Sesame Beef and Broccoli

Beef and broccoli in a pan with a spoon.

Say hello to this weeknight beauty! It is full of protein, green broccoli goodness, and sticky-sweet garlic and ginger flavor, and it has been fueling me through these long end-of-winter days.

This is sesame beef and broccoli – sesame because it’s got a tablespoon of sesame oil in the sauce (LUSCIOUS) and beef and broccoli because of the, well, beef and broccoli.

I was initially going to call this recipe easy – and it is easy, I guess – but also, there are several steps and lots of high heat and sometime searing meat business can feel like a bit of a job, so just trust me when I say while you should probably wear an apron, this is still 100% weeknight material.

The prep time is minimal, the ingredients are mostly pantry staples, and the total time is low.

AND THE RESULTS ARE SAUCY AND AMAZING.

Beef and broccoli in a bowl with a fork.

A few things I’d like to point out about this Beef and Broccoli:

Please Sear the Meat

This is very important. You do not want the meat to simmer or steam – you want it BROWNED. In order to get the browning without overcooking, you’re going to have to work with a very very very hot pan. I used a cast iron skillet for this which worked really well.

Marinate, But Not With Sauce

Whenever I marinated the meat in a little sauce to improve its flavor, there was so much excess moisture from the sauce that came into the hot pan with the beef that it essentially went into simmering / steaming mode. Not good.

To prevent this but still get the flavor, I “marinated” the meat with just dry salt. Just sprinkled it with salt and let it rest. This worked beautifully because the meat you put into the skillet is dry, which is what you want to get a really nice sear on it.

If you want to get reeeally detailed about your salting, your searing, and all that goes into getting your steak perfectly cooked… this post is great.

The Sauce Is Yours

Honestly, I made the sauce just slightly different every time I made this. If you want more or less sweet, adjust sugar. Or salt, or vinegar, or whatever suits your fancy. The sauce is flexible!

The cornstarch is important, though, because it helps the sauce thicken into that yummy consistency that coats the beef and broccoli perfectly, so that should stay as-is.

Vegan Option

I love this recipe with sliced tempeh. Made it several times that way! YUM. Only difference is that you *should* marinate your tempeh in the sauce because it needs the help for better flavor!


Sesame beef and broccoli is bold and big and just all-around here for us in this season. It’s saucy seared meat, it’s tender-crisp veggies, it’s fresh, feel-good flavor. Get after it!

Check out our video for how to make Sesame Beef and Broccoli:

Sesame Beef and Broccoli


  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings, or 2-3 if you’re very hungry

Description

Sesame Beef and Broccoli! Full of protein, green broccoli goodness, and sticky-sweet garlic and ginger flavor. Perfect at-home takeout!


Ingredients

The Basics:

  • 1 lb. beef flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
  • one 1-inch knob fresh peeled ginger,  grated or sliced
  • white rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice for serving
  • thinly sliced green onions for serving

The Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (sub coconut sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar (sub white vinegar)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Video

Instructions

  1. Beef Prep: Freeze beef for 30 minutes – 1 hour for easier slicing. Slice against the grain, into very thin strips. Toss the beef strips with a generous pinch of coarse salt and let it rest while you prep everything else. (All of this is optional but recommended for flavor and texture.)

  2. Sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients together.
  3. Stir Fry Time: Heat a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add a swish of oil. Working in batches, add the beef in a single layer. Let rest, undisturbed, for a minute or two to achieve a nice browning on the meat. Flip each piece over and cook until browned and yummy. Remove beef from pan.
  4. Broccoli: Add a swish of oil to the same pan. Add the broccoli; stir fry for 2-3 minutes, until bright green. (Sometimes I add a splash of water to steam it a little bit.) Remove broccoli from pan.
  5. Finally: Turn the heat down and let the pan cool a bit. Add one last swish of oil. Add the ginger and garlic; sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the sauce; stir until a thickened and sticky sauce forms. Add beef and broccoli back in. Toss gently to coat.
  6. YUM! Serve with rice, thinly sliced green onions, and sesame seeds. 

Notes

It’s easier to get a nice sear on the meat if it’s mostly dry when it goes into the hot skillet, which is why I am not recommending marinating the meat in the sauce. When you marinate it in the sauce, it gets wet, which makes it cook differently in the pan (more like steaming – not as good as a nice browned sear).

Vegan option: Sliced tempeh is delicious and works wonderfully in this recipe! I would recommend letting it marinate in a little bit of the sauce before cooking to get the best flavor.

Rice Amounts: 1 1/2 cups rice, 2 1/4 cup water, a pinch of salt. Add to the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, and allow for natural pressure release (this should give you enough rice for 4 very generous servings).

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Asian

Keywords: beef and broccoli, stir fry recipe, beef recipe, takeout at home

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