Cashew Chicken (Healthy) – an easy 25 minute guilt-free skinny version of the popular classic Chinese takeout dish. Best of all, comes together in just one pan and perfect for busy weeknights and Sunday meal prep! Plus paleo-friendly options and a short recipe video.
One of the most frequent requests I get from readers is to share more healthy and allergy-friendly versions of popular Chinese takeout dishes.
I can’t tell you how happy that makes me because those are actually the recipes I’ve been making more of for my family this past year.
I’ve already shared a few healthier takeout favorites in the past like this Skinny Beef and Broccoli, Teriyaki Chicken, Kung Pao Chicken and Mongolian Beef served with zoodles and I’m so happy to hear how much you guys love them already.
Since Chinese New Year is coming up, I thought this is the perfect time for me to share this Healthy Cashew Chicken.
This Cashew Chicken is a lightened up, gluten free version (with paleo friendly options) of the Cashew Chicken I have in my cookbook.
This popular Chinese takeout dish also happens to be one of my son’s favorites. He is crazy about anything with cashews.
HOW TO MAKE CASHEW CHICKEN
This cashew chicken starts off with tender juicy chicken that gets browned for a few minutes in a large non-stick skillet or a wok.
The sweet and tangy sauce is made with all gluten free or paleo friendly ingredients. You can totally use the regular versions instead if you prefer.
- gluten free tamari (this is the one I use) or coconut aminos for a paleo version
- hoisin sauce – use a gluten free sauce or you are totally free to make your own paleo-friendly version.
- apple cider vinegar
- honey (use raw for paleo)
- toasted sesame oil
- garlic and ginger
The great thing about this healthier than restaurant version is that there is also generous serving of broccoli and red bell peppers. So it’s another awesome way to get your family to eat some extra veggies.
Prep this Cashew Chicken ahead of time:
One of the best parts about this dish is how quickly it all comes together….especially if you have everything prepped ahead of time or even the night before.
- Cut the chicken into chunks and place into a zip-top bag in the fridge
- Chop the veggies and place in zip-top bags or containers
- Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and store in a small glass container
- If you plan on serving this with zoodles (paleo), quinoa or steamed rice – those can easily be made ahead of time too and stored in the fridge.
Once you’re ready to dive in – all it takes is ONE PAN and less than 10 minutes to come together on the stove.
Weekly meal prep-tips for your school or work lunch bowls
- Delicious for leftovers or make a batch on Sunday meal prep and pack for your weekly school or work lunch bowls
- Serve with your favorite side – Jasmine rice, brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice or spiralized vegetables or zoodles
- For easier weekly meal prep – chop all the vegetables ahead of time and store in an airtight container the night before.
- Make lunch the day before and store in an air-tight container – I use this lunch container
More lunch bowls:
More takeout favorites:
Healthy Cashew Chicken + Recipe VIDEO (Meal Prep)
Healthy Cashew Chicken - an easy 25 minute healthier and gluten free version of the popular classic Chinese takeout dish.
- 3/4 lb chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
- sea salt and black pepper as needed
- 1 tablespoon tapioca or arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil)
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 3/4 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
- Sauce and Marinade
- 6 tablespoons gluten free tamari (or low sodium-soy sauce or coconut aminos for paleo version)
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce (use gluten free if necessary or make your own paleo
- 3/4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey (use raw for paleo)
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons tapioca or arrowstarch (or cornstarch)
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup water, plus more as needed to thin out sauce
- red pepper chili flakes
- toasted sesame seeds
- 1 green onion, sliced thinly
- For meal prep
- Cooked rice, quinoa or noodles
- Lunch containers
- In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, tapioca starch and 1 tablespoon of sauce/marinade.
- Add oil to a wok or a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is starting to brown.
- Toss in the broccoli and bell peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the chicken is cooked through. Pour in the remaining sauce and add the cashews. Toss everything together and allow sauce to bubble and thicken. Season with salt, pepper or red pepper chili flakes as needed.
- Remove from heat and serve warm on a large platter or over zoodles, cauliflower rice(paleo), quinoa or regular rice or noodles. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions if desired.
- For meal prep
- Cook rice and divide evenly into lunch containers. Add cashew chicken, cover and store in fridge for up to 4 days.
The ingredient options I've listed first are all gluten free. For paleo-friendly or the classic non-gluten free options, I've listed them in brackets.
I'd love to see! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #LIFEMADESWEETER or tag me @lifemadesweeter on Instagram!