Shakshuka, But Better

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory) is one of those dishes that is so iconic that dozens of cultures claim it as their own. Even knowing this, the most basic recipe (eggs poached in a spiced onion and tomato sauce) was totally underwhelming to me. I found the secret: adding white beans and goat cheese changes everything!…

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory) is one of those dishes that is so iconic that dozens of cultures claim it as their own. Even knowing this, the most basic recipe (eggs poached in a spiced onion and tomato sauce) was totally underwhelming to me. I found the secret: adding white beans and goat cheese changes everything! It brings so much flavor and texture to this simple meal, not to mention protein. I LOVE that I always have the ingredients for this dinner on hand. It’s so easy to throw together! My kids adore it.

cast iron skillet with shakshuka, a piece of toast stuck into it, and red and green onion garnish.
Table of Contents
  1. Eggs in Purgatory? Sounds hellish
  2. What is shakshuka anyway?
  3. Where is it from?
  4. Ingredients for shakshuka recipe
  5. How to make shakshuka
  6. What to serve with shakshuka
  7. How to store leftover shakshuka
  8. Can you freeze Shakshuka?
  9. Shakshuka frequently asked questions
  10. More savory breakfast ideas you’ll love
  11. Shakshuka, But Better Recipe

My son Edison, who is 4, sat me down the other day to do some splainin. “Mom, there are 3 kinds of butts.” Right away I’m thinking, okay, we’ve got bum, booty, tushy, where is this conversation heading?

He elaborates. “There’s butt. Then there’s “but MOM!” and then there’s “but DAD!”

Just as I’m sitting there pondering this incredibly logical conclusion, he assures me “But mom, it’s not that you’re a butt.”

Is this his idea of a compliment?? You know what, at this point I will take what I can get. I just hope he doesn’t convince all the other kids that that’s my actual name. Pretty soon the whole neighborhood will know me as “Butmom.” Not the legacy I had planned for myself.

a hand holding a piece of crusty toast dipping into shakshuka.

Summer is trucking along over here! We showed the kids My Big Fat Greek Wedding the other night, when was the last time you watched that movie?? We were all dying laughing. It’s just so classic. I’ve probably linked to the scene where Aunt Voula offers to make lamb for the vegetarian boyfriend more times than anything else ever on the blog. I’m pretty sure I even referenced it on my very last post for Veggie Sandwiches.

Other than the important work of educating our children on proper 90s rom-coms, we’ve been doing a lot of lazy dinners lately, this Shakshuka at the top of the list!

Eggs in Purgatory? Sounds hellish

Eric started reading a book that he got me for Christmas recently (I hardly ever read books. Because I am the scum of the earth. That’s what you’re thinking, right? Don’t lie.) Anyway, he was reading this fantastic book called Taste by Stanley Tucci, all about how Stanley grew up eating amazing Italian American food. Stanley’s dad would make Shakshuka (“uovo fra’diavolo“) every Friday night. It was tradition for his dad to cook once a week. So, not to be out-dadded, Eric got right in the kitchen to make this for the family.

I wanted to be into it. But it was kind of boring, not gonna lie. Sorry Stanley (sorry Eric 😂). I like tomatoes, but I don’t want to eat what is basically straight up chunky marinara sauce, plus some eggs and bread. If we had the Most Amazing Tomatoes in All the Land then I might feel differently. But we’re working with what we’ve got over here — American canned tomatoes.

shakshuka sauce with one poeached agg getting scopped up by crusty bread.

Then my BFF Sarah (of the famed Chicken Fajitas) told me she makes Shakshuka all the time but adds a can of white beans to the tomatoes. This adds a lot more texture and flavor, not to mention protein. I tried it and am NEVER going back. It is SO good. Every single one of my kids loved this!

The combination of the warm spices with the tomatoes, beans, topped with the perfectly cooked eggs and goat cheese… you guys, it’s so good. I love to serve it with crusty artisan bread, Sarah loves to serve it with some Homemade Naan. Pita bread or Roti would also be good options. You need something to sop up all the saucy goodness.

This is one of my favorite summer meals because it’s stupid fast, and I ALWAYS have the ingredients on hand. (I am barely scraping by with the menu planning over here!) Canned tomatoes, canned beans, eggs, garlic and onion, bread tucked in the freezer. I can handle that. And it’s done in like 30 minutes, tops. Plus super cheap?? And I don’t have to turn on the oven?? It’s made for these crazy busy July days!

The leftovers are also perfect for revamping. If you eat all the eggs and still have sauce left, you can toss it back in the pan on day two or three, crack in more eggs, and you are back where you started. Shakshuka be like the cruse of oil over here.

cast iron skillet with white bean shakshuka and 8 poached eggs, with three slices of toast.

What is shakshuka anyway?

At it’s most basic, shakshuka is tomatoes and onions cooked in warm spices and oil, with a few eggs cracked on top, poaching in the sauce. From there, you can really add whatever you like. The word “shakshouka” is from an Arabic dialect and means “mixed.” I love to add white beans for texture, flavor, and protein.

But you do you. Fancy some mushrooms? Fry them with the onions! Want something green? Add a handful of spinach to the simmering tomatoes! If it’s an ingredient you would add it to an omelette, you can add it to shakshuka.

Where is it from?

Shakshuka originated in northern Africa, and has cultural roots in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco. The recipe got around over time, and is now a super popular dish in several countries, especially Israel (they eat it for breakfast!) You can find versions of it throughout the Middle East, and even parts of Eastern Europe. It’s kind of like how Mexican Wedding Cookies have 1,000 names (Russian Tea Cakes, Snowballs, Polvorones.) Everyone claims shakshuka.

showing half a cast iron skillet with poached eggs in shakshuka sauce with bread on side.

Ingredients for shakshuka recipe

I’ll go out on a limb and guess you already have most of these ingredients at home! Lots of spices, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and eggs. Such an easy pantry meal to make!! Be sure to check the recipe card for full measurements and instructions.

ingredients for shakshuka like canned beans, canned tomatoes, eggs, and more.
  • oil
  • onion
  • paprika
  • smoked paprika
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • crushed red pepper
  • black pepper
  • kosher salt or sea salt
  • garlic
  • crushed or whole tomatoes
  • fire roasted tomatoes
  • cannelini beans
  • fish sauce (optional)
  • eggs
  • cilantro
  • green onions
  • feta or goat cheese

How to make shakshuka

Start by chopping up your onion and smashing and mincing your garlic. I was devastated last night when I made this again for the umpteenth time and was completely out of fresh garlic, something I ALWAYS keep tucked in my panty. So I used the garlic from the jar in the fridge…and guess what. It was amazing.

But, still. If you have time. Smash and mince up some fresh garlic. You just can’t beat it when it comes to aromatics.

top: chopped onion and garlic on wood cutting board, bottom onions browning in pan.

Saute the onion in plenty of olive oil. Plenty, I say! It’s a key component of this simple dish.

top: mix of spices in glass bowl, bottom spice mix dumped on onions in pan.

Mix up all the spices in a little bowl. We’ve got paprika, smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, salt..all the good stuff. I love this mixture. It’s so earthy and warm.

Saute the onions and spices for a couple minutes before you add the garlic.

top: onions and spices all mixed up with garlic dumped on top, bottom tomatoes added in.

Cook the garlic only for about a minute or so before you add the tomatoes and beans. I used crushed tomatoes when I took these photos because it’s what I had on hand, but whole tomatoes are even better.

two 28 ounce cans of tomatoes, organics brand and cento brand, on a wood table

I love the Cento brand of tomatoes. They are expensive but worth every penny. (The are expensive because they are only grown in Italy.) I take a deep dive on the nuances of canned tomatoes in my Bolognese Sauce recipe, if you’re interested! Nerd stuff!!

Now add in the white beans to the tomato mixture. I love navy beans (pictured) or Cannellini beans , which are a little bigger. Both types have the perfect neutral flavor that immediately adopts the flavor of the spices, onions and garlic. And they add such great texture to this dish.

top: beans dumped on top of sauce in pan, bottom all sauce ingredients mixed together.

Now it’s time to simmer, just for a little bit. We want this sauce to cook down and get a little thicker, plus we want to give the flavors time to marry. But honestly, if you’re in a hurry…

8 raw eggs nestled in the top of the sauce ready to be poached.

You just get right on to cracking those eggs in. I’m not there in your kitchen to judge you. Git er done. Don’t forget to sprinkle with a lil salt and pepper.

Cover the pan right away and leave the heat at medium. Let the eggs cook for about 5 minutes, checking on them every now and then until they are as runny or cooked as you like them. Covering the pan makes the eggs cook faster but forms a white film over the yolks. So if you want pretty yellow yolks, leave the lid off and cook a bit longer.

close up of crusty bread scooping into white bean shakshuka and egg.

And voila! That’s it! Now dunk your Naan or Homemade French Bread or Roti and die and go to heaven.

What to serve with shakshuka

The best part about shakshuka is that it is perfect for any meal of the day: breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Your sides can vary depending on when you’re serving it. No matter what, you’ll definitely want something bread-like to scoop up all the saucy-sauce!

ceramic bowl filled with eggs and shakshuka sauce, and crusty pieces of bread surrounding it.

How to store leftover shakshuka

After it has cooled, transfer any leftovers to a tupperware. Tomato sauces tend to stain plastic tupperware, so if you have any glass containers with lids it’s a great option! (If you don’t, spray your plastic tuppers with nonstick spray before adding the tomatoes! #momhack lol)

Make sure your shakshuka has an airtight lid. Stick it in the fridge, and it’ll be good to eat for another 3-4 days! If there is leftover egg, it tastes best within a day or two. To reheat, it’s best to warm it up in a small frying pan on the stove so the egg doesn’t get too hot and overcooked in the microwave. Nobody likes a rubbery egg.

If you plan to eat this over the course of a few days, you can cook just as many eggs as you’ll eat in one sitting and store the remaining sauce. The next meal you want some, warm up the sauce and cook as many eggs you want again fresh for that meal.

Can you freeze Shakshuka?

I definitely do not recommend freezing already cooked eggs. Things get WEIRD, y’all, it’s just not worth it. The sauce and beans, on the other hand, can totally be frozen and will do super well. Put the cooled sauce (NO EGGS) in an appropriately sized ziplock freezer bag, then squeeze out as much air as possible and seal. It’ll last in the freezer for 4-6 months. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or on the counter for a few hours. Heat in a pan on the stove, and once hot, follow the instructions in the recipe card for adding and cooking the eggs!

This sauce is super easy to prepare, so it would make a good batch freezer meal. Make a batch or double batch, add single serving size amounts to bags, label, and freeze. Then, anytime the call for shakshuka arises, you’ll have some ready to go!

cast iron skillet filled with shakshuka with white beans and 8 poached eggs.

Shakshuka frequently asked questions

Where does shakshuka come from?

Shakshuka is native to northern Africa. Some say that Tunisia is the birthplace, but the history is a little murky when so many cultures claim it as their own! It’s a staple in Tunisian, Libyan, Moroccan, and Algerian cuisine and very popular through the whole region. It’s so popular, the recipe was carried to the middle east and is very popular in that region as well. There are definitely slight variations depending on where you go, but they all follow the basic format: heavily spiced tomato sauce (often with onions and/or peppers, in this recipe we’re using beans) topped with eggs that get poached in the sauce, and scooped up with bread to eat.

what do you eat shakshuka with?

You can skip the spoon or fork. Grab a naan, pita, or crusty hunk of bread to shovel this goodness into your pie hole. You can channel Katniss from the Hunger Games, when she abandons her silverware after Effie tells her how undignified last year’s tributes were to eat with their hands. 😂
Truly though, shakshuka is traditionally eaten by being scooped up by some kind of bread, almost like a dip. It is the best way!

If you are looking for additional sides to accompany, it will depend on when you are serving it. For breakfast, try serving some baked bacon or sausage alongside, or adding chorizo to the onions for a fun Spanish twist. For lunch or dinner, a nice green or cucumber salad or some grilled chicken would be delicious. Check out the What to serve with Shakshuka section above for more ideas!

what does shakshuka taste like?

Think of a deliciously aromatic tomato sauce, with tons of flavor from all the spices like paprika, cumin, oregano, and red pepper flakes. The sauce cooks down and really deepens all the flavors. So much so, that it should get very thick, almost like a paste. Then we add in beans for even more flavor. In the last stage of cooking, eggs are poached right in the sauce til that perfect runny stage (or whatever stage you like), so all the eggy bits mix with the sauce as you sop it all up with bread. THEN top with goat cheese and fresh herbs. YUM.

white bean shakshuka with dollops of goat cheese over the top and toast pieces along the edge of pan.

More savory breakfast ideas you’ll love

While I will definitely eat this any time of day, technically shakshuka is a breakfast food. Which is great, because sometimes I get sugared out on sweet breakfasts. (Eric and I are always the ones ordering an omelette and French toast and going halfsies.) Check out these savory breakfast recipes!

shakhuka with egg garnished with red onion and a small piece of toast.

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cast iron skillet with shakshuka, a piece of toast stuck into it, and red and green onion garnish.
Print

Shakshuka, But Better

Shakshuka (Eggs in Purgatory) is one of those dishes that is so iconic that dozens of cultures claim it as their own. Even knowing this, the most basic recipe (eggs poached in a spiced onion and tomato sauce) was totally underwhelming to me. I found the secret: adding white beans and goat cheese changes everything! It brings so much flavor and texture to this simple meal, not to mention protein. I LOVE that I always have the ingredients for this dinner on hand. It's so easy to throw together! My kids adore it.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 232kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper or more if you like it spicy
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus more for eggs
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt plus more for eggs
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes or crushed tomatoes (Cento brand is best)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans cannellini beans drained
  • 1 teaspoon Chicken Base concentrate*
  • 7 eggs or 6, or 8
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese, add more to taste
  • cilantro chopped
  • green onions chopped
  • shallots sliced, optional
  • crusty bread for serving

Instructions

  • Start by chopping up your garlic and your onions. Smash the 5 garlic cloves with the side of your knife, peel, then mince finely. Set aside. Chop the onion.
  • Set a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat on the stove. When it is hot, add 3 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the onions (not the garlic) to the pan and stir occasionally for about 3 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine the spices: 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Add the spices to the onions and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes, until the onions are tender and the spices are toasted (add a bit more oil if it starts to stick.)
  • Add the minced garlic and saute for 1 minute, until fragrant.
  • Add all the cans: 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes. 1 can diced tomatoes. Use a fork to smash the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces. Drain the 2 cans of white beans, and add to the tomatoes.
  • Stir the sauce together, and add 1 teaspoon Chicken Base.*
  • Let this mixture simmer over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, the longer the better. The goal is to let the flavors meld together, and for the sauce to thicken. If you only have a couple minutes that's fine.
  • Crack the eggs into the tomatoes one at a time. Make sure to space them out as best you can, but if they run into each other it's okay. Sprinkle the top of each egg with salt and pepper.
  • Cover the pan with a lid.** Cook the eggs without disturbing for about 5 minutes. Lift the lid and use a spoon to nudge the yolks. If they are pretty soft still, cover again and wait another couple minutes. Keep in mind that the eggs will cook a little bit even after you take them off the heat (especially if you keep the lid on.) So if you love runny eggs, take them off sooner than you think.
  • Crumble 6 ounces goat cheese (or feta). (I used the same bowl I mixed the spices in). Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs and sauce and let it melt a little bit.
  • Chop cilantro and green onions and sprinkle over the top just before serving. You could also try parsley (or even dill or basil), if you're one of those cilantro-is-dirt people.
  • Serve Shakshuka with crusty artisan bread from the store. I actually really love the Costco Country French loaves. Or if you really want to fancy it up, make homemade Naan or Homemade French Bread or Roti and die and go to heaven.
  • Storage: Transfer leftovers to a tupperware with a tight lid. Stick it in the fridge, and it'll be good to eat for 3-4 days! If there is leftover egg, it tastes best within a day or two. To reheat, it's best to warm it up in a small frying pan on the stove so the egg doesn't get too hot and overcooked in the microwave. Nobody likes a rubbery egg.
    If you plan to eat this over the course of a few days, cook just as many eggs as you'll eat in one sitting, then store the remaining sauce. The next meal you want some, warm up the sauce in a pan, and cook as many eggs you want again fresh for that meal.

Notes

*I like Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, or Zoup Chicken Base is another excellent brand that just started making a competitive product (I like and use them both).
Technically this chicken base is an optional ingredient, but I’m telling you, it majorly amps up the flavor of the tomato sauce. It adds the perfect umami flavor without having to wait as long for the tomatoes to cook. Obviously it makes it not vegetarian, so if that’s an issue, sub with a teaspoon of soy sauce. Or 1 teaspoon Anchovy Paste or Fish Sauce would be great substitutes too. 
**Covering the pan: If you cover the pan, your egg yolks will turn white on top. This is totally fine, but if you want yellow yolks, leave the lid off and just cook a few minutes longer, it might even take up to 10-15 minutes without a lid. Keep an eye on it!

