This Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Sauce is a healthy and versatile alternative to store bought or take out sauces. It has a punchy tang from the pineapple, is thick and glossy and a rich vibrant shade of red all put together in around 10 minutes.
Tangy, sweet and sour things all in the one package are right up there on my list of favourite food dishes and this sugar free sweet and sour sauce is no exception.
I’d been dabbling with this recipe for a while and was determined to make it without adding sugars, honey, syrups or even natural sweeteners. This sauce is sweetened with freshly squeezed orange juice which makes it light in calories, light on the palate but with a full bodied flavour of those traditional sweet and sour sauces you’ve probably had too many of!
How Do You Make A Quick Sweet and Sour Sauce?
The secret to making a quick sweet and sour sauce is to have all the basic ingredients on hand – tomato passata, a can of pineapple, a chicken stock cube, salt, garlic, ginger, vinegar and fresh oranges for sweetness. If you like a thick sauce, you’ll also need some cornflour/cornstarch to help it thicken.
How Many Calories in Sweet and Sour Sauce
Sweet and sour sauce traditionally is very high in added sugar. 100 grams of sweet and sour sauce (around 6 tablespoons) is 150 calories (not too bad), but has a whopping 19 grams of added sugar – that’s almost 4 teaspoons of sugar in a single serve of sauce. This isn’t the natural sugars found in things like fruits and vegetables, its added refined sugars.
Similarly, this Healthy Choice Sweet and Sour chicken ready meal has 1 grams of added sugar in its 283gram serving
The sugars contained within this recipe are from naturally occurring sugars in the tomatoes, pineapple and orange juice. It contains no added refined sugars.
How to Thicken Sweet and Sour Sauce
The easiest way to thicken sweet and sour sauce is with cornflour or cornstarch and thickening it is much the same as thickening a gravy. Add the 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 2 tablespoons of the sauce, and mix it back into the sauce to thicken it. Heat is what activates the cornstarch to thicken, so the sauce must be hot, but not boiling.
Why is Sweet and Sour Sauce Red?
Sweet and sour sauce is red because of the tomato base that many of them are made on. Often tomato passata is used as a base, and in the sugar laden store bought and takeout variety tomato ketchup can also be used.
Can You Freeze Sweet and Sour Sauce?
I wouldn’t freeze sweet and sour sauce. It is easy to make and if you make too much, keep it in the fridge to 2 to 3 days and use it as a dressing over a piece of steak, fish or pork.
This sauce can wear many hats, and what you can do with it really depends on how creative you are. Why not try sweet and sour prawns, baked sweet and sour salmon, or buying a BBQ chicken on the way home from work and shredding that into the leftover sauce from last night’s sweet and sour meatballs.
5 Tips for Revving Up Your Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Sauce
- Stir in a teaspoon of tabasco
- Chop up some fresh herbs and add them in – think parsley and lemon thyme
- Add some chopped up green apple as well as the chopped pineapple in up the tart factor
- Add some sweet paprika to enhance the colour and add a sweet twist
- Add some toasted slivered almonds for a bit of crunch
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Sugar Free Sweet and Sour Sauce (With Meatballs)
- 500 ml Tomato Passata
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 Chicken Stock cube crumbled
- 1 teaspoon Garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Ginger finely grated
- ¼ cup Pineapple Juice
- 1 ½ tablespoon White Vinegar
- Juice of 1 medium Orange
- 1 cup Pineapple pieces chopped
- 1 Red Capsicum Pepper, chopped
- 1 yellow Capsicum Pepper, chopped
- 1 Spring Onion/Shallot sliced
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 500 grams /1 pound Chicken Mince
- 1 teaspoon Onion Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
- ½ teaspoon ground Paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried Oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried Thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground Ginger
- 2 cups Brown Rice
- Meatballs: Break up the chicken mince into a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the onion and garlic salt, paprika, oregano, thyme and ginger and mix together with a spoon until all the spices are mixed in.
- Light wet hands and roll chicken mixture into 12 balls and place on a plate. (You might need to dampen hands a few times during the rolling process it the mixture gets too sticky)
- Heat a non-stick pan on the stove on high heat, and add the meatballs. Lightly brown off, turning with tongs or a spatula. This should take about 7 to 8 minutes. After this time, you could either put the meatballs into the oven to finish cooking for a further 10 minutes at 180 degrees C/350 F, or leave them in the pan on low heat covered with a lid on for another 10 minutes
- Sauce: In a medium sized saucepan, add the passata, salt, garlic, crumbled stock cube, ginger, pineapple juice, vinegar and orange juice. Heat on medium, and be careful not to let it boil.
- Test the temperature of the sauce is hot, then spoon out 2 tablespoons of sauce into a cup and add the cornflour. Use a clean spoon to mix and combine.
- Add cornflour slurry back into the sauce and mix it back in. Sauce should begin to thicken as a result.
- Add the capsicum/peppers and shallots and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the pineapple pieces and stir in to the mix.
- (Note: if sauce is still too thin for your liking, make another cornflour slurry, but this time use 2 tablespoons to tap water, and 1 tablespoon of cornflour mixed together and added in to the sauce.)
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