Moo Shu Chicken Bowls with cabbage and delicious homemade sauce. This easy high-protein dinner recipe comes together in 40 minutes or less and results in a tasty Chinese-inspired dish.
If you’ve been following The Roasted Root for a long time, you know I eat the majority of my meals out of a ginormous bowl.
Combining a variety of veggies with protein, a delicious sauce, and sometimes rice is my idea of a real good time.
Recently I made my own version of Chinese Moo Shu Chicken and turned it into a bowl.
I wish I had thought of this recipe back when I wrote my cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls because it’s the perfect complete meal in a bowl.
I tried Moo Shu Pork and Moo Shu Chicken for the first time way back in high school and instantly found it sensational. One of my friends had a long-standing relationship with moo shu and while I thought it sounded odd, I was immediately a big fan after reluctantly trying it.
What is Moo Shu Chicken?:
In case you’ve never tried it at a Chinese restaurant, moo shu chicken (or pork) is a dish of tender chicken, cabbage, bean sprouts (or bamboo shoots) swaddled in a delicious sweet and savory sauce.
This mixture loaded into Mandarin pancakes, which can be compared to thin flour tortillas, and a thin layer of hoisin sauce or plum sauce.
This concoction is rolled up and enjoyed like a delicious little wrap. These moo shu wrappers are often made homemade.
For the purpose of this easy moo shu chicken recipe, we’re skipping the Mandarin thin pancakes and just loading up bowls with the chicken and cabbage mixture. The end result is a high-protein meal that tastes fresh and delicious.
Do note that this is not an authentic Moo Shu Chicken recipe. It is simply my quick and easy version, using ingredients anyone can find at any grocery store.
As is the case with authentic Chinese food, you often need to source ingredients from Asian markets in order to make the traditional recipe. Because I realize not everyone has access to specialty markets, I made the recipe using easy to access ingredients.
If you’re alright with that, let us proceed! If you’d rather make the fully authentic version, I see you, I hear you, and I’d recommend a google search for the classic version.
From start to finish, this recipe took me 38 minutes to make. It’s one of those simple prep-as-you-go meals where you can chop ingredients while other ingredients are cooking.
I have included a paleo option in this recipe so if you eat soy-free and refined sugar-free, I’ve got you!
Let’s chat about the healthy ingredients for these healthy moo shu chicken bowls. Remember, this is not traditional moo shu, so there are a few ingredient differences here.
Ingredients for Moo Shu Chicken Bowls:
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: Boneless chicken breasts get chopped into bite-sized pieces for protein and deliciousness. Boneless chicken thighs work here too and result in more tender, flavorful chicken. Pork tenderloin also works if you’re wanting to make moo shu pork.
Avocado Oil and Sesame Oil: Used to sauce the vegetables and brown the chicken, we need avocado oil and toasted sesame oil. The toasted sesame oil brings that traditional sesame flavor and avocado oil is great for cooking at high temperatures.
Eggs: A couple eggs get beaten and cooked to add into the dish. Traditionally, the eggs get cooked in a thin flat omelet then cut into thin strips. I just make scrambled eggs to keep it quick and easy.
Napa Cabbage or Green Cabbage: Thinly sliced napa cabbage or green cabbage makes up the majority of the bulk of moo shu recipes. The cabbage softens as it cooks and becomes caramelized on the delicious sauce.
Instead of slicing up a head of cabbage, you can use coleslaw mix.
Shiitake Mushrooms: Fresh shiitake mushrooms get sliced up and sauteed to add nutty umami flavors and some soft texture. Wood ear mushrooms also work here.
Fresh Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves get minced up and tossed in to add some big flavor.
Sliced Bamboo Shoots: Bamboo shoots bring a fun texture to mu shu chicken. If you don’t like them, you can skip them or replace them with bean sprouts.
If you’d like, you can add steamed white rice or brown rice to the meal.
Moo Shu Sauce Ingredients:
Hoisin Sauce: Common in Asian style cooking, hoisin sauce is made out of fermented soy bean paste, chili peppers, sugar, and more.
It is a mild, sweet sauce with savoriness to it. Thick and sticky, hoisin sauce is used as a dipping sauce or is used in dishes to bring sweet, umami flavor with a glazed consistency.
Hoisin sauce is not gluten-free unless otherwise specified. For this reason, make sure you’re buying gluten-free hoisin sauce if you need the recipe to be gluten-free.
There are now many brands of gluten-free hoisin sauce as well as organic brands and brands that are refined sugar-free. Kikkoman has a gluten-free hoisin sauce that can be found at most grocery stores.
