Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu
November 17, 2017
Who doesn’t love crispy chicken stuffed with cheese and ham? That’s right, no one. Chicken cordon bleu is delicious – but like many other delicious dishes – it’s fairly unhealthy. It’s stuffed with cheese, coated in bread or flour, fried, and often served with a heavy cream sauce. Why do so many yummy meals have to be bad for you? It’s just not fair. Giving up your favorite foods in effort to be healthy really sucks sometimes.
But you can go ahead and wipe those chicken cordon bleu tears away, because I have created an absolutely delicious and healthy spin on chicken cordon bleu. It tastes amazing and is guilt-free in my book. What I love about the ingredients in my recipe is that they don’t deviate all too far from the traditional cordon bleu and the meal still feels indulgent.
Say what? If the ingredients aren’t different then HOW is this healthy?
For starters this recipe takes a solid pass on the heavy cream sauce that is often served with chicken cordon bleu. In my opinion it really isn’t necessary, especially if you don’t overcook the chicken. The use of cheese in this recipe is also minimal. There’s enough of it in there to add great flavor and ooey-gooey texture, but not so much that its going to clog your pores and make you feel icky. However, you could totally leave the cheese out if you’re not about that dairy life. I bet it would still be as tasty as ever. I also take every opportunity to add something green to my meals, so you better believe I stuffed some spinach in there with the ham and cheese.
Additionally, I upgraded from a flour or breadcrumb crust to almond meal. Almond meal is my new favorite option for a healthier “breading.” And instead of using an egg wash to adhere the almond meal, I chose to use a combination of dijon mustard and mayonnaise. That’s right – I said mayonnaise. Not just any mayo (or mustard), though. It’s all about the ingredients in the sauces, and this recipe calls for Whole30 compliant options. I’m a big believer that it’s all about the quality of the ingredients you use – not how many calories are in them. The brands I use are pictured below, they are 100% free of icky ingredients. Click the images to shop!
Before I teach you how to make this beautiful meal, I wanted to touch on how darn fancy it looks. SO FANCY, right? It’s only a slightly complicated to put together, but totally worth all of your hard work. You’re friends or family will be impressed, your tastebuds will be dancing, and your belly will be happy. Serve it along side some greens and veggies and call it a day!
Ingredients (4 servings):
- 4 chicken breasts
- 2-4 plain deli ham slices
- 2-4 swiss cheese slices
- 4 TBSP avocado oil mayo
- 4 TBSP dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- Olive oil, for skillet
- Mix mayonnaise and dijon together, set aside.
- Butterfly each chicken breast by carefully slicing the breast nearly in half. Place each butterflied breast in between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet (or other heavy object) to tenderize and thin out the meat. This will make the chicken easy to roll.
- Remove chicken from plastic wrap. Sprinkle the inside of the chicken with salt and pepper, and then spread 1 TBSP of the condiment mixture across each butterflied breast. Reserve the remaining condiment mixture for later.
- Layer the stuffing ingredients on the chicken. Starting with the spinach leaves, then ham, then cheese – as pictured above. I’ve found that the amount of cheese and ham needed varies with the size of the chicken. For a smaller breast, use 1/2 a slice of ham and cheese; for a large breast, use a full slice of each. Using too much cheese and ham will make it difficult to roll up.
- Now you’re ready to roll up the chicken! Starting on the end with the ham and cheese, carefully roll the chicken. Use the photos above for reference. Toothpicks can be used to stabilize the roll-ups if needed.
- Use remaining condiment mixture to coat the top of the rolled breasts.
- **If prepping a day ahead of time, stop here. Place the chicken in an air tight container and refrigerate over night.** I’ve found letting the chicken rest overnight allows the meat to absorb the condiments and helps prevent the chicken from drying out in the oven. This is not a necessary step, though.
- To cook:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Preheat oven-safe or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Evenly coat the top half of the chicken roll-ups with almond meal, gently pressing it onto the chicken.
- Add a shallow layer of olive oil to the skillet, then place each chicken roll-up top side down into the skillet. Panfry the chicken for 4-5 minutes, then flip. The almond meal should have formed a brown, crisp crust.
- Once flipped, transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until an internal temperature of 165 degrees – about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken.
- Remove from oven and rest for at least 5 minutes. Immediately cutting into the chicken will result in the cheese oozing out. No body wants that!
**I am a Hungry Harvest and Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