Beef and broccoli stir fry is a popular Asian recipe. Instead of serving it with white rice, I make broccoli rice! It's gluten-free, grain-free and low carb
This healthier version of beef and broccoli stir fry is so tasty and easy to make. Low carb and keto with no added sugar, this is a whole new way of enjoying this classic Chinese takeout dish with less calories.
One of the most popular Chinese takeout options is beef and broccoli stir fry. The beef is tender with a sticky teriyaki sauce, the broccoli is charred on the wok and the warm white rice it comes with just brings it all together. But it’s often almost a thousand calories for that one meal and it leaves you feeling full and bloated. I created this healthy beef and broccoli stir fry as a lighter version of that meal!
Healthy beef and broccoli stir fry
Instead of stir frying beef and broccoli and serving it over white rice or brown rice, I actually make “rice” from broccoli. Similar to riced cauliflower, riced broccoli has the texture of couscous. It’s tender, fluffy and very filling without adding much calories or carbs to a recipe. Broccoli rice might be less versatile than cauliflower rice, but it’s still a wonderful low-carb ketogenic option that makes any dish more hearty and nutritious!
How to make beef and broccoli stir fry
The first step to make healthy beef and broccoli is to make the sauce. It has a teriyaki or mongolian flavor and it’s made with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, fresh ginger and sesame seed oil. Because of the fresh ginger chunks, I like to blend it in a small blender to make sure it’s smooth. This also helps to emulsify the sauce so it sticks better to the beef. If you use ginger paste or ginger powder instead, you can just whisk it.
Next, you’ll make the broccoli rice. To me it looks more like couscous, but it’s easier to say broccoli rice. To do this, simply run the broccoli florets through the food processor until they’re finely grated. Be careful not to overprocess it, which may result in the broccoli releasing water and becoming sticky. If you don’t have a food processor, you can also do this using a knife or a grater (like I did in the video below).
Now the broccoli rice is ready to go, but it has that raw veggie taste. So it’s best if you cook it with a some olive oil, green onions and fresh garlic. When you saute the broccoli rice, it gives it a more nutty and rich taste.
Then you can divide the broccoli rice into 4 bowls, wipe down the pan, and start cooking the beef in that same pan.
I use flank steak for this healthy beef and broccoli stir fry. It’s the most popular cut for stir fry and it’s what most Chinese restaurants use. The beef really makes this recipe because it’s tender without being too touch or chewy. Fry the beef first for a couple minutes per side and then add the sauce for another couple minutes until it sticks to the beef.
Finally, serve the beef over the broccoli rice, sprinkle on some sesame seeds and dinner is ready!
Tips for making beef and broccoli stir fry
- Chop the broccoli into florets before grating. This helps to make sure everything is evenly grated so you’re not left with large chunks of broccoli while the remaining broccoli turns pasty.
- Freeze the flank steak before slicing. Because flank steak is so thin and tender, it can be tricky to slice. If you place it in the freezer even for half an hour before slicing, it makes the beef firm so you can slice more easily. When slicing, it’s best to cut against the grain.
- Heat the pan really well before adding the beef. Overcooking meat can lead to tough and chewy bites. To avoid that, make sure the pan you’re using is really hot before adding the beef. That way the flank steak will cook really quickly without overcooking the meat on a lower temperature longer.
- Do not crowd the beef in the pan. When you add too much beef at once to the pan, it might lead to the beef steaming. We want to sear the steak and not steam it. So make sure to use a large pan or wok. You can also work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do the leftovers keep?
You can keep any leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for around 3-4 days. Gently reheat leftovers in the oven.
Can you make beef and broccoli stir fry ahead of time?
This dish is best served when freshly cooked. You can make grate the broccoli up to 5 days in advance and store it in an air tight container in the fridge. If you do this, make sure to place the grated broccoli on a paper towel to absorb any moisture so it doesn’t go bad.
What do you serve with beef and broccoli stir fry?
This recipe is a meal within itself, so you really don’t need to serve it with any sides. If you do, I would suggest a side of Green Beans with Almonds or Pak Choi. This beef is so delicious, you can of course chose to forgo the broccoli rice and serve with regular or noodles.
I love this modern version of traditional Chinese beef and broccoli stir fry. It has all the flavors you’d expect in the dish, but only about 300 calories and 15g of carbs per serving. That makes it a tasty low-carb keto-friendly (ketogenic) recipe if you’re trying to avoid too many carbs at dinner time. Let’s be honest, nothing can ever replace white rice. But green broccoli rice is so cool. And it’s a great recipe to have at your disposal when you want something lighter.
For more low carb recipes:
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Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
For the broccoli rice
- 4 cups broccoli florets about 2 small crowns
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 green onion thinly sliced white and green parts separated
For the Sauce
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
For the beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound flank steak thinly sliced across the grain
- Salt and pepper to taste
- To make the riced broccoli, process the broccoli florets in a blender or food processor until you get a riced texture. Heat a pan with olive oil on medium, add the garlic and the white parts of the green onions and fry until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add the riced broccoli to the mixture and toss together until the broccoli slightly softens, about 2-4 minutes. Divide the broccoli between 4 bowls and wipe clean the pan with a paper towel
- To make the sauce, whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl or a small blender. Set aside.
- To cook the steak, season with salt and pepper. Then heat the pan used for broccoli rice with olive oil on medium-high. Place the steak strips on the pan in a single layer and cook for 1-2 minutes per side to brown each steak strip. You many need to cook in batches. Add the sauce to the steak and reduce the heat to low. Cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring to coat and allowing the sauce to thicken.
- Serve the steak on top of the riced broccoli, and garnish with the green parts of the green onions and red pepper flakes.