An easy weeknight Hawaiian sheet pan dinner with a sweet and zingy fruit sweetened Hawaiian Barbeque Sauce that the whole family will fall in love with!
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Quick dinners to fuel busy, active kids!
We are in full on summer mode in these parts, and that means HUNGRY kids. Not only are they growing at warp speed, they expend so. much. energy. every waking moment, and that makes for really big appetites. Whether you are enjoying the active days of summer, or are in full swing school fall schedule mode (which…is a whole different level of busy!), I hope you get a chance to get this super fun sheet pan dinner change up onto your meal rotation soon!
Weeknight perfect prep and *oh so* full of kid friendly flavor!
Sheet pan dinners are so very time-crunch friendly, and you can really pack in the flavor and nutrients all in one shot. The veggies roast down on the sheet tray, which pulls out their natural sweetness, caramelizing on the sheet pan, and we’ve packed out this sheet pan with lots of protein fuel too. Add in mixing it all up with an easy, sweet and zingy Hawaiian inspired barbeque sauce will ensure this whole sheet tray gets devoured by your crew! Fuel that actually counts for rapidly growing kids all on one sheet tray in less time? Sign. Me. Up.
Less sugar and more flavor!
I have a love hate relationship with “sauces.” On the one hand, I love how sauces and dips help make veggies and meat more “fun” for kids, which in turn helps get a lot more of it down. And on the other hand I just cringe at the amount of sugar in so many dips and sauces. Thankfully there are really cool companies that have come out with less sugar, or more fruit sweetened sauces and dips, and while they are delicious, and such a great swap, instead of cringing at the sugar, I end up cringing at my budget! A small bottle of sauce or dip that has great ingredients divided among 3 kids and a kid-like husband…well let’s just say it is gone in no time. One particular sauce we fell in love with was a really great ingredient Hawaiian inspired BBQ sauce, so instead of buying it again, I looked at the ingredients and sort of made up my own version for much cheaper!
The Method :: The Fruit Sweetened Hawaiian Barbeque Sauce
This sauce! OH! This sauce! You are going to fall in love with not only the flavor, but the prep time! This is literally a dump in the blender and buzz away sort of a recipe! The sweetening stars of the show are dates and Hawaiian inspired pineapple! There is zero added processed sugar, and you’ll absolutely never miss it. The pineapple adds just the right amount of liquid, and light refreshing flavor too! You’ll first soak the dates for a few minutes while you pile in the rest of the ingredients into your blender. Add your dates a little of the water from soaking the dates, and blend it all up. It’s as simple as that!
The Method :: The Veggie Line Up!
This part can truly be tailored to whatever produce is in season near you. It just happens to be summer right now, so in the recipe card, you’ll find summer squash and zucchini. A couple weeks ago I made this with eggplant and green beans. I think this sheet pan dinner will work so great in the winter too for a busy school night, and during that time of year, you’ll just have to swap things out for what you have in the veggie bin – carrots and other root veggies, squashes, and maybe frozen green beans from your summer stash! Give the veggies a quick, coarse chop, and pile them up on the sheet tray.
The Method :: Putting it all together on the sheet pan!
Once you season your cubed up chicken, you’ll toss everything with the fruit sweetened Hawaiian BBQ sauce – right on the sheet tray! Don’t get out more dishes to clean, dear momma. Just toss it all on the sheet tray and pop it in the oven. While your dinner cooks, you are hands free for 20 minutes to clean up, help kids with homework, change a diaper, or maybe read a chapter of that book you said you’d get through!
How’s the heat level on that sauce?
This sauce is pretty mild as written. In fact one of my girls thought it was “too sweet” on when she dipped her finger in it to taste. Keep in mind my crew hasn’t been exposed to lot of store bought sauces, so take that comment with a grain of salt 😉 My husband wanted more heat, so he added some hot sauce and some red pepper flakes to his bowl. I prefer a bit more heat as well, and wanted more ginger flavor, so I added more ginger to my bowl, but this sauce worked really well for my 2 girls that don’t do heat very well. I’d say it is quite kid friendly.
Let’s talk about your little ones!
As I was preparing this dinner the other night, I had a thought about how I probably would have made this sheet pan dinner when the girls were younger. So for those of you with itty bitties at home, I have a couple thoughts for you! You have a couple choices on the veggie/meat sizes. The size that I cut the veggies and chicken in these images works well for my older kids, but if you have toddlers and little ones at home, you’ll have to cut their pieces smaller before serving them. Alternatively, you could cut the veg and meat smaller before you cook the sheet pan, and if you do that, just keep in might that your cook time will be faster, so adjust that. Also keep in mind that some little ones get overwhelmed looking at a big bowl of “mixed up” food – I didn’t have one of these kids, but I do know it is a thing, and if that is the case, just get a plate out and separate the chicken in one spot, the rice in another, and the veggies on another side. Pick your battles, dear momma!
