Gluten-free Lighter Orange Beef and Broccoli is just as delicious as a restaurant’s, but much healthier!
I think I’ve told you before that Ben’s and my favorite Chinese joint from way back in the day, who had THE BEST ORANGE BEEF EVER, switched owners a few years ago and all their awesome recipes, including our favorite one for crispy orange beef, went with ’em. I hate when that happens! Since then we’ve been on the hunt for a copycat recipe to make at home but all the ones we’ve tried have been too greasy, too orangey, too…just not the same.
That being said, last week I got an orange beef craving so I decided to conquer this bad boy once and for all. The recipe had to be perfectly orangey – not overwhelming or underwhelmingly so – and NOT deep fat fried. I mean don’t get me wrong, crispy, deep fried beef is the bees knees but it’s just not practical for me to deep fry at home.
The good news is that orange beef doesn’t have to be deep fat fried to be fantastic. Lighter Orange Beef and Broccoli is stir fried in just 1 Tablespoon oil – total – which gives the beef a mouthwatering taste and texture that I know you’ll love.
Swapping deep fat frying for stir frying was the easy part. The sauce is what I really needed to master, so I made this dish 3 times in 5 days to make sure I really nailed it. The result is killer. Perfectly orangey, not too sweet, not too heavy – as Goldilocks would say, it’s just right!
Start with da beef! You’ll need 1-1/2lb flank or sirloin steak cut very thin and against the grain – almost shaved, if you can swing it. I bought a big flank steak then sliced it in half, and then sliced each half into…slices.
Pop the beef into a big ziplock bag then add 1 Tablespoon each cornstarch and soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari. Seal the top then squish to coat the beef as evenly as you can.
Pop the beef into the fridge to marinate for 20 minutes or so.
Next make the sauce. In a bowl combine 2 teaspoons orange zest with a bevy of orange-sauce-inspired ingredients like orange juice, of course, chicken broth (just trust me,) soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, sugar, red chili pepper flakes, and sesame oil.
A note on orange juice: I’m recommending that you use pre-made orange juice (like Simply Orange) or juice made from concentrate in this recipe vs fresh-squeezed, and here’s why. The orange I buy today will taste different tomorrow, and the next day and the day after that. Furthermore, the oranges I buy here in Iowa are probably going to taste different than the oranges you might buy in Florida, for instance. The only way to make sure this recipe turns out tasting the same for both of us is to use pre-made juice, which is carefully blended to always taste the same, similar to how wine companies take careful measures to make sure their cabernet always tastes like their cabernet.
Already long story short – use fresh squeezed if you desire (I have with this recipe and it still tasted great!) but just know that fresh oranges vary in sweetness and sourness levels depending on age and location.
Aaaaanway, add 2 teaspoons cornstarch, which will help thicken up the sauce, then set it aside.
Time took cook! Heat a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat then add 4 cups broccoli florets and 1/4 cup water then stir fry until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove the broccoli to a plate then set aside. Broccoli isn’t necessarily typical in crispy orange beef, but I like it…so I added it!
Next heat 1 Tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil in the wok then add half the beef in one even layer. Let it sit undisturbed for 30 seconds before flipping and cooking quickly on the other side. The thinner the beef, then faster it will cook. Make sure not to overcook the beef or else it can turn tough. Remove to a plate then repeat with the remaining beef, and then add that to the plate.
Add the sauce to the skillet then let it bubble for 5 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, then add the beef and broccoli back in.
Toss to warm everything back up, then you’re done!
Scoop the orange beef and broccoli over cooked rice and serve.
Lighter Orange Beef and Broccoli
Gluten-free Lighter Orange Beef and Broccoli is healthier but just as delicious as the restaurant version!
- 1-1/2lb flank or sirloin steak cut very thin (shaved if you can!)
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tablespoons soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari, divided
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup orange juice (for best results use pre-made or from concentrate, not fresh)
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
- cooked rice, for serving
- Add steak to a large ziplock bag then add 1 Tablespoon each soy sauce or Tamari and cornstarch. Seal then squish to evenly coat and then place in the refrigerator to marinate for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce or Tamari and remaining 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with chicken broth, orange juice, rice vinegar, sugar, orange zest, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and red chili pepper flakes then set aside.
- Heat a large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat then add broccoli and water. Stir fry until broccoli is crisp tender, 3-4 minutes then remove to a plate and set aside.
- Heat oil in wok then add half the marinated beef in one layer. Do not disturb for 30 seconds, or until bottom is golden brown. Flip slices then saute until second side is golden brown. This should go very quickly if your beef is cut thin enough. Also, don't overcook the beef or it can turn tough. Remove to a plate then cook remaining beef and then add to plate.
- Add the sauce to the wok then cook until thickened and reduced, about 5 minutes. Add cooked beef and broccoli back into the wok then scoop over cooked rice when warmed through.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Luuuuscious! Perfectly orangey and much healthier than the deep fried restaurant version. By the way, I have made this recipe with chicken and it’s just as delish. Either way, you can’t go wrong. Enjoy!