I love Chinese food, especially orange chicken. When I saw this paleo orange chicken recipe, I made it just a few days later! This is a pretty involved recipe, so it’s definitely not a quick weeknight meal, but I made this one afternoon when I was home alone and then ate on the leftovers for a few days. This would be a good meal to make on the weekend and then save it for a quick Monday night dinner.
I did switch out some ingredients based on what I had on hand, so the way I made it isn’t Whole30 approved or necessarily paleo. I switched the tapioca starch for cornstarch and used coconut oil instead of avocado oil because that is what I had on hand. I served this with brown rice (the instant kind you cook in the microwave for a minute) over a bowl of fresh kale. This would be great with broccoli tossed in, served with cauliflower rice, or with fresh spinach. It was a great mixture of sweet and spicy!
Clean Eating Orange Chicken (slightly adapted from Food Faith Fitness)
For the sauce:
3/4 cup 100% orange juice (I used fresh Cara Cara oranges to squeeze my own)
Zest of half an orange
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp rice vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp hot sauce
For the chicken:
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp cornstarch
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb chicken, cut into cubes (I used boneless skinless thighs, but you can use chicken breast or tenderloins)
In a small bowl, whisk together orange juice, zest, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, melt the coconut oil (for the sauce) on medium heat. Sautee the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the orange juice mixture and cook on high, stirring constantly. Meanwhile, put 1 tsp cornstarch in the now-empty medium bowl and set aside.
Once the orange juice mixture is boiling, add 2 tsp hot sauce to the cornstarch and stir together until smooth. Whisk into the boiling sauce and continue to whisk for 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook until sauce is thick and glossy, stirring constantly. Pour into a bowl and set aside to thicken while you cook the chicken.
Melt the coconut oil (for the chicken) in the skillet (or in a larger one if you prefer). Put cornstarch and salt/pepper in a large ziplock bag and shake to mix. Put chicken cubes in bag and shake to completely cover chicken with cornstarch mixture.
Put covered chicken in skillet (don’t overcrowd them–you may need to cook the chicken in multiple batches). Cook chicken until browned on the outside and fully cooked (an instant-read thermometer should read at least 165 F), 2-3 minutes per side, turning once.
Once chicken is cooked, put in a large bowl and pour the thickened orange sauce over it. Gently stir/toss the chicken with the sauce to completely cover each chicken piece with the sauce.
Serve with rice, broccoli, cauliflower, or greens. Enjoy!