Nutrition

Calories: 232kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 204mg | Sodium: 1038mg | Potassium: 172mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1117IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 3mg

Laura’s Fresh Veggie Sandwich

Guys I honestly didn’t think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. But these vegetarian sandwiches are the best things to happen to my weeknight dinner routine this summer. An herby, cheesy spread on one side, creamy avocado on the other, and the perfect combo of fresh veggies in between, plus a lil Havarti…

Guys I honestly didn’t think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. But these vegetarian sandwiches are the best things to happen to my weeknight dinner routine this summer. An herby, cheesy spread on one side, creamy avocado on the other, and the perfect combo of fresh veggies in between, plus a lil Havarti cheese to amp up the flavor. I will show you the secrets for perfectly toasted sourdough, so that your sandwich doesn’t fall apart into a soggy mess. I’m obsessed with this recipe. It’s the most refreshing summer dinner or lunch!

sourdough, spread, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, onion, spinach, guac sandwich.
Table of Contents
  1. Y’all…the best veggie sandwich
  2. Veggie sandwich rules
  3. Veggie sandwich recipe ingredients
  4. How to make a veggie sandwich
  5. What to serve with a veggie sandwich
  6. How to store leftover vegetarian sandwiches
  7. How can I make these ahead of time?
  8. Veggie sandwich frequently asked questions
  9. More light and refreshing dinner recipes
  10. Laura’s Fresh Veggie Sandwich Recipe

The other day we were at Chick-fil-A for lunch, and Edison, who is 4, starts choking a little. Nothing life threatening, but you know it always freaks everyone out a bit to hear someone coughing nonstop like that. The whole restaurant is kind of watching out of the corner of their eye while we wallop him on the back over and over. Eric goes to get more water, things settle down, I’m holding him on my lap. I quietly ask him, Edison, what happened, were you eating your chicken too fast? He responds with a lively, “Oh no Mom, I was drinking ketchup.”

Oh well okay then. Apparently I didn’t notice he has moved developmentally past the stage of dipping fries and sucking off the ketchup, like any self-respecting toddler. No, now he’s bypassing the fries entirely to get to the main event: chugging that ketchup like it’s a Gatorade commercial.

close up of the cut side of a fresh vegetable sandwich with all the fixings in parchment paper.

Well at least I know he won’t starve this summer. Ketchup was a tomato at some point. I’m adding that to his vegetable count for the day.

How is everyone’s summer coming along? I feel like I’m in a literal time warp these days, things are moving so fast. We over scheduled the fun, as usual! Life’s tough, right?? Are you keeping up with your menu plan lately? It’s kicking my butt, and we eat “leftovers” way more often than I care to admit 😂

Or if it’s not leftovers, it’s spaghetti from a jar and paper plates, in swimsuits

But meals like today’s Veggie Sandwiches are saving me! The idea of turning on the oven for anything that is not cookies is just not happening right now.

My sister Laura told me about these sandwiches she makes for her family in the summer, and I’ve been meaning to try them for literally years, but I was held up by all my preconceived notions about what makes a decent sandwich.

a hand holding one half of a vegetable sandwich with cheese, with a sandwich skewer in the top.

Y’all…the best veggie sandwich

Truly, I did not think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. (What’s a sammie without the main event, right? Where’s my ham and turkey? Where’s my Dagwood stack??)

But my sister Laura knows what’s up. She has been tweaking and perfecting this process for years now, and it’s one of her kid’s favorite meals. You know when a kid can get on board with a vegetable sandwich, something is up.

I finally tried it, and my whole sandwich belief system has been turned on its head. I never thought I could be into a sandwich without cold cuts the way I’m into this one, honest.

close up of creamy, herby cream cheese spread with dill and parsley in glass bowl.

There is a secret of course, and it’s all about the SAUCE. (Don’t worry it does not involve drinking ketchup.) Two sauces, actually, which I think is key. Here are some other basics about this sandwich:

sideways view of a veggie sandwich with cheese showing all the layers and a skewr in the top.

Veggie sandwich rules

Write these down in your heart.

  • high quality sourdough bread is nonnegotiable
  • you must toast the INSIDE of the bread, but not the outside. This will save you from shards of toasty bread tearing the roof of your mouth to shreds (I can’t be the only one here right??) Also, pivotally important, toasting the inside helps the sandwich hold up to all the inherently watery veggies we are stuffing it with.
  • not one sauce, but two. Involving cream cheese and avocados, your welcome.
  • fresh herbs are essential in this sauce. I have subs listed if you can’t get fresh, but I promise, it’s worth it.
  • PICKLED ONIONS amp up the flavor of this sandwich so so much. Do not skip, my friends.
  • Don’t buy a crap tomato. If your tomato sucks, your sandwich sucks.
  • Seasoning your veggies is key (like salting the tomatoes and onions). We want to enhance, not mask the flavors.

All these elements combine to create something legendary. These veggie sandwiches fill you up without feeling heavy, and are so perfect on a day when it’s 105 degrees outside, and for a hot minute there you were seriously considering popsicles for dinner.

three veggie sandwiches wrapped in parchment paper stacked on top of each other.

I had a couple friends over on the day I made and photographed these sandwiches. They both took pictures of the printed out recipe I was using, and made it for their families for dinner. Here is Mardee’s sandwich:

Veggie sandwich on a blue plate

She says, “In the last week I’ve probably had about 10 of these veggie sandwiches. New life level achieved! Also, since I’m in my 40s, I add pickled beets.” Ha! Now I’m wondering why I didn’t add pickled beets. Doesn’t this look so good??

Veggie sandwich recipe ingredients

It looks like a long list, but I promise these sandwiches are simple, with no hard-to-find ingredients. The full recipe is below, don’t go making your sandwich from this list; this sandwich is all about the assembly. In other words, don’t miss a chance to let me boss you around. See my BLT recipe for another 20,000 words on how to make a sandwich. This is not an apology.

all ingredients for veggie sandwiches - spread, avocado, sourdough, and lots of veggies.
  • cream cheese
  • a quality nonfat greek yogurt
  • kosher salt
  • dill, dried or fresh (but really, fresh)
  • parsley, dried or fresh
  • onion powder
  • chives
  • sliced sourdough bread
  • avocado
  • lemon
  • baby spinach
  • large tomatoes, heirloom if possible, make it happen people
  • English cucumber
  • sprouts or microgreens
  • black pepper

How to make a veggie sandwich

Start by prepping your pickled onions. You will not regret this!

Beer-Battered-Fish Burrito Bowl with Orange Avocado Salsa from The Food Charlatan

Slice them thin, and squeeze lime or lemon juice over the top. Sprinkle with a lil salt and pepper, and set aside. They will start to turn delightfully pink.

Now make the cream cheese spread.

top image: chopped parsely and dill on top of cream cheese, bottom image: all mixed together.

Do you HAVE to use fresh dill and parsley? Technically no, but I’m tellin’ you. If you can swing it, do it. It amps up the flavor so much.

Now toast the bread, we are going to pop them under the broiler, just a couple minutes! Butter the top side if you are ready for the most epic sandwich, you can skip it if you are in a rush or counting calories.

6 buttered and toasted slices of sourdough bread on a metal baking sheet.

Don’t walk away!! I have literally lit bread on FIRE doing this exact thing! You know how a Watched Pot Never Boils? Well. Broiling Bread Burns Always. 🤣 I’m telling you, just stick around.

Slice your tomatoes nice n thick. Set them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. This helps get rid of extra moisture, so our sandwich doesn’t completely fall apart.

top image: tomato slices on paper towel, bottom: mashed avocado in a ceramic bowl.

Now make your avocado spread, which is basically just Guacamole. I mean, why are we not adding this to every sandwich ever, amiright?

two slices of bread with cream cheese spread on one and mashed avocado on the other.

Spread cream cheese on the buttery-toasty-side of one slice of bread. Spread guac on another toasty side.

And then here is Laura’s tried and true veggie layering order. This is SCIENCE guys, don’t mess:

1) tomatoes on cream cheese

2) as many layers of thin sliced cucumbers as you want

3) sprouts

sourdough slice topped with creamy spread, tomato slices, cucumber slices, then sprouts.

4) pickled onions

5) slice of Havarti cheese, if using

6) spinach last, which will stick perfectly to the avocado spread on the other bread slice.

sourdough slice topped with spread, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, pickled onion, and spinach.

You can see that my spinach is perched a bit precariously, ha. It’s actually almost easier to add the spinach right to the guac spread on the other slice of bread, then smash.

a full veggie sandwich with spread and smashed avocado, and lots of veggies layered between.

And voila! This sandwich is really good with the Havarti, but I promise, it doesn’t need it. It’s good with just the veggies. It’s like magic!

What to serve with a veggie sandwich

My go-to for sides is usually a salad or vegetables, but those are already in the sandwich! Ha! If you’re looking to round out the meal a bit, here are some good options.

a hand holding a fresh veggie sandwich wrapped in parchment paper.

How to store leftover vegetarian sandwiches

Vegetables are mostly water. Making a veggies sandwich ahead of time is like trying to package up your water and your bread in the same plastic bag. Don’t go there unless you really love soggy bread.

You’re much better off only assembling sandwiches as you need them. Have extra veggies ready to go in case someone wants more, but don’t put any extra sandwiches together until someone decides for sure they want one.

Instead of storing already made sandwiches, store individual components and assemble as needed. The sourdough goes back in its bag and can be out at room temperature for a few days. All fresh veggies can either be returned to their container or added to an airtight container with a lid and kept in the fridge for a few days. The cream cheese spread can also be stored in a tupperware in the fridge. Mashed avocado can tend to brown, so try to only make what you will use. I have a whole section in my guacamole post about how to store avocado so it doesn’t go brown if you’d like to learn more!

veggie sandwich with spread, tomato, cucumber, onion, sprouts, cheese, and guac layers.

How can I make these ahead of time?

These sandwiches are a decent option for meal planning. Not everything can be done ahead of time, but you can certainly get a head start.

Bread freezes beautifully, so you can always keep a loaf handy in the freezer. The cream cheese mixture can be made ahead and stored in the fridge covered. It will stay fresh for 4-5 days. You can make the avocado spread up to 2-3 days ahead of time, but it will get a little discolored in the fridge.

(You can also freeze avocado that has already been mashed! It’s not quite the same as fresh, a little more watery, but it can be done. Just add the avocado to a freezer ziplock bag and seal with as much air squeezed out as possible. Try to use it within one month. Leave it out on the counter for 10-15 minutes, give it a stir, and it should be good to go.)

As for the veggies themselves: Cucumbers can be chopped ahead of time. The pickled onions can and should be made ahead of time, they will last in the fridge just fine for up to 7 days. Fresh bell pepper can be sliced and stored ahead. Everything else (tomatoes especially) needs to be sliced last minute.

a metal baking tray filled with sideways stacked fresh vegetable sandwiches wrapped in parchment.

Veggie sandwich frequently asked questions

Are veggie sandwiches healthy?

Yes! Sourdough is one of the healthiest breads around, with lots of nutrients, fiber, and even some protein. The creamy cheese spread has some sneaky protein as well from the nonfat Greek yogurt. And then EVERYTHING else is a vegetable, and a non-starchy one at that. All that means is that these veggies are very nutrient dense but with much fewer calories than things like corn, potatoes, etc.

What veggies go good on a sandwich?

So many! In this sandwich we focus on cucumber, baby spinach, tomatoes, and sprouts or microgreens. Other raw options include bell pepper, onion, mushroom, artichoke hearts, cabbage or radiccio (cut into strips), sliced radishes, arugula or baby kale, or any other kind of greens you enjoy. If you roast or sauté asparagus, eggplant, carrot, zucchini, or yellow squash, those would all be great options for a cooked veggie sandwich. You could even try mashing legumes like chick peas, lentils, or green peas as a topping or as a spread!

What kind of sauces are good for a veggie sandwich?

I love a good THICK and creamy sauce for my veggie sandwich; this is not a drippy burger (No ketchup drinking here) There is already a LOT of water content in fresh vegetables. If you have a very thin sauce, it will make the sandwich fall apart faster. For this recipe, there are two great sauces. A creamy, herb-seasoned cheese and yogurt spread, and delicious, lemony mashed avocado. Those are my favorite, but I think Homemade Chipotle Sauce, Garlic Aioli (Classic and Cheater Versions), Tzatziki Sauce, Homemade Horseradish, Bacon Blue Cheese Dip, Tyrokafteri (Spicy Feta Cheese Spread), or even a light drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar Reduction would all be amazing on a vegetable sandwich!

how to make a veg sandwich?

Easy! Pick your bread, pick your sauce or spread, and pick your favorite fresh veggies! In this recipe we’re using sourdough bread, a cream cheese spread, and mashed avocado. Then, layer in baby spinach, sliced tomato, sliced cucumber, and sprouts. It’s pretty simple! You could also try other veggies like yellow bell pepper, lettuce, or anything else you love. Be sure to look at the recipe card for tips and tricks on how to make your sandwich amazing!

what do vegetarians eat on sandwiches?

Vegetables of course! Also eggs, cheese, mashed beans, lentils, or chickpeas. Today’s sandwich we are just focusing on veggies. I love me some beef y’all, but sometimes I think it’s such a shame that our culture is so meat-focused. We all need to spend more time enjoying an heirloom tomato from a farmer’s market; it really gives that ham and cheese a run for its money!

a hand holding a fresh veggie sandwich stuffed with spread, tomato, cucumber, and more.

More light and refreshing dinner recipes

When the summer weather really starts to kick in, I am all about salads, grilling, and easy recipes like these sandwiches to avoid cooking in the kitchen. Here are some other options you’ll love!

a delicious fresh veggie sandwich with 2 bamboo sandwich skewers in the top on parchment paper.

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sourdough, spread, tomato, cucumber, sprouts, onion, spinach, guac sandwich.
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Laura’s Fresh Veggie Sandwich

Guys I honestly didn't think I could be sold on a Veggie Sandwich. But these vegetarian sandwiches are the best things to happen to my weeknight dinner routine this summer. An herby, cheesy spread on one side, creamy avocado on the other, and the perfect combo of fresh veggies in between, plus a lil Havarti cheese to amp up the flavor. I will show you the secrets for perfectly toasted sourdough, so that your sandwich doesn't fall apart into a soggy mess. I'm obsessed with this recipe. It's the most refreshing summer dinner or lunch!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 621kcal

Ingredients

For the pickled onions

  • 1/2 red onion sliced thin
  • 1 lime or lemon juiced
  • salt and pepper

For cream cheese spread*

  • 4 ounces cream cheese softened a bit
  • 3/4 cup nonfat greek yogurt a good, thick kind ( I like Fage)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill or 3/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 tablsepoon chives finely minced (optional)**

For the bread

  • 1 loaf sliced sourdough bread
  • 6 tablespoons butter softened, optional

For the tomatoes

  • 2 large tomatoes heirloom is best
  • kosher salt for seasoning veggies
  • pepper for seasoning veggies

For the avocado spread:

  • 2 small avocados or 1 large
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Assemble the sandwiches

  • 1 large English cucumber sliced thin
  • 1 (6 ounce) bag of baby spinach
  • 1 package sprouts or microgreens alfalfa or broccoli, or any kind of microgreen
  • 6 slices Havarti cheese or any cheese, optional

Instructions

  • Make the pickled onions: Do this first so the onions have time to soften. Slice half a red onion and add to a small bowl. Juice 1 lime or lemon and add to the onion. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Set aside, going back to stir the onions every few minutes.
  • Make the cream cheese spread: Add 4 ounces cream cheese to a medium bowl and use a spatula to stir it into a creamy paste, trying to get out the lumps. Add 3/4 cup greek yogurt and mix them together.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher (or sea) salt, black pepper to taste, and 1/2 teaspoon onion powder. Use fresh herbs if you have them; they seriously make this sandwich over the top. Chop up about 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dill, 2 tablespoons parsley, and 1 tablespoon chives if you have them. (Use dried herbs if you don't have fresh: 3/4 teaspoon dried dill, 1 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon chives.) Mix really well until everything is evenly dispersed and the spread is a little more creamy. Set aside.
  • Toast the bread: Move your oven rack to the top of the oven, right under the broiler. Preheat your broiler for 1-2 minutes. Put all the slices of bread you plan to use on a large baking sheet. Spread the tops with soft butter, if you want this to be the BEST sandwich. It's optional!
  • Broil for 2-4 minutes. Set your timer for 1 minute at a time and do not walk away. Check it every 30-60 seconds. Leave your oven door open and watch it if you want to! This bread will light on fire so fast if you forget about it! Pull them out when they are just browned on top; they will still be soft on the under side. Set aside.
  • Prep the tomatoes: Slice your tomatoes about 3/8 inch thick. (A little more than 1/4 inch, but not quite 1/2 inch.) Set the slices on double lined paper towels. Sprinkle the top of each slice with salt and pepper and let them rest. (this helps get rid of excess moisture)
  • Make the avocado spread: Cut the avocados and scoop out the flesh onto a plate or cutting board. Mash with a fork. Add the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir it to combine. Taste it and make sure it has enough salt.
  • Prep the rest of the veggies: Slice the cucumber thin, with a knife or mandolin.
  • Flip the tomatoes over onto new double layered paper towels, and season lightly with salt and pepper on the new side.
  • Sandwich assembly: Stir the spread one more time. Assembly can be buffet style, or you can make the sandwiches for your guests and have them cut and ready to serve. Here's how it goes down:
  • Take matching bread slices. On THE TOASTED SIDE, add a thick layer of cream cheese spread. On the other piece of bread (on the toasted side!) add a good smear of mashed avocado. It’s important to put the toasted side of the bread on the inside to save the roof of your mouth (am I the only one constantly injured from sharp toast??) It also helps your sandwich hold up to all the veggies, which are so watery they will ruin your sandwich faster than you can say soggy sad.
  • Layer the veggies on your sandwich in this order: 1) tomatoes on cream cheese 2) as many layers of thin sliced cucumbers as you want 3) sprouts 4) pickled onions 5) slice of Havarti cheese, if using 6) spinach last, which will stick perfectly to the avocado spread on the other bread slice.***
  • Cut the sandwich in half. I will leave it up to you whether this sandwich is sliced diagonally or rectangle; some opinions are too sacred to be imposed upon.

