Healthy Chinese Food Recipes You Must Make for Dinner
Getting Chinese food delivered is a delicious and easy dinner option that many of us rely on from time to time. Unfortunately, as convenient as it may be, Chinese food can do a serious number on your diet. There’s no need to swear it off, though — instead, we suggest using these six recipes to make healthy Chinese food at home. In about the same amount of time it takes to order food and wait for the delivery guy to show up, you can prepare dishes that are far more nutritious. Whether your go-to is sweet and sour chicken, pad Thai, or shrimp fried rice, we’ve got a healthy recipe here to satisfy any Chinese food craving. Which will you prepare first?
1. Sweet and Sour Chicken with Brown Rice
Eating Well’s sweet and sour chicken stays far away from the deep fryer, resulting in a dish that contains less fat than typical Chinese fare. This recipe also contains less sugar and salt than many restaurant versions and can easily be turned into a vegetarian meal. Just use tofu in place of chicken, and make sure to include plenty of your favorite veggies. The recipe makes 4 servings, with each containing 469 calories, 10 grams of fat, 34 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, and 709 milligrams of sodium.
- 2 cups instant brown rice
- ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
- 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 6 cups bite-size pieces of vegetables, such as snow peas, broccoli, and bell peppers
- 1 (5-ounce) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
Directions: Prepare rice according to the package directions. Meanwhile, whisk vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch, and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink on the outside and just starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and ginger to the pan and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Add broth and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add vegetables, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in water chestnuts and the chicken. Whisk the reserved sauce and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is heated through, about 1 minute. Serve with the rice.
2. Pepper and Peanut Broccoli Stir-Fry
Using pre-cut broccoli florets in Food Network’s recipe will help cut down on prep time. Consisting of bell peppers, chile flakes, broccoli, and peanuts, this nutritious dinner dish has 131 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 272 milligrams of sodium per serving. If you’d like to add a little more kick to your meal, feel free to add more chile flakes. It serves 4.
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, sliced ¼-inch thick
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flakes
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- 2 tablespoons chopped roasted unsalted peanuts
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and ⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chile flakes and cook 10 seconds, and then add the broccoli, ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper, and ¼ cup water. Cover and cook until the water evaporates and the broccoli is lightly browned and crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
Toss in the peppers, peanuts and ⅛ teaspoon each salt and pepper and serve.
3. Slow Cooker Sesame-Garlic Chicken
Enlisting the help of your slow cooker when making Good Housekeeping’s recipe via Delish ensures dinner is a breeze to prepare. Whisk the rice wine, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and brown sugar, and place in the crockpot along with chicken breasts, garlic, and ginger. Cook 5 to 6 hours, shred the chicken, and serve with white rice and steamed broccoli. It makes 6 servings.
- ⅓ cup rice wine
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 8 clove garlic
- 1 piece fresh ginger
- 4 cups frozen cooked white rice
- 1 pound broccoli florets
- Sliced green onions and red chiles
Directions: In small bowl, whisk rice wine, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and brown sugar. In 6-quart slow cooker bowl, layer chicken breasts, soy mixture, garlic, and fresh ginger. Cover bowl with lid and cook 5 to 6 hours on low, until chicken is tender.
Transfer chicken to cutting board; shred and return to slow cooker bowl. Serve chicken mixture with warmed white rice and steamed broccoli florets. Garnish with sliced green onions and red chiles.
4. Shrimp Fried Rice
For a quick and easy dinner dish, use day-old rice when preparing Cooking Light’s recipe. Calling for healthy ingredients like bell pepper, snap peas, broccoli, edamame, and shrimp, there’s no need to feel guilty about serving your family shrimp fried rice for supper. One serving has 368 calories, 15.7 grams of fat, 26.6 grams of protein, and 560 milligrams of sodium.
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 7 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved crosswise
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 cup cooked long-grain white rice, chilled
- 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
- 12 ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1½ cups frozen edamame, thawed
- ¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce
- 1½ tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- ¼ cup thinly diagonally sliced green onions
Directions: Steam broccoli 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; set aside. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil to pan. Add bell peppers and sugar snap peas to pan, and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Place vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add ginger, and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add rice and stir-fry for 5 minutes until rice is lightly browned.
5. Pad Thai
Ok, this isn’t Chinese, but it’s another takeout favorite. Livestrong warns that while pad Thai may seem like a healthy option, restaurant versions are typically packed with calories; one plate can easily contain 940 calories, or 40% of the recommended calories a 145-pound person should consume each day. Fortunately, Cooking Channel delivers a recipe for pad Thai that won’t derail your diet. Noodles, sauce, shrimp, veggies, peanuts, and seasonings combine to create a dish that has 495 calories and 17 grams of fat per serving.
- 1 (7- to 8-ounce) package rice stick noodles, or 8 ounces angel hair pasta per recipe
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup Asian fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
- 8 ounces medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, then cut lengthwise in half
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 6 ounces fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
- Lime wedges
Directions: In large bowl, soak rice stick noodles, if using, in enough hot water to cover, for 20 minutes; drain. With kitchen shears, cut noodles into 4-inch lengths. If using angel hair pasta, break in half, cook in large sauce pot as label directs, then drain and rinse with cold running water.
Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar. Prepare all remaining ingredients and place next to stove for easy assembly.
In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add shrimp, garlic, and crushed red pepper; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add eggs and cook, stirring, until just set, about 20 seconds. Add drained noodles and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add fish-sauce mixture, half of bean sprouts, half of peanuts, and half of green onions; cook, stirring, 1 minute.
Transfer Pad Thai to warm platter or serving bowl. Top with remaining bean sprouts and sprinkle with remaining peanuts, remaining green onions, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.
6. Baked Vegetable Egg Rolls
Baking, not frying, your egg rolls creates a supper side that is low in fat and calories. Laa Loosh’s recipe yields 2 servings; each has 210 calories and 1 gram of fat. In addition to being healthy, it’s also quite easy to make: Toss the cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, and onions, and over medium-high heat, sauté garlic and ginger in sesame oil. Add the cabbage mixture, soy sauce, vinegar, and black pepper, and cook until the ingredients start to become tender. Refrigerate for about 45 minutes, and spoon the mix into an egg roll wrapper. Fold in at the sides, roll up, and bake. Make sure you serve this with your favorite sauce!
- 12 egg roll wrappers
- 3 cups shredded cabbage
- 2 cups broccoli slaw
- 2 medium carrots, shredded
- 4 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, toss together the cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots, and green onions. Heat sesame oil over medium high heat in a large, nonstick skillet. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds. Add cabbage mixture, soy sauce, vinegar, and black pepper and cook, tossing often, until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Place the cooked cabbage mixture in a bowl, and refrigerate until cold. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly mist with cooking spray. Spoon some of cabbage mixture onto an egg roll wrapper. Fold in at the sides and roll up. Place on baking sheet, seam side down.
Repeat with remaining egg roll wrappers. Lightly mist with cooking spray and place into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, flip egg rolls over and bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.