If you're looking for a healthy, Asian family-friendly meal that you can get on the table in 30 minutes or less, try this easy one-pot sweet and sour meatball stir-fry!
The ground meat gets shaped into meatballs and simmered in homemade sauce that's made with 4 real ingredients and no added sugar. It is sure to be a hit with babies, kids, and adults!
You guys! I'm really having a lot of fun creating baby-friendly Asian recipes that the entire family can enjoy. I'm also taking suggestions so be sure to leave them in the comments below! So far I've done, bulgogi, turkey and rice meatballs, japchae, and now this sweet and sour meatball stir-fry!
Meat: As you may have noticed, I like to use ground meat a lot because it's affordable, convenient, and easier for babies to handle. Having said that, you could use chicken cut into finger strips or bite-sized pieces, depending on your baby's age and skill level.
Seriously, it doesn't get any easier this! While the traditional sauce is filled with added sugar (e.g. ketchup, white sugar) and soy sauce, this baby-friendly version is made with pineapple, bell peppers (for extra sweetness and nutrition boost), onion, and vinegar.
The sauce won't be completely smooth, rather a bit foamy as you can see in the image. That's because of the pineapple. It will get loosened up with broth so no worries there!
Now, your adult palate may miss the flavor punch that it's come to expect from this takeout favorite. Keep in mind, babies' palates are much more sensitive and so this sauce will be plenty flavorful for them.
I encourage you to try the recipe as is the first time around and then feel free to tweak as necessary to your liking. You can add soy sauce, ketchup, or more pineapple.
Vegetables: For the vegetables, I used bell peppers (red, orange, yellow are all great choices!) and zucchini. But you could totally use whatever you have on hand. I wouldn't use starchy vegetables though as it will take too long to get them soft enough for the tiny humans in your life ;).
- Chop all the vegetables.
- Make the sauce.
- Shape the meat into meatballs.
- Cook the vegetables and pour in the sauce and broth.
- Once it comes to a boil, add the meatballs, cover, and let it simmer.
- Give everything a good stir and serve over whatever you fancy!
Other Baby-Friendly Asian Recipes
- Chinese Orange Sesame Chicken
- Healthy Korean Ground Beef and Broccoli Quinoa
- Instant Pot Korean Chicken and Potatoes
- Asian Shrimp Tofu Cakes
- Korean Japchae
- Korean Bulgogi
- Bibimbap with Beet Sauce
Did you make this baby and toddler-friendly Sweet and Sour Meatball Stir-Fry? Follow me on Instagram post a photo and tag me, post a photo on my Facebook page, or save it to Pinterest. I love to see what you're making!
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Healthy Sweet and Sour Meatball Stir-Fry
- 1 pound ground lean chicken, turkey, or pork
- 2 teaspoons avocado or canola oil
- 1 medium bell pepper, diced (can use any color)
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- ½ cup pineapple, chopped (optional)
- 120 grams fresh pineapple (about 1 cup)
- 80 grams red bell pepper (½ medium)
- 60 grams yellow onion (½ of small)
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup low sodium broth of choice
- Shape ground meat into 1 inch meatballs or smaller! If they're too large, they won't stay together as there's no binder. Set aside.
- Add all the sauce ingredients (minus the broth) in a food process/blender and blend until smooth.
- Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes or so until slightly softened.
- Add the prepared sauce and the broth to the pan. Bring to a boil.
- Add the meatballs into the pan. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through.
- Give everything a good stir so that all the meatballs get coated with the sauce.
Can you use can pineapple?
Yes that's what the recipe calls for
Can omit the rice wine vinegar or substitute it with something else?
You can leave out since it's a small amount but if able, I would recommend.
Can you freeze the food? How do you store it in the fridge?
Transfer to a container and keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze ;). Will be sharing a post on how I like to store leftovers very soon!
Do you season the meat balls with anything or just make minced chicken into balls?
You can if you wish, with garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, etc., but you don't have to ;).