This recipe for Healthy Mongolian Ground Beef tastes just like your take-out favorite and only has 250 calories per serving.
Last week I decided I really wanted to make Mongolian Beef at home since it has long been one of my favorite Asian take-out staples. Then a funny thing happened, I realized I had absolutely no idea what actually was in Mongolian Beef outside of the beef and green onions.
That got me thinking about how I rarely actually know what goes into making so many of the Asian dishes that I love. I mean there is almost always soy sauce and many times rice vinegar, but I would be hard-pressed to explain what is in lots of Asian dishes.
So I set off to find out what made Mongolian beef so yummy. Turns out, like many Asian dishes, it actually isn't too complicated. Traditionally it is made with soy sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, chili paste, and either hoisin sauce or oyster sauce.
From there, thin slices of flank steak are coated in cornstarch and flash-fried in oil in a wok. Yummy, but not so healthy since the steak is usually deep-fried in quite a bit of oil. It's also time-consuming and messy.
That's why I started making my Mongolian Beef with ground beef! It is easier, more affordable, and doesn't require frying. It's still got all the flavors you love in Mongolian Beef but is ready in less than 15 minutes.
While I still love the real thing, this is a great substitute when you need a quick and easy meal. These Korean Beef Bowls are another great recipe that uses ground beef to create a simpler, healthier option.
What You'll Need
- Ground beef: To keep things light, start out with lean ground beef. Ground turkey, chicken, vegetarian crumbles, or pork will also work.
- Mongolian sauce: The sauce is made with a combination of soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, chili paste, rice vinegar, and hoisin sauce. Honey or maple syrup can be swapped in for the sugar. Coconut aminos can be used as well. Adjust the chili paste to your liking and spice preferences.
- Green onions: Although you can skip the green onions, it gives the dish some much-needed brightness.
Side Dish Ideas for Mongolian Ground Beef
This dish is almost always served with steamed rice and vegetables. The rice and veggies soak up some of the sauce and it is delicious. However, you can also switch things up and serve it with some of these tasty side dishes
This is one of those dishes that are easy to customize based on preferences or what you have on hand.
- Add more vegetables: Don't shy away from adding more vegetables to this dish. Consider adding bell peppers, carrots, green beans, shredded cabbage, or spinach.
- Try a new protein: Make this with ground turkey, ground chicken, or meatless ground beef instead of the ground beef. It also works with thinly sliced beef, pork, or chicken.
- Use oyster sauce: Swap in oyster sauce in place of the hoisin sauce for a slightly different flavor.
- Double the sauce: If you like a lot of sauce or plan on serving it on rice, consider doubling the sauce.
Mongolian Ground Beef
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- 3 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (GF if needed)
- 2 tsp. sugar (leave out for low carb)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
- 1 tsp. Asian chili garlic paste (or Sriracha or red pepper flakes)
- 1 tbsp. ginger, minced (more to taste)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1.33 lbs. 95% lean ground beef
- 6 green onions
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Heat the skillet over medium high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add the beef and cook for 7-9 minutes until cooked through, breaking it up as it cooks. Add the green onions and sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes until sauce thickens and green onions are tender, stirring occasionally. Top with additional fresh green onions if desired.
* 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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