Healthy Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken made grain-free, soy-free, refined sugar-free and absolutely delicious! This sweet and spicy Chinese-inspired stir fry recipe is easy to prepare and is quite the crowd pleaser for an evening in.

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken - soy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and delicious

I recently went through a very uninspired phase, during which I couldn’t seem to bring myself to create anything out of my ush.

Feeling like getting out of my comfort zone would be the only thing to bring me out of my creative slump, I catapulted myself into the wonderful world of Kung Pao Chicken.

The second the magical aroma of Kung Pao wafted through my kitchen, I knew no mistake had been made.  Au contraire, the most glorious chicken recipe I’ve made in months graced my home with its presence.

Creative slump: expired.

A new flame is in the house.

A healthier version of Chinese Kung Pao Chicken made gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and soy-free. Easy to prepare and magically delicious

What is Kung Pao Chicken?:

Traditional Kung Pao Chicken, also known as Gong Bao or Kung Po, is a stir-fried Chinese dish of chicken, peanuts, vegetables, and chili peppers. It is sweet, spicy, sticky and a tad sour, with crispy pan-fried chicken bits in a thick delicious sauce. The classic  Sichuan dish comes from south-western China.

Traditional Kung Pao Chicken calls for cornstarch, but I use tapioca flour as a replacement. If you’re fine with using cornstarch, feel free to make the substitution! 

Many recipes call for wine or sherry, which you can replace with chicken broth if you don’t cook with alcohol. I find that a dry white wine gives the dish delicious rich flavor.

I also keep the recipe soy-free by using coconut aminos (you can also use liquid aminos or soy sauce) and pure maple syrup instead of brown sugar. I use cashews instead of peanuts, but either add a delightful crunch!

When all is said and done, this meal is grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and a healthier take on Kung Pao Chicken.

Let’s make it!

Gluten-Free Kung Pao Chicken - soy-free, refined sugar-free, healthier version of the classic Chinese dish

How to Make Healthy Kung Pao Chicken:

Marinate the Chicken:

Add the white wine, coconut aminos (or liquid aminos), and avocado oil to a mixing bowl and stir together to combine. Add in the chicken and stir well. Add the tapioca flour and sea salt and stir well. Allow the chicken to marinate while you make the sauce and chop the vegetables. Stir it occasionally.

Chicken marinating in a mixing bowl for kung pao chicken

Make the Sauce:

Add the ingredients for the sauce to a bowl or measuring cup and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

Sauce for Kung Pao Chicken

Cook the Chicken:

Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to a large non-stick skillet and add half of the chicken, creating one layer of chicken. This allows the chicken to brown up nicely for a good crisp. Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes until browned, then transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.

How to Make Kung Pao Chicken

Transfer the rest of the chicken to the plate and add 1 tablespoon more of sesame oil or avocado oil to the skillet.

Kung Pao Chicken on a plate

Make the Stir Fry:

Add the bell pepper, green onion, and garlic (and chili if using) to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, about 3 minutes.

vegetables for kung pao chicken

Sauteeing vegetables for kung pao chicken

Transfer the chicken back into the skillet and continue cooking until everything appears golden-brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Chicken and vegetables cooking in a skillet for kung pao chicken

Add the sauce to the skillet and bring to a full boil. Stir in the cashews and water chestnuts Stir continuously until everything is well combined and the sauce is thick and sticky, about 2 minutes.

Kung Pao cooking in a skillet

Serve Kung Pao Chicken with choice of cauliflower rice or regular steamed white or brown rice.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • If you follow a strict paleo or whole30 diet, replace the white wine with chicken broth + 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, cider vinegar, or rice vinegar.
  • Replace the pure maple syrup with 2 large medjool dates (pitted) and blend into the sauce with a blender (or chop finely). Or omit the pure maple syrup altogether.
  • Use cornstarch instead of tapioca flour in a 1:1 substitution.
  • Replace the cashews with peanuts or omit to make nut-free.
  • If you enjoy many vegetables in your stir fry dishes, you can add liberally! Carrot, broccoli, and zucchini would work well in this dish.
  • Use brown sugar instead of pure maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Kung Pao Chicken - soy-free, refined sugar-free, healthier version of the classic Chinese dish

More Chinese Inspired Recipes:

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @TheRoastedRoot on Instagram!

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken - soy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free, and delicious

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef stir fry, chicken recipe, Chinese, gluten free, refined sugar free, soy free
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 319 kcal
Author: Julia

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken made gluten-free, soy-free and refined sugar-free for a tasty Chinese stir fry.

Print

Ingredients

For the Marinade:

For the Sauce:

For the Stir Fry

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 stalks green onion chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper cored and chopped
  • 1 red Thai chili sliced, optional
  • 1 (8-oz) can water chestnuts drained
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews or peanuts

Instructions

Marinate the Chicken:

  1. Add the white wine, coconut aminos (or liquid aminos), and avocado oil to a mixing bowl and stir together to combine. Add in the chicken and stir well. Add the tapioca flour and sea salt and stir well. Allow the chicken to marinate while you make the sauce and chop the vegetables. Stir it occasionally.

Make the Sauce:

  1. Add the ingredients for the sauce to a bowl or measuring cup and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

Cook the Chicken:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil to a large non-stick skillet and add half of the chicken, creating one layer of chicken. This allows the chicken to brown up nicely for a good crisp. Cook chicken 2 to 3 minutes until browned, then transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken. Transfer the rest of the chicken to the plate and add 1 tablespoon more of sesame oil or avocado oil to the skillet.

Make the Stir Fry:

  1. Add the bell pepper, green onion, and garlic (and chili if using) to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until very fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer the chicken back into the skillet and continue cooking until everything appears golden-brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add the sauce to the skillet and bring to a full boil. Stir in the cashews and water chestnuts Stir continuously until everything is well combined and the sauce is thick and sticky, about 2 minutes.

  3. Serve Kung Pao Chicken with choice of cauliflower rice or regular steamed white or brown rice.

Nutrition Facts
Healthy Kung Pao Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 of 5)
Calories 319 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Sugar 7g8%
Protein 32g64%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Paleo Kung Pao Chicken - grain-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free variation of Kung Pao Chicken for a fresh, better-than-takeout experience! #paleo #whole30 #chickenrecipe #dinner

 

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