Notes

*Cream cheese spread: I almost always double this recipe. Then I keep it in my fridge and eat it with EVERYTHING until it’s gone. Dip my chips, crackers, carrots, and celery in it. Thin it out with milk and use as a sauce for a chicken bowl or Salmon Bowl. Add to potato salad. The list goes on! Here are the doubled ingredients:
  • 1 block cream cheese (8oz)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or sea salt) (use less if you are using table salt)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh dill
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons chives (optional)
**Chives: Sometimes I have a hard time finding chives, and then sometimes they are like 5 dollars for a bunch. I cheap out and buy green onions instead and just chop them really tiny as if they were chives. Green onions have a little bit stronger of a flavor than chives, but it’s close. 
***Other veggie ideas: You can add any veggie you like to this sandwich. My next top picks would be pepperoncinis, sliced bell pepper, or sliced roasted bell pepper from a jar. You could also add mushroom, artichoke hearts, cabbage or radiccio (cut into strips), sliced radishes, arugula or baby kale, or any other kind of greens you enjoy. If you roast or sauté asparagus, eggplant, carrot, zucchini, or yellow squash, those would all be great options for a cooked veggie sandwich!

Nutrition

Calories: 621kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 1132mg | Potassium: 775mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1632IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 293mg | Iron: 4mg

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli can be so hit and miss, right? Sometimes it’s transcendent, other times it’s gloopy and chewy. I’ve figured out the secrets! If you’re a Chinese food lover, make this easy homemade Beef and Broccoli recipe for a healthy dinner that’s faster (and cheaper) than takeout. A few Asian pantry staples are all…

Beef and Broccoli can be so hit and miss, right? Sometimes it’s transcendent, other times it’s gloopy and chewy. I’ve figured out the secrets! If you’re a Chinese food lover, make this easy homemade Beef and Broccoli recipe for a healthy dinner that’s faster (and cheaper) than takeout. A few Asian pantry staples are all you need to make this stir fry that is seriously SO GOOD. Healthy (check) one-pan meal (check) done in less than an hour (check!) Make it with 20 minute Rice or Cauliflower Rice!

Close up of Chinese food beef and broccoli, with sauce and sesame seeds and rice.
Table of Contents
  1. Beef and broccoli stir fry
  2. Beef and broccoli recipe ingredients
  3. How to make beef and broccoli
  4. What to serve with beef broccoli stir fry
  5. How to store beef and broccoli
  6. Can you freeze beef and broccoli?
  7. Beef and broccoli frequently asked questions
  8. Easy beef recipes
  9. Beef and Broccoli Recipe

I went out of state to visit my brother last weekend, who just bought a meth house. Kidding! Kind of. He was halfway through the purchase when he randomly (or maybe inspired!) thought to pay extra for a meth inspection and it came back positive. Gah!!

It’s all cleaned out now. The previous owners took care of decontamination (a tenant was the culprit.) The house was condemned by the state right away after the test came back. I was worried they would raze it to the ground! I’m so glad they were able to get it scrubbed, because the house is so cool!

plate of beef strips with sauce and broccoli and cucumbers.

It was built in 1923, and is sooo beautiful. One hundred year old houses have such a vibe, but they are a lot of work. We spent the weekend deep cleaning his kitchen cupboards and rummaging local antique shops for furniture that will fit the energy of a 1920s bungalow.

It was such a nice change of pace! It’s always so much more fun to clean someone else’s house than to clean your own, you know?? Why is that? If I had half that amount of energy for organizing my own house, we would be eating off the floor over here.

But alas, my 4 children conspire against me daily. Just yesterday I found a baggie of goldfish smashed all over the carpet upstairs, exactly 30 seconds before I had to be in a zoom meeting. You better believe I just left that nonsense right there. Hi, welcome to my house, would you like to clean it? Because I REFUSE.

saucy beef strips and broccoli florets close up

Beef and broccoli stir fry

I’m so excited to tell you about today’s recipe for Beef and Broccoli, and how it blows away any takeout Chinese I’ve ever had.

Honestly guys, I’ve never been a huge Beef and Broccoli fan. I love beef, and I love broccoli, so what’s my deal?? Turns out it’s the sauce I wasn’t in love with, which can sometimes be overwhelmingly sweet, cloyingly thick, or overly…fishy?

side angle shot of beef with broccoli on a plate with rice.

My BFF Sarah helps me with recipe development, and she discovered in testing that it’s the high amount of Oyster Sauce I find a little overwhelming when it comes to some recipes for Beef and Broccoli.

Oyster sauce is pretty magical stuff, and an absolutely essential ingredient for classic Beef and Broccoli. It adds amazing umami flavor, so I didn’t want to leave it out. I love this article all about Oyster Sauce, and reading about how it was made accidentally back in 1888 when someone left Oyster soup on to cook for too long 😂 .

It’s a very concentrated sauce that really amps up the flavor of Beef and Broccoli, I just wanted it to be less of a highlight and more of an accent, if that makes sense. Sarah adjusted the final recipe to have a little less Oyster sauce, and I was absolutely astonished by how much I loved it the next time I made it. The final dish is well balanced; not too sweet, not too salty, but just a perfect blend of rich flavors that is so uniquely Chinese, you will feel like you’re sitting in the restaurant. (Where are my fortune cookies??)

Beef and broccoli recipe ingredients

Is your pantry stocked for Asian cooking? If not, you will need to visit the Asian aisle at your grocery store, but won’t need to make a special trip to an international store. This is an overview, the recipe is at the bottom of the post!

ingredients laid out on a table, including flank steak, brown sugar, broccoli, hoison sauce, salt, sherry wine.
  • 1 pound beef (flank steak, skirt steak, flat iron steak, or ribeye if you’re really treating yourself!)
  • fresh broccoli
  • Shaoxing wine (or sherry cooking wine)
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • oil
  • oyster sauce
  • hoisin sauce
  • chili paste (like sambal oelek)
  • brown sugar
  • sesame oil
  • cornstarch
  • rice, for serving

How to make beef and broccoli

First things first: pop your beef in the freezer for a few minutes so it gets partially frozen on the edges. This makes it 1000x easier to slice it as thin as we need it for this recipe.

Then we are breaking the cardinal rule of meat butchering: we’re going to slice this baby WITH THE GRAIN. Just once, like this.

flank steak sliced in half with the grain, then sliced into strips against the grain.

THEN we slice against the grain. The first long cut was so that we don’t have like 10 inch long strips of beef. Cutting against the grain means that your knife is perpendicular to where the lines of the meat are running. Can you see it in the photo above?

Meat is made up of long strands, and cutting against the grain means that our KNIFE is doing a lot of the cutting work, instead of relying only on our poor omnivorous teeth. Cutting a fantastic piece of meat very poorly will result in meat that has a chewy, tough texture no matter how much it cost, or how well you cooked it.

strips of beef marinating in shaoxing wine.

Toss your beef into the marinade for a few minutes. This marinade is so stupid easy, it’s just 3 ingredients: cornstarch, low sodium soy sauce, and Shaoxing wine. I had never heard of this wine before! It’s a classic ingredient in Chinese cooking. I had a heck of a time finding it! You can buy it online here, or an international market is probably your best bet. Shaoxing wine is of course traditional and brings the most authentic flavor, but I subbed Sherry cooking wine, and thought it tasted amazing.

Also, have you heard about cornstarch marinades in Chinese cooking? It’s a technique called “velveting” because the cornstarch reacts with the meat and basically acts as a meat tenderizer. It makes the beef so, so tender and perfect.

how to chop broccoli into florets.

Take a hot minute to chop up your broccoli, before things get real over on the stove. If at this point you decide “I want more vegetables!” you could totally slice up some mushrooms, carrots, or peppers to cook along with the broccoli. It’s your thing, do what you wanna do.

Don’t forget the rice. Start the rice now, before we cook the beef, so it has time to steam. Did you catch my last post all about how I make rice for my family? It’s so easy. I usually make white rice for the kids and Cauliflower Rice (or Asian Cauliflower Rice) for me and Eric, because we like to eat low-carb dinners most nights. I often buy the pre-riced frozen cauliflower, because it’s so easy, just heat it up in a pan with some oil and salt.

Now it’s time to sear!

searing strips of beef in a black skillet.

I love to sear my beef in half veggie oil, half sesame oil. Sesame oil is strong but I love love love the flavor. You can skip it and use regular oil if you like.

Whichever way you sear it, just make sure you are leaving enough space in the pan! The meat strips should not be touching each other. If you crowd them all in at once, it will cook but it will not get brown, and you miss out on tons of flavor. It’s so tragic. Don’t do it. Sear in batches and be patient.

You don’t even have to be that patient, this meat is so thin that it cooks in about 1 minute for each side! Remove it all to a plate and make way for some broccoli.

overhead shot of stir frying broccoli in a cast iron skillet.

I also saute my broccoli in half sesame oil, half veggie oil. It’s so good! The other tip for doing the broccoli is to stir the pan constantly, and add water 1 tablespoon at a time. The pan is so hot by this point that the broccoli may start to scorch before it’s cooked all the way through. If you add water, a little bit at a time, it will sizzle and evaporate right away, creating steam that helps cook the broccoli. Keep going 2-3 minutes until you see the florets change color to a darker green. We want crisp-tender, not mushy!

Here are all the ingredients for the final sauce. It’s oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, chili garlic paste, brown sugar, sesame oil, cornstarch, and salt and black pepper It’s sooo good.

sauce ingredients in a bowl, adding sauce to beef and broccoli in black pan.

Add the meat back to the pan, douse the whole thing in sauce, stir it up, let’s goooooo

close up overhead of white plate with stripc of beef, sliced shallot, broccoli florets, and sesame seed.

Don’t forget all the goods! Green onions, sesame seeds, Asian Marinated Cucumber Salad, and some sriracha mayo to round it all out. I’m tellin you guys.

What to serve with beef broccoli stir fry

Beef and broccoli is such a classic takeout pick. I love serving it with White Rice or Cauliflower Rice and calling dinner done. But I also love doing sides or making it a “fakeout” night (get it? fake takeout, cause you’re making it at home) and doing more of my Chinese restaurant favorites. Here are some ideas:

overhead shot of beef with broccoli in a black cast iron skillet.

How to store beef and broccoli

If eating leftover Chinese food straight from the container in the fridge is your thing (raises hand), this recipe is perfect for meal prep. Store it in sectioned containers with rice and you’re done. Make sure your tupperwares are airtight so your lunch doesn’t dry out. It’ll last for 4-5 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for about a minute, depending on your portion size and microwave strength.

Sometimes leftover rice can be dry, but if you heat it up in the microwave along with the beef and broccoli, the moisture from your main dish will help freshen up the rice. You can also sprinkle a teaspoon or so of water on the rice and it helps a ton. Read more about reheating rice here.

Beef and broccoli close-up with rice, onions, and sriracha mayo.

Can you freeze beef and broccoli?

I’m going to say hard pass this time, guys. I don’t recommend freezing your leftovers. The texture of the broccoli is going to be pretty weird after defrosting, so just don’t go there. The reason we love Beef Broccoli is because of the crispy-tenderness of the whole situation. Don’t mess with it.

Beef and broccoli frequently asked questions

What is beef and broccoli sauce made of?

Beef and broccoli sauce is made from Shaoxing wine, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Sometimes ginger, garlic, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce are added. If you know you love one of these ingredients you can add a little more (or, if it’s not your favorite, a little less.)

What kind of beef for beef and broccoli?

Flank steak is my favorite. Sometimes the best cut of meat is the one you already have, though, or what you can afford. If you’re at the store, decide how fancy you want to go. Ribeye makes an incredible beef and broccoli. All that beautiful marbling means the meat is super melt in your mouth and tender. Cheaper options (but still excellent ones) are flank steak, skirt steak, or flat iron steak. I tried London Broil but didn’t love it for this recipe. Another good choice, although a leaner one, is sirloin.

How do you thicken beef and broccoli?

Cornstarch is the perfect thickener for beef and broccoli sauce. Just a couple teaspoons added transforms the sauce to have a phenomenal creamy texture!

How TO MAKE BEEF TENder for stir fry?

To tenderize the beef we’re using a traditional Chinese method called “velveting.” Meat is marinated in an easy cornstarch slurry for 20 minutes or so, and the cornstarch makes it so incredibly tender.

is beef and broccoli healthy?

Heck yes! All that protein AND the veggies, in one pan?? Yes please. I’d definitely call this a healthy dinner, especially served with Cauliflower Rice, but even with regular white rice it’s still a pretty healthy option!

beef and broccoli stir fry in an orange clay bowl.

Easy beef recipes

Steak might be a special occasion dinner, but cheaper cuts of beef can make a weeknight meal feel just as fancy without the fancy price. Here are some of my favorites meals using high-protein, juicy beef!

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Close up of Chinese food beef and broccoli, with sauce and sesame seeds and rice.
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Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli can be so hit and miss, right? Sometimes it's transcendent, other times it's gloopy and chewy. I've figured out the secrets! If you're a Chinese food lover, make this easy homemade Beef and Broccoli recipe for a healthy dinner that's faster (and cheaper) than takeout! A few Asian pantry staples are all you need to make this stir fry that is seriously SO GOOD. Healthy (check) one-pan meal (check) done in less than an hour (check!) Make it with 20 minute Rice or Cauliflower Rice!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 people
Calories 313kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound flank steak* (or flat iron, skirt, sirloin, or ribeye steak)
  • 1 pound broccoli florets 2 heads broccoli

For the marinade:

  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch for the marinade
  • 4 and 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce**
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine*** or substitute sherry wine

For the sauce:

For searing

  • vegetable oil
  • sesame oil

For serving:

Instructions

  • Freeze your beef: Put your beef in the freezer so it's easier to slice. 30 minutes is just about perfect.
  • Prep your broccoli. Separate the florets from stems. I like using just the florets, but feel free to cut the stems into small pieces and use them too. You need about a pound of broccoli once it's chopped, about 2 medium heads.
  • Prepare the marinade: Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, 4 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, and 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine* to a medium bowl.
  • Slice the beef: We want thin strips or beef that are cut against the grain. If you are using a flank steak or other long cut of beef, make one long vertical cut WITH the grain before you start slicing, so that the strips are not like 8 inches long. See photos.
    Slice the beef against the grain very thin, no more than 1/4 inch for each piece. Each piece should be about 4 inches long. Add the beef strips to the marinade, stir, and set a timer for 20 minutes.
  • Prepare the sauce: While the beef is marinating, prep the sauce in another small bowl. Whisk together 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoons oyster sauce, 1/3 cup Hoisin sauce, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt. (Use less salt if all you have is table salt.)
  • Rice: If you plan to serve this with rice, start making it now so it can simmer and steam while you sear the beef. Here's How to make Rice.
  • Stir fry the beef: Heat a cast iron skillet (or the largest heaviest skillet or wok you have) over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil oil and swirl it around to coat the bottom.
  • Lift the slices of marinated beef one at a time, letting the marinade drip off. Add the beef to the pan in a single layer, with 1-2 inches of space in between each strip of beef. (We will be cooking this in several batches) Be very careful not to drop the pieces, this oil is hot and you don't want to splatter yourself.
  • Let the strips cook for 60-90 seconds, until they are browning on the bottom. Use tongs to flip each piece individually. As soon as the second side is browned, remove the beef to a plate. The slices are thin, so they only need a minute or so on each side, and remember, this is steak, so it doesn't exactly need to be well done.
  • Continue to sear the rest of the beef. Add more vegetable and sesame oil as necessary in between batches. If you add too much beef at once, there will be too much liquid being released from the beef. This prevents the browning process. The beef needs space to allow that liquid to evaporate; the liquid evaporating is the only way the beef gets in contact with the oil, which is what does the browning. Science!
  • Stir fry the broccoli: Once all the beef is seared and removed, add 1 tablespoons vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame oil to the skillet, still set over medium high heat. Add the chopped broccoli florets all at once. Stir with a wooden spoon until you see the florets change color to a darker green, about 2 minutes. We want crisp-tender broccoli, not mushy, so keep an eye on it and don't overdo it.
  • Add water to the broccoli, 1 tablespoon at a time once you notice that the bottom of the pan is drying out. The water will evaporate right away and this will help the broccoli to steam. I usually add several tablespoons of water, at least 3-5. Don't let the liquid pool. It should be hot enough that it evaporates immediately.
  • Finish the dish: As soon as the broccoli is cooked (and, let me say it again, NOT MUSHY) add the beef back to the skillet, followed by all sauce. Scrape it all in there. It will immediately begin to bubble. Give everything a quick stir so the beef and broccoli is coated with the sauce, then turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat so the cooking process stops.
  • Serve hot with the rice. Garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve with a garnish of Asian Marinated Cucumbers, it's so good! You can also serve this with Sriracha mayo (1/2 cup mayo stirred with 1 tablespoon sriracha, or to taste.)
  • If you really want to go all out, crisp up some frozen egg rolls in the oven while you're cooking the beef and broccoli, buy some fortune cookies, and it's a whole takeout feast.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Don't freeze!

Notes

*I tested this with flank steak, skirt steak, and ribeye and they were all amazing. Of course ribeye was the most amazing but if this is just a weeknight, no need to splurge! I also tested it with London Broil but I can’t recommend it. It’s just too lean. Sirloin might be the right choice for you if you prefer your beef on the leaner side. 
**If you use regular soy sauce, cut the salt from the recipe.
***If you can’t find Shaoxing wine (it’s tough to find if you’re not at an international market) then you can use a dry sherry wine instead. Cooking sherry wine is also a good substitute!)
****Not a big fan of oyster sauce? Me neither. Just leave it out and add an extra tablespoon or two of hoisin sauce. Your beef and broccoli will still have great flavor. I included it in the recipe because it’s just so classic and people who are already beef and broccoli fans-for-life would miss it too much if I left it out. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 68mg | Sodium: 1180mg | Potassium: 809mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 709IU | Vitamin C: 101mg | Calcium: 94mg | Iron: 3mg

Better Than Chipotle Cilantro Lime Rice

I have tried several recipes for Cilantro Lime Rice–they all tasted the same as regular rice, with maybe some vague limey notions. I don’t ever want the lime in my life to be vague. This recipe, also known as Arroz Verde (Green Rice) brings the zip! We start with aromatic basmati rice, add a couple…

I have tried several recipes for Cilantro Lime Rice–they all tasted the same as regular rice, with maybe some vague limey notions. I don’t ever want the lime in my life to be vague. This recipe, also known as Arroz Verde (Green Rice) brings the zip! We start with aromatic basmati rice, add a couple special ingredients to amp up the creaminess and flavor, finishing with lime juice AND zest. This is my favorite side dish to serve with Chicken tacos, Fajitas, Carne Asada, Burritos, you name it. Or just eat all by itself, it’s that good!

a metal fork digging in to a close up shot of green cilantro lime rice with cilantro garnish.
Table of Contents
  1. The best cilantro lime rice recipe
  2. Easy cilantro lime rice ingredients
  3. How to make cilantro lime rice
  4. What goes with cilantro lime rice?
  5. How to store leftovers for cilantro lime rice
  6. Can you freeze cilantro lime rice?
  7. Cilantro lime rice frequently asked questions
  8. More sides to go with all your mains
  9. Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe
  10. Easy Black Beans Recipe

Recently Eric and I escaped life for a few days and flew to a cute little spot in Cancun. I never thought I would be one for all-inclusive-resorts (My family traveled a lot. I hit 35 states by the time I was 17. I was taught that vacations are about cramming in as much sight seeing as possible…paltry concerns such as sleep or meals be damned.)

