Healthy Sweet and Sour Pork
Craving Chinese food? Toss those takeout menus aside and make this clean and healthy version of the sweet and sour pork. All it takes is a little bit of prep, a quick marinade, and about 13 minutes of cooking — which means it’ll probably be on your table faster than you can get to the restaurant and back! The recipe also works for Sweet and Sour Chicken if you make it using boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
To transform this beloved dish into a version lower in sugar, sodium, and calories (to compare, PF Chang’s Sweet and Sour Pork has 740 calories per entrée and includes 71 grams of sugar and 1540 mg of sodium). This version, a hearty two cups per serving, has 300 calories, 13 grams of sugar, and 322 mg of sodium), and replaces battered and fried pork with succulent cubes of lean pork loin and marinated them in a combination of soy sauce and fresh ginger. To make the classic sauce, this recipe combines pineapple juice, honey, rice vinegar, and tomato paste. The result is a rich, sweet and sour umami delight.
To give more texture and flavor to the dish, you can toss in juicy chunks of pineapple and a trio of different colors of bell peppers and finish the dish with a sprinkling of cilantro. (If you are one of those people for whom cilantro tastes like eating a dish soap, you can skip it, or replace it with parsley.)
Watch the video below to see how it’s made:
- 2 tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided use
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp. dry sherry wine (optional)
- 4 tsp. cornstarch (preferably GMO-free), divided use
- 1 lb. raw lean boneless pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste, no sugar added
- 1½ tsp. raw honey
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin organic coconut oil, divided use
- 1 medium onion, cut in half, sliced vertically
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch wide strips
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into ½-inch wide strips
- 1 medium orange bell pepper, cut into ½-inch wide strips
- 1 cup cubed fresh pineapple (or canned pineapple in juice)
- Fresh cilantro sprigs (for garnish; optional)
Here are your instructions:
Combine 1 tbsp. soy sauce, ginger, sherry (if desired), and 2 tsp. cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl; whisk to blend. Place in a large resealable bag.
Add pork; marinate, refrigerated, for 30 minutes.
Combine remaining 1 tbsp. soy sauce, pineapple juice, vinegar, tomato paste, honey, and remaining 2 tsp. cornstarch in a medium bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp. oil in large nonstick skillet (or wok) over medium-high heat.
Add pork; cook undisturbed for 1½ minutes. Cook, stirring constantly, for an additional minute, or until pork is browned but not cooked all the way through. Remove pork from pan. (Note: This may need to be done in 2 or more batches, so that all of the pork has contact with the pan and is seared.) Discard any leftover marinade.
Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil to skillet; heat over medium-high heat.
Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.
Add pork; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
Add pineapple juice mixture; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and pork is cooked through.
Add pineapple; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
Divide between four serving plates. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
Serve each portion with ½ cup cooked brown rice, if desired.