Healthy Chinese Restaurant Style Pineapple Chicken Recipe -- Paleo, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

One of my kids' favorite dishes is pineapple chicken. Sweet, sour, delicious. I certainly love it as well. And pretty easy to make, not to mention healthy. Unfortunately there are too many battles in my house over food, even though meal time is the last thing that I want to make into a battle ground. My kids are just so picky, each kid refusing to eat a different type of food. But pineapple chicken, as long as I make it "right", every single kid will agree to eat, and be thrilled. (Even hot dogs and french fries isn't a sure thing in my house; one kid refuses to eat french fries!) I've also served it to guests and they devoured it.
When I make pineapple chicken, I make mine in a specific way so that my family will agree to eat it; two kids refuse to eat sauted onions, three kids refuse to eat cooked peppers, and my husband doesn't like bits of pineapple in his food (though he does like the flavor of pineapple, as long as its not the actual pieces). Therefore, I keep mine in separate parts. Chicken cooked separately. Onions and peppers cooked separately. Sauce cooked separately. Pineapple added to each person's plate. This is more work, yes, but mainly in making more dishes to wash afterwards. However, if you don't have picky eaters, you can cook it all together and serve it in a more normal way.
My recipe for pineapple chicken is allergy friendly, refined sugar free, gluten free, and completely Paleo. I serve it to my family over rice, but to keep it paleo for myself, I eat it over zucchini noodles, grated then baked potatoes, or cubed sweet potatoes. You can also eat it plain; it's great that way as well.

Here's how you also can make this delicious dish for your family.

Healthy Restaurant Style Pineapple Chicken Recipe -- Paleo, Gluten Free, Allergy Friendly

1 onion
1 bell pepper, any color (optional)
1 large can pineapple chunks (optional)
Scallions (optional)
Velveted Chicken
4 cups chopped chicken breast, approximately 1 kilogram or 2 pounds (this was 1 package for me)
3 tablespoons starch, either potato, tapioca, or corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup oil or more as needed (I used untoasted sesame oil but any non too strongly flavored oil would work)
2 cups pineapple juice
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 teaspoon fresh or dried ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Sweetener of choice to taste (optional, I typically leave it out because I find it sweet enough with just pineapple juice, but if you like sweeter, feel free to add honey, jaggery syrup, coconut sugar, white sugar, etc...)
4-5 tablespoons starch, either potato, tapioca, or corn starch

1. First velvet the chicken, as in my recipe for moo goo gai pan. If you already know how to do that,  do that and skip to step 6. Otherwise continue to step 2.

2. Cut the chicken into small cubes, or bite sized chunks. I find kitchen scissors to be most useful for this.

3. Mix the chicken with the starch, salt, and garlic powder, making sure it's evenly distributed.

4. Heat up oil in a frying pan on a medium/high heat, and add the chicken, half or one third at a time to the pan, mixing frequently, and removing from the pan when slightly golden and fully cooked. Taste them. They should be delicious, fully cooked, and quite moist.

5. Strain the chicken in a colander, and then cook the rest of the chicken, adding more oil if necessary. Set the chicken aside.

6. Saute onions and peppers, either together, or separately (depending on your family's preferences), and set aside.

7. Mix the sauce ingredients together, heating up in a sauce pan, mixing constantly until thickened.

8. If desired, mix all the parts, including the pineapple, together and serve over rice or rice alternatives, topping with chopped scallions. Alternatively, give each family whichever part they'll agree to eat, and mix on each person's plate.


Do you and your family enjoy pineapple chicken? Do you also have picky eaters in your family and need to serve dishes like this in separate parts? Have you ever made pineapple chicken before? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I will try the Pineapple Chicken recipe. We all have at least one picky eater in our families. Thanks

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