Easy to make Healthy Beef and Broccoli stir-fry is veggie packed with tender slices of beef then coated in a low sodium, low sugar flavorful sticky sauce. Your favorite Asian takeout now made healthier at home!
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Healthy beef and broccoli is a classic dish found at many Chinese inspired restaurants. This quick and easy version of the classic stir fry is a game-changer that will satisfy all of your late-night take out cravings without the added refined sugar and high sodium content of MSG.
Beef broccoli is a little bit sweet, a little bit sticky, a little bit tangy, and a whole lot of deliciousness. It’s layer after layer of bold flavours, wonderful textures, and out of this world aromas that comes together in minutes and makes the most delicious leftovers the next day.
Why is Stir Fry Beef and Broccoli Recipe Healthy?
- High protein: With lean steak and broccoli this is a high protein healthy dinner!
- Simple: A short ingredient list and minimal effort makes this a satisfying comfort meal.
- Low carb: Whether you are whole 30, paleo or just eating leaner this meal accommodates many healthy lifestyle changes.
- Healthier swaps: No deep frying, no refined sugar and lower in sodium than high calorie restaurant beef broccoli take out!
- Nutritious: Broccoli is high in fiber and vitamin c, lean beef in vitamin b12 and rich in antioxidants onions, this stir fry recipe is a great choice for dinner.
Recipes like this steak and broccoli are everything you love about takeout without sacrificing your health or your tastebuds! Next try, teriyaki chicken and cauliflower, salmon stir fry and shrimp and vegetable stir fry!
Ingredients for Healthy Beef and Broccoli
- Beef: Flank, tri-tip, or sirloin, sliced thin, will all work. Save flank steak for carne asada steak in the world!
A tip on thinly slicing your beef: Place steak in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, then while it is still very cold, slice it.
- Broccoli & onion: Cut broccoli into florets and thinly slice the onion.
- Cornstarch: This will be used to coat the beef. When combined with the glaze it will help thicken it up.
- For the glaze: Soy sauce (I use Bragg’s Liquid aminos). Maple syrup or honey. If you’re ok with a bit of refined sugar then, by all means, use brown sugar. Minced garlic and ginger.
- Low sodium beef broth: You’ll use this to deglaze the pan to get all the yummy bits left on the bottom.
- Oil: Avocado oil is great for frying. Both coconut and olive oil can be used, but keeping in mind the flavour profile may not be what you’re looking for. Whichever you use will need to have a high smoke point.
What is the best stir fry oil? When you cook on high heat the best oil to use is the oil with high smoke point. The most healthy one is avocado oil with smoke point of 520 degrees F. Here is a table with all oils and their smoke points.
- Optional garnish: Finely chopped onion sprig. Sesame seeds.
How to Make Healthy Beef and Broccoli
- Prep: As with any stir fry you want to make sure all of your ingredients are chopped, minced, sliced, and ready to go. You move fairly quickly, so it just makes things a lot easier when you’re prepared!
If you’re serving a side dish with your steak and broccoli, such as rice, you’ll want to have that going at the same time.
- Make the sauce: In a small bowl, add the soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic, and ginger. Whisk and set aside until it’s time to add it in.
- Coat beef: Place the slices of beef in a bowl and sprinkle with the cornstarch. Use a pair of tongs to stir and coat well. We must give credit to where it’s due. Without the magic of starch, this sauce wouldn’t be what we’ve all come to know and love.
Why cornstarch for coating the beef for stir fry? Without the magic of cornstarch, this sauce wouldn’t be what we’ve all come to know and love. Cornstarch both tenderizes as well as protects the meat from the hot temperature of the pan.
- Brown meat: Preheat a large ceramic non-stick skillet and add in oil. Swirl to coat. Add in half the beef and cook until nicely browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate, add a bit more oil to the skillet and repeat this step with the remaining beef. Cooking in batches allows for more even cooking and making sure to get all of the sides a lovely brown exterior.
- Deglaze: Return the skillet to high heat and add the broth. Using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan for a couple of minutes, scraping off any remaining bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. This will add tremendous flavour to the mixture. Add in the broccoli and onion and continue to cook for a few minutes more.
- Combine: Remember the sauce you mixed earlier? And the beef you set aside? Go ahead and grab both of those and add them into the broth. Now we’re cookin’! Can you smell that? Reduce the heat and cook for no more than 5 minutes. Stir often to combine everything and until the sauce has thickened. You don’t want to overcook the broccoli. Crispy, crunchy broccoli is the texture we want!
- Garnish and serve: If you have made a pot of brown rice, quinoa, or your choice of noodles, it may very well be done by now.
For extra fun takeout steak and broccoli at home: Serve it in cute little take-out boxes, like you see on TV, and give people the option to use chopsticks for good measure!
Optional Add-In’s and Variations
- Broth substitute: Options for different types of broth would be, chicken stock or broth, vegetable broth, bone broth or even water. Each will give a hint of a different flavour, but they will all give you a delicious dish in the end.
- Broccoli stalk: Adding pieces of stalk adds all the more crunchy texture. It’s highly nutritious, especially when it’s organic, and a great way to reduce waste. Just peel, chop and add it in. I always do so with salads like in this broccoli quinoa salad and healthy broccoli salad recipe. Love crispy broccoli? Air fry broccoli first before adding it.
- Other veggies: Snow peas, snap peas, bell pepper, carrots or mushrooms could be used with or in place of – cooking time may vary.
- Crunch: Cashews or peanuts use as garnish or stir in a can of drained sliced water chestnuts near end of cooking time.
