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Ground Beef Stir Fry (One Pan, 30 Minutes)

Packed with veggies and protein in a savory sauce, this healthy one-pan ground beef stir fry recipe is an easy dinner that can be on the table in 30 minutes

It’s a great way to use up those wilting vegetables in your fridge for a perfect weeknight meal. And, of course, you can put your own spin on it.

stir fry ground beef and vegetables over white rice on plate.

What to expect

All stir-fry recipes pretty much use the same method. Sauté a protein and vegetables, then add the sauce.

This recipe has a savory sauce instead of an Asian-style sauce. Stir-fry Asian recipes tend to use soy sauce as a main ingredient. This homemade stir fry sauce is made of savory ingredients like broth, wine, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, thyme, tomato paste, and garlic.

The main effort in this recipe is chopping the vegetables. This can be done a day or two ahead for meal prep, cutting the time down on cooking night from 30 minutes to 15 minutes. Exact amounts are not necessary.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

ground beef, chopped veggies, thyme, rosemary, salt, pepper, tomato paste, corn, oil, worcestershire, garlic, flour.

Ground beef: I prefer lean ground beef from the butcher, but any will do. For lower calories and fat, use ground chicken or ground turkey instead. Ground pork or sliced meat will also work.

Vegetables: I use carrots, red bell pepper, white or yellow onion, snap peas, frozen corn – and green onions for garnish. Other good fresh veggies options are green beans, snow peas, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and celery. Frozen vegetables can be used as well.

Broth and optional wine: I use a full-bodied beef broth, chicken broth, or vegetable broth (and replace 1/4 of it with red wine). If you’re using a bouillon paste such as Better Than Bouillon to make the broth, use more than 1 teaspoon per cup (237 ml) for a more flavorful sauce.

Seasoning and flavors: Rosemary and thyme have those classic comfort flavors, but feel free to change that up with other herbs like oregano or cilantro for example. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like heat. The tomato paste can be replaced by tomato purée or ketchup.

Sauce variation: Here is a recipe for Chinese stir-fry sauce if you’re looking for a different version of this ground beef stir fry. You will need about 1 cup/237ml of sauce.

Vegetarian version: Replace the beef with cubed tofu or plant-based beef like Impossible Burger. Or skip the protein altogether and just use more vegetables. For the sauce, use vegetable broth (Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable base is my favorite).

Step-by-step instructions

sauteed ground beef in skillet.
Stir fry the ground beef until brown. Drain grease and set aside in a bowl
sauteed vegetables in skillet.
Stir fry the fresh vegetables for a few minutes, then add the garlic, seasonings, and cooked ground beef.
stir fried ground beef and veggies with spinach in skillet.
Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add remaining broth and wine (if using) and cook until thickened, adding spinach at the last minute.
ground beef stir fry over rice on plate.
Serve the stir fry ground beef over rice or noodles.

Tip

The smaller the dice, the quicker the vegetables will cook.

For dense veggies like carrots that take longer to cook, make sure you slice them thinly or finely dice them.

What to serve with easy ground beef stir fry

Serve the stir fry over white rice, brown rice, herb cauliflower rice, any pasta, ramen noodles or rice noodles.

Because the dish is packed with healthy veggies, there is no need for another side dish except perhaps a citrus salad or easy cheese biscuits.

For a different way to serve the dish, try it wrapped in a tortilla or lettuce with a creamy yogurt-based cucumber-dill sauce or tzatziki.

For dessert? Anything goes. Try one of these easy sweet treats made in under 30 minutes.

Recipe FAQs

How can I add an extra kick of heat to the stir fry?

If you like your stir fry on the spicy side, you can add red pepper flakes, red chili peppers, a couple of dashes of hot sauce, or some chili garlic sauce.

Can I substitute fresh vegetables with frozen vegetables in a stir fry?

Yes, you can use frozen instead of fresh vegetables in a stir fry. Defrost them first and pat them dry with a paper towel before stir-frying.

