Lighter Mongolian Beef Bowl
Mongolian Beef is a beloved dish that is rich in flavor! There’s no wonder why it’s a staple item at restaurants.
However, if you’re watching your calorie intake, you might be concerned about its typical preparation. Thankfully, by making a few tweaks, you don’t have to run away from your favorite flavors, rather embrace them as part of balanced healthful diet. You can enjoy a lighter and more nutritious version of this classic recipe without sacrificing taste.
Here are a few of my tips to reducing calories in this recipe (and others as well).
- Use leaner cuts of beef: To reduce the calorie content of Mongolian Beef, start by choosing leaner cuts of beef. My go-to’s are flank steak or sirloin, as they have less fat compared to fattier cuts like ribeye and they’re really eay to cook – even when they’re overcooked, they’re not nearly as rubbery as other cuts. Trim any visible fat before slicing the meat into thin strips. This simple hack can significantly decrease the overall calorie count while retaining the mouthwatering tenderness!To learn more about different cuts of meat and how the cuts can fit into your everyday diet, I like this chart by the Mayo clinic.
There are additional resources on the page to help you learn which cuts of beef are lowest in fat and cholesterol if curious.
- Make a lighter sauce: The traditional Mongolian Beef sauce can be quite sweet and heavy, laden with sugar and sodium. For a lighter and more healthful alternative, consider making your own sauce at home. I use reduced-sodium soy sauce (or tamari), fresh ginger, minced garlic, and a touch of coconut sugar for the base. Enhance the flavors by adding a dash of rice vinegar or lime juice or even mirin. A homemade sauce eliminates unnecessary calories while allowing you to adjust flavor according to your preference (and macronutrient goals).
- Go BIG on the veggies: Adding an abundance of colorful vegetables is an excellent way to make this dish heartier and healthier without theadding too many more calories. It’s completely up to you which veggies you wish to include in this recipe, including bell peppers, snap peas, broccoli florets, and thinly sliced carrots for added crunch, fiber, and essential nutrients. Adding more veggies will increase the nutritional value of the meal, and make the dish more appetizing.
- Using heart-healthy cooking techniques: Incorporate cooking methods that reduce the amount of oil used in preparing Mongolian Beef. Instead of deep-frying the meat, lightly stir-fry it in a non-stick pan using cooking spray. Additionally, you can saute the vegetables until they are vibrant and tender-crisp which takes less time. These techniques not only reduce calorie intake but also keep the flavors of the original recipe.
With simple modifications, you can savor a lighter, healthier and more nutrient dense Mongolian Beef recipe that’s BIG on flavor and lighter on macros!
Lighter Mongolian Beef Bowl
- spray avocado oil
- 1 small green cabbage, cored and thinly shred
- 1 cup matchstick carrots
- 1 white onion, thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 lb lean flank steak or striploin steak, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon cracked pepper
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or brown, raw cane, honey, agave)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot or cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- green onions
Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set aside.
Also, if you have not prepped your veggies or meat, this is the time to do it.
Pro-tip: to achieve perfect, thinly cut strips of beef, freeze the beef for 1 hour so that it is semi-hard. It will be easier to cut that way.
Set a cast iron griddle or large pan on medium high heat. Once hot, spray with oil then add the cabbage, onions and carrots. Toss together using tongs and continue to toss until the veggies begin to have sear marks, about 3 minutes.
Remove the veggies from the pan and increase the heat to high. Once hot, spray again with oil then add the beef. Sprinkle cracked pepper over the meat and allow to sear for 2 minutes untouched.
The add the bean sprouts and toss together for 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium, then add the veggies to the pan. Note: if the pan is still too hot, then remove it from the heat and let it cooldown to medium heat. Once the pan is closer to medium heat, toss everything together for a minute then make a hole in the middle of the pan.
Pour the sauce in the middle of the pan. Once the sauce starts to turn shiny and bubble, turn off the heat and stir immediately and continuously, tossing the veggies and beef in the sauce.
Garnish and enjoy while hot over brown rice or cauliflower rice depending on your dietary preferences.
Remember to make this dish your own so it complements your dietary preferences and tastebuds.
So, add red pepper flakes or chili oil if you want something spicier! Add a bit of acidity by splashing with rice vinegar or fresh lime! Not a fan of green onion, try torn (Thai) basil or cilantro!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hey, I'm Kevin
My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.
By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!