A lightened up version of a Chinese take-out favorite, this healthy kung pao chicken is packed with nutrients and not lacking any flavor. Gluten-free and dairy-free.
Remember when I shared I was on a Chinese takeout kick? I wasn’t lying. LOL! I love spicy foods and was so excited when I nailed this kung pao chicken recipe. It tastes just like the real deal, but instead of being packed with ingredients you can’t pronounce, it’s made with real food, a lightened up sauce without a ton a oil and, of course, lots of extra veggies!
Takeout in general can be loaded with a lot of excess fat and salt – and Chinese food is no different. Traditional kung pao is loaded with sugar, oils and salt. Don’t get me wrong, I will still indulge at a restaurant occasionally, but I love making healthy versions of restaurant favorites. And with a homemade version like this, you can feel good about eating it multiple days in a row if you want (which is exactly what we did). Literally the first night I made this Isaac said, “I want to get this for dinner every night!” He’s a huge Chinese fan and obviously he loved this! This healthy orange chicken is another one of his favorites.
Kung pao chicken is really just spicy sautéed chicken typically served with crushed peanuts. This healthy version uses less oil than the classic take-out dish and it’s loaded with extra veggies. To start, you simply heat sesame oil in a pan and sauté your chicken chunks with garlic and ginger. Once the chicken is cooked through, you’ll transfer it to a plate and cook the veggies in sesame oil. The chicken is then transferred back to the plate with the sauce and cooked for a few additional minutes, just long enough to let the sauce coat the dish and thicken. The whole process takes less than 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a quick and healthy weeknight meal.
I chose to serve this with brown rice. I either make a big batch of brown rice for the week or use the frozen brown rice packs from Trader Joe’s. They only take 3 minutes to heat up and work great if you’re strapped for time. Of course, feel free to pair this with whatever grain you prefer, or even cauliflower rice if you want to keep the dish lower in carbs! Top with crushed peanuts if you’re feeling fancy – and you’ve got yourself a delicious, healthy kung pao dinner!
Be sure to check out all of the chicken recipes here on EBF!