Shortcuts

  • Instead of ground beef, use slices of leftover beef or pork, added at the end just to warm them through. So you will be skipping the first step.
  • You can buy packages of stir fry vegetables instead of chopping the veggies yourself – very convenient, but pricey. If you do, consider giving them an extra chop to make them smaller.

Make ahead or Freeze

  • Meal prep: chop veggies 1-3 days ahead and keep them in a ziploc or sealed container in the fridge.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freeze leftovers in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight then warm in the microwave.
stir fry ground beef and vegetables over white rice on plate.

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Ground Beef Stir Fry (One Pan, 30 Minutes)

Packed with veggies and protein in a flavorful savory sauce, this healthy ground beef stir fry can be on the table in 30 minutes – all in one pan.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time27 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef, Note 1
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion about 1/2-3/4 medium onion
  • 5 cups chopped vegetables, Note 2 e.g. red bell peppers, snap peas, frozen corn niblets, carrots
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach (optional)
  • Garnish: chopped green onions (optional)

Seasonings/Flavors, Note 3

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or tomato purée or ketchup)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon each, salt and black pepper

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup broth Note 4 (I use 3/4 cup broth, 1/4 cup red wine),

Instructions

  • If you want to serve the ground beef stir fry over rice, start the rice now.
  • SAUTÉ GROUND BEEF: Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in large skillet to medium-high heat. Add ground beef and chop it up into small pieces with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes until browned. Drain off grease, transfer to bowl and set aside.
  • STIR FRY VEGETABLES AND SEASONINGS: Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add chopped vegetables and stir fry for 3-4 minutes until tender crisp. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds. Add ground beef, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Stir for 2 minutes.
  • MAKE SAUCE: Add flour to skillet with veggies and beef and stir for 2 minutes. Add broth/wine, Stir to combine well. Let simmer for 3-4 minutes to let the mixture thicken.
  • FINISH AND SERVE: Add baby spinach if using and stir to wilt, 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt, red pepper flakes, thyme, etc. as needed. Serve over rice or noodles or on its own.

Recipe Notes

  1. Ground beef options: I use lean ground beef from the butcher but any will do. Substitutes: ground chicken or ground turkey (for lower calories and fat), ground pork, or thinly sliced meat.
  2. Vegetables: Almost any veggies will work. I use 1 carrot (diced small or sliced thinly), 1 red pepper, 1/2 medium onion, 1 cup of snap peas, and 1/2 cup frozen corn. Other options are green beans, asparagus, mushrooms, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and celery. For quicker cooking, dice or chop the veggies smaller. You can replace all or some veggies with frozen vegetables – defrost first and pat dry to remove excess moisture. 
  3. Seasoning and flavors: Substitute rosemary and thyme with Italian seasoning if your like or try oregano or cilantro. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like heat. 
  4. Broth and optional wine: Use beef broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth. My favorite beef broth is Campbell’s Beef Broth 30% less sodium in a can). If you’re using a bouillon paste such as Better Than Bouillon, use more than 1 teaspoon per cup (237 ml) for a more flavorful sauce. For extra flavor, replace 1/4 of the broth with red wine (i.e. 3/4 cup/177 ml broth, 1/4 cup/59 ml wine – I do this).
  5. Stir fry variations:
    1. Sauce variation: Here is a recipe for Chinese stir-fry sauce if you prefer a different flavor profile. You will need about 1 cup/237ml of sauce.
    2. Vegetarian version: Replace the beef with cubed tofu or plant-based beef like Impossible Burger. Or skip the protein altogether and just use more vegetables. For the sauce, use vegetable broth (Better Than Bouillon Roasted Vegetable base is great). 
  6. Make Ahead/Freeze
    1. Meal prep: chop veggies 1-3 days ahead and keep them in a ziploc or sealed container in the fridge.
    2. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
    3. Freeze leftovers in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight then warm in the microwave.
 
Nutrition values are estimates and include lean ground beef (90:10), veggies, baby spinach and beef broth. They do not contain wine or green onion garnish.  

Nutrition

Calories: 442kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 1119mg | Potassium: 1149mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 13100IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 116mg | Iron: 6mg
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