Healthy buffalo chicken salad

Baked chicken nuggets are the star of this healthy buffalo chicken salad!

baked chicken nuggets

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had a nugget – so long in fact that I didn’t think I missed them. It’s all about the dipping choices, anyway. πŸ™‚ Buuuut, then I made this awesome new salad and in the process created some healthy, gluten-free nuggets! Liv and I have been enjoying them as a little snack and they’ll be great chopped into salad, too.

Here’s the salad:


Baked Chicken Nuggets

To make the bites, I chopped two chicken breasts into large cubes.

cubed chicken

I put all of the pieces in a bowl with 1 egg, whisked with a little water.

I seasoned the egg/chicken mixture with salt, pepper and garlic, and in another bowl I added 1/2 C almond meal, 1/2 C crushed brown rice cereal, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder.

Chicken and breading

The chicken bites were dredged in the dry mix then placed on a cookie sheet. I had sprayed the cookie sheet with olive oil first and also sprayed more on top of the chicken before baking at 375 for 20 minutes.

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Salad

In the last 5 minutes of baking, I added a mix of melted hot sauce and butter (3 T hot sauce, 1 T butter) to half of the chicken bites. These were my “buffalo bites” and the rest were left plain to share with Livi. πŸ™‚ She’s been going crazy for them with BBQ sauce.

I’ve been enjoying them with spinach, fresh goat cheese and cilantro:

Goat cheese

They would also be wonderful on a salad with bleu cheese, avocado and chives!

Buffalo chicken salad

Here’s the full recipe:


Healthy Baked Buffalo Chicken Salad

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  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped in large cubes
  • 1 egg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup crushed brown rice cereal
  • Spray olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of favorite hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • Spinach
  • Goat Cheese
  • Cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Grease a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  3. Whisk the egg with a bit of water.
  4. Toss the cubed chicken in a bowl with the egg mixture.
  5. Season with salt, pepper and garlic.
  6. In another bowl, mix the almond meal, brown rice cereal, salt pepper and garlic powder.
  7. Dredge the chicken through the dry mix and place on prepared baking sheet.
  8. Spray olive oil on top.
  9. Bake for 15 min.
  10. While baking, mix the hot sauce and melted butter.
  11. Carefully brush the chicken bites with hot sauce mixture.
  12. Bake for another 5 minutes.
  13. Serve on top of a bed of spinach, sprinkle with goat cheese and cilantro.


  • Serving Size: 2

Baked chicken nuggets are the star of the show in this healthy buffalo chicken salad. All the goodness of familiar chicken nuggets, minus all the junk. | | #buffalochickensalad #healthybuffalochicken #saladrecipe #healthydinnerrecipe #healthylunchrecipe #bakedchickennuggetrecipe

I can definitely tell that these will be a staple in our house. They’re fun for Liv to dip and also much more nutritious than the nuggets that inspired their creation.

Buffalo chicken salad

Please let me know if you give it a try! Vegetarian friends, I think that extra-firm, sprouted, pressed tofu would be a great substitution for the chicken.

Hope you enjoy <3



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  1. lauren on July 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    @Gina – what are you using specifically brand wise for the ‘crushed brown rice cereal’? Thanks again for sharing – these look DELISH!

    • gina (fitnessista) on July 22, 2013 at 6:06 pm

      it’s the 365 (whole foods brand) brown rice cereal

  2. april on July 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    oh, these look delicious! i would love to try making these sometime (i have gf brown rice crispies in my pantry right now – my fave cereal!).

  3. Kelly Kurcina on July 22, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Gina! I would love for you to shop fresh from the farmers market and then prepare a meal with foods only local (and blog it!) I have been LIVING on all local food and hubby and I have not been out to a restaurant in months!!

    • gina (fitnessista) on July 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      i could totally do that! since we have our farm box coming again it should be much easier. i would die without restaurant dining, though. it’s a fun date night for us– we both love going out for a nice dinner together

  4. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat on July 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Oh this chicken looks so amazing! Dipped in a little bit of honey mustard dressing…they’d be perfect! Great recipe!

  5. Michaela on July 22, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks so much for always thinking of us veggie/vegan friends πŸ™‚

    • gina (fitnessista) on July 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      i got yo back πŸ˜‰
      tomorrow’s recipe is totally veg! xoxo

  6. Marci on July 22, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Picture of that fresh goat cheese = I DIE!

    • Fitnessista on July 22, 2013 at 6:30 pm

      it is soooooooo good.. especially the toasty bits!

  7. Danielle on July 22, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    This recipe sounds awesome! I love the combination of almond meal and brown rice crisps for the crust. I always just use almond meal but I bet the crisps add great texture!

  8. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on July 22, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    These sound so good Gina! I like to use Mary’s Gone Crackers herb-flavoured crackers in place of bread crumbs in recipes, but I have a box of brown rice crisps that have been in my cupboard forever so I might use them for this exact purpose!

  9. Ashley @ Life and Fitness on July 22, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    You sold me at gf chicken bites. Can’t wait to give this a try!

  10. Jean on July 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    I recently started having gluten sensitivity so I definitely want to give these nuggets a try. Looks delicious!

