Lighter Sweet And Sour Chicken

A lighter take on sweet and sour chicken recipe that is much healthier than the take-out version! My healthier sweet and sour chicken is loaded with veggies and the chicken is sautéed, not fried. Just like your favorite Chinese restaurant, but much tastier & lighter on the waistline!

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.comJust had this for dinner. Less than 5 minutes ago. And i’m probably going to have it again for lunch. I can’t stop. Must eat more. It’s soo good.

Hello, hello world! It’s Wednesday and after 3 days of not being able to taste anything, i’m finally starting to feel like my normal self again. I can taste food! And it’s so gosh darn good. I’ve lost 3 whole days of being able to enjoy it. <— Bummer.

Asian food is my favorite kind of cuisine to make and to consume. The hubby and I both love stir-fries, fried rice, or any kind of chicken with vegetables, drenched in soy sauce and glazed with a sweet and spicy syrup – we just can’t get enough!

But let me state the obvious here for a second, Asian food is so not healthy. Battered and fried chicken nuggets, overcooked vegetables, and a calorie dense sauce. No thank you, there’s a cheesecake out there calling me name that’s worth way more than the calories from take-out Chinese food.

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.comWhat I love about this healthier version of sweet and sour chicken is that it’s loaded with veggies. It’s like eating the rainbow. How pretty is that?

Your plate starts with a bed of fluffy white rice or brown rice or quinoa or even farro (yum) and then cover it all up with sautéed veggies and golden brown chicken nuggets all tossed around in my sweet and sour sauce. Sauce so good that i’m still licking it off my fingers. It’s sticky. It’s tangy. It’s sweet. It’s blow-your-mind, delicious.

Just look at those beautiful colors… and textures… and flavors – I couldn’t choose just one – they’re all my favorite. And double bonus points for the healthiness. <— Aww yeah.

We’re sautéing the chicken nuggets in just 3 tablespoons of oil – did I mention this recipe feed 5-6? That’s means it feeds a herd or makes for great leftovers all week long. Worth it. When was the last time your takeout Chinese food fed 6 or lasted you for a few meals during the week?

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.comSince we’re not frying the chicken nuggets for the recipe, we’re simply putting them in a plastic baggy and giving a quick shake with some cornstarch and salt. It’s the quickest + easiest way to do it. A good toss and in they go to get all nice and crispy brown.

To prepare the sauce, all you need to go is place all the sauce ingredients into a saucepan and allow the sauce to come to a boil. Add in a tablespoon of cornstarch slurry and the sauce will get all nice and thick, which will cuddle up nicely with all of our chicken and veggies.

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.comSweet and sour chicken is one of my favorite childhood meals. And in fact, I prefer my moms take-out fake out version over our favorite Chinese restaurants take on it.

This recipe is inspired and partly adapted from my moms sweet and sour chicken recipe. Her’s of course has the crispy fried nuggets and a lot more sauce, but we’ll leave that version for special occasions and partly because no matter how many times I make it, it never comes out just like moms.

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.comA few final tips for this sweet and sour chicken stir fry:

Make sure to make this right before sitting down to eat. That way you get the veggies all nice and crispy and the chicken nuggets are justing soaking in that sweet and sour sauce that just makes everything tastes so gosh darn addicting.

Make sure to use the pineapple chunks. Use fresh pineapple or the stuff that comes in a can, whatever you do, just don’t leave it out. The sweet and sour sauce along with the pineapple chunks create the most amazing flavor experience together and not to mention the beautiful pops of yellow that the pineapple chunks create.

If you don’t have orange juice for the sauce, replace it with fresh orange juice or even the syrup that the pineapples come packed in. If you don’t have that either, use apple juice.

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.comMy final tip: double this recipe. Okay, no don’t, because it already feeds half a dozen people. But if you’re like me (aka hungry all the time) and adore cold Chinese leftovers for lunch the next day, then make as much of this as you can, because you’re gonna want this for every.meal.of.the.day. The flavors develop and become more glorious as they sit.

Also, if you’re watching the carbs, you can serve this over a bed of coleslaw mix. It tastes so so good that you won’t even miss the rice, honest.

Go and get your {healthy} sweet and sour chicken on!

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.com

Lighter Sweet And Sour Chicken
Author: Little Spice Jar
Serves: 5-6 servings
A lighter take on sweet and sour chicken recipe that is much healthier than the take-out version! My healthier sweet and sour chicken is loaded with veggies and the chicken is sautéed, not fried. Just like your favorite Chinese restaurant, but much tastier & lighter on the waistline!
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 red bell pepper. cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 carrot, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1 small white onion, cubed and separated
  • 1 (22 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained*
  • sweet and sour sauce:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Instructions
  1. First prepare the sauce. Add the ketchup, sugar, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, garlic powder, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes to a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl, add to the saucepan and stir until thickened, reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to cook for 4 minutes. Remove from stove.
  2. Add the cornstarch and salt to a Ziploc bag. Zip and shake to combine the two. Add the chicken pieces, seal and continue to shake until the chicken is coated.
  3. Drizzle the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the coated chicken using a pair of tongs. Discard any remaining cornstarch. Sauté over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots, pepper, and onions. Continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Add in the pineapple chunks along with the sauce. Stir to coat well. Serve warm with cooked white or brown rice.
Notes
[i]If you do not have orange juice, you can substitute the syrup from the canned pineapple or apple juice.[/i]

Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken - it takes just 30 minutes from start to finish and it's healthier than your local takeout! #chinesefood #sweetandsour #asian #friedrice #chickenandvegetables | littlespicejar.com

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