March 11, 2023


This Healthy Kung Pao Chicken has become one of my favorite stir-fry recipes! It's got crunchy almonds, tender chicken pieces, and colorful vegetables - all in a savory, lightly sweet sauce with a subtle kick of Sichuan pepper. This recipe is gluten-free and actually not very spicy. All of my kids loved it! It's surprising how wonderful almonds and celery are in this dish. You've gotta try it!

Did you know? Chili peppers are high in Vitamin C and capsaicin. Capsaicin has many health benefits, including boosting metabolic rate and anti-inflammatory properties. This is still a small benefit, but still worth noting! (source)

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

The chicken and alternatives

I always look for "organic" or "free range" chicken with "no antibiotics." This means the chickens were raised with at least some access to the outdoors, and were not administered antibiotics due to disease or dirty living conditions. "Pasture-raised" or "humane certified" are even better indicators of the chicken's welfare. 

You can use chicken breasts, but chicken thighs are juicier and more flavorful! Chicken breasts are of course slightly lower in fat, while chicken thighs are typically more affordable.

I marinade the chicken in gluten-free tamari (can use soy sauce), sherry cooking wine, cornstarch, and baking soda to tenderize the meat. Trust me, it works! 

If vegan, you can use tofu, tempeh, or even vegan chik'n.

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

Making the sauce

The sauce combines balsamic vinegargluten-free tamari, gluten-free hoisin, toasted sesame oil, honey, cornstarch (can use tapioca starch), Sichuan pepper flakes, and ground ginger.

It may seem like a lot of ingredients, but once you have a good stock of basics, you will find they can be re-used in so many Asian recipes! Others I always have on hand are rice vinegar, fish sauce, coconut aminos, and sriracha. 

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

Stir fry ingredients 

This stir fry comes alive with fresh garlic, green onions, bell peppers, celery, and almonds. I don't know why I haven't used celery more often! Its signature flavor makes this stir fry so special and memorable. Many recipes call for peanuts in Kung Pao chicken, but all I had was sliced almonds! It was unexpected and delicious. 

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

Optional sides

This Healthy Kung Pao Chicken pairs wonderfully with jasmine rice, brown rice noodles, or even cauliflower rice. Feel free to expermient or enjoy it on it's own! 

Here is the printable recipe. I hope you love it as much as our family did :)

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