Healthy Beef and Broccoli

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This Healthy Beef and Broccoli is a lightened-up twist on an iconic Chinese take-out dish. It’s easy to make, beyond flavorful, and ready in just 30 minutes. Serve this dish on its own or alongside a bed of rice or quinoa for a complete meal.

267 CALORIES14g CARBS11g FAT29g PROTEIN
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If you’re as much of a take-out lover as I am, then you’re going to fall head over heels for this Beef and Broccoli. If those little white take-out containers came with a nutrition label, you would probably be horrified. That’s why I love creating healthier (and more cost-effective) versions of my favorite take-out dishes at home.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still indulge in the real thing every now and then. However, I try to limit my consumption of take-out because of the insane amount of sodium and additives. Dinner recipes like this one allow me to indulge in my favorite take-out dishes in a much healthier way.

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This dish is quick, easy to make, and packed with incredible flavor. You can serve it on its own for a low carb meal or pair it with a side of rice for a super satisfying dinner. Healthy Beef and Broccoli is the perfect dish for those nights when you’re craving take-out, but want to enjoy a healthier and more affordable version. Enjoy! Chinese takeout lovers also won't want to miss this Kung Pao Chicken, Sesame Chicken, and Mongolian Beef.

Chinese beef and broccoli served in a bowl with rice, green broccoli, sliced steak, and sesame seeds.

Key Ingredients

To bring this healthy dinner recipe to life, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Flank steak: I use flank steak for the beef portion of this dish because it’s incredibly tender and has an amazing flavor. For this recipe, you will need to cut the steak into thin strips. You could also use sirloin steak, skirt steak, or any steak meant for stir-fries. 
  • Broccoli: Broccoli is loaded with tons of vitamins, minerals, biotin, and other nutritious, bioactive compounds. If you don’t have any fresh broccoli, frozen will work fine as well. You could also use cauliflower, green beans, cabbage, bok choy, or sugar snap peas.
  • Soy Sauce: Because this is a healthier rendition, I prefer to opt for low-sodium soy sauce. For a gluten-free dish, feel free to use Tamari or coconut aminos instead. 

Beef and Broccoli Recipe Tips

Here are some of my top tips to help you make this delicious dish:

  • To get bright green ‘Instagram-worthy’ broccoli, try blanching the broccoli in boiling water for 2 minutes before cooking it. When the broccoli turns bright green, you can remove, drain under cold water, and pat dry.
  • To make your flank steak easier to cut, place it in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes beforehand. This will help stiffen up the meat and make the cutting process go a lot smoother.
  • This dish reheats incredibly well, so you might want to double the recipe and save some for later! See below for tips on how to meal prep this dish.
  • Make sure the pan is very hot to quickly cook the steak. Don't cook it too long or it will get tough. 

Recipe Variations and Ideas

Looking to get creative? Here are some of my favorite ways to switch up this dish:

  • Go vegan. For a vegan alternative, substitute the steak for mushrooms, tempeh, or tofu.
  • Switch up the protein. This dish can be made with chicken, pork, or shrimp, depending on what you’re in the mood for! At my house, we’re constantly switching between chicken and beef and I’m honestly not sure which is better.
  • Switch up your veggies. If you’re not a broccoli fan, don’t worry! You can try snow peas, snap peas, or bell pepper strips. No problem.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds. This adds a slight nuttiness and makes the final product extra visually appealing.
  • Add some heat. Spicy food lover? I’ve got you covered. Just before serving the dish, try mixing in a drizzle of sriracha or adding a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

Broccoli and beef stir fry in a bowl with with white rice and sesame seeds in a bowl.

What to Serve With Beef and Broccoli

When it comes to beef and broccoli, you can never go wrong with a simple bowl of rice. I love using brown rice for all the extra fiber, but you could use regular white rice, cauliflower rice, or even quinoa.

For a ton of added flavor, you could also pair this dish with a bowl of my Healthy Fried Rice. This recipe tastes just like the real thing, but it only has 130 calories per serving (a total win-win). Alternatively, feel free to serve this dish on its own for a quick and easy meal that still tastes amazing!

