These delicious Paleo & Whole30 Sweet and Sour Meatballs are so much healthier and taster than the takeout version! It’s only sweetened with pineapple juice but so flavorful.
Sweet and sour sauce dishes at Chinese restaurants used to be my go-to growing up. There’s something so addicting about the combination of 2 flavors, especially when they coat any kind of meat, and I love how these components balance each other out so well.
These days, I don’t ever get Chinese takeout, but the sugar content alone would make me feel horrible if I did, let alone all the gluten, soy, and MSG that are common at these restaurants. So, of course, I made a healthier, low-sugar version at home so I can enjoy it again, and it tastes even better than the original!
Paleo & Whole30 Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe
These Whole30 sweet and sour meatballs are made using real food substitutions but you won’t miss out on any of the delicious flavors. The sauce is sweetened with pineapple juice and coconut aminos, which has a naturally sweet flavor especially when cooked down like it is in this recipe.
The combination apple cider vinegar and sugar free ketchup provides that sour and tangy flavor that’s so tasty and addicting! This recipe makes a good amount of the sweet and sour sauce, so don’t throw it out if you have extra left over. You can always use it to pour on other meats and veggies, because it’s just that good.
Substitutions and Variations
While this Whole30 Sweet and Sour Meatballs are amazing as they are written, I completely understand if you want to try different variations depending on the ingredients you have on hand. Here are some way you can change it up:
- You can use any combination of ground meat. I do like to add a little bit of beef when I make meatballs because it provides so much moisture and flavor. However, you’ll be cooking the meatballs in the sauce anyway, so leaner cuts like chicken or turkey will work as well.
- The sauce can be thickened with other starches like arrowroot or potato. If you want to use something like coconut flour, I would reduce it to 2 tsp because coconut flour absorbs a lot of water.
- Feel free to experiment with different vegetables to cook in the sauce. Broccoli, onions, and green beans can all work.
- If you like your sweet and sour sauce extra sweet, you can add 1 or 2 medjool dates to the sauce ingredients before you blend it all together. I personally didn’t think that this was necessary, but I know many of you like things sweeter than me!
Ways to Serve These Paleo & Whole30 Sweet and Sour Meatballs
These meatballs are just so good on their own, but even better if you have cauliflower rice to soak up all the delicious sauce. If you aren’t doing the Whole30 challenge and are fine with grains, you can serve with regular white rice (I’ve been loving basmati lately).
I’ve been eating these meatballs with rice and a side of steamed broccoli and it’s been one of my favorite meals that’s so healthy and balanced. What would you serve these meatballs with? I would love some other ideas!
Paleo & Whole30 Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 1 bell pepper cut into chunks, any color
- Chopped green onions for garnish
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup chopped onions
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp coconut flour
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 cup pineapple juice no sugar added (drained from a can of pineapple chunks)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar-free ketchup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup coconut aminos
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot starch
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place all ingredients for the meatballs in the large bowl and mix together.
- Form into golf sized balls and place evenly on a baking sheet, without have them touch each other.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the meatballs are baking, place all ingredients for the sweet and sour sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Remove the meatballs once they are finished baking.
- Pour the sauce into a large saucepan and heat over medium high heat until it comes to a boil.
- Add the meatballs and bell pepper, then reduce the heat to medium until everything comes to a simmer.
- Simmer uncovered for 10-15 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from heat and sprinkle with chopped green onions before serving.
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