Valentine’s Date Night Almond Crusted Chicken Parmesan

In elementary school, I planned out all my Valentine’s weeks in advance  (who was going to get which Disney princess card was very important) and fantasized about who would be my secret admirer. In my adolescent and early twenties, the roses, chocolates, gifts, cards, and surprises were affirmation that my current beau truly cared about me. In my late twenties, I now know the greatest love is the one we can give ourselves and a good man shows you how much he appreciates you not through material things but through patience, companionship, loyalty, and acceptance(though I could always go for something sparkly 😉 ). But I’m still a romantic, and Valentine’s Day being the “most romantic day of the year,” is is still a fun excuse to come up with some date night ideas, treat myself to some self-care, and eat (more) dark chocolate.

I love getting dressed up and enjoying a night out. But sometimes staying in can feel so much more intimate and romantic without all the Valentine’s Day dinner crowds. Converting your dining room into a date night is fun and pretty easy to do. Light a few candles, put on your favorite red dress, play some relaxing music, create a beautiful table setting, and whip up this delicious, clean eating, low carb, (almost) paleo Almond Crusted Chicken Parmesan recipe.

My boyfriend ordered Chicken Parmesan when we went to lunch a couple weeks ago. I tried a bite and it brought back so many comforting memories of my childhood. Now-a-days, eating a big plate of pasta and traditional crusted chicken feels very foreign to me since I live mainly gluten-free and don’t eat big plates of grains on a regular basis. So it got me thinking how I could convert a normal gut-busting, insulin-spiking recipe into something just as delicious but much healthier and easy on my digestive system.

I’ve made paleo breaded chicken before, so I knew how well almond pairs with chicken.  But I wanted to give it more texture. To add crunch, I swapped the almond and coconut flours for chopped almonds seasoned with aromatic thyme, basil, and garlic. I chose convenience over perfection and used Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Basil Marinara which has minimal ingredients and no added sugar, but is not paleo. To make this recipe entirely paleo, you can make your own sauce with a simple recipe like this one.  Instead of traditional pasta noodles, I used my recent obsession, spaghetti squash. It’s stringy texture is the perfect healthy, low-carb, nutrient-dense, gluten-free swap for spaghetti. This recipe is also dairy-free since I left out any cheese but you can add traditional or a vegan version of parmesan and/or mozzarella on top of the chicken if you like. Just don’t forget to add it in to your fat servings if you’re following the Life in Spandex Eat Guide!

Healthy Almond Crusted Chicken Parmesan 

Ingredients

Serves 4

4 small chicken breasts, or 2 cut in half (about 20 oz)

1/2 – 3/4 cup almonds

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tbsp thyme

1 tsp basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

1 egg beaten

1 1/2 – 2 cups Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Basil Marinara

1 medium spaghetti squash

Preparation 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a big baking pan with parchment paper.

2. Combine almonds, paprika, thyme, basil, salt, and garlic powder in a blender or food processor until the almonds are in little pieces.

3. Pour almond mixture into a shallow, medium bowl.

4. Pour the egg into another shallow mixing bowl.

5. Take one piece of chicken, dip it into the egg, fully coating it. Then dip it into the almond mixture, fully coating the chicken again. Pat the mixture into the chicken as you coat it. Repeat for the other 3 pieces of chicken.

6. Place chicken breasts on the baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through. Optional: to give the almonds a little extra toast, set the oven to Broil and bake for 2 minutes or until the almonds are slightly more golden brown.

7. While the chicken is cooking, stab the outside of the spaghetti squash with a small, sharp knife – about 10 to 15 times spread out around the whole surface area of the squash. Place in the microwave for 15 minutes.

8. When the spaghetti squash is done, take out with oven mitts, it’ll be hot! Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before you cut it in half. Use a fork to scrape out the seeds and toss them in the trash/compost. Continue using a fork to scrape out all the squash. Place aside in a big mixing bowl and toss with warmed marinara sauce (you can warm it on the stove or in the microwave).

9. Put the spaghetti squash on a plate and top with almond crusted chicken. Optional: top with mozzarella or parmesan cheese.

10. Eat and enjoy with your sweetie!

LIS Servings (without cheese): 1 fat, 1/2 carbs, 1 1/4 protein

Healthy Valentine's Date Night Chicken Parmesan

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Do you prefer to eat in or go out for date nights? What’s your favorite dish to cook for your Valentine?

