One of my husband’s favorite Chinese food take-out items is sweet and sour chicken. I created this lightened up version that hits the spot, is easy to make, and is loved by the whole family. It has a good dose of veggies to boost the nutrients, fiber and color of this take-out favorite. This is a meal that can be on the table in as little as 30 minutes, saving you time and keeping you on track with staying healthy.
The chicken is lightly pan fried giving it a nice color. To get a nice crispy coating the chicken is first lightly dipped in cornstarch prior to pan frying. You can use either chicken breast or chicken thigh meat for this recipe.
I have also made this dish vegetarian by using tofu in replace of the chicken. See notes below in recipe for tips on how to make.
Meal Prep Tips:
Sometimes when I need to make dinner and I do not want to put a lot of time into a dish I buy the pre-cut/chopped veggies. This helps save time when it comes to meal prep for a busy week night meal. However, the pre-cut veggies are often a little more expensive.
Another tip would be to do a bunch of meal prep on your day off such as cutting up onions, peppers, carrots and whatever else you may need for the week. This way it is already chopped and ready to go when you go to make the dish. Both of these tips work wonders when it comes to getting a healthy dinner on the table.
Typical sweet and sour chicken dishes can be anywhere from 500 to 1200 calories depending on how they are prepared and up to 1,000 mg + of sodium. This recipe per one cup serving has under 200 calories and 417 mg of sodium.
For me the appeal of the meal is all in the presentation and color of the dish. This recipe is loaded with colors from the veggies instead of the food dye added for the rich red color in most take out dishes!
Sweet and Sour Chicken & Veggies
Author: Brittany Sparks
Makes: 7 (1 Cup) Servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 35 min
1 lb Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast, Cut into 1 in cubes
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Cup Snow Peas, Cut in 1 inch pieces
1 Red Bell Pepper, Cut in 1 inch pieces (~1 cup)
1 Medium Onion, Cut in 1 inch pieces (~1 cup)
1 Cup Sliced Carrots
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 (8oz) Can Pineapple Chunks in Juice
1/3 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tbsp Cornstarch
¼ Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Tsp Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Cup Water
1 Tsp Salt
¼ Tsp Ground Ginger
Pinch of Ground Cayenne Pepper
Garnish/Serving Suggestions (Optional)
Serve along with a cooked whole grain such as black rice.
Toss the cut up chicken breast with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. In a large skillet add the olive oil and cook the chicken over medium high heat for about 7-8 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Prepare the sauce by separating the pineapple chunks from the juice. In a small saucepan add the pineapple juice and the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Whisk together to combine. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to low. Allow to cook, whisking occasionally for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the large skillet used to cook the chicken, add the snow peas, bell pepper, onion and carrots and sauté over medium-high heat for 7-8 minutes. Now add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add in the pineapple chunks and cooked chicken and cook for an additional minute to heat. Add the sauce to the pan and toss to combine.
Serve warm with ½ cup cooked rice. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve along with cooked whole grain of choice. I like this dish with black rice.
Vegetarian Version using Tofu: Remove tofu from package and drain excess liquid. Using a dish cloth or paper towels press as much liquid from tofu. Cut the tofu into 3 (1/4th inch) sheets. Cut each sheet diagonally on both sides to form 4 triangles. Now cut each triangle diagonally to form 8 small triangles. Pat with dish cloth once more to remove excess liquid. Lightly fry in olive oil for 3-4 minutes per side over medium high heat until golden brown. Add to the pan when you would the chicken as noted above.
Serving Size (1 Cup Sweet and Sour Chicken & Veggies):