General Tso Chickpeas

General Tso Chickpeas

These General Tso Chickpeas make an amazing meatless meal with carrots, broccoli, snow peas, a sweet bell pepper, and an array of aromatics. The spicy, tangy sauce that coats these chickpeas and veggies is so quick to whip together and loaded with flavor. Serve these General Tso Chickpeas over rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb (high-protein) meal.

We love transforming chickpeas into a meal — try this Vegetarian Tikka Masala, Chickpea Curry, or Chickpea Salad next!

Overhead image of General Tso Chickpeas over a bed of rice.

Overhead image of General Tso Chickpeas over a bed of rice.

General Tso Chickpeas

We love General Tso chicken, but it can be a process to make– marinating and frying chicken in addition to making the sauce and sautéing veggies. So today, we’re leaving out the meat and making a simplified, quick, 30-minute variation on General Tso using veggies and chickpeas. It also happens to be loads more nutritious without sacrificing flavor!

So even though there isn’t chicken, this meal is still very satiating — chickpeas are known for their high plant-based protein content. In just 1-ounce of chickpeas you’ll get 3 grams of protein, which is comparable to similar foods like lentils and black beans. Between those protein-filled chickpeas and all the veggies, you’ll be amazed just how filling this meal is while also curbing your General Tso cravings!

Ingredient shots-- images of all the fresh veggies chopped and prepped to be cooked.

Ingredient shots-- images of all the fresh veggies chopped and prepped to be cooked.

Is General Tso spicy?

First things first: General Tso Chicken is known for having a kick and General Tso Chickpeas are no different. That said, it is easy to scale the spice up or down. Just know that you are sacrificing some flavor when reducing the spice. 

For the spice part of General Tso, we’re using a chili garlic sauce. A little goes a long way, so if you’re worried about this dish being too spicy, I’d recommend starting with less. You can always add more if you’re craving more flavor or spice. 

If these General Tso Chickpeas end up being too spicy, you can counteract it by adding a bit of extra brown sugar.

QUICK TIP

What’s the difference between Sambal Oelek, Sriracha, hot sauce, and chili sauce/paste? Chili garlic sauce is like sambal oelek with a few additions (like vinegar, garlic, sugar, and other seasonings). It’s similar to Sriracha, but a bit chunkier, spicier, and less sweet. Read up more on the differences here.

Process shots-- images of the veggies being sautéed; chickpeas being added.

Process shots-- images of the veggies being sautéed; chickpeas being added.

What is General Tso sauce made of?

  • Cornstarch: This ensures the sauce will thicken nicely and give the dish a good glossy coating.
  • Chicken stock: I recommend a good, robustly flavored stock; Swanson® is our favorite. If using low-sodium stock or broth, you may need to add a pinch or two of salt to this dish.
  • Rice vinegar: Also called rice wine vinegar (the two are the same!), it gives the sauce a tanginess.
  • Hoisin sauce: This is a thick and very fragrant sauce that is sweet and salty and really forms the base flavor for these General Tso Chickpeas.
  • Toasted sesame oil: This oil has a strong aroma and flavor — a little goes a long way! We add some to the sauce and then a little drizzle as a finishing oil to add a nutty and toasty flavor to the dish.
  • Chili paste: This is the exact sauce I use in this recipe; I like it because it’s readily available at regular grocery stores (shouldn’t need a stop at a specialty shop!). It packs a wallop — a little goes a long way! It adds that classic spicy heat in General Tso and we love the flavor.
  • Brown sugar: It adds in some sweetness and balances the spiciness a bit. Feel free to play around with this addition– less for a more spicier and more for a less spicy/sweeter dish.

Process shots-- images of the sauce being added; everything being cooked together to thicken.

Process shots-- images of the sauce being added; everything being cooked together to thicken.

Shortcut Prep Recommendations 

  • Use shredded/matchstick carrots instead of peeling and slicing whole carrots. If using matchstick carrots, add in at the same time you add in the sauce.
  • Use pre-chopped broccoli. You may still need to cut down larger florets, but it still saves time.
  • Use jarred garlic and/or ginger paste.
  • Make the sauce ahead of time. The sauce can be made in advance; simply shake or whisk once more before adding it to these General Tso Chickpeas. 

U- close image of General Tso Chickpeas in the pan.

U- close image of General Tso Chickpeas in the pan.

