Say goodbye to takeout and hello to fake-out! This healthy, homemade version of General Tso Shrimp stir fry is super simple to make and SO, SO delicious, plus it’s gluten friendly! The General Tso’s sauce is a little sweet and a little spicy, perfectly mellowed out by a big serving of crunchy, sweet snow peas and fluffy, tender rice.
About the Recipe
Lately I’ve been dreaming of one of my favorite takeout meals, General Tso Shrimp, and today seemed like a good a time as any to make it a reality! I popped over to my local Kroger to grab what I needed: Shrimp, veggies, some pantry essentials, and rice to make it a whole meal.
Truth be told, I kind of consider myself a healthy takeout ninja. It’s fun for me to take old favorites and recreate them at home using real ingredients. And you know what? I’m good at it!
They’re all so good! In fact, they’re some of the most popular recipes on my site (they always get rave reviews), and this recipe is no exception. So if you’re looking for a new and exciting dinner, I’ve got you covered with a fun take on the classic takeout recipe!
Here’s what you need to make a clean, real-foods version of General Tso’s Shrimp! It might seem like a long list of ingredients, but they’re all super easy to find at your local grocery store, and the entire recipe comes together in about 30 minutes total.
- Peeled & Deveined Shrimp: I prefer to buy large, peeled & deveined shrimp with tails off, only because I don’t want to touch them to pull tails off once they’re saucy. If you prefer tails on shrimp, that doesn’t change how the dish is cooked at all! Follow the directions exactly, then just remove the tails as you eat.
- Arrowroot Powder: Arrowroot is the Paleo friendly key to getting crispy shrimp without overcooking them. You can substitute corn starch if that works for your way of eating.
- Snow Peas: They’re quickly sautéed, so they add a great snap and crunch to the dish. Trust me, don’t skip the snow peas!
- Green Onions, Sesame Seeds & Crushed Red Pepper: For extra flavor & garnish!
- Rice: If you’re sensitive or allergic to gluten, always be sure to check that your rice is certified gluten free. If you want to keep this dish Paleo compliant, swap cauliflower rice.
Homemade General Tso Sauce
- Sesame Oil
- Chicken or Vegetable Broth
- Coconut Aminos: This is a soy free substitute for soy sauce.
- Rice Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar
- Ginger and Garlic
- Sesame Seeds
- Crushed Red Pepper
- Arrowroot Powder: It works as a thickener in the sauce!
Making the Dish
I’m walking you through the simple step by step instructions to make this stir fry recipe! Ready? Let’s do it.
Step 1: Cook the Rice (Optional)
If you’ll be serving this dish with rice and you want to get the timing of the entire meal perfectly, start by cooking the rice. Follow instructions on the package, depending on how much rice you want. I usually cook enough for 4 servings.
As the rice simmers and cooks, you’ll have plenty of time to make the rest of the dish, homemade General Tso’s sauce included!
Step 2. Prepare the Shrimp
Tip: It’s really important that you start by drying the shrimp well so they don’t get gooey when you cook them. It’s very easy to do this – Just gently dab them on all sides with dry paper towels.
Toss the shrimp with arrowroot powder until they’re coated evenly. This will help give them a little crispy coating that holds up really nicely in the sauce.
Next, in batches, cook the shrimp in a skillet for just about 1 minute per side. You’ll know they’re ready to turn when they start to to turn pink. Set them aside on a plate so you can cook the sauce.
Step 3: Make the Sauce
You can use the same skillet, but you’ll want to rinse or wipe the pan out first. Heat the sesame oil and add the minced ginger, garlic, and sesame seeds.
Stir occasionally until fragrant, then stir in the other sauce ingredients. Last, whisk in the arrowroot powder. Bring it to a simmer and allow it to thicken slightly, all the while stirring occasionally.
Step 4: Finish the Shrimp
Add the shrimp back in to the thickened General Tao’s sauce and toss to coat. Allow the shrimp to finish cooking in the sauce for about 1-2 minutes. Shrimp cook very quickly, and overcooking will make them rubbery. Two minutes is plenty of time.
Step 5: Cook the Snow Peas, optional.
Last, heat about 2 tbsp of sesame or olive oil in a small, separate skillet. Add the snow peas and a pinch of salt, and sauté for about 3-4 minutes. Once they’ve turned bright green in color, sprinkle with sesame seeds and remove them from the pan.
Avoid overcooking snap peas. You want them to still have a good snap to them!
Step 6: Garnish & Serve
Sprinkle the General Tso Shrimp with more sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, and sliced green onions, and serve over rice and sautéed snow peas.
Yes! Here’s how to make General Tso’s Chicken:
1. Cut cut your chicken breasts or thighs into 1 inch cubes.
2. Follow the same directions above, except brown the chicken in the skillet on all sides for 1-2 minutes per side. Set it aside to make the sauce.
3. When you return the chicken to the pan to cook with the sauce, cook it for 6-7 more minutes, until each piece is thoroughly cooked through. 4. Remove one piece of chicken and cut it in half to check if it’s been cooked through.
Leave off the T sound, and just say the word “so.” Easy! We can’t have you working hard to make this beautiful dish and then mispronouncing the name!
Simply substitute cauliflower rice for the white rice. The shrimp, peas, and General Tso sauce are already Paleo compliant!
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General Tso Shrimp Stir Fry
- 1 lb large shrimp peeled and deveined
- 4 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
- 2 Tablespoons oil
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons sesame seeds
- 2-3 green onions
General Tso Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoon ginger minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 3 Tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3-4 cups snow peas
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil or sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cook the Rice
- Follow instructions on the package to cook the rice.
Prepare the Shrimp
- Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl, season lightly with salt, and toss with arrowroot powder until the shrimp are coated evenly.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. In batches, cook the shrimp for just about 1 minute per side, until they start to turn pink. Set them aside on a plate.
Make the General Tso's Sauce
- Rinse or wipe out the same pan.Heat the sesame oil and add the minced ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, and red pepper, if using. Stir occasionally for 3-4 minutes, until fragrant, then stir in the other sauce ingredients. Whisk in the arrowroot powder.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's thickened slightly.
Finish the Shrimp
- Add the shrimp back in to the pan with the thickened General Tao’s sauce. Toss it gently to coat. Allow the shrimp to finish cooking in the sauce, stirring occasionally, for just about 2 minutes.
Cook the Snow Peas
- Heat the oil in a small, separate skillet. Add the snow peas and a pinch of salt, and sauté for about 3 minutes. Once they’ve turned bright green in color, sprinkle with sesame seeds and remove them from the pan.
Garnish & Serve
- Sprinkle the General Tso Shrimp with more sesame seeds, crushed red pepper, and sliced green onions, and serve over rice and sautéed snow peas.
- Cut cut your chicken breasts or thighs into 1 inch cubes.
- Follow the same directions above, except brown the chicken in the skillet on all sides for 1-2 minutes per side. Set it aside to make the sauce.
- When you return the chicken to the pan to cook with the sauce, cook it for 6-7 more minutes, until each piece is thoroughly cooked through. Remove one piece of chicken and cut it in half to check if it’s been cooked through.