Sweet & Sour Paleo Chicken

by lydia on September 6, 2013

Last year I spent some time working with my oldest son on recipes he loved that he could cook for our family. His first choice was ‘Sweet & Sour Chicken’. So, I spent some time working on a recipe that my family loved and I was happy with ingredient wise. I wanted a lot of sauce and the option for it to be completely sugar-free. We tested this recipe at least 10 times before I got it just how we like it. I hope you will give it a try – it’s better than take out.

The prep involved isn’t too time-consuming; this is about a 30-minute meal if you time it out all right. It helps to have a ‘sous chef’ around that can cut the veggies up while you make the sauce and start some rice if you like. This is a regular meal in our dinner rotation now. It’s a great meal to go ahead and double, so long as you have a big enough skillet/wok or chef’s pan. Put half in the freezer for a meal another time, you’ll be glad you did.


Sweet & Sour Paleo Chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4-6
  • 1½ pound of boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 2-3 cups pineapple chunks
 or tidbits
  • ⅓ cup orange
 juice (optional)
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup ketchup or 2 tablespoons tomato paste with broth added to make ⅓ cup
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 2-3 cups cauliflower chopped
  • 2-3 cups broccoli
  • 2 cups peppers cut into 1-2 inch long strips
  • ½-1 cup whole water chestnuts, sliced
  • 2 cups small carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped or grated fresh ginger
  1. In a bowl, combine the chicken cubes with the egg white, ¼ tsp salt, ginger and garlic powder.
  2. Stir to coat all pieces evenly and allow to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.
  3. While you let the chicken sit, in a food processor add 2 cups pineapple tidbits, orange juice, vinegar, ketchup, and honey (if using), puree until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat until a drop of water immediately sizzles and starts to evaporate.
  5. Put in one tablespoon of coconut oil, allowing it to heat and swirl it in the pan to coat it. The pan must be very hot, so don’t let the oil smoke before you start adding ingredients.
  6. Add in the chicken and spread it out in a single layer.
  7. Let the chicken cook untouched for a full minute or until the bottoms start to brown.
  8. Flip the chicken over and allow the other side to brown for a full minute. The chicken will still be pink in the center and that is ok.
  9. Remove the chicken to a bowl or plate, leaving as much oil in the pan as you can.
  10. Add the remaining oil and swirl it around in the pan. Once the oil is heated thoroughly, add in the cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. Fry for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Add in the pepper chunks, water chestnuts, and ginger and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in the remaining 1 cup pineapple chunks and the sweet and sour sauce.
  12. When the sauce starts bubbling, add the chicken back in. Let everything simmer until the chicken cooks through.
  13. This may take 2-4 minutes depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
  14. After 2 minutes, cut one of the larger pieces in half and look to see if there is any pink showing. If so, let it go another minute or two.
  15. Taste the sauce and adjust as needed.
  16. Serve over rice, if desired and generously apply the sauce when served.
  17. For a little extra ginger kick, add powdered ginger in with the rice when it starts cooking.



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Tanya September 7, 2013 at 2:29 am

I thought rice was not allowed healing your gut. This looks great though!

lydia September 7, 2013 at 7:53 am

The rice is optional – not everyone is healing their gut or excluding rice.

Aly November 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I’m guessing the orange juice goes into the sauce too? Didn’t see it in the directions.

lydia November 9, 2013 at 8:05 am

Yes Aly! (Just edited it)

Maria November 30, 2013 at 11:48 am

Hi Lydia!

The recipe is yummy, we loved it! However, I read this

“Never, ever mix vitamin C with pickles, peppers, salad dressings, jams, most condiments, vinegar, fruit juices, salsa, dips, shredded cheese, ketchup, or diet or regular soda. Don’t forget about mouthwash, toothpaste, cough syrup, cream, lotion, and hundreds of cosmetic products.”
Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/033726_sodium_benzoate_cancer.html#ixzz2m9Funvzo

and I am very concerned.

lydia December 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm


There is nothing with sodium benzoate in this recipe…..

vic December 6, 2013 at 1:36 pm

What can you use instead of chicken? I don’t eat poultry.

lydia December 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm


I’m sure it would be just as good with pork or shrimp or even beef!

Melody May 13, 2015 at 11:58 pm

Can’t wait to try this! I make a similar recipe…paleo spicy garlic honey sesame chicken :)


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