Whole30 Sweet and Sour Chicken
HEALTHY CHINESE TAKEOUT.
Yes, I said it. HEALTHY. Because, who says that eating healthy has to mean eating boring, bland, tasteless food?
Sometimes, I think the only version of a healthy meal that people envision is grilled chicken, boiled broccoli, and a baked sweet potato. Or salad. Salad is synonymous with healthy these days. But, there are so many other possibilities when it comes to healthy eating and I am determined to help you get outside the box a little bit and try something new. We will have no cardboard flavored boring meals over here, thank you very much.
Instead of scrapping certain styles of food from your healthy diet altogether, like Chinese food, I’m all about recreating healthier versions that are actually good for you and leave you feeling good, too! Traditional Chinese takeout can be full of unhealthy oils, refined sugar, and other ingredients that may not make your body feel the best.
So, let’s dig into this delicious and healthier version of Sweet and Sour Chicken that’s made with absolutely no refined sugar, gluten, or unhealthy oils. It’s also 100% Whole30 compliant, Paleo, delicious, and EASY. One skillet is all you need which if you know me, you know if my preferred method of cooking.
Let’s get into it!
First, you start with your chicken breast. You can buy pre-cut chicken breast that’s already been diced into small chunks or you can use a sharp knife to cut up the chicken on your own. You could also use chicken thighs in this recipe if you’d like!
Next, you’ll season it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and coat it in arrowroot starch. If you’ve never heard of arrowroot starch, it’s like a Whole30 compliant substitute for cornstarch and acts as a thickener for your sauce. You could also use tapioca flour if you can’t find arrowroot or, if you’re not doing a Whole30 you could easily use cornstarch instead.
After you coat the chicken, it’s time to add it to your hot skillet. Let it cook on one side for a few minutes to brown and then give the chicken a stir. Some pieces will be browner than others and that’s ok! Just let it brown in the oil until it’s cooked through and then add your veggies!
Ok, time for the few final steps! Add your peppers and onions to the pan and give them a stir. Let them cook for 1-2 minutes and then it’s time for the sauce!
Let’s talk about this sauce. It’s sweetened with orange juice instead of sugar and is packed with so much flavor from the coconut aminos, sesame oil, and fish sauce. It may not look like the sweet thick sauce you’d be expecting your sweet and sour chicken to swim in when you first add it to the pan, but the arrowroot starch on your chicken pieces will help thicken it right up. Once you add your sauce to the pan, it boil until it begins to thicken. You want it to easily be able to coat the back of spoon.
Once your sauce is thick enough, your veggies should also be tender and the entire dish should be deliciously melded together and ready for you to eat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools so turn down the heat and let everything cool for a minute or so before you serve. You can serve this over steamed or fried cauliflower rice if you’re doing a Whole30 or regular brown or white rice if you’re just keeping things gluten free!
2 tbsp avocado or coconut oil
1.5 pounds chicken breast diced into chunks
1/4c arrowroot starch or corn starch
1/2 tbsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup orange bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 cup yellow onion, sliced
Green onions and sesame seeds for garnish
For the Sauce:
3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup coconut aminos
1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp rice vinegar
3 drops fish sauce
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Combine the arrowroot starch, salt, and garlic powder and chicken in large bowl and stir until the chicken is completely coated.
Add the oil to the hot skillet and then add the chicken. Cook the chicken is cooked through and has begun to brown, around 6-8 minutes. While the chicken is cooking make the sauce by whisking together all of the sauce ingredients.
Once the chicken has cooked, add the peppers and onions to the skillet and let them cook for a 1-2 minutes. Then, add the sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil. Continue to cook until the veggies are tender and the sauce has thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds!