This beef & broccoli recipe is low-carb, paleo, and whole30 compliant. Make this easy beef dish in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Updated 2020 with Instant Pot instructions
I love Chinese food but I rarely eat it because a lot of the dishes contain MSG. I’ve found that even though restaurants claim to be MSG free, sometimes they are not. Rather than chance it, I prefer to recreate my favorite Chinese take-out items at home. Which is what I did here.
No Added Sugar Beef & Broccoli
Most beef & broccoli recipes include sugar, brown sugar or some sort of sweetener. This slow cooker or Instant Pot version is what I call the trifecta: it’s low-carb, paleo, AND whole30 compliant. Whole30 and paleo means there is no added sugar. I promise you, you won’t miss it. I almost added honey (paleo) but after tasting the sauce I decided it didn’t need it. As always, I encourage you to taste your sauce before adding it in to the appliance and tweak as needed.
Broccoli Added Last
The broccoli is added to the dish towards the end of the cooking period. This is the case whether you’re using the slow cooker or Instant Pot. I prefer to use fresh broccoli however frozen can be used in a pinch. The instructions stay the same whether you use fresh or frozen.
Thicken The Sauce
While recommended thickening the sauce, you do not have to. I have made this plenty of times without adding a slurry thickener. Having said that, if you do thicken the sauce, it can be done directly in the slow cooker or electric pressure cooker (Instant Pot). I almost always use a slurry of arrowroot starch and water as my thickener. You can make your slurry as thick as you want. I use a a 1:1 water/starch ratio, usually 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch mixed with 2 tablespoons of water.
How To Serve Beef & Broccoli
Cauliflower rice is the obvious choice to keep this beef & broccoli recipe low-carb, paleo, and whole30. If you’re not worried about that, then I suggest regular brown or white rice.
Other Chinese take-out inspired recipes you might enjoy:
- 2 pounds beef sirloin, sliced into strips
- 2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos (or low-sodium soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- Pinch salt & pepper
- Optional slurry thickener: 2 tbsp arrowroot powder mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- Add beef and onion to the slow cooker.
- In a small bowl mix together sauce ingredients. Pour sauce into the slow cooker. Stir to mix well.
- Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6.
- Stir in fresh broccoli. Cook an additional 30 minutes or until soft.
Optional Step: Pour slurry thickener into the slow cooker. Stir gently. Cook 10-15 minutes or until thickened.
- Turn on the IP and select sauté. Once hot add oil to the pot. Add the beef and sear until browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove beef from and set aside.
- Add onion and cook for a 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook an additional minute.
- Pour in broth and deglaze the bottom of the pressure cooker by scraping all the bits off with a wooden spoon. Add coconut aminos, salt, pepper, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Stir to mix well. Add beef back to the pressure cooker. Stir gently.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 10 minutes. When done, quick release pressure.
- Stir in broccoli & thickening agent (if using). Turn pressure cooker to saute and cook a few minutes until sauce has thickened and broccoli is tender.
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