I eat my fair share of Chinese food! But when I can make it at home, I feel so much better about what I’m putting in my body—because I know exactly the ingredients that I’m using.
One of the dishes that always seems crave-worthy to me is anything labeled “General Tso’s.” Unfortunately, that usually means breaded, fried, and tossed in a decadent sauce. I don’t order it for that very reason. So I finally created a healthier homemade version of General Tso’s.
This vegetarian stir-fry recipe is full of textures and colors, mainly from eggplant, edamame, and red bell pepper. It’s got a spicy kick, too. There’s no breading or deep frying required. It’s delicious as is or paired with steamed brown basmati rice. Add an extra splash of soy sauce, if you like. Get your chopsticks ready!
Calories saved: 270
Why it’s better for you? No breading or deep frying required. Plus it’s absolutely loaded with vegetables!
- general tso’s sauce:
- 1/4 cup unsweetened green tea or water
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon naturally-brewed soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Asian chili paste with garlic
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons coconut nectar or honey
- 1 teaspoon organic cornstarch
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen shelled organic edamame
- 1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed or peanut oil
- 1 large (1 1/4-pound) eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch cubes, stem removed
- 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced into matchstick-size strips
- 2 scallions, green part only, minced
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted
- Prepare the sauce by whisking together the tea, tomato paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili paste, sesame oil, coconut nectar, and cornstarch. Set aside. (Note: Sauce can be made in advance and chilled.)
- Prepare the edamame according to package directions. Drain well and set aside.
- Heat the oil in a stick-resistant wok or extra-large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant and sauté until cooked through and browned, about 6 minutes. Add the edamame and bell pepper and sauté until the bell pepper is cooked through yet still firm, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the sauce and sauté until slightly thickened and vegetables are fully coated, about 1 minute.
- Transfer to a serving platter or bowl, sprinkle with the scallions and sesame seeds, and serve.
Per serving: 240 calories, 12g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 360mg sodium, 24g total carbohydrate, 9g dietary fiber, 11g sugars, 10g protein
The “Before” Version
Inspired by general tso’s chicken
Per serving: 510 calories, 22g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 105mg cholesterol, 960mg sodium, 52g total carbohydrate, 1g dietary fiber, 6g sugars, 23g protein
- For color, choose vegetables first, like red bell pepper
- For crunch, consider extra sesame seeds rather than relying on frying
- For a meaty texture, try “meaty” cubes of eggplant
- For a protein boost, edamame is an excellent pick