Is there a better salad than a Southern fried chicken salad? But make it Whole30! Strips of crispy but juicy fried chicken, tomatoes, pecans, and egg, all tossed in a Whole30-compliant ranch dressing. Salads don’t get more satisfying!
🥗 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- I just love a good fried chicken salad. The combination of textures and flavors, plus the deliciousness of fried chicken in general? Sign me up! The only thing that makes it all 10x better? When you can have your Southern fried chicken salad and stay Whole30, too!
- For this Whole30 salad, we took tender, juicy chicken breasts and “breaded” them in a mixture of flours and spices that crisps up beautifully when pan-fried. Take it from someone who knows her way around a plate of crispy fried chicken (Memphis has a lot of fried chicken places, ok?), this chicken is incredible. The blend of almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca starch is the perfect alternative to traditional all-purpose flour breadings. Even your non-Whole30, non-paleo friends and family will love it.
- This recipe makes a pretty good sized salad. Seriously. You can get 2 large, meal-sized salads, or 4 smaller, “salad”-sized salads out of it. Perfect for leftovers and meal-prepped lunches, or anytime you just feel like having something a little lighter but still super filling for dinner.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- The “breading” for the Whole30 Southern fried chicken cooks really fast. Like. Really fast. Keep a close eye on it and be really careful not to let the skillet or the oil get too hot. No one wants burnt chicken on their salad!
- A good way to combat the potential for burnt chicken is to use pretty thin chicken breasts. The thinner they are, the less time they’ll need to cook through completely, which means the less time the chicken has to be in the skillet. If your chicken breasts are pretty thick, I recommend slicing them into cutlets or pounding them out with a rolling pin or frying pan before breading them.
- When it comes to Whole30 salad dressings, my Whole30 dump ranch is far and away my favorite to use. It has a TON of flavor, and making it couldn’t be easier. All you need’s a jar and an immersion blender! I’ve also got a recipe for a really tasty Whole30-compatible BBQ sauce that would work really well with this fried chicken.
Whole30 Recipes to Check Out Next
- Whole30 Everything Bagel Chicken and Scallion “Cream Cheese” Sauce
- Egg Roll in a Bowl Meal Prep (Whole30, Paleo, Keto)
- Whole30 Fried Chicken and Mashed Potato Bowl with Gravy
- Whole30 Breakfast Tacos
- Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- Whole30 Gyro Meatballs
- Whole30 Meatloaf
For the Fried Chicken
- 2 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts approximately 1 pound total, sliced into cutlets or pounded thin
- 1 large egg whisked until no longer streaky
- ⅓ cup fine almond flour
- ¼ cup coconut flour
- 1 tablespoon tapioca starch
- ½ teaspoon salt more or less to taste
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- refined coconut oil or avocado oil, for frying
- 2 shallow bowls or 1 shallow bowl and 1 food-safe plastic bag
- Plate or wire cooling rack
- Paper towels
- Large skillet cast iron preferred
- Slotted spoon
- salad bowls
- Pour beaten egg into shallow bowl. Set aside.
- Add almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, salt, and garlic powder to second shallow bowl or food-safe sealable bag. Whisk or shake until dry ingredients are well blended. Set aside.
- Line plate with paper towels. For crispier chicken, place wire cooling rack over paper towels. Set aside.
- Lay chicken breasts in shallow bowl with beaten egg. Cover all sides of chicken with egg and let any excess drip back into bowl, then transfer chicken to bowl or bag with "breading" mixture. Repeat with remaining chicken breast. Coat chicken with "breading" pressing gently to make sure dry ingredients stick well. If using food-safe bag, seal bag and shake until chicken breasts are well coated in dry mixture. Set aside.
- Heat large cast iron skillet over medium heat. When skillet is warm, add thin layer of refined coconut oil or avocado oil and continue warming until oil is hot and shimmery.
- When oil is hot, place chicken breasts in skillet. Fry chicken 3 minutes, then flip chicken over and fry 3 to 4 minutes more, until "breading" is golden brown and chicken is cooked through. Note: if chicken is not cooked through after 7 minutes total, reduce heat under skillet to low and cover skillet with lid. Cook chicken 2 minutes covered, then check doneness again. Repeat until cooked through.
- When chicken is cooked through, use slotted spoon or tongs to transfer chicken from skillet to plate or wire cooling rack. Let excess oil drip onto paper towels while assembling salad.
- Divide lettuce evenly between salad bowls. Top each bed of lettuce with equal amounts of hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, pecans, and red onion. Slice chicken breasts crosswise into strips and divide between salads, then drizzle ranch dressing over and serve.
- Chicken Breasts: Thinner chicken breasts are ideal for this recipe, because they won’t take as much time to cook, which reduces the chance of the “breading” burning. If you’re using very large or thick chicken breasts, pound them thin or halve them into cutlets before coating them in egg wash and flour mixture.
- Flours: It’s important to use this ratio of almond flour to coconut flour for the grain-free breading. Coconut flour is thirstier than almond flour, so using more coconut flour would require more liquid.
- Frying: Be very mindful of the temperature of your oil and skillet when you’re frying the chicken. This “breading” blend can burn easily, so don’t let the temperature get too high.
- Homemade Ranch Dressing: I recommend my recipe for Whole30 dump ranch, but you’re welcome to use your favorite store-bought compliant dressing instead.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.