Does anyone remember the days of Leeann Chin? During my high school years, my mom often took me there because it was connected to one of our favorite local Minnesotan grocery stores (Lund’s & Byerly’s baby!). We’d get a quick meal to go (my go-to was orange chicken), that frankly wasn’t healthy at all because it was fried + then I drenched it in sweet and sour — but still, this girl was obsessed.
In fact, I pretty much lived on quick food because my mom wasn’t home to cook often and I really didn’t pay attention to what I was eating. To be honest, as good as the food tasted at the time, those choices never made me feel good, on the inside, or out. I gained weight from eating out all the time.
Fast forward to adulthood where life is vastly different. Now I’m a food blogger, and wellness is my passion. These days, I’m all about healthier takes on my favorite childhood meals and today I’m here to prove that you can still enjoy the flavors of takeout but without all the added junk.
I eat good to feel good and I hope this recipe inspires you to do the same.
What’s in this healthy orange chicken stir fry?
Traditional orange chicken recipes call for frying your chicken in lots of oil, and then coating it with orange sauce that typically calls for at least 1/2 cup of sugar or orange marmalade. I say, why use that when you can use FRESH orange juice?!
I made this homemade orange chicken stir fry healthier by lightly stir frying the chicken in a skillet with red bell pepper, green beans and cashews, and then cooking it in a sweet and tangy fresh orange sauce. This homemade orange sauce uses:
- fresh squeezed orange juice
- a bit of honey or agave
- fresh ginger
- soy sauce
- just a tablespoon of cornstarch for a nice texture (but you can also use arrowroot starch!)
This is the ultimate healthy weeknight meal because it’s so easy and only takes 30 minutes from start to finish.
What to serve orange chicken stir fry with:
You can choose to serve it with rice or quinoa if you want something a little more filling, or you can try my low carb cauliflower rice flavored with coconut oil, fresh lime juice and a bit of cilantro! It’s absolutely delicious.
I like to serve this orange chicken stir-fry with hot sauce or red pepper flakes for a little heat, sesame seeds for crunch, and of course, cilantro on top! I can’t wait for you all to try this recipe. It’s a weeknight staple for us and we love switching up the veggies according to what’s seasonal. I recommend broccoli and asparagus.
If you like this orange chicken stir fry, you might also like:
You’re going to love healthy orange chicken, please let me know if you make it by leaving a comment and rating the recipe below. I’d love to hear from you and it helps encourage others to make the recipe! Enjoy xo!
Healthy Orange Chicken Stir Fry with Coconut Cauliflower Rice
- For the cauliflower rice
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 head of cauliflower
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- For the sauce:
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons honey (or agave nectar)
- 3 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot starch
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- zest from 1 large orange
- For the stir-fry:
- 1 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into large bite-sized pieces
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- ½ white onion, cut into chunks
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
- ½ cup raw cashews
- To garnish:
- Green onion, for garnish
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
First make your cauliflower rice. Remove all greens from cauliflower and break into florets. You can either use a box grater, or a food processor to process the cauliflower into rice. If using a food processor (the easier method), simply add half of cauliflower florets to bowl of the food processor with a blade attachment. Pulse until cauliflower resembles rice. Add in remaining florets and process again until cauliflower becomes rice-like. Transfer to a large, clean dish towel and squeeze all the moisture out of the cauliflower. Set aside in a large bowl until ready to cook.
Next make the sauce: Add the orange juice, honey, soy sauce, ginger, cornstarch/arrowroot starch, red pepper flakes and orange zest to a large bowl; whisk until the cornstarch is dissolved. Set aside for later.
Next preheat a large skillet or pan over medium-high heat and add in 1 tablespoon of the toasted sesame oil. Add in chicken, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 5-6 minutes or until fully cooked and no longer pink. Once chicken is cooked, transfer to a bowl and set aside. Keep the heat in the pan.
Add the other 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil to the pan (over medium-heat); add in onion and saute until onions become slightly translucent, about 2 minutes.
Next add in the garlic, bell pepper, green beans and cashews and saute for 4-6 minutes. You want the green beans to still have a little bit of crunch!
While your veggies are cooking, make your cauliflower rice. Add ½ tablespoon coconut oil to a separate large skillet and place over medium heat. Once oil is hot, add in cauliflower rice and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour the orange sauce into the pan. Stir frequently as the sauce will start to thicken up.
Add in chicken and stir again. Reduce heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer and thicken some more, about 2-3 minutes.
Serve immediately over your cauliflower rice. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, green onion and cilantro if desired. Serves 4.
To make gluten free: Please ensure that all of your ingredients are gluten free, including the cornstarch and the soy sauce.
To make vegetarian: use 1 can of chickpeas in place of the chicken.
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats