General Tso's (Not) Chicken Bowls Recipe from Oh My Veggies (2024)

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Photos by Lindsey Johnson

A fellow vegetarian friend introduced me to a fantastic breed of restaurant: vegetarian Chinese. If you live near a major city, there'sprobably at least one nearby. Basically, you walk into what appears to be any old Chinese restaurant, and order from a menu that looks just like any ordinary Chinese restaurant menu. The twist is that dishes include no indication of whether or not they are suitable for vegetarians, because everything is vegetarian. It can be a little freaky at first, ordering something you'd never order at a conventional Chinese restaurant, but you get used to it pretty quickly.

One of those staples of American Chinese cuisine not normally suitable for vegetarians is General Tso's Chicken. This simple dish consists of crunchy stir-fried broccoli alongsidebattered chicken, doused in a sweet-meets-salty soy-garlic-vinegar sauce. The vegetarian version I had at this restaurant, which is so good it made the friend who suggested it to me cry, is one I always suggestit for vegetarian-Chinese newbies--even omnivorous ones--and they love it every time. It features battered and deep-fried seitan in place of the chicken, and the whole thing is smothered in candy-sweet sauce.


Couldn’t be too tough to create something just as delicious as this veggie Chinese-restaurant favorite, I thought. (Fried +loaded with sugar usually results in some good-tasting food.) I wouldn'tgo so far as to call this versionhealthy, but it’s definitely better for you than most restaurant versions. My General Tso’s Veggie Bowluses pan-fried seitan and a sweet—but not over-the-top sweet—sauce. You won't evenmiss the deep-frying or the extra sugar. This stuff is rich, scrumptious and will win over anyone you serve it to, vegetarian or not. Sorry in advance if it makes you cry.

This post was originally published on August 6, 2014.

Recipe

General Tso's (Not) Chicken Bowls Recipe from Oh My Veggies (3)

General Tso’s (Not) Chicken Bowls

This vegetarian take on General Tso's Chicken uses pan-fried seitan and crunchy broccoli, covered in a sweet (but not too sweet) sauce.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes minutes

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

Diet: Vegetarian

Keyword: General Tso’s (Not) Chicken Bowls, vegetarian General Tso's Chicken

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 286kcal

Author: Oh My Veggies

Ingredients

For the General Tso's sauce:

For the bowls:

  • 1 large broccoli crown cut into florets
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 8-ounce packages seitan, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or any neutral-flavored cooking oil
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 15 dried red chili peppers
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

US Customary - Metric

Instructions

Make the sauce

  • Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Steam the broccoli

  • Pour 1 inch of water into a large saucepan or wok and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, cover, and steam until it's bright green and tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the broccoli from the pan, drain and set aside.

Make the General Tso's bowls

  • Place the cornstarch and seitan in a large plastic bag and toss well to coat.

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seitan cubes in a single layer. Cook for 3-5 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown on the bottoms. Gently flip and cook another 3-5 minutes on the other side. Remove the seitan from the skillet and transfer to a plate.

  • Add the garlic, ginger and chili peppers to the skillet. Sauté about 1 minute, until the garlic and ginger become fragrant and the chili peppers start to blacken.

  • Add the sauce, seitan and broccoli to skillet. Flip a few times to coat seitan pieces. Cook for about a minute, just until the sauce thickens.

  • Divide among bowls. Serve with rice and top with sesame seeds and scallions.

Notes

Believe it or not, this is a mild version of the dish. Increase the heat by doubling or even tripling the number of dried chilies, or adding a bit of Asian chili paste.

Nutrition

Calories: 286kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 18gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 998mgPotassium: 579mgFiber: 6gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 1535IUVitamin C: 138mgCalcium: 95mgIron: 3mg

Craving more veg-friendly recipes? Shop our collection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, including our new Vegan Thanksgiving and Vegan Christmas cookbooks!

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says

    General Tso's is my favorite! Will definitely make this!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Me too! Enjoy 🙂

      Reply

  2. Abby @ The Frosted Vegan says

    My guy loves General Tso's Chicken, so this would be a perfect way to bribe him into trying a non-meat meal! 🙂

    Reply

  3. Lori @ RecipeGirl says

    Adding this to my must-try soon list!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Excellent! Hope you enjoy it!!

      Reply

  4. Kerri says

    Gonna make this, but with Tofu instead! 🙂

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      I've had restaurant versions of this with tofu and they're tasty as well. Please let me know how it works if you give it a try 🙂

      Reply

  5. Polly @ Tasty Food Project says

    This looks so delicious and flavorful! I must give it a try!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Thanks Polly! I found it to be quite delicious and flavorful. I hope you agree 🙂

      Reply

  6. Ami@NaiveCookCooks says

    Wow love the veggie twist but I have never tried or heard about seitan before? Any thoughts? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Seitan is a meat substitute made from seasoned wheat gluten. You can pick it up in places like Whole Foods or you can make your own. I definitely recommend giving it a shot!

      Reply

  7. Kristin says

    Would I be able to substitute tempeh for the seitan?

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      If you substitute tempeh you'll probably want to skip the cornstarch coating and just pan-fry it plain. I haven't tried this recipe with tempeh, so I can't say for sure how it will work out, but I think it would be good. Please let me know what you think if you do give it a shot!

      Reply

      • Blanster says

        I made this tonight with tempeh. Of course I didn't see you comment about skipping the cornstarch, so followed your directions to a "t". It's good! I've been a vegetarian so long, I've never had General Tso's chicken, so have nothing to compare it to. I added carrots and next time, I'll steam even more veggies to add. It's a great base with a very flavorful sauce. Thank you!!

