quinoa takes much less time and adds something unique to an otherwise simple dish.
Simply boil the quinoa for about 12 to 15 minutes until the little white tendrils poke out and tell you they are done. Then, your oven will finish the job, toasting the now-cooked quinoa until it has a crunch.
As for the meat, you can use thin cuts of anything — chicken, pork, beef, veal, or hell, even portabellas and tofu. And since we are already going the super healthy route, I decided to skip the whole egg dip thing (you’re welcome, Vegans) and use a mixture of no-salt-added mustard and tomato puree to make a sticky paste.
From there, you dip, you crumb, and you throw it back in the oven. Yes, I said oven. Not pan of hot oil. Because if I can bake it, I will. O course, if you have frying oil around, you’re welcome to use it and bring me a batch.
From there, in just a few snaps of the fingers, you’ve got a low-sodium take on Wiener Schnitzel. Equally golden. Equally crispy. Equally easy.
QUINOA CRUSTED CHICKEN (or anything)
adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine’s Quinoa Crusted Chicken
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa (here’s a helpful “how-to”)
- 1/4 cup no-salt-added mustard
- 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato puree
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon no-salt-added garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill, thyme, or oregano
- Pinch red chili pepper flakes
- 4 skinless, boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Lemon wedges, fresh herbs optional
Preheat the oven to 300dg F. Spread the cooked quinoa on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the quinoa cool and transfer into a medium-sied bowl. Place a new sheet of parchment on the pan.
Then, increase the oven to 400dg F.
In a large bowl, mix the mustard, ketchup, and all the spices. Place the chicken in the bowl and use a rubber spatula or your hand to mix until the thighs are coated. Then, dip the chicken in the quinoa, covering both sides, and place them on the parchment lined cooking sheet. Give the chicken a glossy coating of cooking spray and bake until just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon and fresh herbs if you have any lying around. Dig in.
+ Sodium Count: Quinoa: 0 to 10mg per serving, depending on brand; Canned tomato puree: 15mg per 1/2 cup, depending on brand; Chicken thigh (with skin): 87mg per 1/4 pound; Chicken breast (with skin): 71mg per 1/4 pound