How to Store Leftover Beef and Broccoli

This dish reheats ridiculously well, making it perfect for weekly meal preps or easy leftovers-for-lunch meals. Simply let your dish cool down to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. Once your dish has been properly contained, you can store it in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 4-5 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below you can find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this beef and broccoli dish:

The secret to tender beef (as opposed to the chewy stuff) is to cut it thinly across the grain. If you slice across the grain, you will be eating cross-sections of muscle fiber, as opposed to an entire one. Overcooking can also lead to chewy steak, so be sure to keep an eye out.

Yes! Normally, takeout beef and broccoli is high in sodium and sugar. However, in this homemade version we use low-sodium soy sauce and forgo the added sugars, making this dish totally guilt-free. You can make it even lighter by pairing it with a low-carb side like quinoa or cauliflower fried rice.

If you can’t find any flank steak, you can substitute it for another type of lean beef. I recommend using either a top sirloin steak, loin tip steak, or stir-fry steak. If you’re worried about the steak not being tender enough, feel free to marinate it for 20 minutes first. A basic mixture of soy sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar will do the trick.

Cornstarch is your best friend! After you’ve finished cooking the meat, simply stir in a tablespoon of cornstarch before stirring in the rest of your sauce mixture. Feel free to continue adding cornstarch until you’ve reached your desired thickness, but you shouldn’t need much.

Takeout inspired Chinese beef and broccoli with bright green broccoli and stir fried beef in a light sauce.
The Recipe
Healthy Beef and Broccoli

Healthy Beef and Broccoli

PREP TIME: 10 Min
COOK TIME: 15 Min
TOTAL TIME: 25 Min
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    Ingredients

    USMETRICS
    • 1 lb flank steak, sliced very thin
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp water
    • 1 tbsp brown sugar (or coconut sugar, more to taste)
    • 4 U cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
    • 1 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1 tbsp sesame oil
    • 4 cups broccoli florets (smaller florets)

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    Instructions

    (Hide Photos)
    1

    For bright green broccoli, start by blanching the broccoli in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until it turns bright green. Remove, drain under cold water, and pat dry. This step can be skipped, but broccoli won’t be as bright green. Start by slicing the flank steak into thin pieces. For easier slicing, place the steak in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Season the beef with pepper.

    Ingredients for beef and broccoli including broccoli, flank steak, soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and ginger.
    2

    Mix together the soy sauce, water, sugar, garlic, ginger, and cornstarch, Set aside.

    Stir fry sauce for beef and broccoli in small bowl.
    3

    Add half of the sesame oil to a skillet or wok over high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring often, until the meat is just cooked through. Remove and set aside.

    Flank steak cooking in a skillet.
    4

    Add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the broccoli and cook for 1-2 minutes. If the broccoli hasn’t been blanched, cook 4-5 minutes, adding 1-2 tablespoons of water if it begins to burn.

    Broccoli cooking in a skillet.
    5

    Add the beef back to the pan and stir in the sauce. Allow it to come to a boil and cook for 1 minute to thicken sauce. Serve immediately.

    Beef and broccoli florets in a soy based sauce in a skillet.
    Nutritional Facts
    Serving Size: 1.5 cups
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 267
    Calories from Fat 99
    % Daily Value *
    Total Fat 11g
    17%
    Saturated Fat 4g
    18%
    Monounsaturated Fat 3g
    0%
    Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
    0%
    Cholesterol 78mg
    26%
    Sodium 804mg
    35%
    Total Carbohydrate 14g
    4%
    Dietary Fiber 3g
    11%
    Sugars 5g
    Protein 29g

    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

    The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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    About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
    Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
    1 Comment
    On Healthy Beef and Broccoli
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    Sue
    March 12, 2022 - 07:38
    You mentioned, to ensure tenderness, you could marinate the meat with soy, lime juice, & brown sugar. What are the ratios you use?
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