This healthy sweet and sour chicken uses fresh pineapple and bell peppers, easy Chinese ready in 30 minutes. The chicken is tender and juicy in this dish.
This is a recipe I’ve posted before, but I recently updated some ingredients to make it even more flavorful and easy to make in one pan. Plus, I’ve added a simple Asian Cabbage Side Salad.
My idea of good, healthy sweet and sour chicken is crisp fresh vegetables, fresh pineapple chunks, and tender, tasty chicken. How many times have you ordered this dish as part of “Dinner B” off the Chinese restaurant menu and what comes to the table is a plate of overly breaded chicken “parts” drenched in a pink gelatin-like substance?
Well, here is a delicious, tasty and good for you sweet and sour chicken recipe. The sauce is easy to make and gives the perfect balance of sweet and sour flavors that totally work with the other fresh ingredients. Before cooking, rest the chicken pieces in a mixture of cornstarch and egg white. This provides an incredibly light “binder” for the sauce to adhere to the chicken pieces without actually breading the chicken. The sauce is truly fresh with the perfect sweet and sour balance. No tasting processed, unreal flavors (or colors) here. If you like extra sauce, feel free to double the sauce ingredients.
The red and yellow peppers along with fresh pineapple mix well with the chicken for a fresh combination of crisp and tender-juicy textures. And this can all be on the table within 30 minutes and is start to finish in one pan.
Serve over rice or even quinoa. A simple and fresh side salad of chopped cabbage, drizzled with a light Asian dressing finishes off this meal. (For a simple dressing, I mixed 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/4 cup sesame oil, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt and freshly grated ginger to taste. Add 1 tablespoon sesame seeds if you have it.)
Healthy Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 1 egg white
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt, divided
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ fresh pineapple, cut into bite-size pieces (about 1 cup or to liking)
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- Dash Red Pepper flakes, to taste and for a nice added appearance
- 2 tbsp high heat cooking oil, divded (ex. grapeseed, peanut oil)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ tbsp sliced green scallions for garnish, optional
- In a bowl, whisk together 1 egg white, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, and ¼ tsp salt. Add 1 pound chicken pieces and stir to coat evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile, whisk together ¼ cup of water, 1 teaspoon ginger, ¼ cup vinegar, ¼ cup ketchup, 2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar, remaining ¼ tsp salt, and 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper (or more to taste--optional).
- Set a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Pour in 1 Tablespoon oil and swirl to coat. Add 1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper chunks and cook for 2 minutes. Remove onto a plate.
- Return pan to the stove on medium-high heat. Pour in the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil and swirl to coat (be sure to fully coat the pan so the meat won't stick). Add the chicken to the pan, spreading it out in one layer.
- Let the chicken saute, untouched, for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Turn the chicken and cook other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken will still be pinkish in the middle.
- Add the cooked bell peppers, pineapple chunks, and sauce mixture to the pan. Let simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes till the sauce thickens.
- Garnish with ½ Tablespoon sliced scallions, if desired. Serve over rice or even over quinoa.
Jackie Kesler says
Making this tonight! Love that there’s no heavy flour involved. Thanks for sharing Sally!
Sally Humeniuk says
Thanks Jackie! That’s one of my favorite things about the recipe, too. Now I’m craving it so I might need to make it again this weekend myself!
Made it this evening. It tasted good but next time I will increase the amount of cayenne to spice it up a bit more. I will use a spicier marinade for the chicken and put the corn starch in the sauce rather than in the marinade. The corn starch made the chunks of chicken stick together when they hit the hot pan. It was easy to flip them – it was like a big pancake but I had to pull the chunks apart later. I will also reduce the amount of sugar because the pineapples we get down in Ecuador are extra sweet. BTW a large sweet pineapple currently sells for $0.68 at the supermarket and even less at the mercado (open market).
It was yummy! Thanks!!
Glad you liked the Sweet and Sour Chicken, Jo! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Oh. My. WORD was this delicious!!! My husband said it tasted like a Chinese vendor. I couldn’t stop eating it and had to put the leftovers away so I didn’t over do it. I can’t wait for
lunch tomorrow! I’m going to go hide the container in the fridge now before the hubs can find it for breakfast!
Amy, I’m so glad you liked it, and your husband’s comparison to a Chinese vendor and the fact you might have to hide any leftovers from him made my day! It is definitely our favorite Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe. Thanks for your comment.
I love that your dishes don’t call for all these “funky” ingredients that you can never find or use again, what a great healthy option, we will try for sure!
P.s. I’m giving it 5 stars but it wld not let me.
Wow that looks amazingly delish! I’m making this this weekend 🙂 thanks for the idea!
All of the yummy without the guilty, Thanks!