Toss out that takeout menu! Sweet and salty – and downright nutritious – Healthy Chicken Teriyaki Bowls are packed with lean protein and fresh veggies glazed in a tangy sauce. This healthy teriyaki chicken is gluten-free and guilt-free with way less sugar and salt than its carryout cousins. And at under 30 minutes for prep and cook, you’re not sacrificing time or taste.
Not gonna lie. While quarantine has been a mixed bag for the most part, one thing I’m absolutely loving is the fascinating catch-up conversations I’ve gotten to have with friends and colleagues of yore. Here’s a fun nugget that I found particularly inspiring, courtesy of a former co-worker:
“One of the things I miss the most about the ‘before times’ is – and I’m almost ashamed to say it – bowls.”
“Bowls?” I asked. “Don’t you have bowls at your house?”
“No. I mean bowls. Of food. From, you know, fast casual…bowl joints. For lunch. Every day. I could just get anything I wanted scooped into a bowl and handed over to me. I miss bowls.”
Reader, depending on where you live and work, you may not have partaken in the bowl craze, but plenty of folks in my neck of the woods go gaga for bowls. Rice bowls, noodle bowls, salad bowls, greens and grains, teriyaki, poke, pho, and yes, even KFC. Bowls. People love bowls full of food. (So many bowls, the word doesn’t even look right to me anymore…)
My friend told me that where she worked in downtown Silver Spring, Maryland there were at least 10 places within walking distance where you could customize your own bowl of anything and everything, including the hot and cold bars at Whole Foods, where the only difference is you’re DIY bowling instead of having someone bowl for you.
While I recognize the joy of bowls partly comes from the apparent ease at which you can get anything bowled at any time, I felt compelled by her lament to “pour one out” for all those sad bowlers out there by creating a healthy home version of a Teriyaki Chicken Bowl.
I’m even going to go so far as to say my bowls are better because they’re (a) less expensive, (b) better for you, and (c) even with prep time, you’re spending about as much time cooking as you would walking to your local bowl joint, waiting in line, and walking back to your office, where you couldn’t (d) eat your bowl in your pajamas. So there!
What is teriyaki sauce?
Fun fact: teriyaki is technically a traditional Japanese method of cooking meat, and not just the name of the ubiquitous sticky, sweet sauce we all know and love. And while the grilling method originated in Japan, the sauce is actually an American original!
From a 2004 expose in the East Bay Times: “According to Kikkoman, world-wide producer of soy sauce and related condiments, the syrupy sweet teriyaki we know and love originated in Hawaii, when Japanese newcomers mixed local ingredients such as pineapple juice and brown sugar with soy sauce and used it as a marinade.” Be sure to check out the link for more history, plus a “traditional” teriyaki sauce recipe if you want to compare ingredients (and potentially get a cavity in the process).
Healthy teriyaki sauce ingredients
- Coconut Aminos: a gluten-free substitute for soy sauce that is lower in both sodium and carbs, but comparable in flavor with just a hint of sweetness. In case you’re unfamiliar, it does not have a coconutty flavor.
- Honey: instead of all that sugar! (but I pinky promise it’s still plenty sweet)
- Cider Vinegar: to lend the acidity sake generally brings in more traditional teriyaki.
- Sesame Oil: If the label says it’s toasted, even better.
- Cornstarch or Arrowroot Powder: use arrowroot to thicken if you’re keeping it paleo.
- Garlic: fresh or jarred, but minced.
- Ginger: freshly grated is best, but sub ginger paste if that’s what works best for your kitchen;
- Salt and Pepper: to taste, but be conservative with the salt and season at the end.
How to make chicken teriyaki bowls
Healthy and delicious, Chicken Teriyaki Bowls satisfy that sticky-sweet-salty-savory craving everyone gets every now and again, in almost no time at all. The recipe moves quickly, so get your mis-en-place (aka prep work) done first – whisk the sauce, dice the chicken, and prep those vegetables. A wok is traditional, but a 12″ non-stick skillet also works beautifully.
- MAKE THE SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients for the teriyaki sauce (see above) and set aside.
- COOK CHICKEN: Saute diced chicken until no longer pink – just 5 or 6 minutes. It won’t be fully cooked through at this point and that’s totally fine, as it will finish cooking in the next steps.
- ADD CARROTS: Add the carrots and stir fry with the chicken for 3 minutes.
- ADD BROCCOLI: Add the broccoli and stir fry with the skillet ingredients for 1 minute.
- ADD SAUCE: Pour the sauce into the skillet, then toss to evenly coat the chicken and vegetables. Simmer until the sauce is thick and the chicken is cooked through.
What makes this teriyaki healthy?
If you took a deep dive into the above article, then you know the #1 answer is No. Added. Sugar. There’s oh-so-much in the stuff you’ll find in a restaurant or a store, and more often that not it’s actually high-fructose corn syrup. Honey is just as sticky sweet, and a better option than refined sugars by far.
By using coconut aminos you’ll also significantly lower the grams of sodium in the dish. And of course, by choosing your own veggies, you can adjust both to your taste and the nutrients you need more of.
Do I need to marinate the chicken?
No need! The chicken is super flavorful as prepared.
Make it your way
- Keep it paleo and gluten free: be sure to use arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.
- Use your favorite stir fry vegetables: While broccoli is traditional, don’t stop there. Try fresh snap peas, bell peppers, or even water chestnuts!
More healthy bowl recipes
- Cauliflower Shawarma Grain Bowl
- Black Bean Bowls with Sweet Potato and Quinoa
- Chicken Shawarma Bowls
- Paleo Burrito Bowl
- Portobello Mushroom Fajita Bowls
- Breakfast Bowls with Eggs and Pesto
Did you make these chicken teriyaki bowls? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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Healthy Teriyaki Chicken BowlsPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into 1” chunks
- 2 medium carrots, sliced into 1/2" coins
- 1 large head broccoli, divided into bite-sized florets (about 4 cups)
- 4 tsp sesame seeds
- 2 c cooked white rice
- ½ c coconut aminos
- ¼ c honey
- ¼ c cider vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger, use a microplane for best texture
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp cracked black pepper
- Make the teriyaki sauce. Combine the coconut aminos, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper in a glass measuring cup and whisk until smooth.
- Heat 12” skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the chicken and toss to coat in the fat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
- Add the carrots, toss with the chicken and cook for three minutes. Add the broccoli, toss with the skillet ingredients, and cook for 1 minute.
- Give the sauce a quick stir if the ingredients have started to separate, then pour into the skillet. Toss with the chicken and vegetables until evenly coated. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thick, the chicken is cooked through, and the vegetables are to your liking, 3-5 minutes more.
- Portion into bowls with rice or cauliflower rice, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve immediately.
- Storage: store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Honey: you can reduce the honey by half for even less added sugar; the sauce won't be quite as sweet, but still sweet enough.
- Rice: serve over rice or cauliflower rice depending on your dietary needs and preferences.