Veggie Kung Pao

BY : PUBLISHED : July 16th, 2012 UPDATED: October 29th, 2021

From the author, Terrence Paschal: In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been grabbing lots of zucchini at my local farmer’s market. Zucchini is packed with vitamin C and manganese, and you can usually find a great deal on some while it’s in-season. Kung Pao is one of my favorite Chinese dishes, and I had to find a way to make it without the chicken/chicken broth that the dish usually contains. This is what I came up with, and it has become one of my go-to meals. It’s quick to make, taste good, and is loaded with veggies. Give this Veggie Kung Pao a try!

From Plant-Based on a Budget: This Veggie Kung Pao is a perfect way to add veggies while enjoying a super flavorful meal! This plant-based version of a classic Chinese dish is full of nutritious ingredients and is super easy to whip up in a hurry.

Veggie Kung Pao with rice on a black plate.

Water Chestnuts

As shocking as it sounds, water chestnuts are not actually a nut. They are an aquatic tuber that grows in ponds or shallow waters. Fascinating, right? They are crispy and enjoyed mostly in Asia (Taiwan, China, and other places), Africa, and the pacific. Often added to stir-fries or salads, they give an amazing texture to dishes and have some great nutritional value.

Even though they have a very high water content, water chestnuts manage to pack lots of fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. This Veggie Kung Pao uses the canned version so no need to boil or steam them to enjoy them! Have you tried them before?

Serving The Veggie Kung Pao

This flavorful dish can be eaten alone or with many other side dishes, but we highly recommend pairing it with some cooked brown rice for greater nutritional value, plus the nuttiness of the rice goes so well with the peanuts and chestnuts of the kung pao.

You can also try it alongside some rice noodles or some fragrant basmati rice. Enjoy!

Recommended equipment:

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

Veggie Kung Pao with rice on a black plate.

Veggie Kung Pao

Terrence Paschal
Time to reinvent a classic! This super-easy Veggie Kung Pao is full vegetables, nutrients and packed flavor! You'll love it!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 372 kcal
DIET Vegan


  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons of soy sauce or Bragg's aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sriracha
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 large yellow or red onion chopped
  • 4 medium zucchini chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery chopped
  • 8 ounces canned water chestnuts
  • 2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper add more or less for desired heat level
  • 1/4 cup of chopped peanuts
  • 4 cups of cooked brown rice


  • Mix corn starch, ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and Sriracha in a bowl and set to the side.
  • Place garlic and onion in a nonstick pan, or a pan coated with cooking spray.
  • When garlic and onion become fragrant, add zucchini, green bell pepper, and celery to the pan
  • When zucchini has become tender, add sauce and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add water chestnuts, crushed red pepper, and peanuts. Cook for 5 more minutes or until water chestnuts are warm.
  • Serve over brown rice, and top with more Sriracha.


Calories: 372kcalCarbohydrates: 68gProtein: 12gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 770mgPotassium: 908mgFiber: 9gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 804IUVitamin C: 61mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 3mg
Keyword chinese, chinese food, dinner, easy, engine 2, fast, forks over knives, kung pao, manganese, plant-based, quick, recipe, recipes, simple, vegan, vegetarian, veggies, vitamin c, yummy, zucchini
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

Veggie Kung Pao | Plant-Based on a Budget | #veggie #kung #pao #asian #vegan #plantbasedonabudget

About Terrence Paschal

Plant based food, micro brews, punk rock, and running are what I am about.

View all posts by Terrence Paschal
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