This Cashew Chicken is a cleaned up version of the classic Chinese take-out. It’s so delicious and brings back all of the flavors and feelings of take-out (which is not healthy at all) without jeopardizing my health.
By the time I was in high school Chinese take-out was a weekly thing at our house. Cashew Chicken was one of my standby favorites. Back then I didn’t know (or care!) that my tasty take-out was stir-fried in pro-inflammatory and highly refined vegetable oil.
I also had no idea that it was surely laced with MSG, sugar and cornstarch. All I know is that this Cashew Chicken tastes better than takeout—and it’s all good! Best of all, you can get it on the table in just about the same amount of time it would take to dial out.
So many popular recipes use vegetable oil and a very small amount of vegetables.
5 Easy Tips for Cleaning Up Cashew Chicken
Here are some quick tips to making the best (and healthiest!) Cashew Chicken without losing the flavor and increasing the quality.
#1: The More Vegetables the Better!
First, I like to make my cashew chicken with a lot more vegetables than the typical recipe calls for. Believe it or not, the extra vegetables make the dish tastier too.
Your cashew chicken truly won’t even taste as good if you don’t use a lot of vegetables. Using a variety of vegetables adds the most flavor and brings out the most umami balanced flavor with the chicken and cashew.
A good rule of thumb when making a vegetable stir fry recipe is to use 3 or 4 different vegetables and then you can always add in some mushrooms for a nice hearty “meaty” kick.
#2: Use Pastured Chicken
I only use pastured chicken. Pastured chicken is not at all the same as “free range”, “cage free” or “vegetarian”. Unfortunately those labels are both pretty much meaningless marketing terms.
Although it would be ideal if my cashew chicken dinner was made from organic pastured chicken. However, if I had to choose between organic and pastured, I would choose pastured every time. Learn more about the benefits of pastured chicken HERE.
#3: Consider Black Rice
To boost the phytonutrient and antioxidant content of my dinner even further, I like to serve cashew chicken over black rice. Although black rice might sound exotic, it is every bit as easy to cook as brown rice.
Also, if you’re using white rice, I want to encourage you to finish this bag and then switch to brown rice. Learn why white rice earns a spot on the list of the top four worst carbs here.
By far, the easiest way to cook rice, including black rice, as well as ALL whole grains is with a rice cooker, my favorite being the VitaClay Chef Gourmet Rice & Slow Cooker Pro.
#4: Use Unrefined Oil
I use only unrefined oil, which is the only type of oil that has not had all of the nutrients stripped. I am also careful not to heat the oil too high as high heat creates damaging free radicals.
The healthiest “base” oil to use for high heat cooking and for cashew chicken is organic extra virgin coconut oil because it can withstand super high heat temperatures. And don’t worry, as long as you use a super high-quality, organic coconut oil such as Barlean’s it won’t make your food taste like coconuts!
#5: Swap Soy Sauce for Liquid Aminos
When we cook, we want to use high quality ingredients, just like we do when making sauces. Same thing goes for soy sauce. Most Cashew Chicken recipe sauces will use soy sauce and if you don’t use a good soy sauce in your recipes you can mess up the whole dish.
If you buy the cheap soy sauce that is chemically made and sold by the gallon at Sam’s Club and put that stuff in your vegetable stir fry recipe then you are sure to ruin the whole thing.
The best-tasting (and healthiest!) soy sauce is coconut aminos. Bragg’s Liquid Coconut Aminos are gluten free, plant-based and the flavor is clean and delicious.Print
Better than takeout, this Cashew Chicken Stir Fry recipe is made from whole food ingredients and takes just 30 minutes to make.
- Prep Time:10
- Cook Time:15
- Total Time:25 minutes
- Begin by steaming broccoli in a saucepan. In the meantime, begin working on step 2, and remove broccoli once tender. If using chicken, now is a great time to begin cooking this. I like to simply pan fry mine.
- Heat coconut oil on medium heat in a large saucepan or wok. Add in sliced onion, red bell pepper, snap peas, and carrots. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown.
- Add the garlic cloves and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add in steamed broccoli (and chicken if you choose to include this) and sauté until slightly crisp.
- Push vegetables to the side, and add in cashews to an empty spot on the pan. Add more avocado oil if needed, and sauté until they are beginning to brown.
- Mix stir fry together, and sprinkle with salt to taste.
- Coat in coconut aminos to taste (I use around 1/4 cup), and mix until well combined.
- Serve warm. Enjoy!
Non-toxic cookware is an extremely important component of a healthy lifestyle. I used Xtrema Cookware for everything in this recipe!