Recipe and photograph – Dr Joan Ransley

A schnitzel is a piece of meat which has been pounded into a thin slice so it will cook quickly. Usually schnitzels are fried but this chicken version is baked with just a drizzle of olive oil making it lower in fat while keeping the crisp breadcrumb coating.

The coating is made from wholemeal breadcrumbs which increases the fibre content of the dish. Green lentils in the salad also add fibre as well as galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS). These GOS and fibre promote the growth of a range of beneficial bacteria in the large intestine providing benefits associated with having a healthy population of gut bacteria including a reduced risk of colorectal disease.

Fennel contains dietary fibre and also a type of carbohydrate called fructo-oligosaccharide or fructans. These carbohydrates resist digestion in the small intestine and make their way further down the gut where they provide nourishment for healthy bacteria to grow and thrive.

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6

Place each chicken breast, one at a time, on a chopping board designated for meat. Cover with a piece of baking paper and then use a rolling pin to beat the chicken until it is about 1.5cm thick all over. Place the chicken breasts on a lightly oiled baking tray.

Tear up the bread and place in a food processor together with the parsley and garlic. Process for 30 seconds or until the bread has formed breadcrumbs and the parsley and garlic are finely chopped. Empty the breadcrumbs into a bowl. Cut the lemon in half lengthways. Zest one half of the lemon and add it to the breadcrumbs. Add the egg and mix well. Press the breadcrumbs onto the chicken pieces to form a coating. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil and place on a baking sheet

Place the chicken in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown. To check the chicken is cooked – cut through a piece of the chicken to check there is no pink showing and the flesh is tender.

Meanwhile prepare the salad. Place the torn lettuce pieces, sliced fennel and radishes in a serving bowl. Scatter in the green lentils. Place the olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice over the salad and toss the ingredients together. Serve the chicken breasts with a side of salad.

Alternative serving suggestion

This herb flavoured breadcrumb topping can be used to coat pieces of white fish such as cod, hake or haddock before baking for 15 minutes

Serve the chicken with a selection of steamed vegetables such as carrots, new potatoes and peas

Cooks tips

  1. Get ahead by preparing the chicken up to 5 hours before cooking. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to cook.
  2. Use a ready-made dressing for the salad if you are short of time.
  3. Remember to swab down worksurfaces, chopping boards and any equipment used after preparing raw chicken.
 Per Serving (g)Per 100g
Calories (Kcal/KJ) 401 / 1679140 / 585
Protein (g)3512
Fat (g) 206.9
Saturated fat (g)4.21.5
Carbohydrate (g)186.2
Sugar (g)2.60.9
Fibre (g) 5.11.8
Sodium (mg)26492
Salt equivalent (g) 0.660.23