Paleo Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry Bowl

Can you guess where this dish originated? Shanghai? Beijing?

Would you believe it was Springfield, Missouri?!

In the 1940s, Chef David Leong emigrated from China to the United States and opened Leong’s Tea House in Springfield. He recognized the deep affection the locals held for fried chicken, so he married their down-home cuisine with his traditional Chinese sauce, then added cashews and green onions for a twist. It was a hit and is now considered the unofficial dish of the city.

This stir-fry comes together even faster than takeout! Just prep all the ingredients in advance, crank up the heat, and toss it in a pan.

Paleo Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry Bowl from Well Fed

Paleo Cashew Chicken Stir-Fry Bowl

Serves 2 | Total time: 25 minutes | Whole30 compliant

  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder or potato starch

  • 1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive or coconut oil

  • 4 medium stalks celery

  • 3 scallions

  • 1/2 pound snow peas

  • 1/3 cup cashews

  • 3 tablespoons coconut aminos

  • a few handfuls baby spinach

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed


Velvet the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut aminos, arrowroot, rice vinegar, and salt. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Mix well, cover and let rest 15-20 minutes while you prep the other ingredients.


Prep the veggies. Cut the celery and scallions into 2-inch-long batons, wash the snow peas; set aside.


Prep the aromatics. Crush the garlic, peel and grate the ginger, and mix in a small bowl with the oil. Set aside.


Start cooking. Place 1 tablespoon oil in a large, nonstick skillet or wok and warm it over medium-high heat, 2 minutes. Add the velveted chicken and cook, undisturbed, 1-2 minutes. Stir and cook another 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.


Cook the veggies. Reheat the pan with another 1 tablespoon of oil, 30 seconds. Add the celery, scallions, and snow peas; stir-fry until just tender, about 2-3 minutes. Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the aromatic oil; stir-fry 15 seconds, then toss the veggies and aromatics together.


Bring it home. Return  the chicken to the pan and toss with the veggies, then add the coconut aminos  and cashews; toss to combine. Stir-fry another minute, then serve.


To serve, place baby spinach in the bottom of individual serving bowls, then top with the hot stir-fry.



This is also delicious served on a bed of Cauliflower Rice.

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  • Donna Endres says:

    HI Melissa! I just wanted to Validate you on your recipes. Not only are they amazing to eat, the directions are easy and fun… true step by step.
    The other thing I appreciate about them is that you get right to it. I hate seeing a recipe that looks pretty good and then you have to scroll down 15 pages of chatty-ness about the recipe and then a bazillion ads and videos start loading, which slows everything down, just to find that the recipe is not what it was represented to be.
    I like yours, the recipe, period! Well done and keep it up!

    • Thanks so much! It’s a fine line between “share an interesting story” and “just get to the recipe already,” but I think the context is important. I’m really glad you find the recipes easy to follow. Thank you for letting me know!

  • Kathie Gray says:

    I love when you tell us the history of a food or recipe. My favourite cook books are always the ones that do that, partly because I read them cover to cover like novels which I’m told makes me a bit odd! This sounds yummy and has mentally been filed under “to cook”! Thanks.

  • Teresa James says:

    Should I buy my cashews RAW and unsalted??

    • If you’re doing strict paleo, then yes, raw and unsalted are your best choice. I prefer the ones that are dry-roasted and salted because they have more flavor. As long as they aren’t roasted in crappy oil (vegetable, rapeseed, canola, sunflower), you should be in good shape.