Health and happiness,

Emily

 

Hi and welcome to Life in Spandex! I'm Emily, a personal trainer who believes there should be no secrets standing in your way to getting fit. I am sharing my knowledge here on this blog in order to help you reach your goals. Fitness should be fun, eating healthy should taste good, and feeling your absolute best is the ultimate goal. Let's get fit together!
52 comments
  1. What a great recipe for a very special date night! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

    1. Thanks Helen!! And it’s just as yummy any other night ??

  2. I love this lighter, healthier take on Chicken Parmesan, Emily! It looks and sounds absolutely delicious, and would definitely be perfect for dinner for two! Pinning and sharing on the Hearth and Soul Facebook page. Thank you so much for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Have a great week ahead!

    1. Thanks April! So glad you love it. Can’t wait to hear about it when you make it 🙂 thanks for sharing!

  3. This recipe looks amazing! I recently went gluten-free so I’m looking for all the help I can get! #farawayfiles

    1. Oh you’ll love this then!!

  4. These dishes super yummi!….and delicious, i will try this dish on valentine.

  5. Sounds very delicious. Dinner tonight ✔️ #FarawayFiles

    1. It is! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out

  6. I love using nuts as a “crust” for chicken!! 😀 These look so, so good! <3 Such an awesome way to healthify the classic chicken parm too!

    1. Yes it’s so good!! Glad you agree ?

  7. Adding almonds to this recipe is a great idea to mix things up with chicken.

    1. It adds so much flavor and texture!

  8. What a cozy dish! I love the nuts with it- really adds so much!

    1. Yes it adds a ton of flavor, texture, and healthy fats of course ?

  9. Sounds awesome. Totally pinning! Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Hope to see ya next week!
    Kim

    1. Yay so happy you like it Kim!

  10. I love chicken parmesan! This recipe sounds fabulous, can’t wait to try it with the almonds!!

    1. Let me know how it turns out! You’re gonna love it

  11. Yum, that looks like a perfect piece od chicken for my boyfriend. He loves chicken parmesana. Defenetly going to try this one.

    1. It’s boyfriend approved so I’m betting he’ll like it!

  12. What a great date night in dinner for Valentine’s Day! The almond crusted chicken looks amazing!

    1. It tastes amazing too!! Super healthy is just another perk

  13. I don’t eat chicken much anymore, but I’m thinking if it was this recipe I would be digging in. Looks amazing!!

    1. I guarantee you will? Why the chicken boycott?

  14. chicken parm is my fav too..i usually make with eggplant but i love this almond crust idea.

    1. Oh I love that idea too!! Eggplant with this crust could be so good

  15. My idea of the best date is staying in and this chicken parm looks perfect

    1. It is! Super easy to make and won’t leave you overly stuffed

  16. I’m all about a good date night in! Valentine’s we usually stay in and cook e nice meal. We can enjoy a nice meal and wine and not have to deal with crowds and loud places. Although we do like to go out too.

    1. I’m the same way. Both have their perks

  17. I loooove chicken parmesan, so this recipe is speakin’ to me for sure! What a fun and nutritious idea to coat it in almonds. I can’t wait to try it.

    1. I can’t wait for you to try it either! Then we can talk about how yummy it is together ??

  18. Thank you for sharing this. Its great to have a low carb version. I will try it this week, thank you for the recipe.

    1. Yes I’m the queen of making high carb meals low carb ? hehe

  19. This looks so damn good! I’m going to have to give it a try sometime

    1. Yes and it’s fairly easy to make too! Let me know how it turns out Amanda ?

  20. Girl, this is the perfect romantic dinner dish! Love the almond crust!

    1. It’s sooo tasty! The herbs make it.

  21. My mouth is actually watering and I don’t even eat chicken! I could easily sub in tempeh or pressed tofu. And I love that you used spaghetti squash!!

    1. Those would be great swaps!! I think the tofu would probably work better than tempeh. Nom nom nom

      1. I was really going for the mouthfeel of cooked, diced ham, which I feel is better accomplished through tempeh. That said, you’re welcome to try this with tofu!

  22. YUM! This looks AMAZING! Pinned and thanks for sharing.

    1. It tastes just as good Susan! Can’t wait for you to make it ?

  23. This looks so good and the perfect indulgence for valentines day. Plus, no waiting in long, overpriced restaurants.

    1. Yes exactly why staying in can sometimes be so much more fun

  24. this looks really good. I might even be able to get my husband to break his chicken strike for this recipe!

    1. Haha I would feel so proud if it could. Let me know if it works!

  25. This sounds so delicious and much healthier than the original version.

    1. It’s super yummy and just as satisfying. I was so full ?

  26. I make chicken parm for the hubs all the time but have not thought about adding almonds to it. Fun twist!

    1. Yes do it it’s so rich and delicious. It’s boyfriend approved!

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