Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl

This sweet-and-salty teriyaki chicken rice bowl is flavored with fresh grated ginger and scallions and packed with colorful veggies and everything else you need for a balanced dinner in one dish.

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

Here's how we made over this recipe to be healthy and diabetes-friendly:

1. Opted for chicken thighs in place of chicken breasts. Chicken thighs are a more flavorful and tender cut than chicken breasts. To reduce saturated fat (a nutrient people with diabetes need to be aware of) we chose skinless thighs, which eliminates about 2 grams of saturated fat per 3-ounce serving.

2. Added fresh flavor. Fresh ginger and scallions boost flavor while lessening the need for too much added sugar or salt, like what you'd find from a store-bought bottle of teriyaki sauce. This is important, as people with diabetes are at risk for developing high blood pressure and heart disease, conditions exacerbated by consuming too much salt.

3. Swapped in lower-sodium soy sauce for regular soy sauce. There's plenty of salt in the lower-sodium version of soy sauce, so we always opt for that in our recipes. And even though you're getting less salt, it's still packed with plenty of umami.

4. Used brown rice in place of white rice for a little extra fiber. Fiber helps to slow down digestion and the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream. Brown rice provides 3 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving, compared to just 1 gram for white rice. It's not a significant amount, so if you prefer white rice, you're welcome to opt for that. You'll still get some fiber from the veggies in this recipe.

teriyaki chicken rice bowl
Fred Hardy

Tips from the EatingWell Test Kitchen

Can I use chicken breast in place of chicken thighs?

We love the flavor of chicken thighs versus chicken breast, and that's why they appear in this recipe. But if chicken breast is what you love, you can use it here. Cut it into bite-size pieces to help the chicken cook quickly, preventing it from drying up and becoming chewy.

Can I use tofu and make it vegetarian?

That's a fantastic idea! We recommend extra-firm tofu for this recipe—and that you follow these instructions for pressing it before you cook it. This gets rid of extra moisture and helps the tofu crisp up better in your hot skillet. Cut it into bite-size cubes and cook it just as you would the chicken in this recipe.

I can't find fresh ginger at my grocery store, can I use dried, ground ginger or prepared ginger paste?

Ground ginger is a great substitute for fresh. Simply swap in ¼ teaspoon for the 1 tablespoon in this recipe. If you want to use ginger paste, that can work too. While a 1-to-1 swap is generally a good rule of thumb, we recommend starting small and adding to your taste. So for this recipe, start with 1 teaspoon paste and work your way up to 3 teaspoons, if desired.

I have tons of frozen broccoli in my freezer, can I use that in place of fresh?

Smart! It's always great to have your freezer stocked with frozen produce. Frozen broccoli is a fine substitute. Just throw it in a few minutes before the peppers and scallions so that it has enough time to properly cook.

I'm getting tired of rice. Is there another whole grain I can enjoy with this?

It's good to put your grains in rotation, and there's no rule that says you have to only eat rice with your stir fry, so we say go for it. Some whole grains (like farro) can take longer to cook, so consider pre-cooking them to save time. Or go with a quick-cooking option such as bulgur, millet or quinoa, which all take 15 to 20 minutes to cook. We also love the pre-cooked packets of whole grains you can find at the grocery store. All they need is a quick reheat in the microwave and they're ready to use.

What about cauliflower rice, can I use that in place of rice in this recipe?

Of course! And what a great way to get more vegetables into your day. Cook it according to the package directions, and serve it with your stir-fry as you would serve rice. This swap will alter the nutritional information, so keep that in mind. Swapping in cauliflower rice will lower the calorie, carbohydrate and fiber counts. Serving this dish with a side, like a green salad, can help make this dinner more satisfying.

Turns out I don't have any brown sugar on hand, is there another sweetener you recommend or can I omit it?

The sweetness from the brown sugar adds balance to this savory dish. It's fine to omit it or consider using an equal amount of white (granulated) sugar in its place. Or you can try honey or agave nectar, but 1 or 2 teaspoons may be all that you need.

Additional reporting by Sara Haas, RDN.

Having diabetes doesn't mean you have to give up all of your favorite foods. You just need the know-how (and easy cooking tips) to make better choices. In Make Over My Recipe, a fun cooking show geared toward beginner cooks, Mila Clarke takes classics like mac and cheese, meatloaf, brownies and more comfort foods and uses simple tricks to make them healthier—but just as delicious as ever.


  • 1 bunch scallions

  • ¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons mirin

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon ground pepper, divided

  • 4 (4 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

  • 4 cups broccoli florets

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 2 cups hot cooked brown rice

  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Cut white and light green parts of scallions into 2-inch pieces and set aside in a small bowl. Thinly slice the remaining dark green parts of the scallions and reserve for topping.

  2. Combine soy sauce, mirin, brown sugar, 2 teaspoons cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl; set aside. Toss chicken with the remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken; cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

  4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add broccoli, bell pepper and 2-inch scallion pieces; cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and stir in ginger and the reserved soy sauce mixture. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and coats the chicken, 4 to 5 minutes.

  5. Divide rice evenly among 4 bowls. Top with the chicken and vegetable mixture and the reserved sliced scallions; garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

    teriyaki chicken rice bowl
    Fred Hardy

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

417 Calories
13g Fat
45g Carbs
29g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Calories 417
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 11g
Added Sugars 6g 12%
Protein 29g 58%
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 107mg 36%
Vitamin A 3303IU 66%
Vitamin C 108mg 120%
Vitamin D 1IU 0%
Vitamin E 2mg 13%
Folate 92mcg 23%
Vitamin K 50mcg 42%
Sodium 711mg 31%
Calcium 65mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%
Magnesium 93mg 22%
Potassium 726mg 15%
Zinc 3mg 27%
Vitamin B12 1mcg 42%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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