Our new Crispy Crunchy Chicken salad with a light vinaigrette is a “must make now” recipe. The combination of beautiful, fresh greens, fresh herbs, crunchy cucumber, and an exceptionally delicious umami citrus dressing, topped with my Marinated Red Onions, results in a refreshing, unparalleled level of deliciousness. The fresh herbs are especially fantastic.

I enjoy the way Instagram provides cooking inspiration. You can see an idea then run with it and do your own thing. So many people ask how I get inspired in the kitchen, and Instagram is certainly one way. I hope people will take inspiration from what I share and create their own version, just as I do. When I saw a salad similar to this one @iamlaos on Instagram, of course I wanted to do a gluten-free version.

The result is so fabulous: crispy chicken, crunchy cucumbers, and fresh greens married with the most spectacular dressing. The fresh herbs enhance the salad in an indescribable way that you’ll just have to taste. Learning to fry the chicken takes some finesse, but the recipe itself is not hard. The chicken is browned to a crunchy perfection, and combined with the other ingredients, each bite is uniquely wonderful.

My favorite way to serve this salad is to toss the lettuce with the cucumbers and all the fresh herbs, dress it, and then put the crispy fried chicken on top. Adding the chicken last will preserve the chicken’s special crunch. Although the chicken is fried, the herbs, cucumber, and lettuce keep the dish light. We can’t get enough of this salad!

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Crispy Crunchy Chicken with Fresh Herbs, Cucumber, and a Lime Vinaigrette

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  • Author: Teri Turner
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: salad


For the dressing:

  •   3 tablespoons light olive oil, or neutral oil
  •   2 tablespoons tamari
  •   2 tablespoons lime juice
  •   1 tablespoon unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  •   1 teaspoon coconut sugar


For the chicken: 

  •   3 cups gluten free panko breadcrumbs 
  •   ¾ cup gluten free flour
  •   4 beaten large eggs
  •   2 teaspoons salt
  •   6 to 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, or 2 pounds  
  •   2 cups light olive oil, or frying oil of choice


For salad:

  •   6 ounces romaine
  •   1 ½ cup thinly sliced english cucumber
  •   1 to 2 avocados, cubed
  •   ¼ cup chives, finely chopped 
  •   1/8  to  1/4 cup basil, ribboned
  •   ½ cup marinated onions
  •   2 tablespoons toasted white sesame seeds


Make the dressing.

  1. Put everything in a small bowl or jar and whisk or shake together until everything is well mixed and the sugar is dissolved. 

Make the chicken. 

  1. Set out three wide shallow bowls and put the gluten free panko breadcrumbs, gluten free flour, and beaten eggs each in a separate bowl. 
  2. Salt the chicken thighs on both sides. 
  3. With one hand, pick up one of the thighs and flour both sides of the chicken in the bowl. Take the chicken with your other hand and dredge in the beaten eggs making sure both sides are well coated. Using your first hand again, coat the chicken thigh in the panko breadcrumbs and set on a baking sheet. Using this alternating hand method (dry hand, wet hand), continue dredging the remaining chicken thighs. Note: Try to minimally touch the chicken thighs during the dredging process in order to keep your hands clean. 
  4. Turn the oven to 200F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  5. In a large frying or saute pan, heat the light olive over medium-high for a few minutes until the oil is shimmering but not smoking. 
  6. Fry the chicken thighs in two batches, or three at a time, for five minutes, flipping halfway through. The thighs will be done when they’re crispy and golden brown. Remove the the fried chicken thighs from the pan and place on a baking rack over paper towels to allow the excess oil to drip a bit. After a minute, place the fried chicken thighs on the lined baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. 
  7. Repeat with remaining chicken thighs. Note: On the second batch, they might cook faster so keep an eye on them as they brown. 


Make the salad.

  1. In a large serving bowl, add the greens and salt them. Add the cucumber, avocado, chives, basil, and dressing and toss together. Gently add the marinated onions over top. 
  2. Take the chicken out of the oven and slice them horizontally into ½-inch slices. and place the crunchy chicken strips over the salad.  Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds. Serve immediately and enjoy!