We get it; you’re on a diet but craving your fave comfort foods like ice cream and chicken noodle soup. With our new food series, #NotCheating, we’re turning these cheat-day dishes into compliant recipes. If you’re dabbling with gluten-free, vegan, keto, paleo, Whole30, or other plans, allow these takes to curb your hankerings healthfully.

While Chinese takeout usually tastes amazing, it’s probably out of the question when you’ve gone Whole30, paleo, or low-carb. However, don’t let that dissuade you from trying to cook similar flavors using compliant ingredients at home. For starters, try our paleo version of classic American-Chinese dish orange chicken. While there are several steps to this dish, please don’t let the recipe intimidate you. It’s actually quite simple, and it all comes together in one pot — the Instant Pot, that is.

Paleo Instant pot orange chicken RECIPE

(Serves 4-6)

Recipe Notes: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, worry not. The recipe works just as well in a large skillet. Simply let the chicken simmer in the sauce for 12-14 minutes, or until heated through.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup arrowroot
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breast, thighs or combo — we used 2:1 breast/thigh combo), cubed into approximately 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 10-15 dashes Red Boat fish sauce (other brands are fine, but we think Red Boat tastes the best)
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 6-10 dried chile de àrbol
  • zest and juice of 2 navel oranges
  • cauliflower rice or vegetable noodles like zoodles, to serve
  • chopped scallion and sesame seeds, to garnish, optional

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the arrowroot, ground ginger, granulated garlic, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the chunks of chicken, coating each piece thoroughly with the arrowroot mixture. Hands (or tongs) are the best tools for this job.

2. Heat the 1/2 cup of coconut oil on sauté mode of the Instant Pot for a few minutes. Carefully add the chicken to the hot oil, being sure to shake off excess arrowroot mixture beforehand. Stir every few minutes, allowing the chicken to brown upon contact with bottom of Instant Pot.

3. While chicken sears in Instant Pot, make the sauce by combining the coconut aminos, coconut sugar, toasted sesame oil, fish sauce, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using.

4. Once most of the chicken pieces are browned, add the sauce, chiles de àrbol, orange zest and juice; stir to combine.

5. Cover and switch Instant Pot to high pressure mode for 10 minutes. Make sure vent is closed.

6. Once cycle is complete, quick release the pressure valve.

7. Serve chicken immediately with cauliflower rice or vegetable noodles. Garnish with chopped scallion and sesame seeds if you’d like.

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(Recipe via Ashley Bare/Brit + Co; photos via Brittany Griffin/Brit+Co; styling via Kayla Haykin/Brit +Co)