But for this stage of young motherhood and all the wildness it brings, I love a good beach trip where the only thing on my agenda is drinking a second virgin Pina Colada and lounging with a book. Turns out, Eric and I are really excellent at this whole “doing nothing” thing.

man and woman drinking from pineapple, then sitting at a lunch table by the beach.

And eating. We are really good at eating. You can see above my selections from the buffet. Who needs lunch when you could have an entire plate of petit fours?

The thing about an all inclusive resort is, you really can order as much food as you want. (And I don’t even feel guilty; we are their cheapest customers because we don’t drink alcohol 😂)

So we’re at a restaurant one night, and Eric orders dessert. The waiter pauses from taking his notes, looks up and asks, “Are you telling me what you want, or are you just reading the menu out loud?” Because Eric had ordered ALL the desserts on the menu. All of them. Send help guys 😅 You better believe we demolished every last bite.

ceramic bowl filled to the brim with cilantro lime rice with a work and lime & cilantro garnish.

The best cilantro lime rice recipe

Do you have a Chipotle where you live? It’s a great fast-casual Mexican joint. My friend Katie’s son loves the Cilantro Lime Rice they serve so much that he orders not one, but TWO side dishes of rice with his meal every time they go. This cracks me up for some reason!

I’ve tried lots of different recipes for Cilantro Lime Rice and guys, none of them blew me away. Rice is good all by itself (with a lil help from our bubba butter of course) and when you add some cilantro and lime at the end, it’s good. But I was looking for that GREEN and SUPER FLAVORFUL rice I’ve had in certain “fancier” Mexican restaurants, where the cilantro lime flavor is absorbed in the rice itself, amping up the flavor significantly. Chipotle’s rice is good, but honestly it’s got nothing on the green stuff.

close up of green cilantro lime rice with lime garnish and a side of black beans.

Then, last summer, I was visiting my friend Kim, and she made Carnitas for the whole family, because she really loves us (this is the best way to show love for me ;) She had this bright GREEN rice simmering on the stove and I was so excited! I asked to see the recipe right away, hadn’t even tasted it yet.

Then I DID eat it with my carnitas and could. not. stop. It’s so good, just all by itself, but especially with all the fixins like Pico de Gallo and a pot of Tejano Pinto Beans. So what makes it so good?

The method is a huge part of it. Instead of adding cilantro to already-cooked rice, we are pureeing it with milk and chicken broth (so much more flavorful and creamy than water!), so the cilantro flavor can literally seep into the rice as it cooks and absorbs liquid.

And p.s., we’re not just using cilantro! The secret ingredient that makes the rice such a vibrant green is the spinach we’re adding to the blender. Say what now? Yes, really, spinach. You can’t taste it, but who could say no to adding all that good healthy stuff to a pot of rice? It’s a no brainer! I LOVE it, both for color and the nutrition bump.

Then, we toast the rice until it’s golden brown in some butter and olive oil. This browning adds in lovely flavor that you can’t get any other way. Then some easy aromatics, onion and garlic, add in even more umph.

And finally, once the rice is mostly cooked, we add in not just lime juice, but also plenty of lime zest too, to bring that punch of citrus flavor that I love.

close up showing individual grains of cilantro lime rice.

I could eat a bowl of this rice all by itself, so happily. Bless you for this recipe, Kim! I’m so excited I finally have a level-up cilantro lime rice that I love! I’m going to try it next with Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas. Or maybe with Carne Guisada! yes please. Okay here we go, let’s make it!

Easy cilantro lime rice ingredients

The ingredient list is pretty short, this is all you need! The full recipe measurements and instructions are in the recipe card below.

wood table with cilantro lime rice ingredients set out, like, garlic, milk, and more.
  • spinach
  • cilantro
  • chicken broth
  • milk
  • kosher salt
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • basmati rice
  • onion
  • garlic
  • lime zest
  • lime juice

How to make cilantro lime rice

First up, grab your blender! Add in your chicken broth, milk, salt, spinach and cilantro. There is something extremely satisfying about shoving what looks like too-many green things into a blender, and knowing that it’s all going in your body eventually, am I alone here? PILE IT ON!!

a blender filled with milk, broth, spinach, and cilantro for cilantro lime rice.

Meanwhile, toast the rice in some butter and oil. I LOVE the flavor this brings out in the rice! I wish I made time to do this every time I cooked rice. Definitely don’t skip it for this recipe. That golden brown flavor is just 🤌

top pic rice toasting in a pot with a wooden spoon, bottom chopped onion added to rice.

After the rice has toasted a bit, add in the onions and garlic and keep sautéing for a bit.

Now it’s time for the fun. Pour in the green stuff!

top pic pouring green liquid from blender into pot with rice, bottom cooked rice in green liquid unstirred.

Bring it to a bowl, then cover and heat on low for a while. After about 15 minutes, it will look like this. ↑ So fun right?

Fluff it up a bit, then don’t forget to add in the lime juice and zest.

cooked and stirred cilantro lime rice in a cooking pot with a wooden spoon.

And voila! That’s it! Easy peasy. If you don’t have the time to make a full Mexican meal to go with this rice, make the simple black beans recipe I’ve included in the recipe notes. It’s super basic, but they are really good and a make a great (and cheap) last minute dinner! Those are the beans you see in some of today’s photos. I love slapping a fried egg on top. Add in some fried plantains, and you have one of my favorite meals of all time!

bowl of rice and beans with a spoon on a marble counter with cilantro garnish.

What goes with cilantro lime rice?

I mean, what doesn’t go with cilantro lime rice? In the dinner world, I can envision this rice pairing well with any kind of Mexican dish, Asian flavored dish, or sittin pretty with some grilled meats and veggies. Really, almost any time you use white rice this could be a much more flavorful replacement. Here are some dishes that I think go spectacularly with cilantro lime rice.

How to store leftovers for cilantro lime rice

Rice is so easy to store and lasts a good 4-5 days in the refrigerator. It’s a great side for any meal prep you are making for the week. You could even double it and use it for two different meals throughout the week. Place the cooled rice into a container with an air-tight lid and put it in the refrigerator.

To eat leftover rice, make sure it’s in a microwave safe dish, spritz with a bit of water, then cover with a splatter shield and microwave on high. The water spritzing is important, rice loses a lot of moisture as it sits in the fridge and you need to restore some of that if you want rice that isn’t dry as a bone.

If it’s a single portion, try one minute, stir, and if it’s not all the way warmed through add another 30-60 seconds. If it’s a family sized serving, sprinkle with water, cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring once or twice, until hot and steaming.

large pot filled with cilantro lime rice, garnished with lime and cilantro.

Can you freeze cilantro lime rice?

Yes totally! Cilantro lime rice (and really any cooked rice, for that matter) is super easy to freeze and a really great way to get dinner on the table really quickly for a future meal. Let the rice cool, then carefully transfer it to a ziplock freezer bag. Squeeze out all the air, seal, and put it in the freezer. It will be good for about 3 months in the freezer, after that it starts to dry out and the quality deteriorates.

To use, you can thaw the rice in the fridge overnight or on the counter for a few hours, then warm in the microwave for 1-5 minutes depending on portion size. Sometimes to speed up the process, I’ll take a bag straight from the freezer, open the seal but leave it in the bag and microwave for one minute. After that, it’s thawed enough to break into chunks into a serving bowl and then microwave until hot as instructed above. Don’t forget to add a little water.

a large wooden serving spoon stirring a pot of cooked cilantro lime rice.

Cilantro lime rice frequently asked questions

How to make chipotle Cilantro lime rice?

Well, I don’t have Chipotle’s exact recipe but this is a close copycat, with a couple additions! I think it’s even better than the Chipotle version, because hello green flavor! Especially if you are planning to add this rice to a burrito or a salad. You will love it I promise.

how to make cilantro lime rice in the Rice cooker?

I haven’t tried it but I think it would work! You could also try the slow cooker. Nora over at A Clean Bake has a slow cooker rice recipe that you could try out and adapt with these ingredients. If you are making this in the slow cooker OR rice cooker, I would blend the ingredients called for in the recipe, sauté the onion and garlic, then add everything to the rice cooker and follow the rice cooker’s instructions (or follow Nora’s instructions for slow cooking). You’ll want to make sure you use the recommended rice to liquid ratio, so you can either leave some liquid out or add water as needed.

Can dogs eat cilantro lime rice?

The things people google, y’all 😂 No pooches please! I didn’t know this, but apparently lime zest (and lesser so, the juice) is toxic to dogs and could irritate the digestive system. Who knew?? Not only that, this rice has oil, butter, milk, and more that wouldn’t be great for a dog. Definitely keep this side dish for the humans of the household!

large bowl with cilantro lime rice and quick black beans, with a spoon and lime slices.

More sides to go with all your mains

A really great side dish can make or break your dinner. You want it to be just as flavorful as the entree! These are some side dishes I turn to time and time again, and that are versatile enough to pair with SO many main dishes.

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pot with cilantro lime rice being stirred with a wooden spoon and lime slice garnish.
a metal fork digging in to a close up shot of green cilantro lime rice with cilantro garnish.
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Cilantro Lime Rice

I have tried several recipes for Cilantro Lime Rice–they all tasted the same as regular rice, with maybe some vague limey notions. I don't ever want the lime in my life to be vague. This recipe, also known as Arroz Verde (Green Rice) brings the zip! We start with aromatic basmati rice, add a couple special ingredients to amp up the creaminess and flavor, finishing with lime juice AND zest. This is my favorite side dish to serve with Chicken tacos, Fajitas, Carne Asada, Burritos, you name it. Or just eat all by itself, it's that good!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Steam time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 332kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken broth*
  • 1 cup milk I used whole milk, any kind will do
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or use 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 cup spinach packed
  • 3/4 cup cilantro packed tight (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 yellow onion chopped small
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest buy at least 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

Instructions

  • Blend. In a blender, add 1 cup chicken broth*, 1 cup milk, and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt. Pack a 1 cup measuring cup with spinach, then add it to the blender.
    Clean your cilantro, then use a knife to cut the leaves away from the stems. Add the whole bunch worth of leaves to the blender (or less, if you are not that into cilantro. Also you can hold some leaves back for garnishing later, if you want.) If a few stems get tossed in, that's okay. Blend the mixture until it is smooth and vibrantly green.
  • Prep the veggies. Cut 1/4 of an onion into a small dice. This could be anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 cup onion; add more if you love onion! This recipe is forgiving.
    Smash a clove of garlic with the side of a chef's knife, peel, then mince finely. Set aside.
  • Toast the rice. In a 2 or 3 quart pot that has a properly fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add 1 and 1/2 cups basmati rice. Stir with a wooden spoon and toast for about 3-5 minutes, until the rice is fragrant and starting to turn golden brown (not dark brown, don't over do it!)
  • Add the chopped onion and 1 clove of garlic to the rice in the pan. Stir and saute for about 1-2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant.
  • Pour in all the green stuff from the blender. I love this part! Liquid health. Stir it all together.
  • Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.
  • Once it boils, cover the pot with a lid and immediately turn the heat down to low. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • Prep the limes. While the rice is cooking, zest 2 limes. (I love my microplane grater for this!) You need about 2 teaspoons. Cut the limes and juice them until you have at least 3-4 tablespoons juice.
  • When the rice has cooked for 15 minutes, remove the lid and add the lime zest and juice. Use a rubber spatula to stir it all together. Turn the burner off but leave the pot on the still-hot burner.
  • Put the lid back on and let the rice steam with the lime for another 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork a bit, and it's ready to serve! Eat hot with Chicken tacos, Fajitas, Carne Asada, Burritos, Taco Salad, you name it! Or serve simply with the black beans recipe I've included in the notes. A favorite dinner of mine, with a fried egg maybe. Mm-mm. Rice and beans foreverrr!

Notes

*Instead of chicken broth, I used 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon chicken base. I have two brands I like, Zoup Chicken Culinary Concentrate, and also Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. I love keeping these products on hand in my fridge! 

Easy Black Beans Recipe

I love to make this rice with my stupid-easy black beans from a can. Here’s the recipe if you want it, it’s super simple but sometimes really hits the spot for a quick dinner, especially if you eat it with a fried egg on top. And don’t even get me started on fried plantains added to this situation–not an ingredient I usually have on hand! This could be my last meal guys. I’m a simple girl.
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 can black beans, don’t drain it, just dump in the whole thing.
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (use like 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoon taco seasoning (or a sprinkle of chili powder will do here) 
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Heat the oil in a pot, and add in the garlic and onions. Saute for 3-5 minutes over medium heat, until onions soften slightly. Add the whole can of beans, no draining, we need that liquid. Add 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon oregano, and 2 teaspoon taco seasoning. I just made up all these spice measurements, btw. (Except the salt; 1 teaspoon kosher salt is about what you need for 1 can of beans.) Play around and see what you like! Heat the beans over medium, until they come to a simmer. Serve right away, or let it keep simmering as long as you need, turning it to low if it’s going to be a while. Add 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. 

Nutrition

Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 936mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 1mg

Creamy Zucchini Soup with Popcorn Garnish

This soup is basically blended up zucchini. It has no cream in it (other than to garnish) yet it’s so smooth and rich. A summer time solution for all those garden veggies! WAIT I forgot about the popcorn to go on top! Guys, it’s so good! Originally published July 13, 2017. We just got home…

This soup is basically blended up zucchini. It has no cream in it (other than to garnish) yet it’s so smooth and rich. A summer time solution for all those garden veggies! WAIT I forgot about the popcorn to go on top! Guys, it’s so good! Originally published July 13, 2017.

creamy zucchini soup with popcorn.
Table of Contents
  1. Cream of Zucchini Soup with…Popcorn??
  2. Zucchini Soup Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to make Creamy Zucchini Soup
  4. Helpful Equipment
  5. Zucchini Soup Variations
  6. What to Serve with the Best Zucchini Soup Recipe
  7. Storing Leftover Creamy Zucchini Soup
  8. More soup to love!
  9. Creamy Zucchini Soup with Popcorn Garnish Recipe

We just got home from a week long trip to Eric’s tiny hometown in Montana, where his parents live. The population is about 5,000. It’s a nice change of pace from all the traffic and bustle here in Sacramento. It takes literally 5 minutes to get anywhere you want to go. Oh, except all the places you want to go that are 4 hours away. (Like Target.) But why go anywhere when the porch swing is calling?

creamy zucchini soup being lifted by a spoon.

It’s a 21 hour drive to get there, so we got really comfortable hanging out in our van together. Basically we’re going to start sleeping in the van because we love it so much. Sometimes I just go sit in it to remember how awesome it was. <<SARCASM

I really shouldn’t be complaining. Our kids are pretty awesome for long car trips. I’m going to jinx myself!

Cream of Zucchini Soup with…Popcorn??

Last summer my mom, sisters and I had a girls weekend, and my sister-in-law Sandi pulled this soup out of the fridge for lunch one day. Her kids had been in the kitchen earlier making popcorn and there was some left out. My sister Laura topped her bowl of soup with some of the popcorn. Whaaat?

creamy zucchini soup with popcorn on top.

I thought she was crazy at first, until I tried it. I was totally blown away. A crunchy, satisfying soup topper that’s practically calorie free? (Also, popcorn is a whole grain, did you know?)

Laura served her mission in Ecuador, and told us that serving popcorn as a garnish for puréed soup is a thing there. She said that they serve any kind of soup purée with a bowl of popcorn on the side, so you can garnish at will. The popcorn gets soggy pretty fast, so you  have to keep adding more just a little at a time to get that magical crunch.

Zucchini Soup Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a quick shopping list for you! Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more details.

  • Butter and/or olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Zucchini
  • Better than Bouillon chicken base
  • Kosher salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Pepper
  • Popped popcorn (to garnish)
  • Cream, or half and half, to garnish

How to make Creamy Zucchini Soup

I asked Sandi how to make zucchini soup and she said she just takes a bunch of zucchini, steams or boils it, blends it up with butter and a little broth, and voila. I had to complicate things of course, by adding onion and garlic (totally worth it), but that’s about it. It’s so simple and a great way to use up zucchini if you have a ton from your garden.

chopped onions and garlic on a wooden cutting board.

Chop up your onions and garlic. Don’t worry about getting them the perfect size, they’re getting blended up anyway.

sliced zucchini in a bowl.

Slice up those zucchini and toss ’em in the pot.

Chicken Better than Bouillon base, cooking zucchini in broth.
I love Better Than Bouillon! It’s such an easy soup enhancer.

Helpful Equipment

popped popcorn in a popcorn maker.

Here’s our popcorn maker. I think Eric has had this since before we got married. (Did he steal it from you when he left for college, Kris??) He loves popcorn so much. You can buy one here on Amazon. It’s a really great little popcorn popper, we love it. It’s pretty foolproof. And a lot healthier than microwave popcorn in a bag, because you can add as much or as little butter as you want.

