Food & Nutrition

Healthy Chicken & Broccoli Stir-fry with Tahini Sauce


stir fry on a plate with text overlay
stir fry in a wok with text overlay

This Healthy Tahini Chicken and Broccoli Sir-fry with Easy Creamy Tahini Sauce is perfect for a 30-minute weeknight meal. It’s made with fresh broccoli, savory chunks of chicken breast, green onions, fresh ginger and an easy creamy tahini sauce.

close up of the stirfry with a spatula in the wok

This recipe was originally published here on March 26th of 2012. I have updated the text and images to share it again with you today. This post contains affiliate links.

Table of contents

Why We Love This Healthy Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry Recipe

I do not exaggerate when I say that I am in love with the flavors in this recipe! There is something absolutely divine about the combination of the stir-fried chicken and broccoli with the creamy tahini sauce. I love the way the sauce thickens and gets creamy as it cooks with the veggies and chicken, and it soaks into the broccoli florets in the most tempting way!

I also love that it is so easy to make. The key to success with this simple stir-fry is to make sure to prep your chicken, broccoli, tahini sauce and other stir-fry ingredients before you start cooking. Once you have your prep work done, the rest takes mere minutes!

Serve this for a 30-minute meal any night of the week. It pairs perfectly with brown rice, white rice or noodles. To make it gluten-free you can simply use wheat-free tamari sauce. You can also prep the components ahead and make it even faster.

As I said, there is a lot to love about this recipe! It is on the Best Of Healthy Seasonal Recipes list because it is one of our top favorites! I cannot wait for you to try it. Read on to find out all the details about how to make this simple healthy stir-fry and the key to that amazing tahini sauce.

If you love stir-fries, try out our Chicken and Veggie Stir-fry or this Beef and Broccoli Stir-fry.

Key Ingredients For This Recipe

ingredients with text overlay

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

The base of this healthy stir-fry is obviously chicken. I chose boneless skinless chicken breast because it is virtually fat-free and a great source of protein. It stays nice and juicy with the stir-fry cooking method and doesn’t dry out easily.

If you like dark meat better, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead. Thighs have more fat on them so make sure to trim away any excess fat before weighing out a pound.

Broccoli

You’ll need four cups of broccoli florets for the stir-fry. That’s about two small crowns or one bunch of broccoli.

Carrots and Scallions

For additional low-calorie volume, I added in even more veggies! I picked carrots because they are a family favorite, and scallions because they add savory flavor and cook much faster than onions.

Tahini

The base of the sauce is made with tahini, and this is key to the velvety creamy sauce and nutty flavor. We love the way the sauce soaks into the tender broccoli! It’s sublime! If you don’t have tahini, try natural peanut butter. Or you can omit it and use 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil in the sauce instead.

Additional Ingredients

  • Pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Robust
  • Reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • Corn starch
  • Salt
  • Avocado oil or organic canola oil, divided
  • Ground white pepper or black pepper
  • Grated fresh ginger root (or you can mince it if you don’t have a microplane)
  • Chicken broth
  • Lime juice
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish, optional

High Carbon Steel Wok

If you have a wok, this is a great recipe in which to use it. I use my wok pretty regularly because it is a great way to cook tofu, seafood, meat and vegetables with high heat, tons of flavor and not a lot of fat.

If you don’t have one, a simple wok set is actually pretty affordable. The trick is knowing how to season it and care for it. This post is a really good guide for how to season a wok.

Heavy Large Skillet

If you do not have a wok, no worries! You can use a large skillet. Make sure it is not non-stick though! We’re using high heat, and most non-stick skillets do not allow that. Also, non-stick skillets do not sear as well. If you are using a skillet, make sure to give it plenty of time to heat up before you add the chicken, otherwise, it will not brown.

Additional Kitchen Tools

  • Spatula: Most wok sets include a wok spatula. If you do not have one you can use a regular metal spatula.
  • Lid: To steam the vegetables with the broth (and keep the amount of oil in check) you will need a lid. If you do not have one you can use a sheet of foil.
  • Bowl and Whisk: grab this for whisking your sauce.
  • Microplane grater: I love these tools! I recomend it for grating the ginger. If you do not have one, you can use your Chef’s knife to mince the garlic.
  • Cutting Board and Chef’s Knife: To cut the veggies and chicken you’ll need a good Chef’s knife. Having a sharp knife is key to enjoying cooking in my opinion! I love my Chef’s Choice sharpener. Also use a large cutting board so your work surface is not too crowded.

How To Stir-fry Chicken and Broccoli with Tahini Sauce

The most important key to cooking any stir-fry is to make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go before you start to cook. [French culinary term of the week: this is called mise en place.]

The cooking happens so fast, you won’t have time to chop vegetables or measure out the sauce while you are at the stove stir-frying.

stir the sauce and then sear the chicken

Step 1: Make Sauce

Before you start, whisk maple syrup, tahini, tamari or soy sauce, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Make sure to whisk it well to get the tahini to incorporate into the sauce.

