Healthy Orange Chicken with Green Beans

We’re going to do something a little different today — a chicken recipe. Yup, real chicken!

You may or may not remember me mentioning that I was going to start eating meat again. If not, here’s the story. After 5+ years of being a pescatarian (vegetarian diet with seafood) I started craving meat. I think it’s important for us to listen to our bodies AND eat what we want (instead of trying to stick with a label) so I decided to give eating meat again a try.  I simply started incorporating small portions into my meals when I felt like it and I’m now eating it about once a week. I still haven’t come around to pork or beef so the main thing that I’ve been experimenting with is chicken. I like buying it and cooking it myself because I know the meat is organic and humanely raised, which is really important to me.

The majority of the time I still prefer to have a vegetarian meal, but I have found a couple ways to prepare chicken that I enjoy. So… today I’m sharing one of those recipes with all! I hope you enjoy the change of pace.

Healthy Orange Chicken with Green Beans

This recipe was inspired by one of Isaac’s favorite meals, orange chicken. Given the name you’d think it’d be healthy, but most orange chicken dishes are fried and drenched with a sugary, sweet sauce.

Clean Eating Orange Chicken with Green Beans

Not this one! I made a goal to create a healthy version to satisfy Isaac’s craving. I found this recipe from Clean Eating Magazine and tweaked it a little to come up with a orange chicken dish that’s full of flavor, but still fresh and light. Of course, I also added some veggies to the dish. No meal is complete without a little veggie action — preferably ones that are green.

Clean Eating Orange Chicken with Green Beans

Like most of the meals I share here on EBF, this one is easy to throw together and cooks up quickly. Perfect for weeknights!

One tip — preparing the quinoa in advance isn’t necessary but it makes the meal prep a breeze. I like to make a big batch of quinoa on Sunday and store it in a air-tight container in the fridge so that we have it on-hand for meals throughout the week. Easy peasy.

Clean Eating Orange Chicken with Green Beans

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Healthy Orange Chicken with Green Beans


  • Author: Brittany Mullins
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

Adapted from Clean Eating Magazine. If you’re vegetarian, I’m sure tofu or tempeh would work well in this dish instead of chicken.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 4 organic thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb), rinsed and patted dry, cut into small bite-size chunks
  • Fresh juice from 1 medium orange, about 1/3 cup of juice (I used a blood orange)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 lb fresh or frozen green beans (stem ends trimmed if using fresh)
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa for serving

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions if you haven’t done so already. 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa will yield about 2 cups cooked.
  2. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, 1/4 tsp salt and cayenne pepper. Pour seasoning over chicken and combine well so that all pieces are seasoned.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet set on medium-high heat. Place chicken in skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the beans and stir-fry with chicken for another 4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the center. Make sure you toss the chicken while cooking so that the pieces cook evenly and don’t clump together. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. Add orange juice and maple syrup to the skillet you just used (no need to rinse) and cook liquid for 1 minute to thicken slightly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in chipotle chiles in adobo sauce and orange zest. Add chicken and green beans back to skillet, return to heat and cook (stirring constantly) for 1 minute on medium-high or until chicken and green beans are heated to your liking.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine cooked quinoa and remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Serve chicken and green beans over quinoa. Use the excess glaze as a topping.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
  • Calories: 297
  • Sugar: 6
  • Fat: 5
  • Carbohydrates: 33
  • Fiber: 6
  • Protein: 31

So for all my meat eaters, what are some of your favorite healthy and easy chicken recipes? I’d love to try some different recipes. And for all my vegetarian/vegan friends: don’t let this post scare you away, I’ll still be sharing mostly veg-friendly dishes. 🙂 

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    20 comments
  1. Looks great-any substitute for the chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce? Not available in my part of the world…

  2. Was listening to an interview with Alex Jamieson a few weeks ago and she talked about telling the world she began eating meat after being a vegan guru for years (she went to the same nutritional school as us too!). Bravo to you for being in tune to what your body was telling you and being brave enough to listen!

  3. I’m a first time visitor to your blog, and love it! 🙂

    This post and recipe pretty much sums up my food philosophy in a nut shell:
    – listen to your body
    – find a way to make your favorites healthy
    – add veggies wherever you can

    I’ll be checking back and giving your recipes a try 🙂

  4. This sounds great, and is something I can make with ingredients on hand. Thanks!

    One of the easiest things to make with chicken is what I call Salsa Chicken. Start with either whole pieces or diced chicken and a little oil of your choice. Get it browned and cooked most of the way through. Dump in a jar of your favorite salsa and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for maybe 15-20 minutes (until the chicken is cooked through). At whatever point you like (depending on how crunchy or cooked you want them), add in some cut up veggies like peppers, onions, edamame, etc. and heat thoroughly. Serve with rice, quinoa or another “grain” and black beans. Easy, almost no added fat calories, and you can freeze it in singe servings for an easy meal for work or after work. I’ve made it with ground turkey and it’s great that way as well.

  5. Yum, sounds delicious!
    I would buy the entire chicken, roast it in the oven with and make a stock from the bones for a nice homemade chicken broth. My favourite roasting spices are smoked paprika, garlic, tumeric, ginger and rosemary. I also eat meat / fish once or twice a week only but when I do, I make sure that it’s organic and I try to buy local as well to support small farms.

  6. Yum! I’ll have to give this a try. I think it sounds great as is, but thinking it might be too spicy for my kids, so I may have to adjust the seasonings (bummer–I’ll add more cayenne to my portion later!).

    I love that you are listening to your body instead of trying to stick to with a label. That’s great!

  7. Chicken was the first meat I began eating after being vegetarian for 6 years as well. Now I’d say I prefer to eat meat more as a condiment than as a main event, which is probably how most of the world should be eating anyway! Good luck on your experimentation.

  8. I must have missed you sharing that on your blog! I too went back to eating meat after years of being a vegetarian and pescatarian. I was really craving meat. It was a very strange transition, but I added it back in very slowly so my body could adjust. Interesting to see someone else who made the switch as well. Thanks for the recipe!

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