Healthy General Tso Chicken | Better Than Takeout!

Love takeout, but hate the grease and high sodium?  This Healthy General Tso Chicken recipe is better than takeout! High-protein chicken breasts are coated in garbanzo bean flour and almond meal and then sautéed in olive oil instead of being deep-fried. It’s a clean-eating, gluten-free meal for any night of the week!

Mouthwateringly delicious, this Healthy General Tso’s Chicken recipe is the best you’ll ever have. High-protein chicken breasts are coated in garbanzo bean flour and almond meal and then sautéed in olive oil instead of deep-fried. It’s a clean-eating, gluten-free meal for any night of the week!

Guys, I’m very excited to share this healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken with you today because it’s been one of the MOST requested #makeithealthy recipes on Instagram <– you should totes follow me BTW.

BUT there was one kinda big problem.

Confession: I had never tried General Tso’s Chicken before.  Yep, like ever.

I know.  Weird, right?  So many people look at me like I’m crazy when I say that.

It’s the same look I used to get when I told people I had never seen “Grease” or all of the “Star Wars” movies.

Pure and utter disbelief.

Since so many of you requested that I make a healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken, though, I knew it was finally time to remedy this ridiculous secret.

And by “remedy,” I really mean “go to the nearest Chinese restaurant and get me some General Tso’s Chicken to test.”

BTW I seriously love my job 🙂

Next, I enlisted the help of Dustin who, thankfully, didn’t judge me too harshly once I shared my secret.  Plus, this meant he got to eat Chinese food with me.

He loves my job, too.

Overhead view of ingredients for Healthy General Tso's Chicken, including almond meal, garbanzo flour, and eggs.

The Research.

We tried a few different General Tso’s Chicken recipes across Austin and came up with a game plan for how to make it healthy at home.

All in the name of research, people.  This was serious.

My first impressions of General Tso’s Chicken were the following:

  • yum!
  • nice flavors
  • great texture
  • fried. bummer.
  • this is TOTES perfect for a #makeithealthy recipe

Let’s break it down.  Obviously the biggest issue with your typical take-out General Tso’s Chicken recipe is that it’s deep-fried. Which means lots of bad oils.  And all the breading.  Which means all the refined flours.

It’s okay, though.  We got this.  Let’s just swap the heavy oils and deep frying with a light amount of olive oil.  Awesome.

Then, let’s replace the high/empty carbs in the breading with (amazingly awesome) high protein/fiber garbanzo bean flour and almond meal.

Yaaas!

Aaaaaand this brings me back to clean eating.  Can I just take a moment to say how much I LOVE clean eating?

It’s just so super duper awesomely cool to me that we can take the foods we love and make them into something that’s actually good for us.

Like cheesecake.

And pancakes.

And ice cream.

Hooray!

That being said, I want to thank you all for sending in your requests to make a healthy version of General Tso’s Chicken.  I absolutely loved this challenge and the opportunity to take a comfort food for so many of you and turn it into something you can enjoy.

Super. Freaking, Awesome.

If you have a recipe that you’d like for me to #makeithealthy, I would SO love to hear from you.  Last time, we made a Healthy Mac & Cheese and now a General Tso’s Chicken.  Looking good, peeps!

Either let me know on Instagram or reply in the comments below!

Overhead view of a skillet, with a spoon stirring Healthy General Tso's Chicken.

WHAT IS GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN?

General Tso’s Chicken is typically bought as a favorite Chinese takeout meal or served in a restaurant. The chicken is savory, and the sauce is spicy, sticky, and sweet. 

Once I tried it (better late than never, I say!), General Tso Chicken became one of my favorite dishes when we went out for Chinese. Because I loved the flavors so much, I knew I had to make a healthy version so that I could enjoy it as often as I wanted.

That’s what you’ll see in this recipe. And I guarantee you are gonna love it!

Overhead image of a bowl of Healthy General Tso's Chicken, topped with green onions and sesame seeds.

HOW TO MAKE GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN HEALTHY

General Tso’s Chicken is usually made with chicken thighs that are breaded and deep-fried. That means the dish typically has a high amount of fat and contains refined flour. I’ve taken care of all of that in my recipe, though. 

