Veggie Panda Express Orange Chicken is a healthy vegan alternative to the popular restaurant version. Cauliflower is the key!
Veggie Panda Express Orange Chicken is my vegetarian version made with cauliflower taking the place of the chicken. I did my best to replicate this famous dish; typically served on a bed of fluffy rice.
I have only been a vegetarian for a couple of years now, so I can still remember all the restaurant meals I formerly enjoyed. The Panda Express recipe for orange chicken is high up on the list of things I miss. I was never a big beef or pork eater to begin with, so when I would order at Chinese restaurants, I invariably had orange or lemon chicken.
I adore cauliflower, it’s high on my list of favorite vegetables, and so versatile! Great as a snack or for incorporating into main dishes like Veggie Panda Express Orange Chicken as an example.
If you make extra portions of the fried (tempura-style) cauliflower for this recipe, it can be used in other ways for other meals. I just got a deep fryer and I want to fry ALL THE THINGS!
Some ways I’ve used cauliflower in recipes:
- Buffalo Cauliflower – Great for snack time with a vegan ranch dressing.
- Aloo Gobi Masala – Potatoes and cauliflower simmered and cooked in a spiced gravy.
- Roasted Cauliflower & Leek soup – Cauliflower and garlic are roasted together to deliver plenty of flavor to this creamy dairy-free soup with leeks and marjoram.
- Hot Italian Giardiniera – From the Italian for “from the garden,” Traditionally, it was often made from whatever vegetables remained from the last harvest of the garden. Un po ‘di questo, un po’ di quello, “A little bit of this, a little bit of that”. It is a classic example of sustainability and letting nothing go to waste.
- Lime – Cilantro Riced Cauliflower – If you’re a fan like me, you’ll love this side dish! And it’s also vegetarian, vegan and Paleo-friendly.
- Pickled Cauliflower with Tarragon – I just bought some more canning jars & I’m ready to try all kinds of new things.
I will add all of these recipes to this blog at some point in the near future. I sometimes make two or three recipes in one day and since I’m new to this blogging thing, putting together a post has been taking me quite a while. I have recipes in queue to bring to you.
If you give this Veggie Panda Express Orange Chicken recipe a try, feel free to comment and let me know how it went over with the omnivores in your lives.
- 1 medium cauliflower - broken into florets - 3 cups
- ½ cup bell pepper - diced
- Grapeseed or olive oil for frying
- ⅓ of a scallion - finely sliced for garnish
- ½ tsp toasted sesame seeds - for garnish
- Ingredients for batter:
- ⅓ cup corn starch (can sub arrowroot powder)
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ cup water
- Ingredients for sauce:
- ½ tbsp oil (part sesame oil works well)
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- ¼ tsp ginger - ground or fresh - minced
- 1 orange - ½ cup squeezed juice & 1 tbsp zest
- ¾ cups vegetable broth
- 2 tsp soy sauce (tamari)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ to 1 tbsp sriracha
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ tsp white pepper (optional, can sub black pepper)
- 1 to 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (or corn starch)
- Heat ½ tbsp oil & add diced bell peppers over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes, set aside.
- While bells are cooking, heat oil for frying cauliflower in large pan, wok or deep fryer.
- Mix cornstarch, flour & a pinch of salt with water to make a fairly thick batter.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees to keep cauliflower warm.
- Dip cauliflower into batter, covering completely.
- Add them to frying oil: leave space between pieces & turn so they crisp evenly.
- Once the pieces are done, set them on a paper towel or paper bag to drain.
- Move cauliflower to warm oven while you make the sauce.
- For the sauce, heat ½ tbsp. oil in pan in which you cooked the bell peppers.
- Add broth, juice from orange, sriracha, soy sauce, sugar. Mix well.
- Mix 1 tbsp of arrowroot powder with water to make a thin paste.
- Once broth starts to boil, turn heat down to low simmer.
- Add the starch paste in slowly; sauce will thicken as it simmers.
- Add salt, pepper, and pepper flakes to taste.
- Once mixture thickens, add the bell peppers and cauliflower.
- Turn up the heat to medium, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Garnish with toasted sesame seeds & green onion curls.