Sometimes I find myself longing for a comforting fast food sandwich and there’s even more comfort in knowing that I can make my own healthier version of my favorite take out meals at home! This week we had the craving for some Chick-fil-A sandwiches which resulted in the creation of the beautiful specimen seen above as well as our version of the Original Sandwich. Served on a deliciously soft and fluffy Roll that’s been buttered and lightly toasted, these simple sandwiches are absolutely delicious and 100% clean eat and homemade!
Much like the Original Sandwich, I turned to the Chick-fil-A website to get an understanding of the ingredients used and one thing I noted was that the authentic version contains a lot of sugar, which I’ve used but reduced quite a bit, and a lot of MSG (which I’ve once again omitted) and that aside from breading and deep frying, the process of prepping the chicken is essentially the same!
The first step was to cut and marinate our chicken in a Pickle Brine for at least two hours or more.
It’s as simple as pouring the brine over the chicken to cover it. Once we did that, top off the brine with some milk so that all pieces are fully covered. The acidity of the vinegar-based brine curdles the milk, turning it into a buttermilk that almost guarantees a juicy, tender fillet once cooked. This works especially well for grilling since we will lose some moisture in the chicken as it cooks.
While we wait for the chicken to brine, we’ll prepare our seasoning that will be sprinkled over our fillets. Garlic powder, salt, black pepper, raw organic sugar, smoked paprika and potato starch will be blended together…
…Into a very fine powder. This ensures an even distribution of all the flavors but more importantly, the fine texture allows the rub to adhere to the chicken and not fall off or burn when we go to cook it.
Now that we have our seasoning prepared and our chicken has brined for at least two hours, we can proceed to the next step.
We’ll remove each piece of chicken from the brine, pat it dry, and brush them on both sides with a bit of light olive oil.
Then we’ll sprinkle both sides of our chicken with our rub and allow it to rest for a few minutes.
Onto a hot grill or cook surface (gas, charcoal or electric, the choice is yours!) it goes until it is cooked and char/grill marks appear.
The end result is a perfectly succulent and flavorful fillet of chicken, ready to be used in our sandwich (or with any other side or salad you’d like to enjoy it with).
All that’s left to do is assemble your sandwich however you like. Slice a soft and sweet Hawaiian dinner roll in half and top with lettuce, tomato slices, and the grilled chicken🍗 to create the classic Grilled Chicken Sandwich.
Or to bump things up a notch, add some freshly sliced cheese and a strip of bacon🥓 to the Grilled Sandwich to create the Club version!
Or perhaps you’re craving the crunchy fried, golden brown goodness of the Original Chicken Sandwich? 🍔 If so, fear not! I’ve got you covered with our clean eat version of Chick-fil-A’s Original Sandwich!
Clean Eat Copycat Chick-fil-A Grilled Chicken Sandwich
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups homemade pickle juice (see recipe for homemade pickles)
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1/2 tbsp raw cane sugar
- 1/2 tsp potato starch
- extra light olive oil (for brushing the fillets and spritzing the cook surface)
For serving: Homemade Hawaiian buns, homemade pickle slices (optional), lettuce, tomatoes, bacon and cheese
- Wash, clean and slice your chicken into pieces that are just slightly larger than your bread/rolls. (I butterfly mine and then split it halfway producing 4 pieces per breast)
- In a large bowl or baking dish, mix the milk into the cooled pickle juice brine (made from water, distilled white vinegar, fresh dill, raw organic sugar, salt, garlic, red pepper flakes and black peppercorns) and pour over the chicken fillets, ensuring that the pieces are fully submerged in the liquid. Set the chicken into the refrigerator for at least two hours.
- Add the spices (salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, raw organic sugar, garlic powder and potato starch) to a high powdered blender or grinder and blend until combined into a fine powder.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat each piece dry. Cover the back and front of each fillet in a (light) coat of olive oil and an even coating of the spice blend.
- Spritz a grill pan or grill plate with a light coating of oil. You can also cook this on a BBQ grill or even a flattop if you like.
- Grill the chicken until cooked and grill /sear marks form. Once cooked, remove and set aside to rest for a few minutes.
- Grilled Chicken: Slice a Hawaiian Roll in half and place lettuce, tomato, a piece of grilled chicken, and finally the top bun to complete this sandwich.Club Sandwich: Add freshly sliced cheese (I love Colby for this recipe) and 1-2 bacon slices to the Grilled Chicken version before setting the top bun into place.Condiments: Homemade Mayonnaise or a clean eat honey BBQ sauce pairs perfectly.
- *Note that the nutrition information provided is an estimate per chicken fillet and not for the whole sandwich.