General Tso’s Chicken cooked in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce with broccoli is a 15 minute dinner that tastes just as good as your local Chinese takeout spot – but good for you!
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This healthy version of the classic Chinese General Tso’s Chicken dish will quickly become a new favorite. Serve it with some Healthy Fried Rice for an awesome takeout inspired meal. And if you love Chinese, you need to try this Healthy Kung Pao Chicken too!
General Tso’s Chicken is another one of those dishes that I love to order when I’m eating out at a Chinese restaurant but that I know is full of things I should not be putting in my body. Fortunately, after much experimenting, I was able to create a healthy, easy-to-make version of this take-out dish at home.
I’ve found it to be the perfect combination of sweet and spicy and it’s also quick — it can be made in under 25 minutes! That’s faster than you can call and have your order ready for takeout. Although this healthier version doesn’t involve the deep fryer, don’t worry, it’s still nice and crispy.
Since I love Asian cuisine so much, I have discovered a love for making Asian take-out dishes healthier at home. I mean, that’s my whole job, right? Good for me, good for you, too. Sesame chicken, beef and broccoli, and General Tso’s Chicken are some of my favorites and are on heavy rotation in my house.
Typically, what I do during the recipe creation process is to master the recipe using the traditional protein and then start playing around. Today’s version substitutes chicken for a pork version. I happen to love chicken in all its forms and this one doesn’t disappoint!
I’ve found the key to making the chicken in this dish nice and crispy is to use cornstarch. Cornstarch coats the chicken and creates a light, crunchy exterior that gets brown in just a little bit of oil. It eliminates the need for lots of thick breading or tons of oil.
When it comes to the sauce for this General Tso’s Chicken, the key is to create something that’s both sweet and spicy. Like many Asian sauces, it starts with a soy sauce base and then you’ll want to add a combination of sesame oil, rice vinegar, honey or brown sugar, and hot sauce. I used Sriracha since we always have it in our fridge, but you could use any Asian-style hot sauce or even red pepper flakes.
We like things spicy, so this sauce uses a good amount of Sriracha. You may want to start with less if you don’t love things really spicy. You can always add more spice but it’s darn near impossible to take it out.
Tips for Making This Healthier General Tso’s Chicken
- This sauce is definitely on the spicy side so you may want to use less Sriracha if you don’t love tons of spice. Remember it is always easy to add more but not so easy to remove it.
- Feel free to use almost any vegetable in this dish. Cauliflower, green beans, snap peas, bok choy, and cabbage all work really well. You can also use an Asian vegetable stir-fry mix to include more of a variety. You can find these in the frozen food section and then also sometimes in the produce section with the other bagged lettuces. They are pre-cut and worth the time savings!
- For a lower-carb version, substitute in Stevia for the brown sugar. You can also leave it out completely but just know you will lose that little bit of sweetness.
- If you don’t eat chicken, you can always use pork instead. I recommend cutting a pork tenderloin or another cut of pork into bite-size pieces before cooking.
Ways to Serve This Healthier General Tso’s Chicken
I like to serve this over white or brown rice, but you can also use a wild rice mix or cauliflower rice for a lower-carb version. Quinoa would work well too if that’s what you have on hand and you’d like to have a higher-fiber grain to go with the chicken and broccoli.
Sometimes, I’ll double-down on the veggies (add cauliflower, bok choy, snap peas, snow peas, anything you like, really) and eat the chicken over a big pile of the veggies (adjust the sauce to make sure you have enough for all your veggies).
This would also work well over veggie noodles — try spiralized zucchini, carrots, yellow squash, or even sweet potato.
This chicken would also be yummy in a spaghetti squash boat — click here for the how-to on making up your squash just right.
You can also eat all these items separately — no need to combine. I know some people (mostly kids) don’t like “mixed-up” food. Just make the chicken or the veggies or some rice, or all three and plate them however you like!
Is General Tso Chicken the Same as Orange Chicken?
While these two dishes are similar, they are not interchangeable. They both include chicken made roughly the same way, with a sweet sauce, but General Tso’s tends to be spicier and doesn’t include any orange flavor at all.
Orange chicken also is cooked with a sweet sauce but the difference is that the sauce also includes orange peel, orange juice, or something to give it orange flavor. I often find orange wedges in my orange chicken as well when I order it.