Bursting with fresh flavour, and incredibly simple to prepare, this vegan orange chicken will have your taste buds doing a happy dance! It’s protein packed, pairs perfectly with noodles or rice, and it’s wonderfully wholesome and delicious.
I know some of you may disagree with me naming this dish ‘vegan orange chicken’, since clearly if it is in fact vegan, it is obviously not chicken. I do see the contradiction here.
BUT – let me explain!
This dish really does emulate a version of orange chicken that perhaps you’ve tried before. The flavours here really do come from the sauce, of course, and the soy curls act as a replacement for the protein aspect.
Yes, I could have named it orange soy curls, but I just don’t think that has quite the same ring to it.
Plus, is anyone searching the web for orange soy curls? I’m guessing not.
Hence, vegan orange chicken, it is. And truly, it’s quite incredible so I do hope you try it!
What makes it so great?
- First off, it’s mega flavourful! The marinade is incredibly delicious, using freshly squeezed orange juice, none of that ‘from concentrate’ stuff.
- It’s packed with protein from nutrient dense soy curls as the star of the show.
- Suitable for a WFPB (whole food plant based) diet, using wholesome ingredients and no oil required at all.
- In addition to being vegan, this dish is also gluten free, nut free, and again, it’s oil free, making it suitable for all kinds of eaters!
- The best part? It’s low in calories, but you’d never guess!
How to make vegan orange chicken
(This is a summary with step by step photos, full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.)
Gather your ingredients for both the “chicken” and the marinade.
Combine all the marinade ingredients EXCEPT for the corn starch into a large enough bowl to fit your soy curls as well. Whisk the marinade until combined, and then add the curls to the same bowl. Let them soak for 10-15 minute. (photos 1-2)
Meanwhile, sauté your mushrooms and peppers in a nonstick skillet. Since the mushrooms will release their own liquid, you shouldn’t need any oil or water, but if things are starting to get stuck, feel free to add as needed. (photos 3-4)
Scoop your now hydrated soy curls out from the bowl of the marinade and into your skillet with the sautéed veggies, but DO NOT dump everything in. Use a slotted spoon to fish out, ONLY the curls and not the sauce. (photo 5)
Continue to sauté to brown some of the edges of your curls, for about 5 minutes or so. (photo 6)
Meanwhile, add the cornstarch to your bowl of sauce and whisk well to combine. (photos 7-8)
Then pour the sauce into your pan and let that simmer for a few minutes to thicken your sauce. (photos 9-10)
Serve your vegan orange chicken over a bed of rice, noodles, quinoa, or any grain of your choice.
What to serve with it
I like vermicelli noodles or brown rice best, but this vegan orange chicken would also work well with cauliflower rice, or any other kind of rice or grain!
Add more veggies like steamed broccoli, zucchini, sliced carrots or snow peas, if desired.
How long does it keep?
Vegan orange chicken tastes best when freshly made, however, leftovers will keep refrigerated for 3-4 days in a sealed container.
To reheat, add a little broth and heat in a skillet to add moisture back into the dish.
I don’t recommend freezing this one as the veggies and soy curls will get quite soggy once thawed and reheated.
Expert Tips | Substitutions
- For a saucier stir fry, double the marinade recipe.
- Make sure to use low sodium vegetable broth for the marinade, since we’re using a lot of Tamari/soy sauce, you don’t want the dish to be too salty. If you don’t have low sodium broth, use half a cup of the broth with half a cup of water.
- To make it lower in sodium, be sure to use low sodium Tamari or low sodium soy sauce.
- Soy curls are not the same as soy chunks. Most natural food aisles or health food stores will have soy curls. Or you can buy them on Amazon, here.
- If you don’t have soy curls or can’t purchase them near you, you may sub for canned or cooked chickpeas (that have been drained), instead.
- The nutritional information is for one fourth of the vegan orange chicken recipe and does not include noodles or rice.
More recipes featuring soy curls
- Soy Curl-Walnut Vegan Taco Meat – This recipe by My Quiet Kitchen uses soy curls and walnuts to make a mean taco! It’s spicy and delicious!
- Hawaiian BBQ Soy Curls Over Rice – Veggie Fun Kitchen uses them for a fun, sweet and tangy stir fry that’s perfect over a bed of rice.
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- 4 oz soy curls about half a pack of Butler’s soy curls
- 8 oz mushrooms sliced
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
For the Marinade
- 1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
- ½ cup orange juice freshly squeezed (approx 1 large orange)
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- ⅓ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce if not avoiding gluten
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon corn starch or 2 tablespoon all purpose flour
- Vermicelli noodles or brown rice
- Sesame seeds
- Green onion
- In a medium bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients, EXCEPT the cornstarch and whisk well. Then add the soy curls to the bowl and let soak for 10-15 minutes. Stir the curls to make sure they all get covered with the marinade.
- Meanwhile, add your sliced mushrooms and peppers to a large nonstick skillet. Dry sauté to soften and reduce for about 5 minutes. You shouldn’t need any oil or water as the mushrooms will release their own liquid, but if things are sticking, add a tablespoon or so of water.
- With a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the soaked soy curls to your skillet with the veggies but reserve the sauce. Make sure to fish out the curls from the bowl, and do not dump them in. Sauté another 5 minutes or so to brown the edges of the soy curls.
- Now add the cornstarch to your bowl of sauce and whisk well to combine. Then pour the sauce into the skillet with the curls and veggies. Simmer for 3-5 minutes to thicken the sauce, and then serve over a bed of vermicelli noodles or brown rice. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds, if desired.