A healthier, lower sugar version of the Panda Express Broccoli Beef dish using lean ground beef- Perfect for those following a paleo or gluten free lifestyle!
I’m prefacing this by saying an Asian style gravy and ground beef paired together may be the most un-photogenic foods ever. So switched things around again- Instead of posting a Copycat recipe on a Friday as promised– I’m posting this Monday instead!
When people think Asian take out, I don’t think many would choose Panda Express as their ‘go to’. In fact, most suburbs would have a local Asian take out shop which would have the standard fare- Think fried rice, orange chicken or my sister’s favourite- sweet and sour chicken (which the ones they serve here in Australia probably don’t have any chicken in it).
One perk Panda Express has over your standard take out place is that they provide nutritional information- One which just shows how much sugar is in each meal. While their calorie counts are generally quite low, their sugar content was another story. Ironically, it’s their Broccoli Beef which is on the lower end of the sugar rainbow (3 grams per serving), they have some other favourites like their Beijing Beef which clocks in at 25 grams….per serving! Also having eaten there- The serving sizes aren’t that generous!
I ate at Panda Express twice and both were in limited situations- The first time, I was craving Chinese food and was in the middle of Union Square in San Francisco. I asked a guy at Starbucks where you could get quality Chinese food and he said nothing beats Panda Express. I went to the one located in some underground Mall and the line was huge so I assumed it must be good. I got the Broccoli Beef and the Beijing Beef with noodles and tucked into it. It was delicious but definitely was a fast food style meal. The sugar was also VERY evident in both dishes and I actually started craving more sweets after it- A typical reaction after I eat overly sweet foods.
The second time, I was on a layover in Orlando and was once again craving Chinese food. Surprise Surprise, there was a Panda Express there and I half heartedly went to queue up and got the Broccoli Beef and Beijing Beef again.
Okay, it wasn’t half hearted, it was pretty delicious. I admit it. I enjoyed it in all it’s high sugar glory.
When I decided to start recreating my favourite foods, I knew these two had to be recreated, albeit with a healthier spin on them. I also wanted them both to be simple. Very simple. This recipe uses ground beef instead of beef strips as they absorbed the ‘gravy’ much better and had a quicker cooking time. The sauce combination is on point and the perfect amount of sweet to salt! One up on Red Panda is that this is also is paleo, gluten free and grain free– Also suitable for diabetics!
So next time you have an Asian take out craving, whip this up. It’s easy, breezy beautiful- Covergirl.
I mean, it’s delicious.
- 500 grams ground beef (I used 90% lean/4 star)
- 1 large head of broccoli, chopped into florets
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1/2 large onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 T minced ginger
- 1/4 cup liquid aminos (can sub for gluten free soy sauce if not paleo)
- 1 T vinegar
- 1 T honey
- 1 T natvia natural sweetener (can sub for another granulated sweetener)
- 2 tsp coconut flour (can sub for 1 tablespoon of cornstarch if not paleo)
- 1 T black pepper
- 1 T red pepper flakes (optional)
- Sea salt to taste
- Rice or noodles to serve
- In a microwave safe bowl, add an inch of water and add the chopped broccoli and carrots and heat for 2 minutes, until very lightly cooked. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the liquid aminos, vinegar, honey, Natvia natural sweetener, pepper, red pepper flakes and sea salt until combine. Add the coconut flour and mix very well- mixture should slightly thicken. Set aside.
- Heat a deep frying pan or wok on medium heat generously covered with coconut oil. Once hot, add the ground beef and allow to brown slightly. Once browned, add the broccoli, carrots and the sauce and mix very well until fully incorporated. Stir occasionally until meat is fully browned and sauce mixture has reduced completely (approximately 5-6 minutes). Remove from the heat and serve immediately over rice or noodles.
- I ate this over several days and similar to a curry or stew, it tasted better the longer it sat.
- This freezes really well and can be frozen for up to 4 weeks in portions.
- Please adjust salt to self preference- I like things quite salty so was generous with it.
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What is your favourite Asian take away/take out meal?
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