One of my wife's favorite places to eat, before we went plant-based that is, was Panda Express. There's something about that greasy, deep-fried, Chinese Takeout that tastes SO good!
While I usually went for the spicer Kung Pao or Schezwan dishes, my wife's favorite was always Orange Chicken.
So as I was headed to the grocery store one night, I passed a brand new Panda Express and thought, "I wonder if I could make a healthier version of Orange Chicken, using something else besides chicken"?
A Vegan Orange Chicken?
Well, the answer is definitely yes !!!
And let me tell you this is WAY BETTER than the original!
- Baked Crispy Cauliflower Bites
- Stir Fried Mushrooms
- Red Bell Pepper
- Green Onion Garnish
- Steamed Brown Rice
- And a homemade Orange Sauce that is out of this world!
- Did I mention no oil?
Now I'm not a huge cauliflower fan - never have been. I think it's a texture thing.
But THIS! This was amazing! And with that Sauce? Psssssssh....
Get ready to treat yourselves, you're really going to like this one.
Vegan Orange Chicken
The Cauliflower in this recipe is so easy to make. I was surprised at how good they were!
Simply make a batter of flour, almond milk, and some seasoning, and roll your cauliflower bites around in it until they're completely smothered.
Then line them up on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.
Seriously how easy was that?
While they're happily baking away there's plenty of time to make the sauce.
The Orange Sauce
We're going to add the following ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan.
Vegetable Broth, Rice Wine Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Orange Juice, Orange Zest, Garlic Powder, Ground Ginger, and Sugar.
Everyday ingredients we all probably have in our pantry, but when combined make the most amazing Orange Sauce you've ever tasted.
To zest an Orange, simply wash an unwaxed orange really well and then take your favorite grater and grate about a teaspoon of the orange part of the peel. Make sure you stop when you get down to the white pithy part - it's usually really bitter.
Now there is sugar in this sauce - so for those of you who try to watch your sugar intake, you could try a substitute although your results will probably vary.
You could also try to add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until you find just the right level of sweetness for you.
Once your sauce has started simmering, add your arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) to some COLD water and make a slurry. Add this to your sauce to thicken. One of my readers corrected me in a past recipe and mentioned cornstarch works better in COLD water - and he was right. So thank you for the tip!
The Stir Fry
Once your sauce and cauliflower are done, simply prepare your rice, and start stir frying a package of White Button Mushrooms.
I added a clove of garlic and a splash of veggie broth to keep things from sticking. Once they started to release their own liquid I tossed in some red bell pepper rings and chopped green onions for garnish.
That's one of the questions I get asked a lot when people discover I avoid oil. How do you stir-fry without oil?
Easy! Just use veggie broth, or water, or wine, or just about any liquid you want! The trick is use just enough so that your veggies won't stick. Many veggies (like mushrooms) have a high water content so they'll release their own liquid as they're cooking. Just keep things moving around and you won't have a problem.
Once the veggies are softened it's time to add in you cauliflower bites and the sauce.
Give it a good stir so everything is coated in the sauce and then let it simmer a minute or two until it's heated through.
Serve over brown or white rice, and dinner is ready! chopsticks are optional 🙂
Vegan Orange Chicken
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Cuisine: Chinese
A Vegan Orange Chicken Stir-Fry that tastes just like Panda Express only using Baked Cauliflower Bites instead. Completely Vegan and Fat-Free.
- 1 head Cauliflower ((small))
- 8 oz Mushrooms
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 bunch Green Onions ((sliced into 1" pieces))
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Ground Pepper
- ½ cup Vegetable Broth ((low sodium))
- ⅓ cup Rice Wine Vinegar
- ¼ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce ((low sodium))
- 2 Tbs Orange Juice
- 2 Tbs Maple Syrup
- 1 tsp Orange Zest
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Ground Ginger
- 2 Tbs Cold Water
- 1 Tbs Arrowroot Powder ((or Cornstarch))
- Prepare rice as directed.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Wash and cut a small head of cauliflower into bite-sized chunks.
- Prepare batter in a large bowl and dip cauliflower pieces in batter until completely covered
- Place the cauliflower pieces on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes
- Place all sauce ingredients except arrowroot and water in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Mix arrowroot and water to make a slurry and add to sauce to thicken
- Add mushrooms to a Wok or large pan and stir fry in a little veggie broth until softened
- Add red bell pepper and green onions and continue to stir-fry until softened
- When the cauliflower pieces are baked, stir them into the stir-fry and add sauce.
- Stir well until everything is completely coated and simmer for a few minutes until heated through.
Tips Are Always Welcome
I love this recipe and amazingly so do the kids!!!
We loved it! Thank you for creating this great recipe!
I made this with tofu and rice noodles and it was phenomenal! Super easy, fast and delicious!
Someone asked if you could make the sauce ahead and the answer was yes. I am wondering the same thing about the batter; could that be made ahead of time?
The plating of this dish looks amazing. I have a head of cauliflower that is about to be turned into this gorgeous dish. thanks for sharing
I am marking this recipe for next in my cooking regimen. I haven’t found one recipe of yours that I didn’t like. Thanks for all of your research and talent.
That Orange Chicken is by FAR the BEST cauliflower recipe out there!!!!!!
The flavor is fab. I went WFPB Vegan on Jan 10th, 2021. By Feb 10th I found my sweet taste buds are hyperactive. I left out the brown sugar and the orange zest, the level of sweetness was perfect. When my taste buds woke up they really went crazy. Thank you,. Vegan Orange is fab.
This was so delicious! Thank you, Chuck, for another winner! I may cut back on the sugar next time, but that is just personal preference. I have cut back on sugar so much that I really taste it in recipes. This will satisfy my craving for Chinese food nicely! Thanks again!
Made this tonight, . It was awesome! Very surprised how crisp the cauliflower got, even after adding the sauce! Didn’t have orange so I used the zest and juice of two halos. Worked great.
Really enjoyed this recipe. The next time I make it I will cut the sugar in half, personal preference.. Thank you.
So, I went the gluten-free, dairy-free route. GF flour and coconut milk. Delish! Kept cauliflower in the oven 10 mins more to brown better, but it never really got golden. No matter, we loved the sauce and the sriracha addition. A great dinner! This is my first recipe from your site, won’t be the last. Thank you!
Do you use juice from the urange you zested? Or can you use frozen concentrate? I watched the tater tot video above. You have a great voice. I never had time for the videos before because of taking care of my mother. She passed away two and a half weeks ago at nearly 97. I will be videa fan now. Thanks!