The perfect holiday appetizer for a crowd, or a delicious option for dinner: these healthy sweet and sour meatballs are a must-make! These meatballs are super easy to make, with minimal ingredients and mostly pantry staples. Reminiscent of traditional sweet and sour meatballs, they taste indulgent and decadent, but are made with “better for you” ingredients. Whether you are on a health journey or not, you are sure to love these healthy sweet and sour meatballs.
What you’ll need to make these sweet and sour meatballs, and what makes them healthy?
These sweet and sour meatballs are easy to make, with just some pantry staples:
- 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- I love using extra lean ground beef for dishes, because it is real ground beef (and it’s easy to get sick of ground chicken or turkey, it’s just not the same)
- extra lean ground beef is super lean and a fraction of the calories and fat of traditional ground beef, with the same great flavor
- I find my 96/4 extra lean ground beef at Trader Joe’s, Target and Aldi
- plain panko breadcrumbs
- low sodium soy sauce
- This ingredient is a great way for this dish to get depth of flavor, but with a low calorie option.
- apple cider vinegar
- This ingredient helps to brighten the dish and round out the sweet and sour flavor combinations.
- coconut sugar
- I love using coconut sugar, because it has a similar taste profile to brown sugar, but with a lower glycemic index. I find it’s a great way to lighten up my favorite foods, without compromising flavor.
- I used this ketchup from Fody Foods.
- This ketchup is low FODMAP, meaning it is made without gut-triggering ingredients like onions and garlic, but has the same great taste.
- I eliminated the use of onions and garlic in this recipe to keep the entire meal low FODMAP since I was so inspired by this ketchup!
- kosher salt and pepper
If you are looking for more healthy beef meatball recipes, check these out:
How to make these healthy sweet and sour meatballs
These meatballs are all made in one pot on the stove top, no oven or frying pan required. The meatballs cook right inside the simple pan sauce. To start out, make your meatballs. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumb, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Combine and form into 24 small meatballs.
In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a pot, combine the ketchup, coconut sugar, water, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar. Turn the heat on medium and bring this mixture to a slow boil. Place the meatballs into the mixture, and let them simmer in the boiling sauce for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through, and until the sauce has cooked down and is thick and glaze-like in texture.
And that’s it! Serve as an appetizer for your next gathering with toothpicks, or serve alongside mashed potatoes and a veggie for a complete meal.
Healthy Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- mixing bowl
- large pot
- 1 lb 96/4 extra lean ground beef
- 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 1 cup ketchup, used: Fody FODMAP Ketchup
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, kosher salt and pepper.
- Mix thoroughly and form into 24 equal sized meatballs.
- In the meantime, prepare the sauce.
- Pour the ketchup, coconut sugar, water, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar into a pot.
- Whisk together and bring the liquid to a slow boil.
- Pour the meatballs into the pot and cook them in the sauce over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked and the sauce becomes thick and syrupy.
If you like the flavor combination of sweet and sour, you might also enjoy these recipes: