Skinny Sweet and Sour Meatballs

by Jen on May 22, 2012

Back in my university days, I used to eat out a lot.  I wasn’t one of those kids that brought a lunch from home to school, instead, I would usually stop in the cafeteria and order something quick and tasty.  Nothing was off limits.  Burgers, fries, pizza…

But one of my favorite meals was Sweet and Sour Pork over rice.  There is something about the combination of sweet and sour mixed together in a thick and gooey sauce.  But that “something” was also loaded with calories, fat, and sodium!

Since I’ve become more aware of what I put into my mouth, I’m always looking for ways to “healthify” my favorite flavors, sweet and sour being one of them.  These Sweet and Sour Meatballs definitely fit that criteria.


A few of the ways this recipe is healthier than the original:

  • I’ve replaced ground beef or pork with ground chicken
  • More veggies have been added
  • Whole grain rice is used instead of white rice
  • I’ve used low-sodium ingredients


Skinny Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: serves 4



Recipe adapted from Family Favorites


    For the Meatballs:
  • 1 lb. extra lean ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp low-sodium ketchup
  • 1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • pinch of sea salt and pepper
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato juice
  • 1-1/2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • For the rest:
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced
  • chopped parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Combine water and rice in rice cooker or in a pot and cook according to package directions.
  2. While rice is cooking, prepare the meatballs. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, onion, ketchup, breadcrumbs, egg white, salt, and pepper. Form the meatballs using about 1 Tbsp of the mixture for each. Place on a plate and set aside.
  3. To prepare the sauce, in a large skillet, melt the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Add the red and green peppers and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the tomato and pineapple juices, ketchup, brown sugar, cornstarch, and meatballs. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
  4. Serve the meatballs and sauce over the rice. Garnish with fresh pineapple and parsley.

This is another recipe the whole family enjoyed.  The kids love the sweetness of the pineapple and ketchup while hubby and I love the juicy and healthier chicken meatballs.  I also loved drizzling the leftover sauce on top, so it soaked right down into the rice.

This meal is also extremely easy to prepare.  I used one skillet for the meatballs and sauce and my rice cooker for the rice.  I highly recommend a rice cooker.  I no longer have an ugly mess to clean up after cooking rice on the stove!  I just measure my rice and water and let the cooker work it’s magic.  You can also prep this meal ahead of time by making the meatballs the night before and having them ready to throw in the sauce later.



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