This spicy chicken stir fry packs tons of fresh vegetables into a flavorful and quick meal and is soy-free. Topped with a spicy sesame sauce, it’s great over brown rice.
MSG and Migraine Disorders
Did you know I take requests? I may not get to them for a few months, but I do notice when people mention the items they miss the most on a migraine diet. To be perfectly honest, if you miss something it probably means I miss it to. One of the topics I see mentioned most often is a stir fry recipe that is made without MSG. Tough, but not impossible!
Why Soy Can Be An Issue
Soy sauce is made from fermented soy beans, so even if a product states there is no MSG, like Kikkoman does here, glutamic acid or free glutamate is still present. Business Insider has an interesting article about foods with naturally occurring MSG, which is likely why some have an issue with tomatoes and grape juice. You’ll notice many items on the list are already to be avoided for Heal Your Headache.
Soy in and of itself is to be avoided, so that also kicks tamari products to the curb, even though they are gluten free. The best substitute you can find is coconut aminos, which has substantially less sodium and is made from the nectar or “sap” of a coconut blossom, not the actual coconut fruit. However, coconut aminos at the end of the day are still questionable for those on a migraine diet because most brands are fermented. This means higher levels of the naturally occurring glutamate that is also in soy sauce. Some tolerate them perfectly fine and others have issues. But for this spicy chicken stir fry, they’re really the best bet for flavor.
What Coconut Aminos Are Best?
If you’re super sensitive to histamine, fermented foods, and MSG, it’s a good idea to still be wary of coconut aminos. However, I find Coconut Secret and Trader Joe’s brand are well-tolerated with most readers. You could possibly get away with Bragg’s Coconut Aminos(linked), which is NOT fermented but does have apple cider vinegar in it. Pick your battles, I suppose. I will say if you’re in the beginning stages of your migraine diet and still having daily pain, this is probably a recipe you should put off till you’re feeling a little better.
Vegetables You Can Use for Spicy Chicken Stir Fry
I do love this spicy chicken stir fry recipe if you’re a little further into the diet. It’s a great way to test if coconut aminos are an issue for you, while keeping everything else stable. Also the veggies are totally up to you. I don’t have an issue with mushrooms, but if you do you can easily just leave them out. Also, for my favorite vegetarians, this would be really easy to make with all vegetables and some rice!
Good vegetable options are:
- Zucchini and summer squash
- Mushrooms (if you can tolerate natural glutamate)
- Green onion/scallions
- Bok choy
- Bell Peppers
Other Asian-Inspired Recipes
If you like this spicy chicken stir fry, you’ll love these too!
This spicy chicken stir fry uses vegetables and a soy-free sesame sauce for a quick and healthy weeknight meal. Really easy to make all vegetarian as well.
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos See notes in post about options. I use Trader Joe's brand which IS fermented
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp distilled white vinegar
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.5-2 tsp ground mustard I used 2 but I typically like a more spicy flavor
- 1 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
- kosher salt to taste
- 2 tbsp ghee or butter (if using butter, mix with a oil that can tolerate high heat)
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into small 1" pieces
- 2 zucchini, washed and chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 2-3 carrots, chopped I used the pre-chopped ones from TJ's cause I'm lazy like that
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 4 oz mushrooms (if you can tolerate them)
- 2 green onions, trimmed at the ends and chopped
Add all the sauce ingredients to a food processor and blend till combined. Taste and see if you need to add salt. Coconut aminos are a little sweet, so I find a bit of extra salt helps to balance it. The sesame oil and vinegar will also add the "umami" that tends to go missing without using soy sauce. Set aside.
Add ghee (or butter/oil combo) to a skillet or wok on high heat. Add chicken and sear on first side for about 3 minutes, getting a nice caramelization. Toss and cook another 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.
Add a little more ghee or butter/oil to the same skillet or wok. Add all the vegges except for the green onion and toss. The veggies should take about 3-4 minutes to cook. You still want them a little crisp.
Add the chicken back to the skillet and toss everything together with about 2 tbsp of the sauce. Serve and top with the green onions and a drizzle of the remaining sauce.