Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

The beef is tender and flavorful in this protein-packed dish. Bonus: It can be on the table in just 20 minutes thanks to a 6-ingredient sauce and pre-cut fresh veggies. ~ 

Broccoli beef stir fry

{Disclosure: My uncle and father are cattle ranchers and I received info from the National Cattleman’s Beef Association – but I was not compensated to write this post – and have been wanting to write it for a long time.}

I grew up on a cattle ranch in the beautiful mountains of Montana. I learned to ride horse bareback by boosting myself up on our pony Ginger. And we ate a lot of beef. My sisters and I each had our favorite casseroles; mine was Tator Tot Casserole (yup the one with canned cream soup!) My sisters’ most-requested was Chili Mac Casserole. Our lunchboxes usually contained roast beef sandwiches on homemade wheat bread. (But what I really wanted was what my best little girlfriend had: Bologna on Wonder Bread!) I didn’t know how good I had it – until years later…

I didn’t eat much beef when I moved to Minnesota for college and then all the way to Boston for grad school in nutrition at Tufts. Massachusetts was a long way from Montana and the family ranch – and the fact that I was on a beans-and-rice-budget certainly had something to do with it. But so did the fact that all my nutrition books had photographs of large slabs of beef that were deeply marbled with white fat and notations of “high-fat red meat.”

But that was then. And now, just 15 years later, the beef of today is not my grandfather’s beef – nor even my father’s beef. The beef from today’s cattle is more than 15% leaner than that from the cattle my father raised just 15-20 years ago. I wasn’t really aware of this fact until I stopped by the beef case a year or two ago and saw a beautiful package like this:

beef stir fry

This cut is nearly pure red meat – very little marbling; and that red means lean meat. In fact:

A serving of beef (3 ounce when cooked of most cuts) has only around 150-250 calories and a whopping 25 grams of protein.

But since today’s beef is so much leaner, I’ve learned that some of the cooking techniques from cookbooks just 20 years old may need to be tweeked. Use newer recipes as reference. And in general, to cook today’s leaner beef remember:

  • Quick cook thin slices – and I mean quick. In this stir-fry, brown just 1-2 minutes.
  • Keep it rare to medium-rare.
  • Cook larger cuts to 145 degrees. Or if you want it medium-well-done, cook just a bit higher.
  • For fail-proof cooking use the slow cooker or braise; like this Red Wine Braised Beef via Meseidy @ The Noshery.

Broccoli Beef Stir Fry |

And one more note: Yes, I know beef prices are up. But my 1 pound of sirloin was $6.00 for a family of six + the cost of a few veggies + rice = About $2/person for a healthy protein-packed meal. And Dad and Uncle Terry and all the other hard-working beef ranchers will thank you!


Broccoli Beef Stir Fry

Beef is tender and flavorful in this protein-packed dish. Bonus: It can be on the table in just 20 minutes thanks to a simple 6-ingredient sauce and pre-cut fresh veggies.

  • Yield: 4 servings; 4-6 kid-sized servings 1x


  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (reduced-sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 bag (10 oz) fresh veggies (such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) or 4 cups fresh veggies
  • 1 pound lean beef steak – center cut if possible
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Cooked rice


  1. To make the sauce, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar orange juice, 1 tablespoon water, sugar, cornstarch in a large saucepan. Heat over medium until bubbly and thick, stirring frequently. Cook 1 minute longer. Stir in peanut butter. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside. Place saucepan back on stove.
  2. In saucepan, combine vegetables and 3 tablespoon water. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes – or until tender-crisp. Set aside.
  3. Cut beef steaks into 1/2-inch thick strips.
  4. In a large nonstick skillet or non-stick wok, add half of beef and half of garlic (no need to add oil!). Cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes or until just browned. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Repeat with remaining beef and garlic.
  5. Return beef to skillet along with vegetables and sauce. Cook 1-2 minutes until heated through. Serve with rice.

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how to stir fry beef


We’re Serena & Deanna, two dietitians who love food as much as you do!  

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