On occasion, everyone wants to take it easy for the night and order takeout. One of the most popular dishes ordered at Chinese restaurants is cashew chicken. In this classic, tender pieces of chicken are sautéed along with broccoli and buttery jumbo cashews – some places may add other vegetables as well – and then tossed in a sweet, slightly tangy sauce. With steamed rice on the side to absorb the sauce, it’s no wonder so many people choose this as a treat.
But cashew chicken doesn’t have to be for only special occasions. With the right ingredients, you can make a delicious version at home. This recipe is also a lighter option than what you may get from a restaurant as it avoids cornstarch as a thickening agent.
For convenience, we suggest ground ginger, but if you have a fresh piece at home, you can use ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated ginger for more impactful flavor. You can also use frozen broccoli if needed. And if you’d like to add some spice, throw in a pinch of crushed red pepper when you’re done cooking.
Yield: Serves 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger (or ¼ teaspoon fresh)
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 6 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup peeled and chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup fresh (or frozen) broccoli florets
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
- ¼ cup unsalted jumbo cashews
- 1 cup cooked white rice
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, oil, ginger, and water to make the sauce. Set aside for later use.
- Season the cubed chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large, 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken to skillet and sauté until cooked through, about 4 minutes.
- Add onions, broccoli, and garlic to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 1 minute, until vegetables are crisp and tender.
- Add raw cashews and sauce to the pan. Cook until the sauce comes to a light boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Serve over cooked rice and enjoy.
Tips for cooking rice for one: Cook a larger batch of white or brown rice and freeze it in individual portions using a muffin pan. Once frozen, you can pop a single rice disc out of the muffin pan and store in a freezer bag. Whenever a recipe calls for a single service of rice, just remove one of the discs from the freezer and heat up quickly.
Nutrition of Cashew Chicken
As mentioned, this recipe is lighter than the traditional takeout version. Instead of the thickening agent of cornstarch, the sauce is simply reduced until it coats the chicken and vegetables, avoiding this ingredient. The water evaporates as it cooks, leaving the dish just as flavorful. Some restaurants also add MSG, which is avoided in this dish.
Adjustments can be made, such as using brown rice or an alternative like cauliflower rice to avoid carbohydrates. Many people will also choose to add additional vegetables.
The inclusion of jumbo cashews automatically adds more nutrition to this dish. In addition to the protein of the chicken and nutrients in the broccoli and onions, cashews are full of healthy fats and other vitamins and minerals that make this dish good for you in addition to delicious.
The Best Cashews for Cooking
Home recipes are all as good as the ingredients you use. Just like you may search for organic or free-range chicken and vegetables free of pesticides, your cashew chicken calls for high-quality cashews. Jumbo cashews from Beyond the Nut are gluten-free, vegan, GMO-free, and meet the ethical standards of a fair trade certification. These cashews will come to you without preservatives or hidden oils, making them a pure ingredient to add to your home cooking. You can even order in bulk so you always have cashews on hand for your next snack or recipe!