This totally takes me back to my childhood. Every time I’d go to the mall, I’d hit up Panda Express (or an indie version) in the food court and order teriyaki. It was a sweet salty flavor explosion in my mouth. Y’all know what I’m talking about! I’d get the combo meal and ask for teriyaki for both of my “entrees” 😂
Well, as you know, I have long ago quit my habit of eating Panda Express at the mall. I have not, however, outgrown my love of teriyaki.
To satisfy my teriyaki cravings, while still maintaining a well-balanced vegan diet of minimally processed food, I decided to play around with making teriyaki sauce with dates instead of sugar. On first try I was in love. It’s surprisingly easy to replace highly processed cane sugar with dates. And the dates add to the sauce’s richness.
To make this version of vegan Panda Express healthier, I added broccoli, carrots, and red pepper, and served it over brown rice. To replace the animal flesh I used protein- & fiber-rich chickpeas. The finished dish is colorful, filling, crazy delicious, and good for you! It’s the perfect back-to-school lunch or weeknight dinner.
If you’re looking for more clean and delicious back-to-school recipes, don’t miss my other vegan Panda Express recipe—Orange Chickpeas!! And I recently shared a detailed back-t0-school meal prep guide plus recipes.
Also, feel free to swap out the veggies with others like kale, cabbage, bok choy, etc...
- 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil
- 1½ tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 6 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped (other types of dates are fine)
- ⅓ cup water plus 1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon grapeseed or coconut oil OR do a water sauté with ¼ cup water
- ½ cup red onion, or 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped or julienned
- 1 carrot, chopped or julienned
- 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (equivalent to 1 can drained and rinsed)
- 1 crown of broccoli, florets diced
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (1 cup uncooked)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds (raw or toasted)
- 1-2 fresh limes, quartered
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Warm oil in a saucepan on medium heat. Then add the ginger and garlic, and sauté for about 1 minute, or until the garlic starts to turn golden (be careful not to burn it).
- Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and dates. Stir well, and simmer for about 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Mix the arrowroot or cornstarch with ⅓ cup of water, and stir well to remove any chunks.
- Pour the mixture into the simmering sauce, and stir slowly as it begins to thicken.
- Once it begins to thicken, remove it from the heat, and allow the sauce to cool until it's safe to blend.
- Transfer the sauce to a blender, and blend until smooth.
- Warm the oil or water in wok or skillet on medium heat.
- Add the onions, and sauté for about 1 minute, or until it starts to turn translucent.
- Add the red pepper, and carrots, cover, and cook another 5-10 minutes.
- Stir in the broccoli, chickpeas, and date teriyaki sauce, and continue to cook covered for another 10 minutes, or until the vegetables have reached your desired doneness.
- Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds, fresh cilantro and lime juice.