Low Carb Orange Chicken (Gluten Free)
Now you might think it’s crazy to use oranges in low carb recipes because they have sugar in them. But I was surprised to find that 1 ounce (2 Tablespoons) of orange juice has only 3g of net carbs – lime juice has 2.5 grams per ounce.
So you can pack a lot of orange flavor into a low carb recipe with a couple of tablespoons of fresh OJ, plus some of the zest, and if you really want to punch it up, some orange extract.
That’s what I did in my low carb version of the classic orange chicken. Sticky and sweet, Orange Chicken was always one of my faves when we’d order Chinese takeout – before I embraced a low carb diet anyway. So this is my gluten free, low carb Orange Chicken recipe.
It’s not as sticky or viscous, but it’s packed with sweet orange flavor that soaks into the crispy breading, which is made with coconut flour and just a little cornstarch. The cornstarch adds some carbs, but it helps thicken the sauce and crisp up the chicken so it’s worth it to me. You can use chicken breast but I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because they don’t dry out like breast meat, and they give you that slightly chewy texture that you usually get in the “real” thing when you order out.
Makes 4 servings
For the sauce:
1 Tbl ginger, chopped
*use whatever sweetener you prefer for this recipe – I used xylitol, which measures like sugar. If you aren’t sure how much to use, try using half and tasting it before you add more. Remember that the sauce will reduce and the sweetness will intensify so it shouldn’t be too sweet before you start cooking it down. You can always add more sweetener after you reduce it if it’s not sweet enough for your preference.
Chop the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces. Combine the cornstarch and coconut flour in a medium sized bowl and season with salt & pepper. Add the chicken to the flour mixture and toss well until fully coated. Heat coconut oil in a large saute pan. Cook the chicken in small batches until golden brown and no longer pink. Remove the chicken to a plate or bowl.
Meanwhile, combine the ginger, orange juice, fish sauce, soy sauce, orange extract, sweetener, water, and coriander in a blender or magic bullet – blend until smooth. Pour into a saute pan and cook until reduced by half. Add the chicken back to the sauce and stir to coat. Cook for about two minutes and then add the orange zest, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes and scallions. Cook for another minute, then remove from the heat and serve garnished with more orange zest if preferred.
I served this low carb orange chicken with a spicy Sriracha roasted broccoli. If you’ve been craving some Chinese takeout, this low carb recipe for Orange Chicken will hopefully take the edge off! It did for me anyway! Let me know what your favorite Chinese takeout dish is and I’ll put it on my list of recipes to try and make over soon! :)