- Heat: Red pepper flakes, black pepper or pinch of cayenne.
- Orange juice: Added to the sauce mixture for a slight orange taste.
- Onion substitute: You can use red onion if that’s what you have on hand. If you’re purposely going shopping for this recipe, definitely go for the white onion. If you have none of the above, it’s fine if you omit it completely.
- Sweetener: I personally find the taste of honey comes through a bit too strong in this dish, but give it a go, and see what you think. Otherwise, you can try maple syrup or anything you use regularly, including liquid sugar free sweetener.
- Dried ginger: If you don’t have any fresh, use 1 tsp of dried instead. This is another ingredient you can omit if you haven’t got any and aren’t prepared to make an extra trip to the store.
- Cornstarch substitute: Arrowroot starch is a grain free substitute.
- Plant based substitution: Use tofu or mushrooms to keep this stir fry vegan or vegetarian.
Tips for Best Results
- Be ready: “Stir fry” literally means to cook cut, chopped, and sliced ingredients quickly on high heat while stirring constantly. Because of this constant stirring, you can’t take the time to cut, chop, or slice along the way. Have everything prepped even before you turn on the stove and that way you can move through the process that much faster.
- Sodium content: If you are not using a low sodium broth, you want to cut back to 3 tbsp of soy sauce.
- Cookware: Stick to using a ceramic non-stick skillet if you can. Cooking in a wok steams the food, and a cast iron skillet uses a ton of oil. Also, cooking in batches helps get beautiful brown results.
- Best oil: When making stir fry you want to use oil that remains stable at high heat. Although there are a few different oils that do this, we always look for the ones that are also the most healthy and whose flavour isn’t overpowering. Avocado wins out!
Yes, BUT you must thaw it and drain any excess liquid.
Flank, tri-tip or sirloin are my preference. Flank steak is a flavorful cut of meat from the belly of the cow and is best used for cooking at a high temp (perfect for stir fry!). Sirloin steak is most often used for stir fry as it is a tender, lean cut of meat. Top sirloin is from the top of the sirloin and tri-tip is from the bottom of the sirloin. Whichever you choose, you will want to slice your steak against the grain into 1/4 inch thick strips that are about 3 or so inches long. To cook evenly, you will want your beef slices the same size.
I use a 12″ ceramic skillet and prefer to cook in batches for best results. Feel free to use what you have on hand, although in my opinion a wok tends to steam rather than make steak and broccoli crisp and tender.
Use coconut aminos if avoiding soy products.
Low sodium soy sauce is just ‘watered down’ soy sauce, I prefer to use just less of regular soy sauce (or amino acids) but if you are concerned about sodium levels, by all means use low sodium soy sauce.
How to Serve Beef Broccoli?
- Traditional: Serve steak and broccoli with any brown rice (or white rice).
- Other grains: Quinoa, buckwheat, millet etc.
- Lo mein: Rice noodles, spaghetti noodles, egg noodles, ramen etc.
- Low carb: Serve over cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash. Cauliflower fried rice would be delicious!
How to Store Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry Recipe?
Store: Much like when you order take out, this steak and broccoli dish doesn’t last much longer than a day in the fridge. Keep it in an airtight container and enjoy any leftovers the next day, but that’s it. Otherwise, the broccoli will become soggy.
Reheat: To enjoy warm again, reheat by simmering it on the stove with a splash of water or broth until heated through. Stir occasionally and enjoy all over again.
More Healthy Beef Recipes
Healthy Beef and Broccoli
- 1 lb flank, tri-tip or sirloin steak thinly sliced against the grain
- 1 lb broccoli cut into florets
- 1/2 large white onion thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp oil for frying I use avocado oil
- 1 cup beef broth low sodium
- 3 tbsp soy sauce I use Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 2 tbsp maple syrup, honey or brown sugar
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 green onion sprig, finely chopped & for garnish optional
- 2 tsp sesame seeds, for garnish optional
- Prep all ingredients for beef and broccoli and start side dish like rice on the stove.
- In a small bowl, add soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic and ginger; whisk with a fork and set aside.
- In a bowl, add beef, sprinkle with cornstarch and stir well to coat, using tongs.
- Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and swirl 1 tbsp oil to coat. Add half of beef and cook for about 3 minutes per side or until nicely browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add remaining 1 tbsp of oil and repeat this step with remaining half of meat.
- Return skillet to high heat and add broth. Deglaze pan for about 2 minutes. Add broccoli and onion, stir and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Add sauce and previously cooked beef. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often to combine everything and until sauce has thickened. Cornstarch from beef will incorporate with the sauce and thicken it. But don't cook too long to overcook the broccoli.
- Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds. Serve hot over brown rice, quinoa or noodles of choice.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 24 hours (longer broccoli becomes too soggy). I would not recommend to freeze it.
Reheat: Simmer on the stove with a splash of beef broth or water until heated through, stirring occasionally.
- Broth: Cut back soy sauce to 2 tbsp if using non-low sodium beef broth. You can use any other broth or stock like chicken, vegetable or even water.
- White onion substitute: It is such a wonderful addition to a stir fry but you can omit it or use red onion instead.
- Sweetener: I found honey coming through a bit too strong for my taste. But you can use it. If you have a sugar free sweetener that you use on a regular basis like erythritol, feel free to use it.
- Dried ginger: Use 1 tsp instead of fresh or skip it all together.
- Cornstarch substitute: Arrowroot starch is a grain free substitute.
- Soy substitution: Use coconut aminos.
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