Kick off this Fourth of July weekend with a feast of lightened-up, gluten-free versions of American classics. We’ve swapped in a creamy cashew ranch dressing for heavy mayo in our veggie-packed macaroni salad. Want super-crispy fried chicken? Go ahead and let your oven do all the work for you instead of frying it in oil. Bonus: you’ll be rewarded with less cleanup, too!
Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken
Canola oil, for greasing
2 cups unsweetened corn flakes
6 tablespoons raw almonds
6 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk
1 cup gluten-free flour, for dredging
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken tenders
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet with oil. Using a food processor, pulse together the corn flakes, almonds, sesame seeds, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, dried thyme, pepper, cumin and salt until coarsely chopped; transfer to a shallow bowl.
In a second shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Place the flour in a third shallow bowl. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess, then in the egg mixture and the corn flake mixture; place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 346; Fat 12.2 g (Saturated 1.7 g); Cholesterol 158 mg; Sodium 532 mg; Carbohydrate 25.9 g; Fiber 2.2 g; Sugars 1.4 g; Protein 33.2 g
Creamy Ranch Macaroni Salad
2 cups raw cashews — soaked for 4 hours, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon honey
One 8-ounce box quinoa elbow-macaroni pasta
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
20 grape tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 leaves lacinato kale, finely chopped
1 ear corn, kernels removed
Blend the cashews, oil, vinegar, dried herbs, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, honey and 1 cup water in a high-speed blender until smooth; season to taste with salt and refrigerate until cold.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes; rinse with cold water and drain. Spread evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss; let cool.
In a large bowl, toss together the cooled macaroni, celery, tomatoes, bell pepper, kale and corn. Add the dressing and toss to combine.
Per serving: Calories 409; Fat 23 g (Saturated 2.7 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 107 mg; Carbohydrate 46.6 g; Fiber 3.9 g; Sugars 5.1 g; Protein 7.7 g
Grilled Cherry Cobbler
1 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened almond or cashew milk, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
4 cups cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat a grill to medium-high (about 375 degrees F). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix in the milk, vinegar and oil until just combined.
In another medium bowl, toss together the cherries, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and cornstarch. Transfer the fruit into the prepared skillet and dollop the dough over the fruit; sprinkle with sugar. Cover with foil and grill until the juices are bubbling and the top is golden, about 20 minutes; let cool.
Per serving: Calories 135; Fat 2.5 g (Saturated 0.2 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 179.5 mg; Carbohydrate 26.6 g; Fiber 1.3 g; Sugars 8 g; Protein 1.7 g