If you follow a paleo diet, make Paleo Hoisin Sauce and use it to replace the oyster sauce too.
Oyster Sauce: Similar to hoisin sauce, oyster sauce is sweet and savory. It is made out of oyster juices (typically cooked, condensed oysters), and sugar.
If you don’t typically cook with oyster sauce, you can just add more hoisin sauce.
Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce): Often used as a soy-free replacement for soy sauce, coconut aminos is derived from coconuts and has a naturally sweet flavor. Use soy sauce or tamari as a replacement if you’d like.
Rice Vinegar: A little rice vinegar brings an acidic tang to round out the flavor profile.
This combination of ingredients yields a sweet, savory, tangy sauce with umami flavor. You can add fresh lemon zest and lime juice to the sauce if you’d like.
Now that we’re experts on the ingredients list for this healthy bowl recipe, let’s make it!
How to Make Moo Shu Chicken Bowls:
Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. I recommend using a 12-inch skillet with a deep lip or a large pot so that you have enough room for all of the ingredients.
Give the skillet a few minutes to warm up, then transfer the chopped chicken to the skillet and arrange it in a single layer.
Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for a few minutes to allow the chicken to become golden brown before stirring. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside until ready to use.
Pour the sesame oil into the same skillet you used to cook the chicken. Transfer the shiitake mushrooms to the skillet and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften and the white parts begin turning brown.
Add in the sliced cabbage and minced garlic. Sauté for a minute or two before adding the sauce ingredients (hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, coconut aminos, and rice vinegar). Stirring occasionally, cook until the cabbage has softened to your desired doneness. This takes about 8 to 12 minutes.
While the cabbage is cooking, scramble the eggs in a separate skillet and transfer the cooked eggs to the same plate as the chicken.
Once the shredded cabbage has reached your desired level of doneness, stir in the bamboo shoots, cooked chicken, scrambled eggs, and green onions (scallions). Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until everything is cooked through.
Serve in big bowls with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and enjoy! If you’d like, serve the bowls with extra hoisin sauce.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
This recipe makes enough for two large servings or three regular sized portions. Depending on how many people you’re feeding and whether or not you want leftovers, you may consider doubling the recipe.
Recipes like this are ideal for meal prep because they are easy to make in bulk and they also save very well.
You can marinate the chicken using the sauce as your marinade ingredients. If you go this route, you will need to use the reserved marinade as the sauce.
As an alternative to serving this dish in bowls, you can make lettuce wraps or make homemade moo shu pancakes.
The next time you’re craving Chinese food or a filling meal, whip up this easy moo shu recipe. You may just love this delicious meal just as much as your favorite Chinese takeout!
If you love bowl food recipes, also try out these healthy bowl meals.
More Healthy Bowl Recipes:
- Crispy Bang Bang Salmon Bites Bowls
- Thai-Inspired Chicken and Cabbage Bowls
- Ground Turkey Egg Roll Bowls
- 10-Minute Salmon and Rice Bowl
- Salmon Power Bowls with Blueberry Salsa
- Mexican-Inspired Ground Beef and Cabbage Bowls
Homemade moo shu chicken in a bowl!
Moo Shu Chicken Bowls
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 4 cups napa cabbage thinly sliced (or green cabbage)
- 8 ounces sliced bamboo shoots drained
- ⅓ cup hoisin sauce*
- 2 Tbsp oyster sauce**
- ¼ cup coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 4 green onions cut into 2-inch pieces
- Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. I recommend using a 12-inch skillet with a deep lip or a large pot so that you have enough room for all of the ingredients.
- Give the skillet a few minutes to warm up, then transfer the chopped chicken to the skillet and arrange it in a single layer. Allow the chicken to cook undisturbed for a few minutes to allow the chicken to become golden brown before stirring. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set it aside until ready to use.
- Pour the sesame oil into the same skillet you used to cook the chicken. Transfer the shiitake mushrooms to the skillet and saute for 3-5 minutes, until the mushrooms begin to soften and the white parts begin turning brown.
- Add in the sliced cabbage and minced garlic. Saute for a minute or two before adding the sauce ingredients (hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, coconut aminos, and rice vinegar). Stirring occasionally, cook until the cabbage has softened to your desired doneness. This takes about 8 to 12 minutes.
- While the cabbage is cooking, scramble the eggs and transfer the cooked eggs to the same plate as the chicken.
- Once the shredded cabbage has reached your desired level of doneness, stir in the bamboo shoots, cooked chicken, scrambled eggs, and green onions (scallions). Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until everything is cooked through.
- Serve in big bowls with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and enjoy! If you’d like, serve the bowls with extra hoisin sauce.
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