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Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken

 

This sweet and sour chicken recipe is an easy chicken dinner recipe that’s easy to make, loaded with flavor, and ready in just 30 minutes. Tender and juicy chicken with each bite!

Tender and juicy sweet and sour chicken recipe thats full of flavor and an easy weeknight dinner recipe to serve your family. This asian chicken recipe is better than takeout and ready in just 30 minutes. Made with lean chicken breasts, pineapple chunks, peppers, and tossed in with a sweet and sour sauce. You will never buy Chinese takeout again after you make this sweet and sour chicken recipe.

WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS EASY ASIAN CHICKEN RECIPE

  • Healthier than takeout: This sweet and sour chicken is a healthier take on the classic Chinese takeout. Made without breading and frying the chicken.
  • Easy to make: This recipe is actually really easy to make after you cook the chicken and veggies, all you need is to add the sweet and sour sauce.
  • Delicious: You will be pleased with this sweet and sour chicken recipe. So flavorful and perfect to serve over rice or quinoa.

When you’re in “screw it” mode at the Chinese buffet, sweet and sour chicken is the siren song of chafing dishes.

Battered, fried, and coated in a super sweet yet tangy sauce. A bit (or a lot?) of food coloring in there for good measure. Ir-re-sis-ti-ble. There’s not much competition along the row of steaming dishes when it comes to sweet and sour chicken: even if you prefer, say, sesame or kung pao chicken, sweet and sour is the crispiest, the richest, the most luxe. Am I right?

So making a healthy sweet and sour chicken recipe with a seriously worthy sweet and sour sauce is a major challenge. A deserving recipe has to be:

  • Crispy
  • Sweet enough
  • Sour enough
  • With super tender chicken

I’m not at all ashamed to say that my first version sucked. I had high hopes, took photos, ate a bite, and tried to convince myself to name the dish something else so I could still post it. Sure, the recipe was not bad; it was actually a good dinner! But it wasn’t something I’d call a true healthy sweet and sour chicken recipe. Nah, more like… pineapple chicken stir fry? Good, but not I could eat this for the next six meals good.

Which is kind of exactly what my husband said after eating this version. In fact, it’s caused problems! When we have this healthy sweet and sour chicken in the fridge, he doesn’t want to roll with my new recipes or order takeout when I’m too tired to cook.

Well, that’s not exactly true. He doesn’t care what I do, so long as I leave him and his bowl of leftover healthy sweet and sour chicken out of it.

Why this healthy sweet and sour chicken recipe is so good:

  • It’s actually healthy! There’s no added sugar; the sauce is sweetened with dates and pineapple juice from a can of Dole Pineapple Chunks in 100% Pineapple Juice.
  • The chicken is actually crispy, thanks to an easy coating using arrowroot powder and eggs. Simple, too!
  • The onions and peppers round this dish out with plenty of veggies, so you can serve it over cauliflower rice and call it a night.
  • The sweet and sour sauce is oh so good and made easily in the blender with all whole-food ingredients.
  • It’s Whole30 compliant and paleo, too!

Variations

  • Leave out any element you don’t love, whether that’s the peppers or onion. The pineapple is sooo good here, though (So keep it!).
  • Try substituting shrimp for the chicken. Follow the recipe the same as you would for the chicken, but you’ll need to cook the shrimp a lot less, only about 2 minutes.
  • If you eat soy, feel free to swap out the coconut aminos for soy sauce in the sauce. Just leave out the salt as well, if you use soy sauce. If you’re on a Whole30, do not use soy sauce!
  • I really love to use Dole Pineapple Chunks in 100% Pineapple Juice since they’re easy to keep on hand and perfectly little nuggets of natural sweetness. You can, however, use fresh pineapple, but you will need to sauté it much longer to soften. Just roll with the Dole!

Tips

  • I like to sauté the peppers and onions pretty well so they’re not super raw and crunchy-tasting, but I’m not a huge fan of bell peppers to start with. You can sauté them just a couple minutes or a bit longer, depending on your preference.
  • Shake up your chicken in batches; about 2 batches will cover everything. This will prevent clumpy chicken pieces, and you can shake up the second batch while the first batch is frying. Just make sure you keep a close eye on the chicken frying!
  • Cut your chicken into smaller pieces than you think would be “bite-sized.” You want pieces about 3/4-1″ big, not big chunks. The coating will add some volume here.

Can I use cassava flour instead of arrowroot powder?

Absolutely! Cassava flour is a little harder to find, so I don’t use it in as many of my recipes. It is, however, my favorite grain-free flour or starch, and it works very well in this recipe.

How to make healthy sweet and sour chicken

Make your sauce first: combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until completely smooth.

Place your arrowroot powder in a large plastic food storage bag. In a medium bowl, whisk your eggs well. Working in 2 batches, add chicken to bag and shake to coat. Remove chicken pieces, tapping to remove excess arrowroot, and transfer to bowl with eggs. Toss to coat then remove chicken pieces, straining to remove any excess egg, and place back in arrowroot bag. Shake up again to coat well, using your hands on the outside to try and break up clumps. Remove from bag, shaking off excess and breaking up any large clumps of pieces.

Heat a layer of coconut oil or avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add chicken to skillet. Fry about 2 minutes to set breading then continue to cook, stirring occasionally and flipping to lightly brown on all sides, until chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Repeat coating and frying process with all chicken.

Clean out skillet and replace on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon coconut or avocado oil to the skillet and fry peppers, onions, and Dole Pineapple Chunks until peppers are beginning to soften, about 4-5 minutes.

Pour in sauce and cook 2 minutes or until bubbly. Add in cooked chicken and toss to coat. Serve over cauliflower rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

 

Ingredients

  • vegetable oil 2 tsp
  • chicken breasts 2, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • green pepper 1, diced
  • red pepper 1, diced
  • spring onions 2, cut into 3cm pieces
  • garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
  • ginger a thumb-sized piece, finely chopped
  • tinned pineapple chunks 100g
  • basmati rice to serve

SWEET AND SOUR SAUCE

  • cornflour 1 tbsp
  • soft light brown sugar ½ tbsp
  • pineapple juice 2 tbsp from the tin
  • dark soy sauce 1 tbsp
  • rice vinegar 1½ tbsp
  • tomato ketchup 1 tbsp

Method

  • STEP 1

    Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over a high heat and cook the chicken for 5 minutes until caramelised, then scoop out onto a plate. Stir-fry the peppers and spring onions for 5 minutes until charred. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for 1 minute.

  • STEP 2

    Put the cornflour and sugar into a small bowl, stir in the pineapple juice, soy and vinegar until smooth, then add the ketchup and 100ml of water. Pour into the pan,  add the chicken and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through. Stir through the pineapple chunks for the final 2 minutes of cooking to warm through.

  • STEP 3

    Serve with basmati rice.

     

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is sweet and sour sauce made of?

Sweet and sour sauce is made of cornstarch, water, cider vinegar, sugar (or honey), ketchup or tomato paste, and soy sauce, all cooked in a saucepan until thickened. The thickened sauce is then poured over either chicken or shrimp.

How can I thicken Sweet and Sour sauce without using cornstarch?

Some substitute to consider in place of cornstarch are plain white or wheat flour, arrowroot flour, tapioca, or rice flour.

How to store sweet and sour chicken?

Save leftover sweet and sour chicken in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave when ready to eat.

Can i freeze sweet and sour chicken?

You can freeze sweet and sour chicken for up to 3 months. Remove from the freezer the night before and allow it to thaw in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave when ready to serve.

 

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