My inspiration for this Clean Eating crock pot chicken recipe doesn’t make a ton of sense. My family was at a HUGE church party with over a thousand people a few summers ago. They had a luau theme and served rice with teriyaki chicken over it and I think maybe peppers and onions with it. It’s been so long I can’t remember for sure. I had never heard of a teriyaki bowl before, but now I keep seeing them all over the place. Apparently I’ve been living under a rock . . . I really liked the dish, but I knew it could be way better with some tweaks and a homemade sauce.
This sauce doesn’t exactly taste like teriyaki, but I like it better. I don’t really like normal teriyaki sauce though, so you may feel differently. I almost always think homemade is better, if not better tasting, I always feel better after a homemade meal as compared to a meal with bottled and canned things. This is another one of my recipes where you can use the main recipe as a starting point and I’ll tell you a bunch of substitutions and variations I make with it:
- Cook the chicken and vegetables in the oven. I cook them in separate pans, so the juice from the chicken doesn’t soften the veggies. That way they get nice and crispy-roasted and are so good.
- Instead of putting the veggies in for the last hour, bake them in the oven on 400 for an hour instead and they are so good and roasted.
- I also like to cook the veggies on my husband’s Traeger. It’s a smoker/grill and they turn out really good.
- There are tons of different things you can serve this over, depending on your diet and preferences – white rice (Jasmine is my favorite), short grain brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower “rice” (do you have any other ideas?
- I also like to make this in the Instant Pot. Just put the chicken and sauce in the Instant Pot and push Meat/Stew and it takes 35 minutes, plus time to get to pressure. Cook the veggies separately using one of the methods above. The chicken turns out so tender, but the sauce isn’t as thick and nice as when you do it in the crock pot. So sometimes I’ll cook the chicken separate in the Instant Pot and make the sauce separate in a saucepan.
- Oh, I love to throw a handful of whole garlic gloves in with the chicken. Roasted garlic is the BEST.
- I also usually put some pineapple on top. It gives it a bit of a Hawaiian flare and a freshness.
- I often substitute the honey with Grade B maple syrup and it gives it a deeper flavor and I don’t feel like you need as much syrup as honey. Could be my imagination, but I’ll often only put about 2 Tbl. of maple syrup and I think it’s fine, but I don’t like sweet food and I really try to limit my simple sugars.
OK. Now it’s your turn. I would love your ideas for substitutions and variations on this recipe. Please let me know what works. I’m sure the other readers will appreciate it!
I'm in love with this Clean Eating crock pot chicken recipe! I've made it tons of times with lots of variations and I love them all. So easy!
- 8 Chicken Thighs (bone-in, skin removed)
- 1/3 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Bell Peppers (red, yellow, or orange), sliced
- 1 pieces Yellow Onion, Sliced into thick
- 1 Zucchini, Cut into 2-3" spears
- 1 Tbl Arrowroot Powder or cornstarch
- 1 Tbl Water
- 1/4 Cup Cilantro, chopped
Pour over the chicken.
Cover with the lid and cook on high for 3 hours.
Add the onion, sliced peppers, and sliced zucchini to the crock pot. Cook for one more hour.
Mix the arrowroot powder and water together to form a smooth mixture.
Pour into the crockpot and mix into the cooking liquid by tossing around the chicken and vegetables. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until liquid thickens enough to coat the chicken and vegetables. Add cilantro to the chicken and toss to distribute.
Serve alone or with your favorite side.