If you have never heard of Kung Pao, it’s originally a stir-fry made with marinated chicken, peanuts and chili peppers. This is a healthier and meatless version of this popular Chinese dish. The chicken is replaced with white beans and bell peppers.
There is a lot going on here with the textures, white beans are soft and melt-in-your-mouth while the peanuts add a crunch to every bite and the syrupy sauce adds sweetness.
Pre-vegan I was not consuming a lot of beans, lentils or chickpeas, I was actually eating none to be honest. They are now my favorite ingredients to cook with, beans and pulses are high in protein, very tasty and versatile. My favorite way to use them is in dahls, casseroles or combined with other protein sources and healthy fats like in these enchilada power bowls.
This recipe requires only 30 minutes and everything is done in ONE skillet. Simple preparation for a very flavorful meal.
Peanuts are first fried in a little bit of oil with the onion, garlic and green chilies. Roasting the peanuts increases the crunch factor and adds more flavor. Bell peppers are then added to the skillet and cooked until soft. In the meantime you can prepare the Kung Pao sauce.
The sauce is a magical blend of soy sauce, coconut sugar, white wine, vinegar, sesame oil and cornstarch that helps make it thicker and syrupy. Toasted sesame oil is not usually used as a cooking oil, but more as a flavoring since it has a very strong aroma. There are different types of sesame oil, make sure you use the toasted kind.
Once the vegetables are soft, you can add the kung pao sauce and the white beans and stir to make sure everything is well coated. It’s that simple.
You can serve these as is, or with a side of brown rice. In addition to being incredibly tasty, each serving is packed with 16g of protein!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- ⅓ cup peanuts
- 3 tbsp sliced jalapeño pepper (or 3 dried red chilies)
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1-inch ginger, finely chopped
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper
- ½ red bell pepper
- ½ green bell pepper
- 2 15-ounces can white beans, drained and washed
- 1 tbsp white wine
- 2 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- In a small bowl, combine the white wine, soy sauce, sesame oil, water, balsamic vinegar, coconut sugar and cornstarch. Stir until well combined and set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
- Add the peanuts and stir-fry them for about one minute, until golden brown.
- Add the jalapeño pepper slices, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions are soft and start to caramelize. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper.
- Add the red and green bell peppers and cook for another 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft. If it sticks to the skillet, add ¼ cup water.
- Stir in the sauce, cook for 20-30 seconds until the sauce becomes thick and syrupy. Add the drained white beans and stir to make sure everything is coated with the sauce.
- Serve hot on top of brown rice or as is.