This week I had the worst craving yet since my stomach revolted, and it wasn’t even for sweets! This time it was for some honey mustard crusted chicken. Don’t ask why, because I just don’t know. It just sounded SO good!! Naturally, like so many things, it’s a big no-no for GERD (and I’m not sure at this point whether dijon mustard or mustard seeds would be ok on the low FODMAP diet. I didn’t bother researching since I already knew it wasn’t allowed due to the GERD).
To make up for this, I needed to come up with something else that would be similar texture-wise, but wouldn’t try and kill my insides due to ingredients. Almond crusted chicken sounded fabulous (almonds are good to go with low FODMAP, and using a small quantity in breading wouldn’t be fattening enough to cause GERD issues, and either there will be gluten free breadcrumbs to buy without any problem ingredients or I’ll just make my own by drying out and grinding some gluten free bread), until I started realizing all the recipes out there use – wait for it – mustard smeared on the skin before putting the breading on. It’s like a big conspiracy or something! If they didn’t use mustard, they used honey, which is strictly prohibited on the low FODMAP diet, or egg which I was trying to avoid because I don’t think my body handles eggs very well.
Next, my brain went to strawberries (probably because I was eating my afternoon snack of strawberries), which pair well with almonds, so this seemed promising! Strawberry jam would be ideal, since it’s slightly sticky like honey and has substance like the mustard to hold the breading on. Problem with jam, though, is that it’s full of preservatives (i.e. acids) and usually contains lemon juice in there as well. Sure enough, the internet gives a resounding giant thumbs down to jam with respect to GERD/reflux.
This was starting to get ridiculous, but only made me more determined to figure something out! Short of making my own jam (which just isn’t a thing that’s going to happen), what could I do? My mind wandered off to balsamic vinegar for a moment (thinking of other fabulous things that go with strawberries that I can’t eat) which brought to mind balsamic reduction. Yes!! Balsamic reduction is sticky like honey (when reduced enough), and surely there must be a way to reduce strawberries enough to where they would morph into something similar, right?
Right! And so here we go. Somehow I went from a desire for honey mustard crusted chicken to having strawberry almond crusted chicken, and I must say, the end product eviscerated any longing for mustard, honey, balsamic, or anything else. It was SO good! The sweetness of the strawberries paired with the toasted flavor of the almonds was perfection, and the chicken was baked to tender perfection thanks to its blanket of strawberry reduction. Strawberries (and almonds) in large quantities tend to give me some GERD symptoms, but I found that the amount you end up with is quite minimal with this chicken. Having reduced the strawberries, the flavor comes through strong so that you don’t need much.
This chicken is quite high in fat due to the almonds, but if you stick to a single serving portion and serve it with non-fat sides (such as steamed vegetables) you should do fine unless you’re in the midst of an IBS flare-up and/or are in the elimination diet phase for GERD. I served the chicken breasts with a side of steamed carrots (30g cooked per plate) and zucchini (40g cooked per plate) and a baked potato (122g prior to cooking, 90g after cooking), to make a complete IBS and GERD Friendly Meal. *Note the photo shows 2 servings of the chicken.* It was an excellent summertime dinner and I can’t wait to make it again!