General Tso Chickpea Tips

  • Taste and adjust. Depending on the soy sauce and chicken stock used, you may not need any additional salt/seasoning or you may need a pinch to bring the flavors alive. With regular soy sauce and regular chicken stock, we found this dish perfectly seasoned to our liking!
  • Prep ahead. This dish cooks quickly once you get started, so it’s best to have sauce and veggies prepared before the cooking begins. 
  • Cook until the sauce thickens. You’ll know the sauce is thickened and finished cooking when you can drag your wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and it leaves a clear track. Cook times may be slightly different depending on the pan used (nonstick holds less heat and cooks slower than a cast iron skillet), so just cook until you can get that thickened sauce. 

Overhead image of General Tso Chickpeas on a plate, ready to be eaten.

Overhead image of General Tso Chickpeas on a plate, ready to be eaten.

More veggie-filled recipes

General Tso Chickpeas

These General Tso Chickpeas make an amazing meatless meal with carrots, broccoli, snow peas, a sweet bell pepper, and an array of aromatics. The spicy, tangy sauce that coats these chickpeas and veggies is so quick to whip together and loaded with flavor. Serve these General Tso Chickpeas over rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb (high-protein) meal.

General Tso Chickpeas

These General Tso Chickpeas make an amazing meatless meal with carrots, broccoli, snow peas, a sweet bell pepper, and an array of aromatics. The spicy, tangy sauce that coats these chickpeas and veggies is so quick to whip together and loaded with flavor. Serve these General Tso Chickpeas over rice or cauliflower rice for a low-carb (high-protein) meal.

Ingredients

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (or broth) (I recommend Swanson)
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce regular (not lite)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons EACH: hoisin sauce, rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil divided
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste Note 1
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar very lightly packed

Veggies/Chickpeas

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup (94g) thinly sliced red onion
  • 3/4 cup (65g) thinly sliced carrots sliced on the diagonal (2 large carrots)
  • 1 cup (94g) snow peas
  • 2 cups (150g) chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 cup (140g) thinly sliced red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon EACH: minced ginger, finely chopped garlic
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Optional: toasted (or plain) sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onions
  • Optional: cooked rice or cauliflower rice for serving Note 2

Instructions

  • SAUCE: Whisk the cornstarch and a few tablespoons of chicken stock in a Mason Jar. Combine until smooth; then add in the rest of the chicken stock and whisk again. Add in the remaining sauce ingredients, adding just 1 teaspoon sesame oil (reserve the other teaspoon for later). Whisk until smooth and set aside.

  • VEGGIE/CHICKPEA PREP: Very thinly slice the red onion, peel, and thinly slice the carrot into diagonal slices (important the slices are thin so they cook in time). Chop the broccoli into small pieces; thinly slice the pepper and cut the slices in half if they’re long. (The veggies need to be in thin, small pieces so they can cook through in prescribed time.) Mince ginger and garlic. Drain and rinse chickpeas.

  • COOK: Add the olive oil to a very large skillet or wok and heat to medium-high. Add onion and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes or until onion begins to soften. Add in the carrots, snow peas, broccoli, and red pepper. Stir constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add in chickpeas, sauteéing constantly for 1 minute. Finally, add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Give the sauce a quick whisk with the fork and then pour it in and bring to simmer, stirring for another 2-3 minutes or until the sauce has thickened on the veggies, and veggies are crisp-tender. (They shouldn’t get soggy or soft — you want some bite to them!) (See Note 3.)

  • ENJOY: Remove the pan from the heat and garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Drizzle on reserved 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Give it a quick taste and add a pinch of salt if needed. Enjoy hot on rice, cauliflower rice, or as is!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: This is the exact sauce I use in this recipe which I’ve found is pretty readily available at regular grocery stores (shouldn’t need a stop at a specialty shop!). It is spicy — a little goes a long way. Add slowly if you’re worried about heat, but note that the dish does rely on this for flavor.

Note 2: How we like cooking basmati rice for this dish: 

  • Measure the rice and rinse it in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
  • Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes.
  • While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and set it to boil.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
  • Cook without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes and then drain and fluff with a fork. Note that these cooking directions do not work for other rice varieties (long grain, short grain, jasmine, etc.).

Note 3: The sauce should be thick enough that when you run a wooden spoon down the pan, it leaves a clear track. Nonstick skillets take slightly longer than a cast iron skillet since they don’t hold heat in the same way.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 582kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 1001mg | Potassium: 1444mg | Fiber: 21g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 9064IU | Vitamin C: 199mg | Calcium: 223mg | Iron: 8mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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