In this lightened-up recipe, the chicken is not battered and fried as in traditional orange chicken recipes. Instead, chicken breasts are simply pan-seared and smothered with the delicious orange sauce. Chicken thighs will work just fine too. Cut whatever chicken you use into bite-size pieces before sautéing, and generously season with salt and pepper.
The orange sauce is naturally sweetened with honey, which can be adjusted to personal taste. It uses plenty of orange juice and orange zest as well. Also included are coconut aminos (the Paleo substitute for soy sauce) and apple cider vinegar (instead of rice wine vinegar). Once the sauce has simmered for 5-10 minutes it should thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon. If you like a thicker sauce, stir in a little arrowroot powder that has been mixed with water.
The key to making this dish healthier is sautéing instead of frying. Once the chicken is golden brown and drenched in the tangy sauce, you won’t even miss the fried coating. Plus you don’t get all of the calories and fat that accompanies the traditional version, which is usually dredged in cornstarch batter.
Making orange chicken at home instead of ordering takeout is easier than you may think, and so much healthier. In the amount of time you would have to wait for delivery, you can make this delicious low calorie orange chicken recipe instead. To serve, top it with green onions and crunchy sesame seeds. Include broccoli or cauliflower rice for a filling meal.
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 scallions, sliced
- 2 tsp sesame seeds, optional
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder, optional
- For the sauce
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- In a small bowl, stir together the ingredients for the sauce. Adjust sweetness to taste. Set aside.
- Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until browned and nearly cooked through.
- Pour in the orange sauce and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes until slightly thick. For thicker sauce, mix the arrowroot powder with a tablespoon of water and stir into the pan. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Serve immediately, sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onion.