A healthier spin on a Chinese takeout favorite
This recipe for Kung Pao Chickpeas is the answer to “What’s for dinner?” Short on time? Kung Pao Chickpeas to the rescue. It’s almost as quick as ordering takeout. Meatless Monday? This is a vegan-friendly recipe, but you won’t even notice you’re not eating meat. Don’t have all the vegetables or don’t like them? This dish will still taste delish without.
My friend, Bridgette, was doing a happy dance when she first ate her version of this dish. Yes, it definitely is “happy dance” worthy.
The Perfect Blend of Flavors
Kung Pau Chickpeas has just the right amount of sweet (I use coconut sugar) with just the right amount of spicy heat (chili sauce/paste or sriracha adjusted to taste). And that touch of peanut butter, creamy or chunky, makes all the flavors come together perfectly.
It’s so easy
- The ingredients for this recipe are probably already in your fridge and pantry. The only “unusual” ingredient is liquid aminos, a soy sauce alternative.
- It takes minutes to prepare. You will have to plan for 10 minutes of marinating the chickpeas. So, start that first and then prep the remaining ingredients. Cooking this dish is a super quick.
- Easy substitutions
- I use chili garlic sauce or ground chili paste instead of sriracha. That’s only because I like the spiciness of both of them better than sriracha. Hint: All of these sauces can be spicy so use SPARINGLY! I start with about 1/2 teaspoon and start adding a little at a time to taste.
- I use coconut sugar as the sweetener in this recipe but use whatever you have on hand. Brown sugar will do.
- You can even skip the bell pepper and celery if you’re not in the chopping mood. But they do add great flavor and lots of nutrients if you are.
- You can use tamari or even soy sauce instead of liquid aminos.
- I’ve been known to use chicken broth (if not feeling vegan) or the chickpea “liquid” from the can instead of vegetable broth with tasty results.
- I usually use chunky peanut butter because I like the extra peanuty taste and texture, or if I don’t have peanuts on hand. But creamy peanut butter, my pantry staple, works great, too.
How to Make Kung Pao Chickpeas
- Marinate chickpeas in a bowl for 10 minutes.
- Prep the remaining ingredients while waiting for chickpeas to marinate.
- In a small bowl, combine sauce ingredients and set aside.
- When ready to cook, heat oil in a large skillet
- Using low heat, sauté garlic, ginger, green onions, bell pepper and celery for about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the chickpeas (with the marinade) and then add the prepared sauce. Stir to combine.
- Saute until vegetables are soft and sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the sesame oil.
- Add a little extra broth or water if mixture is too thick.
- Serve over steamed rice and garnish with chopped green onion and peanuts.
Other Asian-Style Favorites
Kung Pao Chickpeas
- 1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained
- 1 Tablespoon liquid aminos or tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 green onions, chopped (extra for garnish)
- 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)
- 1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
- 1-2 Tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown sugar/sweetener of choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
- 2 teaspoons liquid aminos or tamari (or soy sauce)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon chili sauce or sriracha (or more if you like it SPICY)
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
- ¼ cup peanuts, chopped (for garnish)
- 1 green onion, chopped
- In a medium bowl, COMBINE chickpeas, liquid aminos, lemon juice and cornstarch.
- MARINATE chickpeas for 10 minutes.
- PLACE sauce ingredients in a small bowl. STIR to combine. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, HEAT oil on LOW heat. ADD the garlic, ginger, green onion, bell pepper, and celery.
- SAUTÉ until vegetables begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes.
- Turn heat to medium-low. ADD chickpeas and STIR.
- ADD sauce to chickpea mixture and COOK until sauce thickens and vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
- REMOVE from heat. STIR in the sesame oil.
- STIR in extra broth or water if mixture is too thick, a little at a time.
- SERVE over steamed rice,
- GARNISH with chopped green onions and peanuts.