I didn’t even add salt or butter to the popcorn for this soup. You could of course, but the soup takes care of the flavor, so why bother? Although. I haven’t tried it, and generally everything is better the more butter you add, so…let me know how that goes.

Zucchini Soup Variations

  • You can also use yellow squash in this recipe; either replace or combine it with zucchini.
  • Try a different topping! Crushed tortilla chips, saltines, or anything else that’s crunchy, salty, and crispy passes the vibe check.
  • Add fresh herbs, in the soup or as a garnish! Basil would be awesome.

What to Serve with the Best Zucchini Soup Recipe

Zucchini soup is great with popcorn on top, but I love serving it with some crusty bread. Here are a few of my favorite recipes for something to dip in all that green goodness:

Quick and Easy French Bread Recipe >> the perfect fast, crusty, chewy loaf 

Garlic Knots >> oh yeah baby, these are so, so good!

The Best Garlic Bread >> I tried so much garlic bread to perfect this recipe…you’re welcome

Garlic and Rosemary Skillet Bread >> baked in a cast iron pan for amazing texture

a spoonful of creamy zucchini soup.

Storing Leftover Creamy Zucchini Soup

You can store this soup in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week, no problem. Keep the popcorn separate of course! 

Freezing Cream of Zucchini Soup

This soup is easy to freeze in a tupperware or ziplock. Leave the cream out and don’t drizzle it on until after defrosting and reheating. It’ll stay good for 2-3 months. 

How to Reheat This Recipe For Zucchini Soup

I like to warm up individual bowls of soup in the microwave at lunchtime. If I’m warming it up for my whole family for dinner, I’ll use a saucepan on the stove, on medium heat, stirring until it’s warmed through.

creamy zucchini soup with a drizzle of cream, popcorn.

More soup to love!

30 Minute Pea Soup (From a Bag of Frozen Peas) << this is soooo easy. Such a no brainer last minute meal. I love it.

Simple Asparagus Soup << love this one too.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup << this one is great for winter time.

Easy Cheddar Cauliflower Soup << this is one of my absolute favs. Can’t wait to try it with popcorn! (!! Cheddar popcorn?? Whaaat!!)

Roasted Tomato Soup with Parmesan (and popcorn garnish) from No. 2 Pencil

Sarah’s Popcorn Soup from Sarah Cooks the Books

Lima Bean, Zucchini, and Spinach Soup from A Beautiful Plate

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a bowl of zucchini soup topped with popcorn.
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Creamy Zucchini Soup with Popcorn Garnish

This soup is basically blended up zucchini. It has no cream in it (other than to garnish) yet it's so smooth and rich. Also, POPCORN!!
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 119kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter and/or olive oil any combination of the two is fine
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic smashed and then roughly chopped
  • 6 smallish zucchini about 1 and 1/2 pounds
  • 2 & 2/3 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons Chicken Bouillon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Popped Popcorn to garnish
  • cream or half and half, to garnish

Instructions

  • Heat a 10 inch wide pot over medium heat. Add the butter and/or olive oil.
  • When it is hot and shimmers, add the onions and garlic. Don’t chop your garlic too small, you don’t want to burn it. 
  • Saute for 5 minutes or so while you slice the zucchini.
  • Slice all the zucchini into rounds and add to the pot.
  • Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is fork tender.
  • Add the water and chicken base, along with the salt, garlic salt, and pepper. Pro tip: now is a good time to sneak some zucchini from the pan. Glorious. Sometimes I wonder why we don’t just eat vegetables all the time.**
  • Continue to simmer another 10-15 minutes, until the zucchini is very soft. 
  • Use an immersion blender to blend the soup. Or transfer the soup to a blender, leaving the tab at the top open to allow steam to escape. Hold a towel over the top so you don’t spray yourself with zucchini lava. Blend in batches if necessary. Pour the soup back into the pot.
  • Reheat the soup on medium heat if necessary.
  • Garnish with a drizzle of cream and some popped popcorn! So fun!

Notes

*Use vegetable base if you want this to be vegetarian. Or you could use regular chicken or vegetable broth in exchange for the water + Better than Bouillon. (Use the amount of liquid the recipe calls for.)
**I remembered. It’s because of bacon.
Recipe is from Sandi, method adapted from Food and Wine.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 119kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 1004mg | Potassium: 515mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 731IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe

Have you ever had traditional Red Beans and Rice? It’s a southern staple! I tried Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice for the first time a while back, but these beans are even better. They are so creamy and flavorful, with the perfect smoky Cajun spice!  Originally posted August 31, 2018. I took the kids off…

Have you ever had traditional Red Beans and Rice? It’s a southern staple! I tried Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice for the first time a while back, but these beans are even better. They are so creamy and flavorful, with the perfect smoky Cajun spice!  Originally posted August 31, 2018.

red beans and rice with fried chicken.
Table of Contents
  1. The BEST Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeye’s!)
  2. Homemade Red Beans and Rice Ingredients
  3. How to make Cajun Red Beans and Rice from scratch
  4. What foods go with Red Beans and Rice?
  5. Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe FAQs
  6. More bean recipes you are going to love!
  7. Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeyes!) Recipe

I took the kids off to school for their first day this morning! Valentine is at home with me still, and 2 seconds after we got home she managed to spill an entire cup of milk all over the kitchen. I walk in and start cleaning it up, and she keeps saying “S**t… s**t… s**t.” I’m dying laughing and trying to figure out where she learned that word (because no one in our house uses it) when I realize that she spilled milk on her SHIRT.

cute little girl at a table with spilled milk.

No use crying over spilled milk, right? She’s so cute I can’t even be mad at her. Also, a baby cussing (even if unintentional) is so funny that it makes a spilled milk situation a lot more bearable.

The BEST Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeye’s!)

I ate at Popeye’s for the first time just a few months ago, and now I’m totally obsessed with their red beans and rice. I told my brother Nathan about it and he just rolled his eyes at me. He lived in Richmond, Virginia for a few years in residency, so he had access to legit southern food. Popeye’s might not be a real Southerner’s top choice for where to get red beans and rice, but for this California girl who had never even heard of it? I was in love. Also, today’s recipe is even better than Popeye’s Red Beans and Rice, thanks to the meaty ham bone we are using. It makes the beans so smoky and delicious!

a big serving spoon of red beans.

(But really though, shout out to Popeye’s. Again, I’m not Southern, but that place has delicious food. Nathan told me that once in Richmond they had a fried chicken contest with a bunch of local restaurants, and Popeye’s chicken won. BOOM.)

If you aren’t from the south (more specifically, New Orleans), you might not have heard of this delightful red beans and rice combination. Rice and beans is nothing new of course, but it’s the special Cajun twist on the beans that makes it unique. Traditionally it was made on Mondays, because that was laundry day, and you could set the pot of beans on the stove to cook all day while you were working. Red beans and rice was Louis Armstrong’s favorite food, and he used to sign letters “Red Beans and Ricely Yours,” how cute is that?

a big pot of red beans.

Homemade Red Beans and Rice Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need. Quantities given in recipe below!

  • Dry red beans (you can substitute kidney beans)
  • Meaty ham bone or ham hock (another option is andouille sausage)
  • 6-8 cups hot cooked rice
  • Large onion (yellow or red)
  • Green bell pepper
  • Celery
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base (you can substitute another brand of bouillon cubes, but I highly recommend Better Than Bouillon)
  • Garlic
  • Kosher salt
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Bay leaves
  • Dried parsley
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
red beans and rice with fried chicken.

How to make Cajun Red Beans and Rice from scratch

I’m letting you in on a few secrets about cooking beans from scratch, so here’s a basic overview and what to watch out for. (All instructions are given in the recipe below.)

Chop the onions, celery, and bell peppers. Make sure to chop up some of those celery leaves to go in the beans. They have so much flavor!

chopped onion and celery on a wooden cutting board.

Cook the veggies up in some oil and then add garlic.

Reduce heat and add the spices.

Add in the dry, un-soaked beans. (Keep reading below for more on why you don’t have to pre-soak your beans.)

uncooked red beans in a bowl, red beans in a pot with a ham hock and vegetables.
(Aren’t those red beans beautiful? If you can’t find them, kidney beans work great too!)

Add water and ham bone. Pro tip: save your ham bone whenever you make a ham. It gives the beans such an amazing smoky flavor. They will keep for a long time in the freezer. I’m pretty sure the one I used for this recipe was from last Thanksgiving, almost a year ago. If you don’t happen to have one, use a ham hock, those work great too and you can just buy them in the meat department. Also, lots of people have tried this recipe with andouille sausage with great success!

Cover with lid and simmer for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Now it’s just a matter of waiting until your beans are tender, creamy, and have absorbed all that amazing Cajun flavor! Low and slow is really the best way to cook beans. It’s the perfect lazy-day-at-home meal.

red beans and rice with fried chicken.

What foods go with Red Beans and Rice?

Red beans and rice is considered a main dish all on its own. It really does fill you up and leave you satisfied! This is true especially if you use a ham bone that is nice and meaty.

red beans and rice with fried chicken.

But if you are craving a main dish that is not so beany, fried chicken is your best bet. It tastes amazing with these beans. I picked some up at the grocery store. I actually don’t have a recipe for fried chicken (have not mastered that technique yet! Anyone have a good recipe?) but these beans would taste great with this Simply Amazing Grilled Chicken Marinade.

You could also check out my post for How to Make Ultra Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits, because what’s better than buttery biscuits and beans?? It would also pair amazingly well with My Favorite Coleslaw. Put this all together and you will have an amazing Southern feast!

UPDATE! A reader named Patrick commented below and mentioned that Red Beans and Rice is served with French bread in New Orleans, not biscuits. So here’s my favorite recipe for One Hour French Bread! Thanks Patrick!

Cajun Red Beans and Rice Recipe FAQs

Are red beans and kidney beans the same thing?

No, they are not the same. Red beans are smaller, and (ironically) more pinkish than kidney beans, which are a deep crimson. You can use kidney beans in this recipe if that’s all you can find, but I highly recommend red beans if available. They have a nuttier, “beanier” flavor, and a more creamy texture than kidney beans.

Is Red Beans and Rice supposed to be soupy?

To some extent, yes! In my family we lovingly refer to this as “bean gravy” as described in this Tejano Pinto Beans recipe.

The bean gravy should be nice and thick.

Hopefully you can tell from the photos that red beans do NOT have the texture of refried beans. They are not completely mashed. Most of the beans should retain their shape and be swimming in a delectable pool of bean gravy, the better to soak into your rice.

What do red beans taste like?

Red beans have a rich flavor that make them perfect for being the star of a main dish. They taste nutty and mild, similar to a pinto bean. When you add red beans to a recipe, you are adding red bean flavor to the dish, rather than a bean that is mostly useful for absorbing the flavors around it (like a white bean).

What happens if you don’t soak beans before cooking?

Nothing at all. You do NOT need to soak the dry beans overnight. Seriously. I can’t tell you how many recipes call for this unnecessary step. Now, it is true for some people that you can reduce some of the, ahem, intestinal effects of beans by soaking for a few hours and discarding the water (every stomach is different). But it is absolutely not necessary and in my opinion a huge waste of time.

More bean recipes you are going to love!

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Red Beans on top of white rice with fried chicken
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Red Beans and Rice Recipe (Better Than Popeyes!)

This recipe is a southern staple! They are so creamy and flavorful, with the perfect smoky Cajun spice! 
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Southern
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 398kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons garlic minced
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base
  • about 7 cups water
  • 1 pound dry red beans rinsed*
  • meaty ham bone or ham hock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cups hot cooked rice or more

Instructions

  • Prep your veggies: chop the onion, bell pepper, and 2 stalks celery. I like to chop the ends of the celery (so that some of the leaves get chopped also) instead of pulling off the stalks. Whichever way you choose will work!
  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once it is hot and shimmering, add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and celery. Saute for 6-8 minutes, until the onions start to become translucent.
  • Mince 2 tablespoons garlic. In a small bowl, combine 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon sage, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, and 1 tablespoon sugar.
  • Add the garlic and spices to the pot and saute for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add about 7 cups of water and 1 pound of rinsed red beans. Add the ham bone or ham hock. Add 2 bay leaves.
  • Stir it all together over high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low simmer, so that it is just barely bubbling. 
  • Cover with a lid and keep it at a low simmer for 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours. About halfway through the cooktime, either remove the lid or tilt it so that the beans can vent. 
  • After 2-3 hours, taste the beans. They should be tender and flavorful. If they are at all dry or chalky, keep cooking. 
  • Add another half teaspoon or so of salt, or to taste. Add more Cajun seasoning to taste. 
  • Remove the ham bone and bay leaves. Chop any meat left on the bone and return the meat to the beans. Discard the bone. 
  • Serve with hot rice. See notes for a basic recipe!

Notes

*You can also use dry kidney beans if you can’t find red beans.
Basic rice recipe: For this amount of beans, I like to use about 3 cups of DRY rice:
  • 3 cups dry white rice
  • 4 and 1/2 cups water
  • scant tablespoon kosher salt (2 and 1/4 teaspoon if using table salt)
  • 2-3 teaspoons garlic ( I added the jarred kind)
Add 3 cups dry rice to a medium pot. (You’re supposed to rinse it and I never do…oops.) Add 4 and 1/2 cups water. Add the salt and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat with the lid on. Once it boils, lower the heat to low. Do not remove the lid. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Remove lid and stir. Turn off the heat and put the lid back on and let steam in the pot for another 5-10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 398kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 508mg | Potassium: 893mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 247IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 4mg

Chicken Tikka Masala Slow Cooker Recipe

I’ve been making this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe for years, but recently adapted it for the slow cooker. It is SO GOOD. I may never go back! Tikka Masala is the one dish that I never get tired of ordering at Indian restaurants and this version is super easy and tastes restaurant quality. Originally posted…

I’ve been making this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe for years, but recently adapted it for the slow cooker. It is SO GOOD. I may never go back! Tikka Masala is the one dish that I never get tired of ordering at Indian restaurants and this version is super easy and tastes restaurant quality. Originally posted January 25, 2017.

chicken tikka masala with rice, naan, and cilantro.
Table of Contents
  1. Why make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
  2. Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala Ingredients 
  3. How to make Chicken Tikka Masala (Crockpot Recipe)
  4. How to serve Slow Cooker Tikka Masala
  5. How to store Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
  6. Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala FAQs
  7. Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Do you guys have rules for how late you can text people? I mean of course it depends on who you’re texting. When I was growing up we didn’t make calls after 9pm. Is there texting etiquette these days? I’m always worried I’m going to wake someone up.

Eric and I are night owls and sometimes forget that people go to bed at normal times. One time my brother called me at midnight just to see if I really always stay up like I claim I do. I answered right away of course.

a spoonful of chicken tikka masala.

That same brother (who is also named Eric) went to college out of state in the same town that our uncle lives in. Our Uncle Ron had a habit of calling Eric waaaay too early in the morning. This was before cell phones, so when you call your nephew’s apartment at 6am on a Saturday, you definitely wake all the roommates up. Eric asked him not to call so early. So next time he called at 7am and still woke up the entire apartment.

Eric realized that if Uncle Ron was getting up so early, that meant he was getting to bed early. So he calls him up at 11:30pm the next night, wakes up Ron, and says all chipper, “Hey Ron! I was just calling to let you know that I’m planning on sleeping in tomorrow!”

I would worry that someone might call me super early to get me back for texting them too late at night, but it wouldn’t even work because I would sleep right through it.

Why make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

I LOVE chicken tikka masala. The tender chicken, the creamy sauce, the delicious spices! I know I could totally branch out when we go out for Indian…but chicken tikka masala has my heart.

The thing about Chicken Tikka is that the chicken is supposed to be grilled, or broiled on high, or something that gives you that roasted-on-the-outside, tender-in-in-the-center flavor. But cooking chicken in liquid all day in a slow cooker isn’t going to give you that.

So I basically just removed the liquid; chicken, spices, and a little butter is all that goes in the crock pot until the end when you add the sauce. The result is golden brown chicken that has that roasted flavor. (I’m really loving this method and want to try it with some other recipes!).

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala Ingredients 

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Chicken breasts
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Butter
  • Tomato sauce
  • Heavy cream
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Paprika
  • Lemon juice
  • Fresh ginger
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Cilantro

Chicken Tikka Masala Slow Cooker substitutions

Next time I try this I’m replacing the cream with coconut milk, or perhaps coconut cream. It will make the final flavor a lot sweeter but would make this recipe dairy free, (if you used olive oil instead of butter) which is one reason people like the Slow Cooker Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce. They’re always tagging in #whole30, and and I’m over here like don’t look at me, I’m just here for the carbs.

How to make Chicken Tikka Masala (Crockpot Recipe)

This Chicken Tikka Masala is an old stove top recipe that I’ve been making for years. It’s a killer recipe. One time I made it for my friend Mir, who’s from Hyderabad, and he said it tasted authentic. He was probably just feeding my ego, but I don’t even care. This stuff is delicious.

I decided to see how it would work in the slow cooker and after a few trials I’m loving how it turned out. (I did the same with this stovetop Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce; here’s a link to the slow cooker version. It’s one of the top recipes on my site now. I actually decided to start working on a slow cooker Chicken Tikka recipe at the suggestion of one of the commenters on that post. Thanks for the idea Bethany!)

