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May 6, 2020

Paleo Cashew Chicken (Whole30, Keto)

This Paleo Cashew Chicken recipe is a healthy homemade spin on the classic Chinese takeout dish that comes together in 30 minutes or less. With tender chicken, crunchy cashews, broccoli, snap peas, bell peppers, and a savory-sweet sauce, it tastes just like your favorite Chinese restaurant, but healthier. Whole30, Keto, gluten-free, and soy-free too!

Paleo Cashew Chicken in skillet

30-Minute Homemade Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

Yes, you read right. This cashew chicken stir fry is ready in just 30 minutes. It’s made with wholesome, healthy ingredients and cooked in the comfort of home. So skip the takeout and make this classic Chinese-inspired dish in your own kitchen!

And let’s be honest. No one likes a take-out hangover. All the sugar and processed ingredients found in typical Chinese food — albeit delicious — can make you feel like crap the next day. But with this Paleo Cashew Chicken recipe, you’ll get all the flavors you love from your favorite Chinese restaurant in an easy, healthy, homemade package.

This Paleo Cashew Chicken recipe is the ultimate comfort food with juicy chicken, crunchy cashews, and tender veggies. I promise you won’t miss takeout. This cashew chicken is easy enough to make for busy weeknights and as the perfect “treat-yo-self” dinner to make on Saturday nights. It’s even good to have as leftovers the next day, kid-approved, and great for meal prep!

Whole30 Cashew Chicken in skillet

Why This Paleo Cashew Chicken Is Healthier Than Takeout

Traditional Chinese cashew chicken contains soy, gluten, corn, vegetable oils and loads of sugar. I wanted to make this recipe taste like the classic take-out version, but without all the nasty ingredients.

To make this cashew chicken stir fry, you’ll need: boneless, skinless chicken breasts, white vinegar (rice wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar will also work), sesame oil, ground ginger, red pepper flakes, chicken broth, (homemade is best, but store-bought is fine; can also use water), garlic, red bell pepper, broccoli florets, sugar snap peas, scallions (green and white parts), raw cashews, and raw sesame seeds.

This Paleo cashew chicken recipe also features health-conscious swaps like:

  • Coconut Aminos to replace the soy sauce.
  • Honey to naturally sweeten, instead of high fructose corn syrup (local is best!).
  • Arrowroot Starch to thicken the chicken, instead of corn starch
  • Coconut Oil to fry the chicken and sauté the vegetables. Much healthier than using vegetable oils and performs great at high heat cooking.
Black bowl filled with paleo cashew chicken

How To Make Paleo Cashew Chicken Stir Fry

  • Toast the Cashews: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  • Prep the Sauce: Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the coconut aminos, white vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, honey, and chicken broth. Set aside.
  • Coat the Chicken for Stir Frying: place cubed chicken in a large bowl with sea salt, black pepper and arrowroot starch. Toss chicken until coated evenly.
  • Cook the Chicken: In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken once the oil is sizzling hot. Cook chicken until golden brown, for 3-4 minutes, flipping and stirring so all sides cook evenly. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.
  • Stir Fry the Vegetables: In the same skillet, add coconut oil, then add garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add bell pepper, broccoli, snap peas, and green onions. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender. Add the chicken back to the skillet.
  • Add the Sauce: Add the sauce and toss with chicken and vegetables until evenly coated. Let sauce simmer for 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Toss in the cashews and green onions and stir.
  • Serve hot with cauliflower rice.

If you love this easy Paleo stir fry, then you should try my Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki and my Paleo Chicken Tenders!

TIPS FOR MAKING PALEO CASHEW CHICKEN

  • Prep all the ingredients beforehand, and this recipe will move a lot faster, as well as prevent anything from burning or overcooking. Chop the bell peppers, broccoli, and green onions. Set those aside in one bowl and then cube your chicken.
  • Wait to add chicken to the skillet until the coconut oil is sizzling and spitting. This means the skillet is hot enough to begin sautéing the chicken. Keep the coconut oil out on your counter in case you need to add a little bit more throughout browning the chicken.
  • You want crispy, but tender chicken bites, just like your favorite Chinese restaurant. Make sure to sauté chicken on medium-high heat to ensure the chicken gets the right crispiness.
  • Roasting the cashews is optional. However, I find that roasting the cashews provides a delicious crunch in each bite.
  • If you are using a stainless steel pan (not non-stick), then be sure the coconut oil is sizzling before adding the chicken. Let the chicken brown on one side before flipping and stirring. Once the chicken is browned on one side it will flip easily. If the chicken is sticking give it a little more time before flipping.
  • If you want to thicken the sauce more, let it simmer for 1-2 minutes longer in the skillet.
  • Change up the veggies! This Paleo Cashew Chicken recipe is a great way to clean out your fridge. Asparagus, cauliflower, or carrots would be great additions!
  • Or change up the protein! Beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu would also work here.
Keto Cashew Chicken in skillet with wooden spoon

Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions

  • Store leftover, cooled Paleo Cashew Chicken Stir Fry in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze cooled stir fry in an airtight, freezer-safe container for up to a month.
  • Reheat frozen or chilled cashew chicken in the microwave for 2-5 minutes, or until warmed through, or in a skillet over medium-low heat until warmed through and most of the water has evaporated.

MORE PALEO RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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Paleo Cashew Chicken in skillet

Paleo Cashew Chicken (Whole30, Keto)


  • Author: Abbey Blackwell
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Paleo Cashew Chicken is a Chinese takeout classic that’s stir-fried in just 20 minutes. With tender chicken, crunchy cashews, broccoli, snap peas, and bell peppers, it tastes just like your favorite Chinese restaurant, but healthier. All topped with a flavorful sweet and savory sauce. Whole30, Keto, gluten free, and soy free too! 


Ingredients

Scale

For the chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into 1” cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch or corn starch (not paleo or Whole30)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

For the sauce:

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce (not Paleo or Whole30)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon honey (omit for Whole30)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or water

For the vegetables:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped into 1” bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar snap peas
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • sesame seeds, to garnish

Instructions

  1. Toast cashews: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  2. Prepare the sauce: Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the coconut aminos, white vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, honey, and chicken broth. Set aside.
  3. Coat chicken: place cubed chicken in a large bowl with sea salt, black pepper and arrowroot starch. Toss chicken until coated evenly.
  4. Cook chicken: In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken once the oil is sizzling hot. Cook chicken until golden brown, for 3-4 minutes, flipping and stirring so all sides cook evenly. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.
  5. Stir-fry vegetables: In the same skillet, add coconut oil, then add garlic. Saute until fragrant, then add bell pepper, broccoli, snap peas, and green onions. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender. Add the chicken back to the skillet.
  6. Add sauce: Add the sauce and toss with chicken and vegetables until evenly coated. Let sauce simmer for 1-2 minutes, until thickened. Toss in the cashews and green onions and stir. Serve hot with cauliflower rice.

Notes

  • If you are using a stainless steel pan (not non-stick) be sure the coconut oil is sizzling before adding the chicken. Let the chicken brown on one side before flipping and stirring. Once the chicken is browned on one side it will flip easily. If the chicken is sticking give it a little more time before flipping.
  • If you want to thicken the sauce more, let it simmer for 1-2 minutes longer in the skillet.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Keywords: Whole30 cashew chicken, keto cashew chicken, healthy cashew chicken,

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I’m Abbey. I’m a real-food foodie that loves to cook delicious meals that nourish the body. I love talking about all things holistic living, too. I’m so glad you’re here!

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