Kung Pao Chicken – Slow Cooker + Instant Pot – makes the perfect easy weeknight meal. Best of all, this popular takeout favorite can be made in the crock-pot or your Instant Pot pressure cooker and is lightened up with the same classic sweet & spicy flavors as your local Chinese restaurant.
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January is flying by for us so far and I can hardly believe that this Saturday is Chinese (Lunar) New Year already. So I’m back with another easy and lightened up takeout – General Tso’s, Cashew Chicken, Skinny Beef and Broccoli anyone?
This time, I’m sharing a healthier Kung Pao Chicken recipe from my cookbook but with gluten free and paleo friendly options.
Kung Pao Chicken is a popular favorite in North America but it’s also a classic Szechuan dish that everyone loves. My husband is a huge fan of anything spicy so he would often order it when we visited China a few years ago.
It’s got so many flavors going on: tangy, sweet, and salty with just enough of a fiery kick. The best part about making it at home is that you can totally customize the level of heat.
Plus, you don’t have to worry about any deep frying required.
Just start by coating the chicken in some cornstarch and lightly browning it in a skillet before adding it into the slow cooker. It’s an extra step that you can totally skip if you’re in a pinch — but it definitely makes a HUGE difference in texture!
Then you just combine the sauce ingredients together and toss with the chicken.
Cook on low for about 2-3 hours then add the veggies right near the end for the perfect tender & crisp texture.
I used red peppers and zucchini but you can easily swap in your favorites.
Serve it over some zoodles or cauliflower rice for a lower carb and paleo friendly option.
For those times you want a special treat, serve it with a side of quinoa or your favorite rice or noodles instead.
Allergy Friendly & Paleo Options for Kung Pao Chicken
Kung Pao Chicken usually gets dunked in a breaded coating to get that crispy coating we all love. For this homemade version at less than 400 calories per serving, there’s no deep frying but to achieve that restaurant quality taste, the chicken gets coated in cornstarch before browning in a little bit of oil.
- Substitute with arrowroot powder for a Paleo-friendly version
- Use coconut, ghee or avocado oil for a Paleo-friendly option
You can also totally skip that step and add them directly into the crock-pot if you prefer. Browning is an additional step but makes a HUGE difference in taste and texture.
The sauce usually calls for low-sodium soy sauce, hoisin sauce and ketchup:
- Gluten-free Tamari and Coconut Aminos (paleo) are great substitutes
- Hoisin sauce comes in a gluten free version or you can make your own paleo-friendly version at home HERE
Meal Prep Tips:
- 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 – These –> lunch containers are the ones I use
This recipe appeared first on The Recipe Critic.
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