  • Here’s a quick overview of how to make this slow cooker chicken tikka masala. For complete instructions, scroll down to the recipe card below!
  • Chop the chicken into bite size chunks. Add the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl combine cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt.
  • Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and use your hands to coat the chicken well. Sprinkle butter chunks over the chicken.
  • Put the lid on and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for about 5 hours.
adding marinated chicken and butter to a crockpot.
    • When the chicken is cooked, remove the lid and add the tomato sauce and cream (turn the crock pot up to high at this point if it’s not already.)
    • Add butter to a small frying pan. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté until fragrant.
    chopped garlic and jalapeno on a wooden cutting board.
    sautéed garlic and jalapeno in a skillet.
    • In a small bowl combine ground cumin, paprika, and salt. Add the spices to the frying pan and continue sautéing for one minute.
    • Add lemon juice to the pan, stir it in and then remove from heat. Add this mixture to the crock pot. Add the minced ginger as well.
    spices, garlic, and jalapeno sautéed in a pan.
    • Replace the lid and let cook on high for another 20-30 minutes or until thickened and bubbly on the edges. Taste it and stir in some plain yogurt and the fresh cilantro.
    chicken tikka masala with rice and naan.
    • This recipe is pretty darn spicy as written. Feel free to reduce the cayenne pepper; there are 2 teaspoons total, which is quite a lot. (I wouldn’t omit the jalapeno though, it adds great flavor. Most of the heat comes from the seeds anyway, and we’re not using those.)
    chicken tikka masala with rice and naan.

    How to serve Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

    Chicken tikka masala is great with a side of jasmine rice, or you can fancy it up by adding other sides. Don’t overthink it, slow cooker meals are supposed to be easy! Here are some of my favorite Indian-inspired recipes. 

    Coconut Jasmine Rice with Cilantro << oh yeah baby, this is rice. Once you try jasmine rice you can never go back. 

    Homemade Naan Bread << there’s nothing more delicious than fluffy, puffy naan to scoop up all that tikka masala sauce with. 

    Roti – the Best Buttery Indian Flatbread << ok, I know I just talked naan up. They’re both so good, I cannot possibly choose.

    Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Rice << no, it’s not rice. Yes, it is delicious, and the perfect veggie side when you’re low-carbing it. 

    a fork tearing a bite of chicken tikka masala on a bed of rice.

    How to store Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

    Chicken tikka masala will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. If you don’t eat it all before then, you can freeze it. I like to put it into a labeled gallon (or quart) ziplock, then lay it flat so it’s easier to defrost. It will keep for 2-3 months and makes a great last minute meal, since all you have to do is defrost it and make some rice.

    Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala FAQs

    What is the difference between chicken tikka masala and butter masala?

    Chicken tikka masala has its origins in Great Britain (surprise!). The sauce is tomato based, and is tangy and spicy. Some cream is added, but the focus is on the tomato. In butter masala (also known as butter chicken), the sauce includes tomato but is creamier and richer. Its origins are in India. Both dishes usually involve marinating the chicken in yogurt and spices (we’re skipping the marinade here since the chicken will be soaking up amazing flavor in the slow cooker all day long). 

    Is chicken tikka masala white or dark meat?

    It depends on where you’re eating it. Chicken tikka masala is usually made with white meat–boneless, skinless chicken breasts. This is how you’ll often have it at Indian restaurants in the United States. You can absolutely substitute boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat, and yes, it will be absolutely delicious. Dark meat is often more tender and is less prone to dry out. You should use what you and your family usually prefer in this recipe.

    chicken tikka masala with rice and naan.

    Here are some other recipes you will love!

    Roti (Buttery Indian Flatbread) << one of my most popular recipes and is a perfect complement with this tikka masala.

    Chicken Tikka Masala Meatballs << made with ground chicken and the same sauce. Can you tell I’m obsessed with this dish??

    Slow Cooker Basil Chicken with Coconut Curry Sauce << one of the top recipes on my blog!

    Coconut Jasmine Rice with Cilantro << once you try jasmine rice, regular rice is just NOT the same.

    Homemade Naan Bread Recipe << nothing better than a buttery stack of naan with your curry.

    Indian Spiced Cauliflower Rice << I love gettin’ my veggies in this way.

    Indian Spiced Braised Chicken from A Dash of Sanity

    Slow Cooker Indian Spiced Chickpeas and Potatoes from Oh My Veggies

    Tandoori Chicken from Simply Recipes

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    Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from The Food Charlatan
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    Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

    Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from The Food Charlatan. I've been making this Chicken Tikka Masala recipe for years, but recently adapted it for the slow cooker. It is SO GOOD. I may never go back! Tikka Masala is the one dish that I never get tired of ordering at Indian restaurants and this version is super easy and tastes restaurant quality.
    Course Main Course
    Cuisine Indian
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
    Servings 4
    Calories 395kcal

    Ingredients

    For the chicken:

    • 1 pound chicken breasts about 3, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons butter cut into chunks

    For the sauce:

    • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1/2 tablespoon butter
    • 1 clove garlic minced
    • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 1 tablespoon ginger minced fresh
    • 1/2 to 1 cup plain Greek yogurt as desired
    • 1/4 cup cilantro fresh, chopped

    Instructions

    • Chop the chicken into bite size chunks. Add the chicken to the slow cooker.
    • In a small bowl combine 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
    • Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and use your hands to coat the chicken well. Sprinkle 1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter chunks over the chicken.
    • Put the lid on and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for about 5 hours.
    • When the chicken is cooked, remove the lid and add the tomato sauce and cream (turn the crock pot up to high at this point if it’s not already.)
    • Add 1/2 tablespoon butter to a small frying pan. Add the garlic and jalapeno and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant.
    • In a small bowl combine 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
    • Add the spices to the frying pan and continue sautéing for one minute.
    • Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the pan, stir it in and then remove from heat. Add this mixture to the crock pot. Add the minced ginger as well.
    • Replace the lid and let cook on high for another 20-30 minutes or until thickened and bubbly on the edges.
    • Taste it and stir in some plain yogurt. The amount is up to you. This makes it a little more creamy and also tempers the heat. Sometimes I don’t add any, if I’m feeding kids I add more.
    • Stir in the fresh cilantro.
    • Serve with hot rice and naan.

    Notes

    Source: adapted from this stovetop Chicken Tikka Masala; original recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1serving | Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 1636mg | Potassium: 617mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2170IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 3mg

    Source: adapted from this stovetop Chicken Tikka Masala; original recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

    Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe

    This traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich will blow your mind! A mini soft baguette, smeared with sriracha mayo, topped with thinly sliced marinated pork, pickled vegetables, and tons of cilantro. It’s heaven! Originally published July 19, 2018. This is the Best Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe This morning I went to Safeway at 6:45am. Never in my…

    This traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich will blow your mind! A mini soft baguette, smeared with sriracha mayo, topped with thinly sliced marinated pork, pickled vegetables, and tons of cilantro. It’s heaven! Originally published July 19, 2018.

    banh mi sandwich.
    Table of Contents
    1. This is the Best Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe
    2. What is a Banh Mi Sandwich?
    3. Homemade Banh Mi Sandwich ingredients
    4. How to make a Banh Mi sandwich
    5. Banh Mi Recipe variations
    6. How to serve Banh Mi Sandwiches
    7. How to store a Homemade Banh Mi
    8. More Asian dishes you will love!
    9. Banh Mi Recipe Recipe

    This is the Best Banh Mi Sandwich Recipe

    This morning I went to Safeway at 6:45am. Never in my life have I set foot in a grocery store so early, but it was kind of nice! No crowds, and employees everywhere asking me if they could help me find anything. YES! please help me, where is the daikon because I’m making BANH MIIIII!!

    (I forgot to mention that my pleasant early morning Safeway jaunt ended with me driving halfway home before realizing that I didn’t have my phone. I drove all the way back and found it in the cart right where I left it. Doh! Maybe it was a little TOO early in the morning.)

    But back to the Banh Mi’s. Have you heard of them? Have you had one? The time is now! Just look at this!

    banh mi recipe.

    What is a Banh Mi Sandwich?

    A banh mi is a Vietnamese sandwich with an amazing combo of flavors and textures. Every banh mi starts with a delicious mini baguette: crispy crust on the outside, soft tenderness on the inside. You stuff it with meat (pork, chicken, ham, pâté, it varies!) and veggies (carrots, daikon radish, cucumbers). Mayo is a must. In my book cilantro is a must too, but I know some of you out there can’t stand it and that’s FINE. Seriously though, it won’t ruin your banh mi to leave it out.

    Homemade Banh Mi Sandwich ingredients

    Here’s a quick list of everything you’ll need to make a banh mi. Scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more!

    • pork tenderloin
    • shallot
    • garlic
    • sugar
    • honey
    • fish sauce
    • sesame oil
    • Kosher salt
    • black pepper
    • carrots
    • daikon radish
    • white vinegar
    • mayonnaise
    • Sriracha
    • bolillo rolls, mini soft baguettes, or hero rolls
    • English cucumber
    • jalapeno pepper (optional) 
    • cilantro
    banh mi sandwich held in a hand.

    How to make a Banh Mi sandwich

    Start with a soft (not crunchy!) mini french baguette. Hero/hoagie rolls will work but it’s even better if you can find Bolilo rolls. They are Mexican rolls used to make tortas, and I found them in the bakery section at Safeway. Whatever roll you use, make sure it’s not so crunchy that it will scrape the roof of your mouth, who wants that?

    I asked the butcher behind the counter if she would slice the pork tenderloin for me. SOOO much easier than doing it at home. Grab a pork tenderloin from the shelf and ask the butcher to do the hard work for you! It will be hard to get it this thin at home. On the right are all the ingredients you need for the marinade. I just tossed it all in the blender because I’m lazy!

    thinly sliced pork, vegetables and oil for making a marinade.

    There should be a 2:1 ratio of veggies to meat on a traditional Banh Mi sandwich, but if you cheat and add more pork I won’t tell anyone. Besides the cilantro leaves and pickles, the thinly sliced and marinated pork is what MAKES this sandwich. It is so tender and flavorful.

    pork marinated and cooked for banh mi.

    The pickled daikon and carrots are KEY to a great banh mi sandwich. Daikon is a kind of radish commonly used in Vietnam and Asian cuisine generally, and if you can’t find any, just swap them out for radishes (radishes are stronger so maybe don’t use as much). The pickling process only takes about an hour. They last for months in the fridge, so if you have any leftover (I always make extra!) then you will have a ready to go sandwich topping in your fridge! Or burger topping! Or pulled pork topping! I’m telling you it’s so good!

    Here’s what a daikon looks like. And how I chopped it to get matchsticks. Lay flat and slice again after this step, they will look like this:

    daikon radish and carrots on a cutting board, then thinly sliced.

    Here are the carrots and daikon after 15 minutes of sitting in a bit of salt and sugar. It makes them flexible. They will still be crunchy, but will be able to bend without snapping.

    carrots and daikon radish thinly cut for pickling.

    Oh yeah baby. Pile those jalapeños on.

    pork banh mi with the top bun open.

    I made these Banh Mi’s several hours ago now and am learning just how much I rub my eyes. Because after slicing those jalapeños my eyes are burning! Gah! Be careful! Or buy latex gloves for the kitchen. Why do I not do this??

    banh mi sandwich with lots of fresh veggies.

    Banh Mi Recipe variations

    Here are some ideas for adding new flavors and textures to your banh mi. Try them out and comment below the recipe to tell us how you liked them!

    • Add Maggi seasoning sauce. This is a classic flavor to add to Asian food. Just sprinkle a little on the mayo for more umami!
    • Put a fried egg in it. For a while there it seemed like people were putting fried eggs on everything! But a fried egg really is amazing in a banh mi.
    • Switch out your protein. If you don’t want to use pork, substitute thinly sliced chicken or pork belly. You could totally just use thinly sliced chicken breast from the deli in a pinch! Obviously if you go this route, just use it cold and skip the marinating and cooking.
    • Leave out (or replace) the cilantro. In my opinion, Banh Mi sandwiches are just an excuse to eat fistfuls of cilantro. Could there be anything better?? I know all the cilantro haters out there are gagging right now. But wait come baaack! You can replace the cilantro with another herb if you want! I think it would be good with basil (ooh! Thai basil if you can find it!) or even mint. Or maybe dill??
    banh mi sandwich cut in half.

    How to serve Banh Mi Sandwiches

    For me a banh mi sandwich is a complete meal. You could totally serve any side you want of course, from fries to potato chips to fruit salad. It’s also great with a cold soda or juice, like orange or pineapple. 

    How to store a Homemade Banh Mi

    It’s best to store the ingredients for a homemade banh mi separately. That way your bread won’t get soggy and your veggies will stay crisp. Everything except the bread should be stored in the fridge. I don’t recommend freezing anything. A banh mi is meant to be made fresh. 

    banh mi sandwich.

    More Asian dishes you will love!

    Asian Pork Tenderloin with Ginger Glaze (Slow Cooker) << this pork would also be delicious on a Banh Mi Sandwich!

    Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Peanut Lime Sauce << this is soo good. Grilled pork tenderloin is amazing.

    Leftover Turkey Banh Mi << this is a much more simplified version of today’s recipe. Use any protein you like!

    Banh Mi Hot Dogs from Lemons for Lulu

    Lemongrass Beef Banh Mi with a Fried Egg on Top from The Little Kitchen

    Cheesy Shrimp and Grits Banh Mi in a Waffle Cone from FoodieCrush

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    Banh Mi Recipe

    These traditional Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwiches will blow your mind! A mini soft baguette, smeared with sriracha mayo, topped with thinly sliced marinated pork, pickled veggies, and tons of cilantro. It’s heaven! 
    Course Main Course
    Cuisine vietnamese
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 20 minutes
    Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
    Servings 6 Servings
    Calories 1106kcal

    Ingredients

    • 2 pounds Open Nature Pork Tenderloin
    • 1 shallot
    • 3 cloves garlic
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
    • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 4 medium carrots
    • 1 large daikon or 2 small
    • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons sugar to release water
    • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons salt to release water
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 cup water warm
    • 1 cup white vinegar
    • oil for searing pork
    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
    • 6-8 bolilo rolls mini soft baguettes, or hero rolls
    • 1 to 2 English cucumbers sliced into rounds
    • 2 jalapenos optional, sliced into rounds
    • 2 bunches cilantro

    Instructions

    • Begin by slicing the pork tenderloin very thin. Or better yet, ask your butcher to do this for you! They can do it in about 2 minutes and it will save you tons of time. And they will get it much thinner than you can get it at home. 
    • In a blender or food processor, add the shallot, garlic, sugar, honey, fish sauce, sesame oil, salt and pepper. Pulse until combined. It’s okay if there are chunks of onion or garlic. You can also just chop the shallot and garlic by hand and mix it all together in a bowl, I’m just lazy. 
    • Add the marinade and thinly sliced pork to a medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours. 
    • Make the picked veggies: Chop the carrots and daikon into matchsticks. See photos. You want them to be about the length of a matchstick and the thickness of your average chop stick. It doesn’t have to be perfect! Don’t stress about it. Just chop them up thin-ish and your sandwich is going to taste amazing. 
    • Add the chopped veggies to a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Use your hands to massage the sugar and salt into the veggies. We’re doing this to get the carrots and daikon to release water, so that they will be flexible but still crunchy. After 15 minutes of sitting in the salt and sugar, you should be able to bend a carrot without it snapping (see photo). 
    • Pour the veggies into a colander and rinse them under water until all the salt and sugar is washed off.
    • Rinse out the bowl and make the brine: combine 1/2 sugar and 1 cup warm water, and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar and a few shakes of salt. Stir it all together.
    • Add the rinsed carrots and daikon to the vinegar mixture, make sure all the veggies are covered, and stick it in the fridge for 45 minutes. (They will keep for months in the fridge!) 
    • When the pork has marinated, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add about a tablespoon of oil to the pan. Make sure it is shimmering. 
    • Add the pork strips in batches. If you add it all at once, it will not brown. Make sure there is about an inch of space in between each piece of pork.
    • Sear the pork for about 1-2 minutes, then flip and sear for another minute or so. If you sliced the pork yourself, you will probably have to cook it longer because it will be thicker. Adjust the heat as necessary, you want to keep it as high as possible without the pan scorching. 
    • Continue searing until all the pork is cooked. Add more oil as necessary. Set aside on a plate, or put it in the oven on a pan on the “keep warm” setting (170 degrees F). 
    • In a small bowl, combine 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon Sriracha (more or less Sriracha to taste). 
    • To assemble: Slice a roll in half lengthwise. Spread both sides with Sriracha mayo. 
    • Top one side with pork, sliced cucumber, sliced jalapeno, lots of pickled carrots and daikon, and fistfuls of cilantro (you can chop it if you want, I just tore it from the top of the bunch.)
    • Top with the other half of the roll and eat! Serve with more Sriracha mayo if you want. 

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1sandwich | Calories: 1106kcal | Carbohydrates: 163g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 4596mg | Potassium: 1286mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 7112IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 259mg | Iron: 10mg

    30 Minute Korean Beef Recipe

    Guys, there’s easy, and then there’s this recipe. Korean beef is unbelievably good for how little effort it takes. A pound of ground beef and some Asian pantry ingredients turn into a magical dinner in just a few minutes. Dress it up as much or as little as you want. Rice is a go-to, but…

    Guys, there’s easy, and then there’s this recipe. Korean beef is unbelievably good for how little effort it takes. A pound of ground beef and some Asian pantry ingredients turn into a magical dinner in just a few minutes. Dress it up as much or as little as you want. Rice is a go-to, but you could add any veggies you have in your fridge, like cucumbers, carrots, edamame, broccoli…the options are endless. My new favorite weeknight meal!

    bowl brimming over with sections of rice, Korean beef with Sriracha mayo, veggies, and sesame seeds.
    Table of Contents
    1. Korean beef
    2. Korean beef ingredients
    3. How to make Korean Beef
    4. What to serve with Korean beef bowls
    5. How to store Korean beef
    6. Can you freeze Korean beef?
    7. Korean beef frequently asked questions
    8. Easy ground beef recipes
    9. More stupid easy FAST dinner recipes
    10. 30 Minute Korean Beef Recipe Recipe

    I looked up from my spot at the kitchen barstool the other day to see that my 4-year-old son Edison had something in his hair. I reached up to brush it away, and realized it WAS his hair. His completely shriveled, singed blond hair.

    blonde boy with singed hair

    I sent this picture to my family: “Edison, when he smells a candle.” My family’s response:

    “I think he’s drunk. Have you had him walk a straight line, or do finger-to-nose yet?”

