Easy and healthy Sesame Beef that comes out perfectly tender, full of flavor, and only requires a few ingredients you probably already have.
This Sesame Beef is so much better than takeout. Using a delicious sauce made with soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and the secret ingredient - applesauce! It pairs great with Healthy Fried Rice or Asian Zucchini Noodles.
If you love Chinese food as much as we do, you have probably fallen in love with Sesame Beef along the way. This famous dish usually is made with crispy fried beef tossed in super sugary, soy sauce based sauce. Now I am not going to argue about how delicious it is, but it definitely isn't a meal you can enjoy often if you are trying to eat healthier. In fact, the average serving of sesame beef has over 500 calories, 26 grams of fat, and 24 grams of sugar.
Ready for the good news? This healthier Sesame Beef recipe still has all the amazing flavors but has less than half the calories and only 7 grams of fat and 7 grams of sugar! I promise you it still tastes incredible and this will quickly become one of your go-to recipes when you are craving Chinese food. It's also a great recipe for meal prep.
How can I make this crispy?
If you are craving crispy Sesame beef, you can add some crispy parts by using your broiler. After the meat is cooked and shredded, place it in a single layer on a baking sheet covered in foil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the beef so it is as dry as possible. It will never be completely dry, but you don't want it swimming in liquid. Then place in under the broiler for 4-6 minutes until the edges begin to crisp up. Then drizzle the thickened sauce on top.
Can I turn this into a Sesame Beef Stir Fry?
If you prefer a quick and easy stir-fry to slow cooking, you can use the same sauce for your recipe. However, you will need to select a cut of beef that cooks much more quickly like lean sirloin or flank steak. Slice the steak nice and thin and then marinate in the sauce. Remove from the sauce, letting all the excess drip off. Cook in a very hot pan until the beef is just cooked through. Reduce the sauce from marinated in a saucepan until it is thick.
Ways to Serve with Sesame Beef?
There are so many ways to serve this and honestly, I choose something new every time.
- Tacos: Although completely untraditional, I love to stuff this sesame beef into warmed corn tortillas. Topped with some cabbage (or kimchi!), cilantro, chopped red onion, and a squirt of Sriracha, it really couldn't be more delicious. Try it!
- Lettuce Wraps: When I want something lighter, I love to wrap this up in lettuce wraps and top them with some chopped carrots and fresh cilantro. Again, hot sauce it always an option as well.
- Over Rice with Veggies: For a more traditional take, serve this with some steamed white brown rice and vegetables. Broccoli, bok choy, green beans, or sugar snap peas are all good options.
- With Cauliflower Rice, Spaghetti Squash, or Veggie Noodles: For a lower calorie option, you can always use a lower carb option like cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash, or zucchini noodles. You can make your own or now many markets offer pre-made noodles and rice along with the fresh produce or in the freezer section.
How can I use this for Meal Prep?
This is a great recipe for meal prep since the beef can be utilized in so many different ways. Make a big batch of the meat on the weekend and pack individual servings for lunches through out the week. You could pack one over rice with veggies, another with lettuce wraps and edamame on the side, and another with some tortillas for quick tacos. You could also pack the same thing for each day depending on how much variety you like.
Can this be prepped in advance and frozen?
Sesame beef is actually a great recipe to freeze for a future meal. The best option is to make the sauce, cut the beef into smaller pieces, and then add the sauce and raw beef to a freezer safe bag. Press out the extra air, label with the recipe name and cooking instructions, and place in the freezer.
When you are ready to cook, it can go right from frozen into the Instant Pot, just add 5 minutes of cooking. For the Slow Cooker and you can follow the directions as written, but will need to add an hour of cooking. You can also place it in the fridge to defrost overnight and then cook according to the recipe directions.
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Sesame Beef (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
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- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
- 2 U cloves garlic
- 1/2 tbsp ginger, grated
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 2 lbs lean beef eye round roast
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- Stir together the applesauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. If you like things spicy, you can also add some Sriracha, Sambal Olek, or fresh jalapenos.
- Cut the beef into smaller chunks. This will help it cook faster and ensure super tender beef.
- Instant Pot: Add the beef to the Instant Pot with the sauce. Cover and set the Manual timer to 45 minutes. Once it is cooked you can manually release or naturally release the steam. Use two forks to shred the beef. If the sauce is liquidy, combine the cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water until it dissolves. Add it to the pot along with the beef and turn the Instant Pot to Saute. Let the sauce come to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Let the meat rest for a few minutes so the sauce can thicken.
- Slow Cooker: Add the beef to the slow cooker with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Use two forks to shred the beef. If the sauce is liquidy, combine the cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water until it dissolves. Add it to the slow along with the beef and bring to a simmer with the slow cooker on high. Let the sauce come to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Let the meat rest for a few minutes so the sauce can thicken.
- Add the beef to the Instant Pot with the sauce. Cover and set the Manual timer to 45 minutes. Once it is cooked you can manually release or naturally release the steam. Use two forks to shred the beef. If the sauce is liquidy, combine the cornstarch with 1-2 tablespoons of cold water until it dissolves. Add it to the pot along with the beef and turn the Instant Pot to Saute. Let the sauce come to a simmer and then turn off the heat. Let the meat rest for a few minutes so the sauce can thicken.
* 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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