        Reply

        • Alissa says

          Awesome! Thanks so much for commenting to let me know how this worked out! We've had a few questions on substitutions so this info will come in handy. Great to hear you enjoyed the dish 🙂

          Reply

  8. Thalia @ butter and brioche says

    i definitely could devour a bowlful of this right now.. will be recreating this recipe for my vegetarian household. thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  9. Emily says

    I know this is ridiculous, but I've never had any kind of General Tso's Fill-in-the-Blank. Looks like it's time for that to change!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      General Tso's is the popular favorite for a reason. You've definitely gotta try it!

      Reply

  10. Deborah @ Confessions of a Mother Runner says

    Looks easy and goo!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Thanks Deborah! It was delicious and really easy to make!

      Reply

  11. Sydney says

    Hey I made this last night it was super tasty! thanks for sharing! I didn't have chili peppers so i just used cayenne powder and it made it plenty hot.

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Yes! So glad to hear it! Also good to know the recipe works with cayenne as a sub. Thanks so much for sharing!!

      Reply

  12. Ana says

    This is the mild version? I'm deffo making this, but i might make a baby version!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Haha! Yeah, the sauce itself is pretty mild. The dried chilies only infuse it with a little bit of heat, so unless you bite right into one it will be very mild. It should still be tasty if you leave them out altogether though. Enjoy!

      Reply

  13. Joanne says

    I've been to a vegetarian dim sum place here in NYC many times, but never just a straight up veg Chinese restaurant! Must seek out. And make this general tso's at home. It is one dish I miss since going veg!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      You should definitely check out some Chinese vegetarian places! Philadelphia has a bunch of them - I'm sure New York does too. I hope you get to try out this dish in the meantime. Enjoy 🙂

      Reply

  14. M says

    I've never had General Tso's chicken but my boyfriend orders it every time we get Chinese take out and he confirmed the "tso-yness" of the sauce. It was really, really good even with a bunch of questionable substitutions. I used flax to thicken the sauce because I don't have cornstarch. I used tempeh instead of seitan and pan fried it without the cornstarch coating. I used regular homemade barbeque sauce instead of hoisin, AND I was out of veg base so the sauce just had water and a dash of onion powder instead of broth. No sesame seeds either (I need to go grocery shopping apparently). So the recipe is pretty flexible. Will definitely make it again.

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Great to know it was tasty, even with all of those substitutions! For that matter, it's great to know that the recipe is so flexible. I'm glad to hear you and your boyfriend enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

  15. V says

    Mmm! I made this for dinner tonight and I loved it! This was the first recipe I've made from your site and now I'm really excited to try some more. Sadly I couldn't find any seitan at my grocery store (I couldn't even find any tofu), but they had tempeh so I used that instead and it still turned out fantastic. I'll definitely be making this again, it was really easy to do and really satisfying.

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Awesome! Glad you liked it! I think have to give this a try with tempeh soon, as I've heard from quite a few people that it works nicely. 🙂

      Reply

  16. amanda says

    Another great vegan recipe! Thanks Alissa! One question: what kind of chilies do you use? From the photo it looks like you're using some kind of dried cayenne peppers? I used Thai bird eye chilies which were great - they are VERY VERY hot, but only if you break them open, and it seemed like all 15 of mine stayed intact. At any rate, thank you again, love this recipe!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Thanks so much Amanda! You should be able to find the chilies I used in the Asian section of a well stocked supermarket. If not, they'll certainly be available at an Asian market. They're usually sold in bags and might be labeled as Chinese or Sichuan chili peppers. Cayenne, Thai chilies and most other types of red chili peppers work just fine as substitutes though. I'll sometimes just substitute some hot sauce in a pinch.

      Reply

  17. Sarah | Well and Full says

    I've been looking for a vegan recipe for general tso's! I can't wait to try this out. Do you think you could sub chickpea flour for cornstarch, as a thickener? 🙂

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      I've seen recipes that use chickpea flour in a similar way, so I think it would work, but can't say for sure without having tried it myself. Please let me know how it works if you do try it! 🙂

      Reply

  18. Refugio Buch says

    My meal came out a bit over cooked to make up for having to make sure the chicken was cooked all the way through. The chicken should have been cooked through after the minute simmering.

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      If you're using seitan you don't need to worry about it being cooked all the way through - seitan is fully cooked as packaged. I hope that helps!

      Reply

  19. Kate says

    Oh yes, yes, yes!! I am a General Tso's fanatic, so this sounds amazing!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      If you're a Tso's fanatic I think you'll really dig these! Thanks Kate! 🙂

      Reply

  20. Diane says

    My daughter can't decide if this is her favorite recipe or one other thing I make for her. This is really very tasty. I have served it multiple times and everyone loves it. Thanks for posting.

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Awesome! So glad to hear it. Thanks Diane! 🙂

      Reply

  21. Will says

    :hat tip:
    Just wanted to say thank you. The recipe is amazing.

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Thank you!! Glad you think so. 🙂

      Reply

  22. Susannah says

    I just made this last night. It was amazing then, and it was amazing today for leftovers too. I didn't have whole chilies so I used 1tsp crushed red chilies. I also added 1C carrots. It came out great, though I'd love to try it with the whole chilies next time. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

    • Alissa says

      Glad you liked it, and carrots sound like a perfect addition! Thanks so much, Susannah!

      Reply

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General Tso's (Not) Chicken Bowls Recipe from Oh My Veggies (2024)
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