    “Poor kid. It’s rough being 4. 😂”

    “At least the eyelashes were spared!!”

    “I hope he makes it to adulthood.”

    I sure hope he does too guys, it gets pretty dicey sometimes with this kid!! His face is all red, not from scorch marks (thank goodness), but because earlier that day at “play school,” he decided to paint his face instead of the paper. Of course.

    I should probably stop lighting candles in my house altogether. So much for a lovely scented kitchen. I don’t think I’ve ever gone so deep on “stop drop and roll” demonstrations for such a young kid. He probably thought I was the crazy one after seeing me flail around all over the floor after he did something so innocuous as smelling a candle.

    It’s shenanigans like this that mean I NEED some amazing 30-minute dinners like the one I’m sharing today. I can’t keep up with these kids as it is, forget an overly-involved dinner!

    My sister Laura is the mastermind behind today’s Korean beef recipe. She is a pro at whipping up super quick and HEALTHY dinners. (anyone can pasta all day, but this girl knows where it’s at when it comes to nutritious meals.) Have you made Korean Beef before? There’s a reason it’s super popular.

    Brown ceramic bowl filled with rice, broccoli, and Korean beef with green onion garnish. this one for hero? what do you think?

    Korean beef

    I never thought much of Korean beef. I’d seen the pictures. Looks like some ground beef with spices over white rice. Big woof. But since making it, I’ve come around. Because the FLAVOR, oh my goodness. It’s amazing what these few simple ingredients can do for a pound of ground beef.

    I’m usually the person who is telling you to buy 80/20 ground beef, because for things like Smash Burgers, you NEED all that fat to make your burger juicy. But for Korean beef, it’s best to use lean ground beef. I like 93/7 best. It’s a bit more expensive, but in this dish it means you don’t have to drain the grease, and helps to avoid that slick, greasy feel on the beef. PLUS it allows us to use toasted sesame oil in the pan before browning the meat (usually totally unnecessary with fattier beef) which gives the perfect flavor.

    Then we’re going to add some simple but potent flavors like garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and soy sauce to truly transform the plain beef. A hint of dark brown sugar gets mixed in, LOTS of green onion and some sesame seeds sprinkled over the top, and voila, your Korean beef is DONE. It’s really that easy! Serve with your favorite rice and stir fry veggies, or put it together in a rice bowl like I’ve done for the photos today. Trust me when I say it will be a new favorite in your dinner rotation!

    bowl with Korean beef, rice, cucumber slices, and matchstick carrots.

    Korean beef ingredients

    Check out what you’ll need for the recipe here, but be sure to look at the recipe card to get exact measurements and full instructions!

    cast of ingredients for Korean beef including sesame oil, soy sauce, brown sugar, etc.
    • lean ground beef
    • sesame oil
    • garlic
    • ginger
    • red pepper
    • soy sauce
    • fish sauce (optional, but the UMAMIIII)
    • dark brown sugar
    • green onions
    • sesame seeds
    • rice, to serve with
    • More veggies to serve it with, see recipe
    close up of cooked broccoli next to Korean beef topped with green onion.

    How to make Korean Beef

    If you’re planning to serve this with rice, get the rice started first thing. Korean beef is done so fast that the rice will actually take longer to cook than the beef, so let it do it’s thing while you prep everything else.

    When I make this for my family, I make white rice for the kids and Cauliflower Rice (or Asian Cauliflower Rice) for me and Eric, because we prefer to eat low-carb dinners most days. Sometimes I buy a head of cauliflower and make it homemade, and sometimes I buy the pre-riced frozen cauliflower. It’s so easy, just heat it up in a pan with some oil and salt.

    Once you have your rice going, set a large skillet over medium high heat and add the toasted sesame seed oil. I love the taste of toasted oil, but normal sesame seed oil will work fine. Add the ground beef, and stir occasionally to break down the meat until it is all well browned. It’ll probably take about 5 or so minutes.

    top chef's knife smashing garlic cloves, bottom fingers on smashed, skinless garlic.

    While the beef browns, prep your other ingredients. Smash and finely mince your garlic cloves.

    top minced garlic on a wooden chopping board, bottom peeling ginger with a spoon.

    Grate or mince your fresh ginger. I sometimes peel my ginger with a spoon, easy peasy (a vegetable peeler works great too.) My sister Laura doesn’t even peel ginger anymore 🤯 she just scrubs it real good and chops it up! THE FREEDOM, GUYS!!

    If you’re really in a pinch, you can use bottled garlic and ginger, but the flavors won’t be as strong.

    When the ground beef is thoroughly cooked, add in the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Mix it in with the meat and let it cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

    top minced ginger and garlic on top of cooked ground beef, bottom pouring in soy sauce.

    Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, and fish sauce to the mixture. The fish sauce is technically optional, but please, if you do ANY (even elementary level) Asian cooking, stick this on the door of your fridge. The Red Boat brand is best. It’s bottled umami. Add a teaspoon to literally any Asian style dish and it will amp up the flavors.

    Stir up all those ingredients until well combined, and let it cook another 1-2 minutes. Turn off the burner. Y’all…THAT’S IT.

    bias cut green onions sprinkled over the top of finished Korean beef.

    Okay except it’s really good with some green onions, so don’t forget those.

    Here’s a little trick for ya. I like to use my kitchen shears to cut the green onions right into the pan, instead of chopping them. If you don’t have kitchen shears, chopping with a knife is of course just fine.

    I hired a kitchen assistant recently, to help me out on shoot days (hi Katie!!) and she asked where my kitchen shears were, and I was like uuhhmmmmm…. basically any pair of scissors lying around my kitchen turn into “kitchen shears” when I need to cut food. Voila, it’s like magic, for low class people with very few sanitary boundaries.

    Okay sorry, back to the recipe. I like to chop/cut about 3/4 of the bunch of green onions and mix that into the beef where they *very slightly* wilt. Once that’s stirred in, cut the remaining onions over the top. Or save to pass at the table so they are very fresh.

    Don’t forget to garnish with sesame seeds! I love the nutty flavor it adds!

    close up of rice topped with Korean beef and drizzled with Sriracha mayo.

    But of course, if you really love yourself, you’ll make some Sriracha mayo to dollop on top. And literally any veggie that’s lying around in your fridge. Sooo good!

    What to serve with Korean beef bowls

    When I really need this meal to be the quickest possible, I serve it with rice and a bag of stir-fry veggies from the fresh produce aisle. It’s usually a mix of cabbage, broccoli, carrots, and maybe some snow peas, snap peas, or brussels sprouts. If I have more time, I’ll cut up whatever is in my fridge and stir fry it, or make a separate veggie side. Here are some great rice and veggie options to choose from!

    Korean beef bowl with rice and veggies on a wooden table with bowl of red pepper flakes.

    How to store Korean beef

    Transfer any leftover beef to a container with an air-tight lid and put it in the refrigerator. It will last there for about 5 days. Korean beef actually makes great meal prep! If you feel like doing yourself a favor, get a container you can microwave and add some leftover rice, beef, and veggies in the portion sizes that work for you, and store all together.

    When it’s time to eat lunch just bust it out and you’re all ready to go! To heat up Korean beef that’s been in the refrigerator, use the microwave. Lean meat can get tough if it’s overcooked, so use 50% power for 1-2 minutes until it’s as warm as you’d like it to be.

    Can you freeze Korean beef?

    I love freezing Korean beef! It’s so easy and makes for a dinner that’s even easier than the night you made it, which is saying something. Sometimes I double or even triple the recipe to be sure to have enough to freeze for a “next time.” Add any beef you plan to freeze to a freezer ziplock bag, flattening it out to store and thaw easier. Seal, and let come to room temperature.

    Once it’s cool enough, stick it in the freezer and it will stay good there for 4-6 months. When you decide to use it, pull the bag out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours. Warm up over low heat in a skillet on the stove. You may want to add 1-2 tablespoons of water to keep it from drying out.

    broccoli, rice, and Korean beef served together in a ceramic bowl.

    Korean beef frequently asked questions

    What is korean beef?

    Korean beef is basically the easy, weeknight dinner knockoff version of Beef Bulgogi. Korean beef basically copies the flavor profile of Beef Bulgogi: sesame, soy, ginger, garlic, sugar but without the added sweetness of blended Asian pear. The original Bulgogi also uses a very thinly sliced cut of premium beef like ribeye or sirloin, and Korean beef keeps it simple (and cheap) by using ground beef.

    What is korean beef called?

    Well, to answer this question we need to differentiate between two things. First, there is the recipe called “Korean Beef,” which is what this recipe post is all about.

    Then, there is a type of beef raised and butchered in Korea. “Korean Beef,” also called Hanwoo, is one of the rarest and most expensive meats in the world. Hanwoo, or Korean Beef, is so expensive because the meat comes from a small cattle that lives only in Korea. For the most part it is not sold in the U.S. and is very much a delicacy, even in Korea.

    is korean beef healthy?

    I think it’s a pretty darn balanced meal, personally! Lean ground beef offers lots of protein, you can add veggies galore for good nutrition, and you determine your carby (or non carby) side amount. While I think for most people this is already a healthy meal, there are plenty of things you can try to make it even leaner if you like. You can try swapping lean ground turkey for the beef, switching to cauliflower rice or serving the meat and veggies in lettuce wraps, or even using a brown sugar substitute to lower calories.

    rice in a bowl topped with Korean beef, sliced cucumbers and radishes, and matchstick carrots.

    Easy ground beef recipes

    The ever present “what am I gonna do with this ground beef?” question. Does anyone else have this problem? Here are some great options when you’re stuck in a (ground beef) rut!

    More stupid easy FAST dinner recipes

    Some nights you just gotta get ‘er done, amiright? Check out some of my other quick & easy favorites!

    spoon digging into a bowl with rice, Korean beef, edamame, carrots sticks, cucumber, and more.

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    bowl brimming over with sections of rice, Korean beef with Sriracha mayo, veggies, and sesame seeds.
    Print

    30 Minute Korean Beef Recipe

    Guys, there's easy, and then there's this recipe. Korean beef is unbelievably good for how little effort it takes. A pound of ground beef and some Asian pantry ingredients turn into a magical dinner in just a few minutes. Dress it up as much or as little as you want. Rice is a go-to, but you could add any veggies you have in your fridge, like cucumbers, carrots, edamame, broccoli…the options are endless. My new favorite weeknight meal!
    Course Main Course
    Cuisine American
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 25 minutes
    Servings 4

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound lean ground beef 93/7 is best
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame seed oil or regular sesame oil
    • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic about 4-5 cloves
    • 1 tablespoon ginger grated or minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes more or less to taste
    • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon fish sauce optional
    • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar* more or less to taste
    • 1 bunch green onions chopped

    Garnishes

    • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
    • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce or your favorite hot sauce, add more to taste
    • sesame seeds to garnish

    Veggies you need for a Korean Beef Bowl

    • 3 medium carrots sliced into matchsticks
    • 1 English cucumber sliced
    • 4 radishes sliced very thin
    • 1 (5-ounce) bag frozen edamame

    For the rice

    • 1 & 1/2 cups long grain white rice
    • 2 & 1/4 cups water
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon garlic smashed and minced

    Instructions

    • Start your rice first. Add 1 and 1/2 cups long grain rice, 2 and 1/4 cups water, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon garlic (you can use jarred garlic) to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, with the lid on.
    • Once it reaches a boil (steam escapes from the lid) turn the heat down to low and set a timer for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off the heat but don't remove the lid. After another 10 minutes fluff with a fork. Leave the lid on until you are ready to eat.
    • Brown the meat. Place a 12-inch skillet over a burner and set the heat to medium high. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of toasted sesame seed oil and swirl to coat. Once the pan is hot, add 1 pound of lean ground beef. Stir and break up the meat into small pieces. Keep cooking until all the meat is completely cooked, about 5-8 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium.
      (If you didn't use lean ground beef, take a minute now to drain the grease from the pan.)
    • Add seasonings. Smash the 5 cloves of garlic and mince finely, you should end up with about 1 tablespoon. Grate or mince the ginger until you get about 1 tablespoon.
    • Add the garlic and ginger to pan. Add 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes. If you like just a hint of spice, start with 1/2 teaspoon, if you like things very spicy start with 1 teaspoon. You can always add more flakes later if you like it hot.
    • Stir everything together and cook for 1-2 minutes over medium heat until the garlic and ginger are very fragrant.
    • Add sauce ingredients. Add in 1/4 cup of low sodium soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, and start with 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Stir it all in and let it cook for a minute or so.
    • Taste it and decide if you want it sweeter. I usually add 2 more tablespoons to make it a full 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Play around with it until you get the sweetness level you like. You can also add any salt or black pepper to taste at this point (but remember, even low sodium soy sauce is very salty so be careful.)
    • Add green onions. Once you have the taste where you like it, turn off the burner. Chop the bunch of green onions. Or, use scissors to snip them directly into the pan.
    • Add about three quarters of the bunch of onions. Mix well to let them wilt slightly with the warm beef. Sprinkle the rest over the top, or reserve for passing at the table.
    • Prep the veggie toppings, if using. Peel and chop 2 carrots into matchsticks.** Slice the cucumbers. Slice the radishes very thin. Follow the instructions on the bag of edamame for steaming in the microwave (it should say to microwave for about 2-3 minutes.) Don't forget the reserved green onions.
    • You can either add all the veggies to individual bowls and have guests build their own dinner, or plate each bowl of Korean beef with the veggies on top.
    • Sesame seeds. Don't forget the sesame seeds! I love the nutty flavor they add. Black or toasted white seeds are really good.
    • Make the sriracha mayo (optional) (but not really). In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and 1-3 teaspoons of sriracha sauce (or your favorite hot sauce) until combined.
      You can thin it with 1-2 teaspoons of milk if you want. Use a spoon to drip over the top of the beef and rice when plating. This mayo is not really traditional with Korean Beef, but I never pass up an opportunity to drizzle my food with sriracha mayo. Don't be a fool.

    Notes

    *I’ve successfully swapped out normal dark brown sugar for brown sugar Splenda to cut down on sugar content. Just add it in to taste! You can of course also use light brown sugar in place of dark. Keep in mind with either of these switches, the deeper molasses flavor won’t be as present.
    **If you are not into raw carrots, saute the matchsticks in a teaspoon of oil in a hot pan for about 7-9 minutes, until softened. Or, follow the instructions for pickling carrots on my Banh Mi sandwich recipe! That would be so good. Daikon would be another great veggie topper for this meal. 
    UPDATE: I just tried this recipe with ground turkey instead of ground beef. You should have seen the looks on my kids faces when I told them we were having Korean Turkey for dinner 😂 It was really good! A great option for those who prefer/require lean meats. 

    Grandma Georgia’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Did your grandma make you Chicken and Rice Casserole? It was my Grandma Georgia’s signature dish, pure comfort food. She called it “Chicken Continental.” She used Minute Rice and canned soup. I’ve updated the recipe to be completely from scratch, with a homemade sauce and white rice (which is more nutritious.) It’s still really easy,…

    Did your grandma make you Chicken and Rice Casserole? It was my Grandma Georgia’s signature dish, pure comfort food. She called it “Chicken Continental.” She used Minute Rice and canned soup. I’ve updated the recipe to be completely from scratch, with a homemade sauce and white rice (which is more nutritious.) It’s still really easy, and a great old-fashioned recipe for when you feel like you need a warm hug from your dinner!

    sliced chicken thigh in a bed of rice with broccoli in a wooden bowl.
    Table of Contents
    1. Old-fashioned chicken and rice casserole
    2. Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™
    3. Chicken and rice casserole recipe ingredients
    4. How to make chicken and rice casserole
    5. Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?
    6. What to serve with chicken rice casserole
    7. How to store easy chicken and rice casserole
    8. Can you freeze chicken and rice casserole?
    9. Rice and chicken casserole frequently asked questions
    10. More comfort food meals you’ll love
    11. Grandma Georgia’s Chicken and Rice Casserole Recipe

    This post is sponsored by Zoup! Good, Really Good®, but all opinions are my own of course! Thanks for supporting the amazing brands that keep The Food Charlatan chugging along.

    My Grandma Georgia was an amazing lady who grew up poor, helping her family on their farm from a young age. She remembers hearing the wind whistle between the wooden slats of their house growing up in the 1920s. Once when I was like 13, she saw me wearing overalls and she gave me a funny look. “Why are you wearing those? When I was a girl, that’s what I wore when I went outside to WORK.” My 2001 fashion statement was strange to her. (To be fair, if you saw pictures of me when I was 13, you would think I looked strange no matter what I wore. Puberty hit me HARD, y’all 😂)

    Grandma would bring us roses cut from her garden every time she visited in the spring. She had porcelain figurines (dogs, cats, dancing ladies) all over her house that I adored. She made me a homemade dress every Christmas, and quilts too. She grew her own grapes and blackberries in the backyard and made the most amazing juice and pies.  

    One time when I was very young, grandma had to cancel dinner plans because she got a stomach bug. We decided to make her get well cards. I drew an extremely detailed picture of her bathroom, down to the bath toys she had for us, and the potpourri on the back of the toilet. I was very proud of my picture, and devastated when my sister told me we probably shouldn’t give it to her…because it also showed grandma on her knees violently throwing up in the toilet. (Still wish someone had saved that picture, ha!)

    wooden spoon scooping up a cooked chicken thigh from the rice in a casserole dish.

    My grandma passed away when I was 20 years old, about a month after my wedding. We had just spent time together, and Eric and I were poor. (Not overalls-poor, not wind-in-the-slats-poor…but just starting out, and we felt poor). I lived out of state and decided not to attend the funeral, since I had been able to say my goodbyes at the wedding. I don’t have a lot of intense regrets in my life, but this is one of them. Funerals are much more about closure for the living, something I didn’t realize at the time.

