If you love General Tso Chicken, then you’ll love this Healthier General Tso Shrimp. Plump shrimp are baked alongside fresh broccoli florets and then tossed with a quick soy, hoisin and red Chile sauce. Saucy, spicy, and so delicious! Oh, and everything is cooked on one pan.
General Tso Shrimp
When it comes to ordering Chinese takeout I always get the following items:
- Veggie Lo Mein
- Crab Rangoon
- General Tso Chicken (White meat only)
I know it’s basic, but it never lets me down. I’ve been wanting to come up with a healthier version for eons and I finally have it.
We swapped out the tender fried chicken for plump roasted shrimp – less calories, more flavor. We stuck with the same sweet, spicy sauce that’s become synonymous with general tso chicken, and is just generally, addictive (we used something similar in this Shrimp Ramen Recipe).
It’s a combination of salty tamari, sweet sugar, and super spicy red chiles. The sticky sauce is tossed with the shrimp and everything is served with tender roasted broccoli.
Simple. Quick. Delicious.
Ingredients in General Tso Shrimp
Sesame oil. Instead of using a neutral oil, I like to use sesame oil to cook both the broccoli and the shrimp. It adds a subtle amount of flavor without adding any additional fat later.
Broccoli. I don’t know how your local restaurant does General Tso shrimp or chicken, but mine always serves it with steamed broccoli. While I love broccoli, steaming it isn’t my favorite way to eat it. Here, we roasted the broccoli just before roasting the shrimp to add an extra layer of flavor to the finished product.
Shrimp. General Tso Shrimp wouldn’t be completely without shrimp. Obviously. I like to use 1 1/2 pounds of large shrimp that have already been deveined. If you want to save a few bucks, peel and devein them yourself.
Tamari. We’ve talked about tamari before, but it’s basically soy sauce without the wheat. It has a deeper, less in-your-face salty factor to it, and it’s what I primarily use these days. If you all you have is soy sauce, that will work just fine as well.
Hoisin. Hoisin is basically the ketchup of Asian ingredients. It has a thousand ingredients in one tiny jar, and it’s pretty much the tastiest thing on the planet. It’s a combination of fermented soy beans, red Chile pepper, garlic, vinegar, and honey. Sounds like a strange combination, but it works.
Rice Vinegar. Rice vinegar adds a nice acidic note to the general tso shrimp sauce. If you don’t have it, you can replace it with regular white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Brown Sugar. You can really use any type of sugar here, but I personally love the more molasses-like taste brown sugar has.
Cornstarch. Cornstarch is used to thick the sauce. Once it hits the hot pan and shrimp, it immediately thickens the sauce.
Chicken stock. You need little bit of liquid to dilute some of the flavors. You can also use water if you don’t have chicken stock.
Cook the broccoli. Start by tossing the broccoli florets in a little bit of sesame oil. Use your hands to evenly distribute the oil over the broccoli. Season with al little bit of salt and pepper.
Spread the broccoli on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.
Cook the shrimp. While the broccoli is cooking, toss the shrimp with the rest of the sesame oil and a little bit of salt and pepper. When the broccoli is done cooking, pull the pan out and move the broccoli to one side. Spread the shrimp on the other side. Roast another 5-6 minutes until the shrimp start to curl up.
Make the sauce. While the shrimp cook, whisk the sauce together in a small bowl.
Toss with the sauce. Pull the pan out of the oven and pour the sauce over the shrimp. Use a spoon to coat the shrimp. Place back in the oven for 3-4 minutes until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
Serve. Pull the pan out of the oven and toss the shrimp with the thickened sauce. Serve the shrimp over steamed rice with the broccoli on the side.
Can I use chicken instead of shrimp?
If general tso chicken over general tso shrimp is your thing, you can of course, use chicken. You will need to adjust the amount of time it takes for the chicken to cook. I’d roast the chicken before, as we do with the shrimp, but cook it all the way through before adding the sauce.
Can I make this in advance?
General Tso Shrimp is super quick and easy to make, so you really don’t need to make it in advance. If you HAVE TO, slightly undercook the broccoli and shrimp. Reheat everything on a sheet pan JUST until it’s warmed through. Shrimp overcook very easily, so just be aware that if you make it ahead, your shrimp could possibly get rubbery and tough.
Note, we did try this and it was just not as good as fresh. The sauce will thicken up a little bit too much and the shrimp, of course aren’t as tasty as they are straight out of the oven. Just keep that in mind when preparing general tso shrimp ahead of time.
General Tso pronunciation
Ok, this may seem silly, but I feel like there’s a lot of people out there that don’t know how to pronounce general tso shrimp. Basically all you need to do is drop the “T” from the sound. So, General Tso Shrimp, is pronounced General SO shrimp. Got it?!
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- If you don’t like broccoli, swap it out for your favorite veggies. Carrots, baby corn, mushrooms or bell peppers will also work great.
- If you can’t find tamari, soy sauce will do.
- Use any kind of dried red Chile pepper you can find. I use Chile de arbol peppers which have a lovely heat to them, but thai chiles will also work.
- If you want this REALLY hot, chop up the peppers and add them to the sauce instead of leaving them whole. Beware, this will make the general tso shrimp very spicy!
- As always when cooking shrimp, do not overcook them! Shrimp are done with they are curled up in a “c” and firm.
- Garnish with chopped green onions or sesame seeds for a little added texture and color,
What to serve with General Tso Shrimp
- If you want to stick to something healthier, try our Quinoa Fried Rice. Super easy to throw together and healthy.
- This Easy Fried Rice with Egg is a classic that goes with EVERYTHING.
- Roasted Shishito Peppers are the perfect starter to General Tso Shrimp. Sweet, salty, and so addictive.
- 1 tbsp sesame oil, divided
- 2 cup broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 lbs shrimp
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp tamari
- 2 tsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- 5 chile de arbol chiles
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Add broccoli to a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 teaspoon of sesame oil. Use hands to coat the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on the baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and push to one side. Toss the shrimp with remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper. Spread shrimp on the baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
- While the shrimp is cooking whisk tamari, hoisin, vinegar, brown sugar, chicken stock and cornstarch together in a medium bowl. After the shrimp have cooked for five minutes, remove from the oven. Pour sauce on top along with the chiles. Use a spoon to toss the shrimp in the sauce and with the chiles.
- Bake another 3-4 minutes until shrimp is cooked through and sauce has thickened. Toss the shrimp with thickened sauce.
- Serve with broccol over steamed rice.