Healthy Beef and Broccoli
It turns out that when you purchase your husband’s childhood home from his parents, in addition to inheriting his collection of high school hockey paraphernalia and old report cards, you also acquire his list of favorite neighborhood restaurants. Today’s Healthy Beef and Broccoli is a dead ringer for the beef and broccoli stir fry at his family’s favorite Asian takeout joint.
When Ben’s parents moved to a lake west of the city, we bought his childhood home. While they are loving their lake life (and Ben and I are loving taking advantage of it), they still come back our way when a craving for authentic Chinese beef and broccoli, among other Asian takeout favorites, strikes.
Knowing that this restaurant is a favorite of theirs and thus that the beef stir fry standards were high, I shared two servings of this Healthy Beef and Broccoli recipe with them and anxiously awaited the verdict…
FULL POINTS! Ben’s mom called to tell me that it was one of the most tender beef and broccoli dishes she had tried, both of them absolutely adored the sauce, and could I please share the recipe.
Today is the day!
About This Healthy Beef and Broccoli Recipe
I adore making lighter versions of restaurant favorites, and today’s skinny beef and broccoli recipe is an ideal example. I cannot, however, take credit for the recipe. It comes from my friend Lindsay’s beautiful new cookbook, Nourishing Superfood Bowls.
If you aren’t familiar with the idea of a “bowl,” it’s essentially one giant dish of healthy goodness coming together in a single serving. Vegetables, protein, healthy fats—the gang’s all here!
You’ll often see “nourish bowls” (also called “Buddha bowls,” “power bowls,” “glow bowls,” and probably other names I haven’t even heard of yet) on hip cafe menus, usually for a high price tag. Instead, I love making them at home.
These Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls are a healthy weekday lunch and breakfast staple, and now thanks to Lindsay’s book, I have 75 new bowl recipes to try!
Lindsay’s book is divided into useful chapters with bowls that span across meals, including breakfast and dessert. I selected this recipe, Sticky Mongolian Beef Broccoli Rice Bowls, from the Family-Style Large Bowls chapter, and I am incredibly glad I did. Once you have a bite, your immediate wish will be for a second helping!
As many times as I’ve cooked and eaten cauliflower rice (this Healthy Fried Rice is a prime example), the idea of doing the same process with broccoli didn’t occur to me until I received this book. It’s brilliant!
Serving this healthy beef stir fry with broccoli rice created the exact Healthy Beef and Broccoli effect that I was after, without my needing to sauté the broccoli separately.
I’m excited to try broccoli rice with many existing healthy stir fry recipes, both for an extra serving of veg and as a refreshing change of pace from my standard brown rice. If you are following a low-carb diet, broccoli rice is a great option for you too.
Lindsay is a nutrition specialist for sports nutrition and gluten-free eating. All of the recipes in Nourishing Superfood Bowlsare gluten free, and she has included helpful tips and adaptations for other dietary needs and allergies too.
This Healthy Beef and Broccoli uses sirloin, which is lean and tender.
If you are looking for a ground beef and broccoli recipe, I think you could experiment with sauting the ground beef separately, then using Lindsay’s marinade to make a sauce and stirring it with the cooked ground beef.
For a Healthy Beef and Broccoli slow cooker recipe, check out my Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli.
Recommended Tools to Make Healthy Beef and Broccoli
- Deep nonstick skillet
- Splatter screen (not totally necessary, but it was helpful when I was cooking the beef)
- Food processor
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari or tamari (60 to 80 ml)
- 1/3 cup chicken broth or water (80 ml)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (50 g) (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or sesame oil (15 ml)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 pound beef sirloin (454 g) sliced thin, 1/4- to 1/3-inch (6- to 8-mm) thick
- 1 teaspoon avocado or sesame oil plus 2 tablespoons (30 ml) for frying
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch arrowroot starch, or potato starch, plus 1/4 cup (45 g) more (see notes)
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 tablespoon chicken broth or water (15 ml)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
To make the Mongolian sauce, whisk together the tamari, broth, and coconut sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, add 1 tablespoon oil, garlic, and grated ginger. Stir fry until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tamari mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on low until thickened, about 10 minutes.
For the bowls, toss the beef in 1 teaspoon of oil and then 1 teaspoon of cornstarch. Place in a bowl or Ziploc bag with the Mongolian sauce and marinate in the fridge for 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Once marinated, remove the beef from the marinade to a clean bowl and lightly coat the beef strips in an extra 1/4 cup (45 g) cornstarch.
Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of oil, then place the beef strips in the pan. Stand back to avoid the splatters, and use a splatter screen if you have one. Fry in the oil for about 1 minute on each side, browning each steak strip. Set the beef strips on a paper-towel-lined plate and drain the oil from the pan.
Place the beef strips back in the pan with the Mongolian sauce. Reduce the heat, and then cook the meat for 1 minute, stirring to coat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Cut the broccoli head into 3 or 4 parts. Working in batches, process in a blender or food processor until a riced texture is achieved. Place in a large microwave-safe bowl. Add 1 tablespoon broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Lightly steam in the microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute.
Divide the broccoli rice among each of the bowls. Add the beef to each bowl and drizzle the sauce on top. Top with the green onions and red pepper flakes. Garnish with the sesame seeds and cilantro.
- For an extra-spicy bowl, add 1 sliced red Thai pepper to your sauce or to the beef when frying.
- The sauce also works great with coconut palm sugar or raw turbinado sugar.
- Honey will work in place of coconut sugar, but the beef will be stickier.
- For a Paleo option, use cornstarch.
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