Leftovers and meal prep thoughts
This dinner tastes amazing the next day! Save some for your lunch tomorrow! I also think that if you are the meal prep type, you might like to make this as a lunch prep on a weekend for your weekday meal for work or school. Make up a whole sheet tray and divide it up for your week, and you have a delicious, healthy lunch for your work week. My oldest even asked if she could take this to school for lunch this year! Woot!
20 Minute Hawaiian Sheet Pan Dinner with Easy, No Cook, Fruit Sweetened Hawaiian Barbeque Sauce!
For the Fruit Sweetened Hawaiian BBQ Sauce ::
- 5 Nour Dates
- 2 cups pineapple chunks
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- ½ – 1 tsp ground ginger to taste and heat preference
- Pinch to ¼ tsp ground chipotle pepper to taste and heat preference
- ½ cup of the water from soaking the dates
For the Hawaiian Sheet Pan Dinner ::
- ½ purple onion cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium zucchini halved and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 medium yellow summer squash halved, seeds scraped out, and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 cup broccoli florets
- 2-3 cups total red & orange bell pepper cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 ½ lbs boneless chicken breast rinsed, pat dry, and cut into 1-2 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ cup of the Fruit Sweetened Hawaiian BBQ Sauce from above plus extra for side dipping or drizzling
- 1 heaping cup of pineapple cut into 1-inch pieces
How to Make the Fruit Sweetened Hawaiian BBQ Sauce ::
- Fill a small bowl with warm tap water and put the dates in the warm water to soak while you get the rest of the ingredients into the blender.
- Put the rest of the sauce ingredients into the blender, add the soaked dates, and ½ cup of the liquid that the dates were soaking in, and blend until smooth. This takes about 30 seconds in my high powered blender. You may have to blend longer and/or scrape down the container if you are using a food processor or regular blender.
- Set the sauce aside until you are ready to make the sheet pan dinner. You can make the sauce up to 2 or 3 days in advance to store in the fridge too! Great prep day task!
How to Make the Hawaiian Sheet Pan Dinner ::
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. You can line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or Silpat, though I tend to like a little caramelization on the bottom so I usually leave it off.
- Put the cut veggies and pineapple onto your sheet pan. Toss the chicken pieces with the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then add them to the sheet pan with the veggies.
- Pour ½ cup of the Fruit Sweetened Hawaiian BBQ Sauce onto the sheet tray of veggies and chicken, and toss to combine. I just use my hands but you can use a spatula or tongs. You can add more sauce if you wish, or save the sauce to add to your bowl later. Stay on the light side first – you can always add more but you can’t take it away!
- Bake the sheet pan of chicken, veggies, and pineapple at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken juices run clear. (The internal temp of cooked chicken should be 165°F – leaving your chicken out at room temp for 15 minutes before cooking is a good way to ensure even cooking and tender chicken!)
- Serve your sheet pan dinner over rice, cauliflower rice, or baked potato/sweet potato. You can serve extra sauce on the side or drizzle over the top too!
- Change up the veggies to what is in season! When I photographed this recipe, it was summer, so zucchini, summer squash, and even eggplant work really well! Green beans, root veggies like carrot and turnip, squashes, etc all would swap fine – use what you have!
- You can prep/chop the veggies a day or so in advance if you need the extra prep time on a busy day. Keep the chopped veg in the fridge and you can just dump it onto the sheet tray on the night you want to make it!
- This dinner makes a great meal prep for your lunches for a week too. Bake it off on a Sunday night and you can divide the meal up into your busy days for the week to warm up for lunch or dinner.
More real food SHEET PAN recipes you might like! ::
- 30 Minute Mini Meatloaves & Sheet Pan Veggies
- Sheet Pan Steak Fajitas
- Sheet Pan Spatchcock Honey Mustard Chicken & Roasted Veg
- Sheet Pan Chicken Nuggets
- Sheet Pan Fish Tacos
- Sheet Pan Nachos with Slow Cooker Mexican Beef
- 30 Minute Sheet Pan BBQ Chicken & Roasted Veg
- Sheet Pan Teriyaki Dinner
- Sheet Pan Balsamic Salmon & Roasted Veg
- Sheet Pan Honey Mustard Dinner