In my college days, I loved eating Chinese food. Once I switched to a wellness lifestyle and realized what was in most restaurant foods, I stopped eating regular Chinese food, but wanted to recreate some of the same flavors with real food ingredients.
One of my favorite pre real food conversion dishes was sweet and sour chicken. Most restaurant versions are more like MSG and high fructose corn syrup chicken, so I wanted to make a version that was naturally sweet and sour.
Also, like most of my recipes, I wanted it to be simple to make and not create a lot of dishes. I also wanted it to be quick enough to make that I could make it on a jujutsu night without it taking forever.
This recipe was the result and it was enthusiastically approved by all five children, my husband, and the grandparents so it is sure to be a favorite in your home too. Instead of MSG and corn syrup, it uses honey, vinegar, coconut aminos, and citrus juices with natural herbs and spices.
I’ve included the basic spices I used, but feel free to add more or less to suit your preference.
This can be served over white rice or cauliflower rice. I’ve also found that it is good over zucchini noodles (made with a spiral slicer) or just roasted zucchini slices. I’ve also eaten it over wilted spinach to get some extra greens and it was delicious.
Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe
Yield 4 servings
Sweet and sour chicken with coconut aminos, spices, and citrus juices is a real food alternative to this favorite.
- 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs
- 2 TBSP coconut oil or butter
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- 1 TBSP coconut aminos
- 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1 TBSP fish sauce
- 1 TBSP tomato paste
- ¼ cup orange spread
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced (optional)
- 2 TBSP sesame seeds
- 2 TBSP green onions, chopped
- Cut the chicken into bite size pieces.
- Heat the butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chicken, garlic powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, and paprika and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is mostly cooked.
- Add the lemon juice, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and apple cider vinegar and cook an additional 4-5 minutes until the chicken is cooked in the center.
- Meanwhile, dice the bell pepper if using.
- Drain off any extra liquid and return to heat.
- Add the tomato paste, orange spread, honey, and diced bell pepper and cook on medium/high for another 3-5 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken and chicken starts to brown slightly.
- Remove from heat and serve over cauliflower rice or white rice and top with sesame seeds and green onions.
- Enjoy 🙂
Coconut aminos are a soy free substitute for soy sauce, similar in taste
Serving Size ¼ of total
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 807 g
Saturated Fat 402 g
Cholesterol 26 mg
Sodium 569 mg
Total Carbohydrates 32.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.7 g
Sugars 18.2 g
Protein 6.2 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ever recreated a recipe from a favorite restaurant? How did it go?