How do you feel about the plant-based meats that are exploding onto the market? Of course, meat substitutes have been around for a long time. Seitan, aka “wheat meat,” for instance, is a centuries-old Asian specialty. But it feels like alt-meats are having a moment that’s turning into a movement. Maybe that way, those who want to give up meat but have trouble letting go will be more willing to push ahead. So it’s partially for these kinds of eaters that I experiment with dishes like this easy vegan orange chicken and broccoli.
Beyond Meat’s recent blockbuster IPO (initial public offering of stock) proves that not only the public, but investors have a growing appetite for these products. Both Beyond Meat™ and Impossible Foods™ are scaling up quickly and being served up in tens of thousands of outlets, from fast food chains to hotels. Beyond Meat is well known for the Beyond Burger, but they make a whole line of products, including the Chicken Strips® used in this recipe.
The beautiful and contented chickens at Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls, NY
Chickens are the number one land animal on earth being used for food. Let’s change that! It’s unsustainable as well as unimaginably cruel. I recently visited the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary in High Falls, NY and got to enjoy watching these beautiful birds in action. The visitors were handed grapes, which we got to feed the truly free-roaming chickens, who seemed to love interacting with the crowd.
Personally, I gravitate to things like salads, soups, and vegetable dishes more so than veganized meat dishes. But oddly, my grown kids, who have never tasted meat, really love the meat substitutes. So they’re very happy to encounter these kinds of meals in my kitchen — to them, that’s more exciting than any salad.
Vegan orange chicken and broccoli makes a quick and colorful dinner. It gets its subtle fruity flavor from a splash of fresh orange juice and preserves — orange or apricot. And if you’re like me and tend to get lazy around 6:00 pm, you can use a bottled Asian sauce. Of course, you can also make your own teriyaki marinade if you’re so inclined, and you’ll find an easy recipe following the main recipe card in this post.
Use the vegetables suggested in the recipe or substitute whatever you may have on hand.
All this being said, if you’re the kind of vegan who doesn’t like faux meats — and you’re not alone — this dish can also be made with firm and chewy baked tofu. That’s the nice thing about the moment we’re in — we now have so many options. Let’s make the (plant-based) choices that are best for us!
- 1 tablespoon olive or other vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup bottled kung pao or teriyaki sauce, divided
- 8 - to 9-ounce package vegan chicken-style strips or baked tofu (see Note)
- Juice of 1/2 orange (slice the other half thinly for garnish)
- 1 large or 2 medium broccoli crowns, cut into bite-sized florets
- 4 or 5 stalks bok choy, with greens
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 2 to 3 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/3 cup orange or apricot preserves, preferably all-fruit
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Hot seasoning like sriracha, to taste
- Hot cooked rice or other grain (see Note)
- Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the marinade in a skillet or stir-fry pan. When it’s sizzling hot, add the Beyond Chicken Strips (or the baked tofu; see in Notes). Stir-fry over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add the orange juice and broccoli and stir-fry for a minute or so. Then layer on the bok choy, bell pepper, and scallion, but don’t stir in yet.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining sauce with the preserves and ginger and stir together. Pour over the vegetables and give them a good stir.
- Stir-fry just until the vegetables are tender-crisp — this won’t take much longer, so make sure not to overcook!
- Season with pepper and add some hot seasoning if you’d like (or just pass it around). Serve at once on its own or over hot cooked grains. This makes a pretty bowl, garnished with thin slices of the remaining half of an orange.
Instead of plant-based chicken strips, you can use baked tofu. The 8-ounce package of Soy Boy Tofu Lin® (baked tofu) is a great choice. Cut it into bite-sized strips before adding to the pan.
I happened to have some cooked black rice on hand and I’m glad I did! It makes the presentation that much prettier.