These scallion cornbread waffles with spicy chicken and homemade ranch are a fresh, healthier take on classic chicken and waffles!
God bless the wonderful soul who decided fried chicken and waffles have a place together on the dinner table. Random, yes, but somehow the combination of crispy fried chicken and sweet waffles makes comfort food heaven. Food combinations can easily go wrong, as my little brother once discovered when he decided to float croutons in his chocolate milk. Chicken and waffles however, is unexpected magic.
Normally, I would leave a dish like this to the pros (aka Kiki's Chicken and Waffles or The Oak Table), but I was stuck with this idea for chicken and waffles with fresh flavors from bright, juicy tomatoes and a tangy buttermilk ranch dressing. Plus avocado for obvious reasons.
To make the crispy chicken, I did a classic triple dip method that yields a super crispy crust. First dip in flour spiked with lots of spices, then spicy buttermilk, and finally whole grain panko. You could make these crispier first by pan frying and finishing them off in the oven, but I skipped that step to save myself another dish to wash.
I first made this ranch dressing for my crispy barbecue cauliflower salad. I really don't love ranch dressing, but this mayoless version with a bright tangy flavor is pretty fabulous. Although pictured here, I used kefir instead of yogurt because that's what I had on hand and it turned out a little too thin for me. Lesson learned.
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These cornmeal waffles are worth making on their own! I might make a batch and top with a fried egg, avocado and some hot sauce for breakfast. They freeze great too!
- [b]Ranch Dressing: [/b]
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, buttermilk or kefir
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon honey
- [b]Chicken: [/b]
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup buttermilk or kefir
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 cup whole wheat panko
- 1 1/2 lb chicken tenders
- Olive oil spray
- [b]Waffles: [/b]
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk or kefir
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 avocado, peeled and sliced
- First, whisk together ingredients for ranch dressing. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, garlic, cayenne, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk/kefir, egg, sriracha. Place panko in another medium bowl.
- Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray. Dip chicken tenders in flour, then buttermilk mixture, then panko. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with remaining chicken. Spray chicken with olive oil spray. Bake 15 minutes until golden and cooked through, flipping halfway.
- Next, make waffles. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, honey. Whisk wet into dry. Whisk in scallions.
- Heat a waffle iron. Pour about 1/3 cup batter into the iron and cook until crispy and golden. Carefully remove from skillet and set aside.
- Top waffle with chicken, tomatoes, avocado and drizzle with ranch.
Comfort Food Makeovers: