Ground Beef and Green Bean Stir-Fry

Jan 27, 2022 | meat, Recipes

With rising grocery prices, I think we could all use a few quick, low-cost, delicious meal options. Well, I have one for you today. This is my ground beef and green bean stir-fry. You can put the whole thing together in less than 30 minutes, it costs less than ten bucks, it tastes amazing, and you can feed a bunch of people with a pound of ground beef and a bag of frozen green beans. Does that sound too good to be true? It’s not. Let me show you. As always, you can find the recipe directly below but keep reading for more details.


Making Stir-Fry Sauce

You can’t have a stir-fry without a delicious stir-fry sauce. Okay, you can but it’s much better with a sauce. The sauce for this ground beef and green bean stir-fry is about as straightforward as they come. Get a small bowl and put in it two teaspoons of cornstarch, one tablespoon of brown sugar, a quarter cup of beef stock (chicken stock or water will work too), two tablespoons of soy sauce, and two teaspoons of rice vinegar (white wine vinegar will work). Mix all the ingredients and set them aside until you’re ready to use them.

Prepping The Ingredients

Any stir-fry will benefit from a bit of onion. For this ground beef and green bean stir-fry, I use green onions, but you can use any other type of onion you want. If you use white, yellow, or red onions, use about a quarter of a cup of sliced onions. If using green onions, separate the whites and the greens as I did in the picture below. Cut the whites into finger-width pieces, and thinly slice the greens. The greens and the whites of the onion cook differently so we don’t want to add them to the stir-fry at the same time. The whites will go in first and cook with the other ingredients. The greens will be added near the end of cooking to add a fresh flavour to the dish. Along with the green onion, you need two cloves of thinly sliced garlic, two teaspoons to a tablespoon of minced or grated ginger. If you add a little more or less it isn’t going to change too much. Finally, you will need half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes and two teaspoons of Chinese 5 Spice.

Ingredient Substitutions

If you don’t have fresh ginger and garlic, you can use one teaspoon each of garlic and ginger powder. Add the powders to the sauce. You can buy Chinese 5 Spice at most grocery stores now in the spice aisle. You can also make it using my recipe here. If you don’t have Chinese 5 Spice, you can use Garam Masala or Yellow curry powder with a pinch of cinnamon and clove.

Making The Ground Beef and Green Bean Stir-Fry

The key to a good stir-fry is a very hot wok (or pan if you don’t have a wok). The wok has to be hot so that the moisture that comes off the ingredients while cooking hits the pan’s surface and evaporates. If the wok isn’t hot enough, all that moisture will hit the pan’s surface, turn from a gas to a liquid, and pool, further cooling down your wok. This leads to a mushy boiled dinner rather than a crisp and fresh-tasting stir-fry. You can read more about the stir-fry technique here. In the meantime, put your wok on the burner, crank it up to high, and let it sit for a minute or two to get really hot. Next, add a teaspoon or two of cooking oil (I like peanut oil for stir-frying). Swirl the oil around the wok and add in the ground beef.

Browning the ground beef

There is a common mistake that people make with ground beef. When a recipe says to “brown the ground beef” they see that and think it means to “grey the ground beef“. Browning is a form of caramelization. Think about the surface of a burger cooked in a pan or a seared steak. That deep mahogany brown is what you want. This takes a little time but it is well worth the wait as the flavour will be deeper and richer. So, put the beef in the pan, break it up a little bit, then leave it alone for a few minutes. Let the bottom of the beef turn that deep brown before you stir it. Then, stir it and leave it alone for another few minutes. Once most of the meat is browned and it is all cooked, drain the excess fat and put the wok back on the burner.

Adding The Other Ingredients To The Stir-Fry

The ground beef is brown, you’ve drained the excess oil, and the pan is back on the burner. Make sure the pan is very hot again, then add the frozen green beans, garlic, ginger, Chinese 5 Spice, and crushed red pepper flakes. Now stir-fry for about three to four minutes or until the green beans are no longer frozen. This may take a little longer depending on how hot your wok was when you added everything in. Also, if you notice that your wok is cooling down, push the green beans to the sides and let it heat up. Once the green beans are no longer frozen, stir the sauce, then pour it into the wok. Stir-fry until the sauce is thick and the green beans are tender. Take the wok off the heat and stir in the tops of the green onions. Taste a green bean and a bit of the meat. Add a bit of salt and pepper as needed.

How To Serve The Ground Beef and Green Bean Stir-Fry

Serve the ground beef and green bean stir-fry with some rice, and you’ve got a delicious meal that took less than thirty minutes to make. It’s enough to feed four to six people, and it is delicious. Even if only one or two of you are eating this, I suggest making the whole batch. It makes excellent leftovers. I also like to serve it with a zig-zag of sriracha hot sauce over the top. This adds a little more heat and a little more acidity. The stir-fry doesn’t need it, but it does bump up the flavour that extra notch. Oh, and for a little more flair, you can sprinkle some white and black sesame seeds or the top for garnish. I would have, but I didn’t have any.

The Wrap-Up

I’ve made this twice now, and I’ve eaten way more than I should have both times. It’s a little sweet, a little spicy, and completely delicious. It is very much the kind of thing that you don’t want to stop once you start eating it. And, it’s a great meal for four to six people for less than ten dollars. You can’t beat that.

That does it for today but thank you for coming. I hope you enjoyed the post. And, if you haven’t already, remember to sign up to my newsletter at the bottom of the page to get exclusive recipes, cooking tips, behind-the-scenes stories etc., in your inbox once a month. Have a great week and a fantastic weekend! I’ll see you right back here next Thursday.

Ground Beef and Green Bean Stir-Fry

Do you have a pound of ground beef and don't know what to do with it? While, grab some green beans out of the freezer and throw this ground beef and green bean stir-fry together for a quick, cheap and delicious dinner.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Canadian, Chinese
Keyword: Beef Recipes, Ground Beef Recipes, Stir-Fry
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Chef Ben Kelly

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup beef stock or water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 lb medium ground beef 454 g
  • 1 lb green beans fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp minced or grated ginger
  • 2 tsp Chinese 5 Spice
  • 4 ea green onions, whites and green separated and diced
  • tsp salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch, brown sugar, beef stock, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok over high heat.
  • Add the peanut oil to the wok and swirl it around. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off excess oil.
  • Add the green beans, garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, Chinese 5 Spice, and the whites of the green onions to the wok. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until the beans are tender.
  • Stir the cornstarch mixture and pour it into the wok. Cook until thick.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  • Garnish with the green parts of the green onions and serve with rice.
  • For a little more kick stir in a few teaspoons of sriracha.
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