I used to love take-out orange chicken. Specifically the sickeningly sweet fluorescent orange chicken from a well-known national drive thru-Asian diner.
You know the one.
However, the last time I ate orange chicken from this particular place about 8 years ago, I broke out in a rash all over my face! The rash was itchy and uncomfortable and spread all over my face and neck. Having no health insurance at the time, I took some Benadryl, prayed that the rash would be gone by morning, and went to bed. Thankfully, when I woke up the next day, the rash was mostly gone, but I vowed never to eat at that drive-thru Asian diner ever again. No more wok-fried chemical orange chicken for me.
My husband and I reminisced the other day about this particular memory when the idea hit me to try and mimic the orange chicken flavors in a healthy plant-based way. Since I would be using real ingredients and working from a very old memory, I set out with a plan and hoped for the best.
This Orange Chickpea Bowl turned out way better than I remembered the original being.
And total bonus, I didn’t break out in a rash. #winning
This dish was a snap to throw together on a busy week night. If you use leftover brown rice from your meal prep day, then you can have this complete better-than-takeout dinner on the table in less than 10 minutes!
Orange Chickpea Bowls
Ingredients for Bowls:
- 2 cups of brown rice
- 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2-3 heads of broccoli, cut into florets
- 3 carrots, peeled and shredded (or made into fancy carrot curls!)
- Sesame seeds for garnish
Ingredients for Orange Sauce:
- 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
- 3 TBS of maple syrup
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger
- Zest of 1 orange
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 3 TBS corn starch
- Cook rice according to package directions.
- Toward the last 15 minutes of the rice cooking time, whisk together all of the ingredients for the orange sauce. Make sure to whisk until the corn starch is fully dissolved.
- Add the sauce to a small pan on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, whisking well.
- Add the chickpeas to the sauce pan and stir well to coat evenly in the sauce. Turn the heat to low, stirring occasionally. Check the sauce for sweetness/salt level and adjust to your taste.
- While the chickpeas are warming, add the broccoli to a pot with a lid along with a 1/4 cup of water. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat to high. Allow the water to come to a quick boil and steam the broccoli for 3-5 minutes until they reach your desired texture while keeping their bright green color. Once the broccoli is finished, remove the lid, take the pot off the heat, and drain any excess water.
- To assemble the bowls, add the brown rice to each bowl and top with the steamed broccoli, shredded carrots, chickpeas with sauce, and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in separate lidded containers in the fridge for 3-4 days. Serves about 4-6.
Make me feel better. Anyone out there ever have a bad reaction to takeout food? Share in the comments below!
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