This yummy dish is clean-eating and less heavy than the recipes you normally see. Here is how I did it:

  • Replace chicken thighs with chicken breasts. Both are high in protein, but breast is less fatty.
  • Instead of refined flour, use garbanzo bean flour and almond meal. Both of these alternatives are gluten-free.
  • For a paleo alternative to refined flour, choose either amaranth or cassava flour.
  • Use arrowroot starch for thickening the sauce instead of cornstarch or refined flour.
  • Be sure to use a low sodium chicken broth instead of the regular type. It’s better for the heart.
  • Low sodium soy sauce should also be used as opposed to regular soy sauce.
  • Coconut sugar replaces refined white or brown sugar. Coconut sugar is natural and made from coconut palm sap.
  • Use olive oil to cook the chicken instead of deep-frying to save the consumption of unhealthy fats.

Overhead image of a white bowl containing Healthy General Tso's chicken, topped with sesame seeds and green onion, and with chop sticks beside the bowl.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN

Store your General Tso’s Chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

  • In the Oven: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place the chicken in a baking dish and cover with foil. Fold the foil around the edges to make an airtight seal.  Reheat 8-10 minutes, depending on the quantity of chicken in the dish. For the last few minutes of reheating, remove the foil.
  • In the Microwave: The chicken, vegetables and rice can be microwaved together or separately for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through.

Overhead image of a white bowl full of Healthy General Tso's Chicken served with rice, and topped with sesame seeds and chiles.

DELICIOUS SIDES TO SERVE WITH HEALTHY GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN

What to serve alongside this yummy chicken dish? I like to have veggies with every meal, and rice goes well, too!

Close up view of a chop stick holding a piece of Healthy General Tso's Chicken, ready to eat.

MORE HEALTHY TAKEOUT RECIPES

Looking for more healthy takeout style recipes? These are some of my favorites:

Healthy General Tso’s Chicken

5 from 1 vote
General Tso's Chicken - Square Recipe Preview Image
Healthy General Tso's Chicken | Better Than Takeout
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Mouthwateringly delicious, this Healthy General Tso’s Chicken recipe is the best you’ll ever have. High-protein chicken breasts are coated in garbanzo bean flour and almond meal and then sautéed in olive oil instead of deep-fried. It’s a clean-eating, gluten-free meal for any night of the week!

Categories: Clean Eating, gluten free, Healthy, Make It Healthy
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: healthy general tso chicken, healthy general tso chicken recipe, sugar free general tso sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 491 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier of A Sweet Pea Chef
Ingredients
FOR THE CHICKEN:
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups Garbanzo bean flour divided
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot starch plus more for sauce
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil plus more as needed
FOR THE SAUCE:
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger minced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 6 dried red chilies
TOP WITH:
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Prep three medium mixing bowls to create the coating. In one, add just 2/3 cup garbanzo flour. In the next one, add 3 eggs and then beat them together. In the final bowl, combine the remaining 2/3 cup garbanzo flour with the almond meal, and 1 tbsp. arrowroot starch.
  2. Prep your skillet by heating it over medium-high heat and adding the olive oil.
  3. Once the oil is hot, create an assembly line with the chicken.
  4. Start by dredging the chicken into the garbanzo flour, followed by the egg, then the garbanzo-almond meal mixture, Then, place into the hot skillet. Repeat with about half of the chicken, making sure to leave enough space in between the chicken to cook evenly.
  5. Cook for 2-4 minutes on the one side, or until golden-brown, then turn over and brown the other side. Once browned, remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside. Repeat with the remaining chicken. (If you need, you can add a little extra olive oil to help keep the chicken cooking evenly.)
  6. To make the sauce, combine the low sodium chicken broth, hoisin sauce, rice wine vinegar, low sodium soy sauce, coconut sugar, the remaining 2 tsp. arrowroot starch, minced fresh ginger, minced garlic, and dried red chilies in a skillet and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Return the cooked chicken to the pan and toss to coat evenly. Cook for an additional couple minutes to heat the chicken through.
  8. Serve with steamed brown rice, if desired, and topped with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Healthy General Tso's Chicken | Better Than Takeout
Amount Per Serving
Calories 491 Calories from Fat 212
% Daily Value*
Fat 23.5g36%
Saturated Fat 3.1g16%
Cholesterol 193.9mg65%
Sodium 829.7mg35%
Carbohydrates 24.3g8%
Fiber 3.3g13%
Sugar 13.3g15%
Protein 43.8g88%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

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