    I’ve come to terms with it, but there is still a hint of yearning, a little bittersweetness, whenever I think deeply about her, that I don’t think I will ever lose.

    When I make her recipes, I feel a little connection to my past, a connection to HER, that I treasure so much. She was the most quintessential of grandmothers so of COURSE she was a phenomenal cook. My siblings and I often reminisce about the good ol days when she would serve up Chicken and Dumplings with a glass of fresh grape juice and Blackberry Torte for dessert (recipe coming this summer!)

    Her signature dish was this “Chicken Continental,” or chicken and rice casserole. I can’t even describe the dreamy look in my dad’s eye when he talks about his mom making this dish. There is something about food from your childhood, right? His and mine both. It’s like a hug from your dinner…the next best thing to an actual hug from your Grandma.

    seared chicken pieces in a casserole dish surrounded by creamy cooked rice.

    Old-fashioned chicken and rice casserole

    The recipe sounds so basic. Chicken and rice, what’s the big deal? Sounds kinda dry right. But I’m telling you, get ready for some MAGIC. When I finally nailed the recipe, I sent it to my best friend Sarah and she made it for her family. She texted me:

    text message saying how good a recipe was.

    The depth of flavor is legit. The chicken gets cooked alongside the rice, and absorbs all the amazing flavor. We are using skin-on, bone-in chicken, and that’s not an apology. I told you, this recipe is old school. After breading and browning it, the skin magically stays super crispy throughout the bake, even with the moisture of the rice.

    Using bone-in dark meat, like drumsticks and thighs, ensures that the chicken doesn’t get dry, even with the long bake time. Grandma Georgia’s original recipe calls for searing a whole fryer chicken, but I’m not mature enough for that. 😂 Using bone-in dark meat gives you the same result.

    After searing the chicken, Grandma mixed together a couple cans of cream of mushroom soup with some Minute rice and tossed it all in the oven. Today we are making our own sauce instead of canned soup. I promise it’s not hard, and the flavor is so good.

    We are also using regular white rice. Minute Rice is basically half cooked white rice, and it turns out pretty gummy. It also doesn’t have a lot of nutrients (we need that fiber!), and it’s not an ingredient I usually have in my pantry (but I always have rice). The total time for baking ends up being longer using white rice, but I think it’s worth it.

    bowl filled with chicken and rice casserole and broccoli on the side.

    This recipe is NOT the same as a Chicken Broccoli Casserole. That recipe starts out similar, with some cream of chicken soup and chicken, but ends with a panko topping and lots of gooey cheddar cheese. Cheese is always a good idea right?

    No no no. I LOVE me some cheese my friends, but it has no place in this dish. Cheese would overpower the deep chicken flavor we are going for in this recipe.

    My absolute favorite part of this dish is the crispy bits of rice on the edges and bottom of the pan that Sarah mentioned. Almost every culture that uses rice as the staff of its diet has a name for the crispy, golden rice. Persians call it Tahdig. In the Dominican Republic they call it “concon.” In Indonesia it’s called “intip.”

    creamy rice, cooked chicken drumstick, and broccoli in a ceramic bowl.

    You can see it in the photo above, the golden crisp rice on the top and left side that still has the shape of the pan it was scraped from. It’s SO good.

    Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™

    Today’s post is brought to you by Grandma Georgia, of course, but also by Zoup! Good, Really Good®. I’ve worked with Zoup! in the past using their chicken broth (Creamy Turkey Rice Soup) and beef broth (Beef Bourguignon). Let me tell you, this company knows what’s up when it comes to flavorful broths! That’s actually how they got started, they were the team behind an actual soup restaurant (Zoup! Eatery) before they started expanding into products. So they really know how to bring in that flavor!

    This time they asked me to try out their new product, Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™. I was SO excited. I’ll tell you a secret, I almost never have regular broth on hand in my kitchen. I rely on broth bases that are concentrated, so that I can just add water to them to make broth when I need it. It’s not only my favorite way to have instant shelf-stable broth on hand at all times, but it’s also my secret ingredient in SO many recipes, even those that don’t call for broth. A spoonful-here or a stir-in there takes your ho-hum soup or stir fry up about 10 notches in 10 seconds.

    a spoon dipping into a jar of chicken broth base on a table.

    There are not a lot of brands that offer this product and I’m SO glad that Zoup! has branched into this market! Just look at the gorgeous color of this base. You will not believe how amazing it smells. It’s so good, and you can even turn it into a sipping broth. It’s good enough to drink, just mix with hot water. There are no artificial flavors, no preservatives, no inexpensive fillers, and no added sugars.

    3 cans of broth base concentrate on a tabletop.

    I love Zoup! because they make their products in small batches, meaning the nuances of the recipe don’t get lost. So far, they are offering beef, chicken, and vegan broth bases. The depth from this concentrate seeps into the rice in today’s casserole and makes every single bite so, so flavorful. They are not cutting corners and it shows!

    I found Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ at my local grocery store, but you can also get it at Zoupbroth.com or on Amazon. In addition to these broth bases, Zoup! also offers traditional broths and bone broths, including chicken, beef, and veggie, plus super-premium, shelf-stable soups available in nine, flavor-forward recipes, like Chicken Potpie and Butternut Squash with Brown Butter and Sage.

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    Chicken and rice casserole recipe ingredients

    Back to the recipe! Here’s everything you need to make Grandma Georgia’s rice and chicken casserole! You probably already have a lot of these spices in your cupboard. Take a look, and be sure to check out the recipe card for exact amounts and instructions.

    Ingredients to make chicken and rice casserole - chicken, rice, and ingredients for white sauce.
    • bone in, skin-on chicken thighs
    • chicken drumsticks
    • kosher salt
    • flour
    • seasoning salt
    • poultry seasoning
    • black pepper
    • cayenne
    • butter
    • oil

    How to make chicken and rice casserole

    This recipe is so easy! My grandma used an entire fryer chicken to make this recipe, that she would break down herself, but umm…I’m not grown up enough for that 😂 So instead we are cheating by using some thighs and drumsticks.

    top raw bone in chicken, bottom same chicken pieces dredged in flour mixture.

    Dark meat all the way! (You could certainly make this with chicken breasts, but your chicken might get a little dry in the oven since it has to cook so long.) Coat your chicken in the flour mixture, and DON’T throw away the leftover flour!

    a large skillet with 3 chicken thighs and three drumsticks, all seared on the top.

    Now it’s time to sear the heck out of your breaded chicken! Crank up the heat and brown the chicken in some oil. My grandma did this in butter (that’s what the recipe says!), but I have no idea how she didn’t burn the butter in the process. Vegetable oil has a higher smoke point, so it can handle a hot sear without smoking or scorching. To add in the flavor of the butter though, we are flipping the chicken and adding it to the pan for the sear on the second side. It does the job great! Gimme all that buttery flavor.

    Now if you haven’t already, take a minute to chop up your veggies: onions, celery and garlic. I used fresh garlic this time, but I often cheat and just use the jarred stuff.

    chopped onion, celery, and garlic on a cutting board with a chef's knife in the background.

    You want to chop your veggies on the small side. We are looking for flavor, but the onion and celery should kind of melt into the sauce and rice. My grandma actually grated her onion, and didn’t use a ton, just a few tablespoons. I wanted bigger onion flavor (and I’m way too lazy to grate…are you noticing a theme here?? 😂) It’s workin for me guys!

    Okay now we are going to turn this into a white sauce. Mine is usually not white at all, because I tend to be an onion browner, not to mention a chicken-searer-gone-rogue. I love blackened edges too much, okay??

    top flour added to sautéed onions and celery in skillet, bottom flour all mixed in and coating the veggies.

    Your onions will start to stick together like this once you add the flour to the mixture.

    adding zoup chicken base with bone broth into the skillet with the flour coated vegetables.

    Now it’s time to add in our Zoup Culinary Concentrate™! This stuff is liquid GOLD you guys. Give it a sniff, it will knock you out, it smells so good. Stir it into your onions and let the aroma transport you to your childhood.

    wooden spoon stirring flour and zoup bone broth base covered veggies in metal pan.

    Next we’re going to add in some milk and water to turn it into a creamy sauce. You have to stir constantly as you add the liquid, so the sauce doesn’t get clumpy.

    Do you cook rice before putting it in a casserole?

    We are not cooking the rice before it goes in the oven! Add the remaining water and rinsed rice straight to the casserole dish.

    Add the white sauce to the casserole dish with the rice and water, then top with the seared chicken. Doesn’t it look so good already??

    seared chicken pieces nestled into a rice and white sauce/water mix in a casserole dish.

    Don’t forget to tightly cover the dish with aluminum foil before putting it in the oven. This is really important! You must cover a pot of rice when you cook it on the stove, to lock in the steam, and the same thing applies here.

    Then, cook in the oven for a good long while. Usually we wouldn’t bake chicken this long, but this is a special case. With all the moisture and steam, plus using only dark meat, the chicken comes out tender and flavorful, not dry at all.

    The casserole does take a while to bake, so plan ahead. But from this point on you can just sit back and relax, the work is done!

    Make some broccoli as a side dish, sprinkle on some parsley garnish, and bon appetit! I wish you could see my dad’s face when I make this for him. Grandma Georgia was his mom. There is NOTHING that brings you back like the smells and tastes of your mama’s kitchen!

    looking down on a chicken and rice casserole filled 9x13 ceramic dish.

    What to serve with chicken rice casserole

    There is usually a lot going on in a casserole, so I tend to prefer simpler sides. My favorite sides are usually some kind of salad or a cooked vegetable I know my kids will eat. Here are some great options!

    rice, broccoli, and chicken drumstick with bite taken out of it a wooden bowl.

    How to store easy chicken and rice casserole

    This is a really easy meal to store. Spoon the casserole into an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator. Easy peasy! It’ll last in the fridge for 4-5 days. If you wanted, you could use individual meal prep containers and add a portion of rice and a piece of chicken to each to make easy lunches throughout the week. To reheat, warm it covered in the microwave at 50% heat for 2-3 minutes until hot.

    Can you freeze chicken and rice casserole?

    Freezing leftover casserole is a great idea when you have a lot leftover or want to store individual portions for another time. It works great! Wait for the chicken and rice to cool, then add to freezer ziplock bags or freezer safe containers with airtight lids.

    If you really want to get ahead in life, you can prepare this meal in disposable foil casserole trays and freeze directly in the tray after cooking. Put the cooled pan in the freezer for about 30 minutes to flash freeze. Take out, wrap well in plastic wrap, then wrap in aluminum foil. Label the top in sharpie so you don’t forget what it is! It will last in the freezer for 3-4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and place individual portions in the microwave, cover, and heat at 50% power for 2-3 minutes.

    To reheat an entire frozen pan, first be sure to remove the plastic wrap. Put the foil back on and put the pan into a cold oven. Set the temperature to 350 degrees. The casserole should be ready in about 2 hours. You can remove the foil the last 10-15 minutes if you’d like to get it browned. You can also thaw the casserole in the fridge overnight and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

    well seared chicken thigh on a bed of creamy rice with broccoli in a bowl.

    Rice and chicken casserole frequently asked questions

    what are the four components to a casserole?

    There are obviously huge variations among casseroles, and some may not have every single component. But generally, what you’ll find in casseroles are a starch, a protein, a vegetable, and a binding agent or sauce. For this chicken and rice casserole, we’re doing three of the four
    , leaving veggies out to ride solo on the plate next to the casserole.

    how do you make chicken and rice casserole?

    It’s a pretty simple concept! We’re going to lightly bread and sear some chicken pieces, then make a delicious white sauce to douse the chicken and rice in a casserole dish. For a step-by-step guide, you can look through the “How to” section above or check out the recipe card below!

    Can you reheat chicken and rice casserole?

    Absolutely! It can be warmed up in the microwave or in the oven. Over cooked chicken tends to get dried out, so if you use the microwave use 50% power and be sure to keep a cover over the food to keep moisture in and block splatter.

    To reheat the entire casserole dish in the oven, add a couple tablespoons water to the bottom of the pan, if there are some servings missing. This will help keep it from scorching. Learned that trick from my mother-in-law! Then make sure it’s covered tightly in foil to keep moisture in, and put the dish into a cold oven. This is mostly to prevent a cold glass dish from breaking by going into a hot oven, so you can preheat if you’re not using glass. Then set a timer for 45 minutes. Check after the timer goes off, it may need another 15-30 minutes to get hot depending on your baking dish, and how much is in it. Because it makes so much, you can even split into two pans and bake that way. This works great for busy weeknights!

    cooked chicken pieces and creamy cooked rice in a casserole dish.

    More comfort food meals you’ll love

    I don’t know about you, but anything my Grandma made growing up counts as comfort food, so this casserole is on my list for sure! Check out these other recipes I love to make when I need a big hug from my dinner.

    browned chicken drumstick with rice from the casserole and broccoli in a ceramic bowl.
    sliced chicken thigh in a bed of rice with broccoli in a wooden bowl.
    Print

    Grandma Georgia’s Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Did your grandma make you Chicken and Rice Casserole? It was one of my Grandma Georgia's signature dishes. She called it "Chicken Continental." It called for Minute Rice and canned soup. I've updated the recipe to be completely from scratch, with a homemade sauce and regular white rice (which is more nutritious.) It's still really easy, and a great old fashioned recipe for when you feel like you need a warm hug from your dinner!
    Course Main Course
    Cuisine American
    Prep Time 30 minutes
    Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
    Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
    Servings 6
    Calories 671kcal

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound bone in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 thighs)
    • 1 pound chicken drumsticks (about 3 drumsticks)

    Flour mixture to go on chicken. Save the remainder!

    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1 tablespoon dried parsley or use 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
    • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Fry the chicken

    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 2 tablespoons butter

    For the white sauce

    • 6 tablespoons butter
    • 1 medium onion chopped finely
    • 3/4 cup celery finely chopped
    • 1 tablespoon garlic smashed and minced (about 4-5 cloves, or from a jar)
    • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth
    • 1/2 cup of the remaining seasoned flour mixture
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup water to add to onions
    • 1 and 3/4 cup water to add to rice in casserole dish
    • 1 and 3/4 cup white long grain rice rinsed until the water runs clear
    • parsley chopped, to garnish

    Instructions

    • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the edges of a large 9×13 inch casserole dish and set aside.
    • Chop the veggies: Finely dice 1 medium onion, in smaller pieces than you normally do. Dice 3/4 cup celery, don't be afraid to chop up some celery leaves too, they have great flavor. (I chop from the end of the full head of celery, I don't bother with individual stalks.) Smash and mince 1 tablespoon garlic (or, use the garlic from a jar if you are feeling lazy). Set aside.
    • Make the flour mixture: In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon dried parsley, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon seasoning salt, 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Stir together.
    • Trim any excess skin off of the edges of the chicken thighs, if there is a lot hanging off.
      Dredge each piece of chicken in the flour mixture, being sure to coat each piece top and bottom and all over. DO NOT discard the remaining seasoned flour!
    • Sear the chicken: Heat a high-sided 12-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil and swirl to coat. Add the chicken in a single layer; do not crowd the pan. Leave 1-2 inches of space in between pieces. Do it in two batches if your pan is small. Let the chicken sear over medium high heat for about 2 minutes, until well-browned. We are not cooking it all the way, just browning the edges.
    • Use tongs to flip each piece of chicken. Once the chicken is flipped, add 2 tablespoon butter and swirl around the edges of the chicken, lowering the heat a little if necessary to avoid burning the butter. After 1-2 minutes of searing the second side, when it is nice and browned, remove the chicken to the same plate from before.
    • Make the white sauce: Leave any drippings in the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add 6 tablespoons butter. Add the diced onion and celery and saute for about 4 minutes until soft. Add 1 tablespoon minced garlic and cook for another 1 minute.
    • Measure the remaining seasoned flour mixture (that you have leftover from dredging the chicken). Add more flour as necessary to make sure it comes to about 1/2 cup. Slowly sprinkle the flour over the onions, stirring as you go.
    • Add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Zoup! Culinary Concentrate™ Chicken Bone Broth to the onions and stir it in.
    • Stirring constantly, gradually add 1 cup milk, whisking constantly to break up the flour. Do not add more liquid until the last bit has been incorporated.
    • Slowly pour 1 cup water into the onions, stirring constantly to make sure it combines with the sauce; you don't want lumps. Once it is incorporated, cook the mixture over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then turn off the heat.
    • Rinse 1 and 3/4 cup white rice in a strainer under running water. Rinse until the water runs clear, at least 30-60 seconds (this makes your rice less gummy.) Add the rice to the greased 9×13 inch casserole dish. Add 1 and 3/4 cup water to the rice in the dish.
    • Add the white sauce mixture to the rice and water in the pan, and stir.
    • Place the chicken on top of the rice mixture. It will sink down a bit, that's okay. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, this is very important! Sometimes I even wrap the foil around the bottom of the dish just to make sure I have a good seal.
    • Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes. At this point, turn the oven up to 400 degrees and bake for another 20-30 minutes.
      When the chicken is nice and brown, and the rice looks bubbly and thick on top, it's done. The edges of the pan should be very brown. The liquid will not look completely absorbed. To be 100% sure the rice is cooked, you can nab a spoonful from the center and taste it to see if it's nice and soft. If not, leave it in another 10 minutes. The chicken should be above 165 degrees. The top of the casserole will still look a little liquidy. The casserole will settle as it rests and continue absorbing some of the sauce, but it is meant to be a little saucy, it won't look as dry as rice you've cooked with water. The rice should be soft and the pan should be jiggly but not sloshy when you shake it.
    • Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve right away, sprinkled with chopped parsley as a garnish. I love this Easy Roasted Broccoli Recipe as a side dish with this meal!

    Nutrition

    Calories: 671kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 155mg | Sodium: 1523mg | Potassium: 458mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 699IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg