Orange, Ginger and Sesame Chicken

Orange, Ginger and Sesame Chicken is an easy stir-fry, so convenient for week night dinners and delicious either by itself or with fragrant basmati rice.

Orange, Ginger and Sesame Chicken

I have been cooking stir-fries since I was a student so I know by now exactly how I like them. I always cook off the meat first. This is for a few reasons, mainly so the meat doesn’t overcook, as there is nothing worse than dry chicken in your stir-fry. However, by cooking it in the pan first it will leave behind important flavour for the vegetables to cook in, especially if it’s marinated meat. If it’s beef you are using you can ensure it’s cooked exactly to the rarity you like just by searing it off first thing, but when you add it back in at the end make sure the heat is off so it doesn’t continue cooking.

My stir-fries contain a lot of vegetables so it’s also important that the meat has been set aside; I want them to be free to roam the pan so they don’t steam cook, piled on top of each other, jostling for space with the chicken. My final tip is to only add the vegetables to a hot pan with hot oil, as I want them to be cooked hard and fast so they retain bite and don’t get into a soggy mess. This is why I usually blanch my broccoli for a couple of minutes before adding to the stir fry as otherwise it has too much bite and is a bit of a mouthful.

It’s Day 5 of the Whole30 for me and the main ingredients in this chicken marinade are orange juice and coconut aminos. Orange juice is allowed on the Whole30 but only in cooking and not as a drink. Fruit juice in fact is the only sweetener that’s allowed on the plan, but I’m sure we’re expected to use that knowledge responsibly. Besides, here, it’s just involved in a marinade so not all of the juice makes it into the final dish. The coconut aminos is my new friend who arrived into my house only this week as a substitution for soy sauce and tamari which are not allowed on the Whole30. You can buy coconut aminos from Amazon or a very good organic food shop but it isn’t cheap. However, you don’t need much to flavour a recipe and I think it is worth the investment if you are wondering how to get through 30 days without soy sauce.

This was a quick dinner one evening, late after a personal training session, and I was so hungry that I only took a perfunctory photo, I made it again the next night but it was also late and so no pictures. I did want to include the recipe here though as it is one of my old faithful recipes just slightly adapted for the Whole30 plan. Previously I have made this with soy sauce and sherry so it was a bit of an experiment to substitute the soy with my new coconut aminos and to disinvite the sherry. I used the coconut aminos as a straight swap and I have to say I didn’t notice a difference, the marinade tasted just the same as when I have made it before with soy. I compensated for the lack of sherry by adding some sesame seeds which has actually improved the dish immeasurably. I normally do splash some sweet sherry into my stir-fries at the end of cooking but adding sesame instead not only made my dinner suddenly Whole30 compliant but added a lovely crunch to the vegetables.

The Whole30 plan currently doesn’t allow rice but this stir-fry is so full of lovely vegetables, protein and flavour that you can absolutely get away without it. However, if I wasn’t on Whole30 then for sure I would be serving myself a half portion with plenty of fragrant basmati rice.

Orange, Ginger and Sesame Chicken

Orange, Ginger and Sesame Chicken is an easy stir-fry, so convenient for week night dinners and delicious either by itself or with fragrant basmati rice.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 2 people
Calories: 531kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts cut into thin strips
  • 60 ml coconut aminos or tamari or soy sauce (if not gluten-free or Whole30)
  • 60 ml orange juice
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger cut into matchsticks
  • 1 red chilli finely chopped
  • ½ head of broccoli florets blanched
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into thin batons
  • Handful of shredded chinese leaf
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Pour the coconut aminos, the orange juice and the garlic into a medium sized bowl then add the chicken and mix to combine. Leave the chicken to marinate for at least an hour but overnight if possible.
  • Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a wok over a medium flame until hot.
  • Remove the chicken from its marinade with a slotted spoon and add to the wok, cooking for 5-10 minutes until the chicken has just turned golden. Remove from the wok and set aside.
  • Add the rest of the coconut oil to the wok and then when hot add the onion, ginger and chilli and cook until the onion is starting to brown.
  • Then add the rest of the vegetables and the sesame seeds. Stir fry for 5 minutes on a high heat.
  • Re-introduce the chicken, combining everything together and serve piping hot with another splash of coconut aminos on top.

Nutrition

Calories: 531kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 989mg | Potassium: 1282mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 10535IU | Vitamin C: 58.7mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 2.5mg

SHOP THE RECIPE

Coconut aminos is a larder staple for me which is a gluten-free and soy-free alternative to soy sauce. I personally prefer the taste of coconut aminos to tamari (which is gluten-free but does contain soy) but it is a little pricier. The brand of coconut aminos I love is Cocofina Organic Coconut Amino – Alternative to Soy Sauce 250ml which has a delicious flavour and is what I used in this recipe.

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If you like this recipe then you may like…

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry

Sriracha Honey Beef Stir Fry in a bowl on a table with chopsticks

Lemon Honey and Sesame Chicken

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Cashew Butter

Homemade cashew butter couldn’t be easier. Creamy delicious and all natural, made with 100% cashews and that’s it!

I am not reinventing the wheel with this recipe. It’s a tried, tested and truly paleo nut butter. It appears endlessly on the internet and all good paleo sites but I still wanted to include it here as part of my own Whole30 recipes as it’s such a godsend in these health driven times, so useful for including as part of my breakfasts, main meals and in particularly snacking.

How to make Cashew Butter

If on the off chance you have never thought to make your own nut butter you will be interested to hear that it is also perhaps one of the easiest recipes I have written about. All you need are 3 things:

  • unsalted cashews
  • a food processor
  • 12 minutes

The recipe below will simply state that you rip open your bag of cashews, throw them into the processor then press on. It’s fascinating to watch the cashews transform in 12 minutes, every so often giving them a bit of a scrape around so it all gets processed evenly.  In no time at all you will have a sweet, smooth and creamy nut butter.

Classic Nut Butter

This recipe here is for a classic nut butter, I haven’t put any fancy spices or married any other ingredients with it in at the end, I haven’t even salted it. This is because I want it to be used as base ingredient. If tomorrow I decide I would like celery sticks smeared with thai spiced cashew butter then I can toast the spices and include them at that stage. This way I don’t need a million differently flavoured nut butters living in my cupboards, which the other members of my household will be pleased about. Especially since I already have almond, walnut and pecan.

How to make ultra creamy cashew butter

The consistency of this cashew nut butter is also different from the almond butter I have written about before as here I wanted to take the processing a step further. I wanted a gentle butter that had been whipped into a creamy confection. This isn’t grainy and full of nut roughage but smooth and light as air. I achieved this merely by lengthening the time in the food processor. I also didn’t toast the nuts beforehand like I usually would for my almond butter, as I didn’t want the flavour to be too overpowering.

So, now it’s in my larder, I can breathe a sigh of relief as I have plans to be eating my nut butter this week as a dip for crudités, in my no-oat porridge and mixed with chopped dates to create little energy balls.

If you love cashew butter like me then why not try it in these recipes:

Easy Flourless Salted Chocolate Chip Cashew Cookies
Cashew Chicken Satay
Chocolate Tahini Energy Balls
Happiness Bread
Salted Date Caramel Banana Flapjacks

If you make this Cashew Butter then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

CASHEW-BUTTER-LONG-PIN

Cashew Butter

Creamy delicious and all natural, made with 100% cashews and that's it!
Prep Time12 mins
Total Time12 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Servings: 32 servings
Calories: 52kcal

Ingredients

  • 300 g cashews

Instructions

  • Tip the bag of cashews into your food processor and press on.
  • Keep a light eye on the processor, giving the mixture a scrape around every so often.
  • If you would like a very smooth and creamy nut butter it will take about 12 minutes, if you would like something a bit more robust then it might be to your liking at about 9 minutes, but check, taste and decide for yourself.

Notes

  • Cashew Butter is best stored in a cool dark place.
  • It keeps for a long time, but best eaten within 2 months.
  • If your cashew butter starts to develop an oily layer on top, this is perfectly normal. It's the natural nut oils. Just stir in and use as normal.

Nutrition

Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.6mg

Chicken, Thyme and Fennel Sausages

Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages are made from scratch with chicken thighs, herbs and spices. Juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. An ideal breakfast if you’re following Whole30 or if you just like really good chicken sausages.

An oven proof dish filled with Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages

What can you eat for breakfast on the Whole30?

One of the common concerns about embarking on the Whole30 is the issue of breakfast. After all, grains are banned so that means no toast, no cereal, no porridge. Dairy is banned so no yoghurt. And it goes without saying that pastries are a resounding no no. So what else is there?

Eat what you like when you like

The Whole30 way of eating would like to discourage you from thinking that there should be any difference between the kinds of food we would have for breakfast, lunch or dinner. After all that is how food is eaten in lots of other cultures, why should we reserve a set of foods only for breakfast, isn’t this quite restrictive?

When I was in Ghana I was surprised that my work colleagues at the newsroom would eat the same sort of food – cassava with some protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I found it very strange at the time but now it seems odd that we would limit ourselves so much at breakfast time. After all, as a student, cold pizza for breakfast was the ultimate luxury. Let’s embrace that attitude! Although pizza might be frowned upon on the Whole30.

Whole30 breakfast without eggs

Having said that there are some breakfast foods which are definitely supported on the Whole30. Like, eggs. Here’s the problem. I do not like eggs. This can be a major stumbling block on the Whole30 as it’s one of the most celebrated ingredients on your meal plan. So let’s get creative.

An oven proof dish filled with Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages

Sausages

We are aiming for protein for breakfast on the Whole30. It gives us energy and can be incredibly satisfying. So, sausages and bacon are my go to foods. However, whereas bacon is okay on the Whole30, sausages are a bit more complicated.

Supermarket sausages usually contain all sorts of preservatives which are not that good for you and although butchers’ sausages may not contain those sorts of products, they are more than likely made with breadcrumbs or some sort of wheat product holding them all together.

So I started making my own sausages for breakfast, this way I know exactly what is in them and I can tailor them for my specific picky palette, after all I don’t want a sausage that too rich or garlicky first thing in the morning.

How to make Whole30 compliant sausages

These chicken sausages are simple to make with minimal ingredients:

  • boneless chicken thighs
  • fresh thyme
  • fennel seeds
  • mace
  • mustard powder
  • salt and pepper

I have found that this flavour combination of thyme and fennel really makes the most delicious sausage, it is light, meaty, juicy and full of flavour.

All you need to do is…

  1. Place all the ingredients in a food processor and mix until minced. Don’t worry that at this stage the chicken looks like something Jamie Oliver would produce to put children off food for life, there is only good chicken in your sausage.
  2. Shape them into sausage shapes and roast them on baking parchment for 40 minutes in the oven.

Tip: Leave the chicken skin on!

The sausages are roasted without any added fat or binding agent as the chicken skin is included in the mince. This keeps its moisture in and means that during the roast the sweet sticky chicken juices encase the outside of the sausage which is a treat you just don’t find in Walls’ bangers.

An oven proof dish filled with Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages

These sausages are delicious wrapped in lettuce or served up with some stewed tomatoes. They are filling, satisfying and feel like such a treat.

It’s recipes like this that will kick off your Whole30 with a bang and made breakfast time a whole lot easier.

If you need more Whole30 breakfast recipes then perhaps try:

Sweet Potato and Bacon Rosti
Grain-Free Coconut Chia Porridge
Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

If you make these Chicken Sausages then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Chicken, Thyme and Fennel Sausages

Chicken Thyme and Fennel Sausages are made from scratch with chicken thighs, herbs and spices. Juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. The ideal paleo breakfast.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 sausages
Calories: 250kcal

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken thighs with skin on boneless
  • teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ¼ teaspoon mustard powder

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  • Chop the chicken up roughly and place it in the food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Whizz up to a smooth paste.
  • Shape the chicken mince into sausages, about 100g each depending on how large your chicken thighs were. You should be able to get 6 sausages out of the mince.
  • Place the sausages on baking parchment on a baking tray.
  • Roast the sausage for 40 minutes in the oven when they will have turned golden.

Notes

Leave the chicken skin on! The skin keeps the moisture in the sausages and gives them a crispy finish.
Make Ahead. Mix and shape the sausages the night then chill in the fridge overnight. The next morning all you have to do is roast them.
Freeze. You can freeze the sausages before or after roasting. Always defrost throughly before cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 669mg | Potassium: 232mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.8mg