Low-Calorie Beef and Broccoli Stir-Fry

Healthy beef and broccoli stir fry

The Spruce


  • Total: 25 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
398 Calories
16g Fat
26g Carbs
40g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 398
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 21%
Saturated Fat 5g 24%
Cholesterol 96mg 32%
Sodium 1152mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 26g 9%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 40g
Calcium 155mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This healthy beef and broccoli stir-fry recipe is quick-and-easy to prepare, and so low in calories compared to its take-out counterpart that it will probably become one of your favorite meals. Although stir-fries are usually heavy in oils and fats, our version uses just one tablespoon of sesame oil, which equates to less than one teaspoon of added fat per serving. You get a lot of rich flavor from the sesame oil without adding a lot of extra calories. For sesame oil allergies, use coconut or canola oil instead.

While the recipe uses just broccoli, there is room for any and all veggies, like peppers, onions, scallions, thinly sliced carrots, cauliflower, green onions, or crunchy water chestnuts. Other add-ons are great, too, like nuts and seeds, and they make the stir-fry a meal packed with nutrition. This dish can be tweaked for a paleo or Whole30 diet by using arrowroot instead of cornstarch and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. By using tamari instead of soy sauce, the recipe becomes gluten free.

Prep the night before for a super easy weeknight meal. Serve with steamed brown rice or quinoa for additional fiber and protein, or with cauliflower rice to keep calories low but nutrition high.


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  • 1 pound sirloin steak
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for beef and broccoli stir-fry
     The Spruce
  2. Slice the sirloin steak into thin strips, against the grain to help with tenderness.

    Sliced sirloin strips and broccoli florets
     The Spruce
  3. Add the beef strips to a large plastic bag and pour in 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch and the salt. Shake the bag to mix the ingredients until the beef is well coated.

    Beef, cornstarch, and salt in a plastic bag
    ​The Spruce
  4. Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and stir-fry for about 4 minutes, until it is no longer pink. Remove the beef from the pan, place it in a bowl, and set aside.

    Beef is stir-fried
     The Spruce
  5. Add the garlic to the skillet or wok and cook for 1 minute until it is very aromatic but not burnt. Carefully add the water and the broccoli. Continue cooking the broccoli for 4 to 5 minutes until it is bright green and more tender.

    broccoli florets are stir-fried
     The Spruce
  6. While the broccoli is cooking, whisk together well in a small dish the remaining 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with the vegetable broth and soy sauce. Add this soy sauce and the beef back to the skillet.

    Vegetable broth and soy sauce mixture
     The Spruce
  7. Cook the entire mixture an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. Remove from the heat.

    Cooking the beef and broccoli stir-fry
     The Spruce
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with optional toasted sesame seeds. 

    Beef and broccoli stir-fry with sesame seeds
     The Spruce
  9. Enjoy.

What Is the Best Beef Cut for Stir-Fry and Best Way to Make It Tender?

The secret for a succulent stir-fry lies in the quality of the beef. Here are a few tips on which cut to use and how to make it very tender:

  • Go for sirloin, tip round, or tri-tip. Flavorful flank steak also makes a wonderful stir-fry.
  • Cut the beef into really thin slices. If the strips are too thick, it will take too long to cook, making the beef tough and chewy. In order to get really thin slices of steak, partially freeze the meat and cut it while still frozen.
  • When unsure of the tenderness of your meat, gently use a meat tenderizer on the strips, or choose one of the following mixtures to marinate the meat for 15 to 20 minutes: 1/2 cup of water mixed with 1 tablespoon of baking soda (rinse the beef afterward); a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar; 1/2 cup of mashed papaya meat; or 1/2 cup of pineapple juice.