Ground Beef Stir Fry with Wilted Napa Cabbage

Ok, don’t hate on the ground beef. You can totally substitute a juicy piece of grass-fed steak, pork or even some roasted chicken — whatever will make your dinner guests happy.  Mine happened to be two friends after a long day’s work and two little kids, whom you may have heard me mention a time or two.  We all like ground beef. We all like Asian food. Three-fifths of us like cabbage. These are good odds…

2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
1 head Napa cabbage, sliced cross-grain
1 cup canned water chestnuts, sliced
1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots, cut into matchsticks
1 TBSP fresh ginger root, cut into matchsticks
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup coconut aminos
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP sesame seeds, plus 1 tsp for garnish
pinch black pepper
2-3 TBSP lard, bacon grease, or coconut oil
*Note: If you are not using grass-fed beef, please scale back the amount of fat you use. It will be very oily if you don’t.

This stir fry comes together quickly since both components of the meal — the ground beef and the napa cabbage — cook simultaneously. For some of you, that’s good news.  For others, it might come across confusing.  I’m gonna do my best to break this down so that you want to make it!

Heat to medium-high, melt 2 tablespoons of your preferred fat from above. Add ground beef and begin to cook.  When half done add all of the ginger, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots.  Add 3 cloves of minced garlic. Cook until the meat has completely browned.  Add 1/2 cup coconut aminos, a pinch of black pepper and two tablespoons of sesame seeds. Simmer until most of the coconut aminos have reduced, turn off heat and get ready to serve.

Heat to medium, add 1 tablespoon of your preferred fat from above.  Add sliced cabbage, toss in fat to coat, let wilt.  When volume is reduced by a third, add one clove of minced garlic and toss to evenly distribute. When cabbage is nearly done, add 1/4 cup of coconut aminos. Remove the pan from heat as soon as the coconut aminos reduces slightly.

To serve, family style presents nicely, however, only about half of the ground beef “fits” over the napa. Layer the napa cabbage on a serving platter first, then spoon on the ground beef stir fry. Top with additional teaspoon of sesame seeds and the half cup of sliced scallions.  As for the remaining beef, we just added extra onto our plates.  Also, if you eat white rice or would like to make a cauliflower rice, this stir fry would be excellent with some of that on the side as well.

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We sometimes use unfamiliar ingredients in the Paleo world to spare us from gluten, soy, refined sugars and gnarly preservatives. This recipe calls for coconut aminos in place of traditional soy sauce, which does not contain soy, sugar or gluten.

Kitchen tools that make prepping this recipe go smoothly are two large skillets (cast-iron is ideal), a solid chef’s knife and a bamboo chopping block.

For kicks, check out this cool set up — it stores knives AND your iPad!

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  1. Kellianne Hern says

    This dish sounded yummy and super easy. Found the coconut aminos at Whole Foods and my daughter almost knocked me over when she found out there was a substitute for soy sauce (Food sensitivity issues have prevented her from eating her favorite Asian dishes). The end result was fabulous. Hubby said it was quite tasty and daughter went back for a larger helping after one taste. Thank you for sharing. I’ll be adding it to my recipe box for sure.

    • says

      Haha! Coconut aminos rocked my world too when I first learned about it! It’s pretty close to soy, isn’t it? So so happy this recipe works for your family — enjoy it!

    • says

      No clue! I don’t track any of that stuff… I believe there are sites where you can input recipes and it will turn around nutritional info, if you want to dig around? Personally, I really appreciate the freedom Paleo offers in this arena. Eating a diet focused on the foods that support my whole health takes away the need to track every morsel. Choosing meats, eggs, seafood, veggies, healthy fats with some fruit and nuts here and there, means that everything seems to stay in balance on its own.

  2. Jen says

    This was wonderful. We use cabbage a lot for curry, but I always have 1/2 a head left. I love using coconut aminos in shrimp, but with the elk I used yesterday, it was delicious. Glad I found the recipe and thank you!

  3. Christine says

    I made this last night for my family and a friend and we all thought it was delicious! (I did swap out half of the coconut aminos for tamari because I was concerned about sweetness.) Thank you for your recipes and beautiful site!

  4. Liz says

    So I didn’t have any bamboo shoots or water chestnuts & I put a good lug of hot sauce in the beef but… This was awesome!! My partner, on sampling the beef straight out of the pan before I even served it up, announced that we should definitely have this for dinner again soon. Thanks for another great recipe idea, loved it!


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