This Chinese takeout inspired recipe gets its rich flavor from the mushrooms and rice vinegar as well as a great crunch from the water chestnuts.

Slow Cooker Kung Pao [Vegan]






  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (for gluten - free use coconut aminos)
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar or plain rice vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons vegan chicken-flavored bouillon
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • 1 bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 5 ounces mushrooms, diced
  • 1 can (8 ounces or 225 g) water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1 package (12 ounces or 335 g) seitan, store-bought or homemade, diced (sub 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, cauliflower florets, or pressed tofu)

Before serving:

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (leave out to make oil-free)
  • Steamed rice, for serving
  • Chopped peanuts, for serving


  1. The night before: To make the sauce: Combine all the sauce ingredients and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Store the cut-up bell pepper, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and seitan in an airtight container in the fridge.
  2. In the morning: Combine the sauce, pepper, mushrooms, water chestnuts, and seitan in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7 to 9 hours.
  3. 30 minutes before serving: Turn up slow cooker to high. Make a thickener by mixing the cornstarch with some of the sauce from the slow cooker in a small cup, then add it back to the slow cooker. Right before serving, stir in the sesame oil. Serve over steamed rice, and top with the peanuts.