  11. Sandra on July 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    I made something similar the other night. I blitzed some chia seeds in the thermomix and added garlic powder, cracked pepper and a little Parmesan cheese. I crumbed chicken for my fiancΓ© and tofu for myself. I then added a little garlic and ginger powder to some soy sauce for flavouring. That was a little too strong! πŸ™‚

  12. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on July 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    YUM! Can’t wait to start creating in the kitchen again πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing these guys look AMAZING! Love + Shine CourtStar

  13. Melissa @My Peach Life on July 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

    Looks delicious. Will be trying them this week!

  14. Leslie W on July 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    YAY! I love your “breading” mixture. It can be used on a lot! Veggie sticks too. Gracias!

  15. Jamey on July 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    Totally thought the cheese was angel food cake for a second… I got a little too excited.

  16. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on July 22, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    This looks delicious and so healthy! All your recipes look amazing!

  17. Chelsea @ RunChelseaRun on July 22, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    These look so good! I have to try them. I will probably cut larger size pieces and eat them alone instead of on a salad. The salad looks wonderful too though, what a great idea!

  18. Amy on July 22, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    Oh yay! I’ve been looking for healthy chicken buffalo recipes. I’ve been attempting buffalo cauliflower lately too because I had some at a restaurant that was delicious, but that turned out a little weird. Thanks for this recipe!

  19. Marguerite Miller on July 22, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Do the nuggets freeze well…and when reheated, stay crunchy? These would be a nice addition to things I keep in my freezer for my GF friends and out of the blue stop by!

  20. Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily on July 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    I’m newly gluten free…these look SO flipping delicious, I can’t wait to make them!!!

  21. Victoria @ Reluctantly Skinny on July 22, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Love making homemade “shake n bake” nuggets in a baggie!! I’ll definitely have to add some cholula next time…it’s our favorite =)

  22. Caitlin on July 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Oh YUUUUM! i made your zucchini sticks today in a similar way today and they were delish! These are next!

    I wanted to let you know also that I am in week 3 of summer shape up and I haven’t been eating the cleanest (birthdays, work parties, all the summer fun is starting to add up), but I am doing my best and the workouts have been killing me. I just did workout 3, and it only look me 35 minutes (without the HIIT). I couldn’t even do the HIIT at the end because I was dripping sweat, tired and shaky just after the circuit! I LOVE your workouts so much, thank you for making them so fast and effective!

  23. Natalie @ FreshLifeFindings on July 22, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Yum! These look so easy and delicious! I love chicken nuggets but have stayed away from the fried ones so these are a great substitute.

  24. Kate on July 22, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    Wow, these look SO good! I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up chicken while still keeping it on the healthy side. Now I’m totally going to try making some this week! πŸ™‚

  25. Kimberly Michele on July 22, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    This looks awesome I will have to try it this weekend! By the way I just wanted to say I tried your raw vegan chocolate tart this past weekend when some friends came over and it turned out amazing, everybody loved it! Thank you for posting such amazing recipies!

    • Fitnessista on July 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

      yay, i’m so happy everyone enjoyed it! it’s one of my all-time favorites

  26. Ksenija @ Health Ninja on July 23, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Simply beautiful! I never saw fresh goat cheese before – I bet the combination is to die for. Will definitely give the healthified buffalo wing version a try.

  27. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on July 23, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Where in the world did you find that delicious-looking hunk of goat cheese??

    • Fitnessista on July 23, 2013 at 9:58 am

      the farmer’s market!

  28. Lucie on July 23, 2013 at 3:34 am

    These sound so yummy!
    We can’t buy Brown Rice Cereal here, but I have some TVP left, maybe that could be a good substitute?

    • Fitnessista on July 23, 2013 at 9:58 am


  29. kerry on July 23, 2013 at 8:12 am

    So good & so simple! Ill be trying this for sure! πŸ™‚

    Kerry X

  30. Jessica @ Prayers and Apples on July 23, 2013 at 9:46 am

    baked chx nuggets are the best! ..even though you’re right about the dipping sauces πŸ˜‰

  31. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on July 23, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I absolutely love buffalo chicken but it’s normally so unhealthy! This is such a great recipe! Your salad looks delicious and that goat cheese looks out-of-this-world! Thanks for sharing!

  32. Karissa on July 23, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    This looks AMAZING!! Must try- the goat cheese and the buffalo chicken sound like an amazing pair.

  33. Kristina on July 24, 2013 at 12:21 am

    i cooked up some paleo crispy chicken fingers myself today! though i used tapioca flour, salt, cayenne, garlic, onion powders fried in coconut oil and sprinkled with salt.


  34. Joana on July 26, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Just did the chicken! Loved it!
    Used only almond flour, rosemary and nutmeg.

    • Fitnessista on July 26, 2013 at 5:09 pm


  35. Vanessa on July 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Hi Gina,
    love your blog! Question- any suggestions as to what to replace the almond meal with if someone is allergic to nuts? I’m not but my boyfriend “thinks” he is. lol

  36. Susie on August 5, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Just made the chicken nuggets for dinner. My 18-month-old gobbled them up!! Think I will be making these to freeze, especially for when #2 gets here in December! Thanks for the great recipe!

  37. Diane on August 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Made this for dinner as a surprise for my boyfriend who LOVES buffalo chicken – he loved it and I can’t wait to make it again!!! Thanks for all your amazing recipes! πŸ™‚

  38. Amie on October 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    Made these today and both hubby and I loved them!! Thanks for posting this recipe!!

    • Fitnessista on October 3, 2013 at 12:17 am


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