Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Is there anything better than a crispy chicken cutlet sandwich? No the answer is no.
But between the fried chicken, heavy breading and thick roll a typical chicken cutlet sandwich can be pretty dense.
Instead I lightly bread the chicken with a mix of spices, breadcrumbs and Parmesan and then air fry it with zero oil.
Baking would be another oil free alternative to the air frying method, but I recommend ending it under the broiler to keep it crispy. As for bread, the options are endless but I went with a slice of the half baked ficelle roll from #traderjoes. For a lighter option I would suggest using thinly sliced sourdough to make a sandwich.
This sandwich is no average chicken cutlet but rather a Chicken Parm Sandwich! By using good quality tomato sauce (I use #Raos) and cheese plus fresh basil leaves, this sandwich stays pretty healthy.
Of course I can’t be satisfied with a typical sandwich and, while pairing this with a mound of spaghetti seemed too filling, simply zoodles wouldn’t suffice.
Instead I used my instant pot for my favorite veggie spaghetti recipe. The original can be found here but I modified it in this recipe and used only 1/4 serving of pasta and less water but added extra zucchini. I promise even with less calories and carbs, you’ll still feel like you’re eating ALL the pasta. Trust me I love pasta so I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
Chicken Parmesan Sandwich & Zoodles
1 serving | 20 minutes
3-4 oz chicken breast
1 tsp flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp almond milk, other milk or egg whites
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tsp grated Parmesan
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
Sandwich roll (I used a slice of the half baked ficelle loaf from #traderjoes)
1/2 large slice provolone cheese (mozzarella works too but I only had shredded and preferred how the provolone melted)
3/4 cup pasta sauce
200g zucchini spirals
Optional: 1/2 oz whole wheat angel hair spaghetti
1/4 cup water (if omitting pasta use only 2 tbsp)
Optional first step: pound the chicken so it’s uniformly thick throughout. This allows it to cook evenly.
Line three plates up in a row. In the first plate, mix the flour, salt and pepper. In the second plate add in your milk or egg of choosing. In the third plate combine breadcrumbs, dried basil, dried oregano and Parmesan.
Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip it in plate two until entirely wet. Lastly, dip the chicken in the third plate to completely cover it in the bread crumb mixture.
Add chicken to the air fryer and cook at 350F for 20 minutes, turning halfway. If baking, bake at 350F for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Finish by broiling a minute to get nice and crispy.
To make the pasta, spray the bottom of an instant pot with non stick spray and mix in half of the sauce and 1/4 cup water. If you don't have an instant pot you can cook the pasta as recommended on the box and use the steam coming off the boiling water to cook the zucchini on top. Then combine with the sauce in a pan.
If using pasta, break pasta in half and submerge in sauce. If not using pasta proceed to step 6 and reduce the water to 2 tbsp.
Top pasta with the zucchini (I’ll spread it out so it covers the whole surface- note the zucchini doesn’t need to be in the sauce, it’ll be cooked by the steam in the pot).
Close the lid to the instant pot and cook it for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes allow it to naturally release for about 5 minutes before opening.
Fluff with a fork once open and, if needed, use the sauté feature to steam off any excess liquid.
Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from air fryer/instant pot.
Turn the oven on to broil.
Slice open the roll and place it until the broiler for 1-2 minutes, just until it slightly starts to toast, you don’t want it to brown just yet.
Remove from oven and layer sauce on the bottom half followed by chicken, more sauce, fresh basil and cheese.
Return sandwich to the broiler (open faced) and cook until cheese melts and roll starts to brown.
Nutritional information provided is for 1 sandwich served on 2oz of half baked ficelle bread (left) and a side of zucchini pasta, including 1/2 oz angel hair (right).