Step 2: Sear Chicken

Gather up all your ingredients, and then you are ready to cook! Heat the wok (or a large skillet) over high heat. You want to make sure it really does heat up. Add 2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat wok or bottom of skillet. It is okay if it smokes a little.

Add the chicken in a single layer and don’t fuss with it. Sprinkle with pepper and let it sear for a minute or two before, turning it over with your spatula. Continue cooking, only stirring once or twice more until the chicken is browned and no longer pink on the suface. This takes about 5 to 6 minutes total. 

Note* the chicken will not be fully cooked yet and will continue cooking in the sauce in step 4.  Remove the chicken to a plate.

cook the aromatics then steam the broccoli and carrots

Step 3: Cook Aromatics

Add the remaining 2 teaspoons canola to the skillet, followed by the scallion whites and ginger.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds.

Step 4: Cook Broccoli & Carrots

Add broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Add broccoli and carrots, cover and simmer, stirring once or twice until the broccoli is bright green and the vegetables are still crisp but starting to soften slightly 4 to 5 minutes.

the stir fry in the wok in step 5 and 6

Step 5: Add Chicken and Sauce To Stir-Fry

Stir sauce, the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate into the vegetables and continue cooking, stirring often until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add Final Ingredients Off Heat

Remove from the heat and stir in reserved scallion greens, lime juice and sesame seeds.

overhead of the wok with the stirfry on a table with lime and sesame seeds

FAQs and Expert Tips

Do you need to use oil to stir-fry?

Yes. But you don’t need to use a lot of oil. It is a misconception that you need to use a lot of fat to “stir-fry.” The key to making a healthy stir-fry without a lot of oil is to use the lid to steam the vegetables to soften them. To start, the oil is important to sear the chicken or meat, and to bring out the flavors in the aromatics. Once that is done, then add broth and cover to cook the veggies. That way the vegetable steam to cook, instead of frying and you can save a ton of fat calories!

Are Stir-fries Healthy?

Yes and no. While stir-fries made with chicken and vegetables are loaded with healthy lean protein and fresh veggies, they can also harbor a lot of fat, sugar and sodium. Making them at home will help to make sure that the healthy ingredients aren’t cooked with too much oil and that the sauce isn’t too sugary or high in sodium.

What other veggies can I use in this recipe?

You can use bell pepper instead of the carrots and cauliflower instead of broccoli for a new tasty combo. We also love using mushrooms in stir-fries. Add them with the aromatics in step 3 and cook the mixture for an additional minute.

More Healthy Stir-Fry Recipes

a serving of the stirfry on a plate with rice

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter for healthy recipes delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking!

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Description

This Healthy Tahini Chicken and Broccoli Sir-fry is perfect for a 30-minute weeknight meal. It’s made with fresh broccoli, savory chunks of chicken breast, green onions, fresh ginger and an easy creamy tahini sauce making it a clean plate club winner for the whole family!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade A Dark Robust
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 teaspoons avocado oil or organic canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper or black pepper
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, white and green parts separated
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root (or you can mince it if you don’t have a microplane)
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups broccoli florets, about 1 bunch or 2 small crowns
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Whisk maple syrup, tahini, tamari or soy sauce, cornstarch and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Heat wok or large skillet over high heat.  Add 2 teaspoons oil and swirl to coat wok or bottom of skillet.  Add chicken, sprinkle with pepper and cook, turning once or twice until browned, 5 to 6 minutes.  Note* the chicken will not be fully cooked and will continue cooking in the sauce in step 4.  Remove the chicken to a plate.
  3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons canola to the skillet, followed by the scallion whites and ginger.  Cook, stirring until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Add broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Add broccoli and carrots, cover and simmer, stirring once or twice until the broccoli is bright green and the vegetables are still crisp but starting to soften slightly, 4 to 5 minutes.
  5. Stir sauce, the chicken and any accumulated juices from the plate into the vegetables and continue cooking, stirring often until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in reserved scallion greens, lime juice and sesame seeds.

Notes

Other Variations

You can use bell pepper instead of the carrots and cauliflower instead of broccoli for a new tasty combo. We also love using mushrooms in stir-fries. Add them with the aromatics in step 3 and cook the mixture for an additional minute.

Prep Ahead

This stir-fry can be prepped ahead by cutting and measuring the ingredients ahead of time. Unfortunately it is not great reheated as the vegetables tend to get soggy.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups each
  • Calories: 335
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Sodium: 640
  • Fat: 14 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Protein: 28 g

About the Author

Katie Webster

Katie Webster studied art and photography at Skidmore College and is a graduate of the New England Culinary Institute. She has been a professional recipe developer since 2001 when she first started working in the test kitchen at EatingWell magazine. Her recipes have been featured in numerous magazines including Shape, Fitness, Parents and several Edible Communities publications among others. Her cookbook, Maple {Quirk Books} was published in 2015. She launched Healthy Seasonal Recipes in 2009. She lives in Vermont with her husband, two teenage daughters and two yellow labs. In her free time, you can find her at the gym, cooking, stacking firewood, making maple syrup, and tending to her overgrown perennial garden.

Source: healthyseasonalrecipes.com

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