This beef and cabbage stir fry recipe is a quick and inexpensive meal that has an addictive sweet and savory Asian-inspired sauce! It's an affordable way to get your protein and veggies.
Why you'll love it
I can tell you that this was one of the first easy ground beef recipes I created, and I'm still very fond of it. What's not to like about a 30-minute meal that has two of the most budget-friendly ingredients, ground beef and cabbage? Pair them with a homemade hoisin, ginger, and peanut sauce, and it's a winning meal. Cabbage is a staple in both Asian and European cuisines, and it's just so good when sautéed until tender.
This simple cabbage stir fry with beef is ideal for busy families, college students, or anyone who loves a simple, comforting meal on a weeknight when you don't feel like putting in a ton of effort. If you're wondering what to make with that head of cabbage that's been sitting in your fridge, I encourage you to try this super easy stir fry recipe.
What goes into it
For the stir fry
- Cabbage - it's a perpetually underrated ingredient! If you buy a small green cabbage, like one of the smallest ones you'll see at the store, that will be more than enough for the 4 cups chopped cabbage this recipe calls for.
- Onion - my personal preference is Vidalia (sweet) onions for this one
- Beef - we're using extra lean ground beef
- Garlic - use even more than suggested if you're a garlic lover. I like to mince it with this garlic press since it bypasses the peeling step altogether. No sticky garlic fingers!
- Ginger - for a zesty quality. I use my Microplane to grate the ginger, and I keep a piece of fresh ginger in my freezer so I never run out, and it grates much more easily.
For the sauce
- Hoisin sauce - it's a savory and sweet sauce that's found in Asian cuisine. I like to think of it as a sort of Asian BBQ sauce. You'll find it in the same aisle as soy sauce.
- Peanut butter - the creamy kind works best for this recipe. Peanut-hoisin is a classic combo that tastes great together.
- Soy sauce - for another savory layer. I used regular, but you can use low sodium if that's a consideration.
- Sriracha - we're not adding enough to make this dish spicy. It just adds more flavor.
- Use a creamy peanut butter so that the sauce ends up smoother. If you normally keep it in the fridge, take it out 20 minutes before starting to warm it up so it's not hard and cold and incorporates into the sauce properly.
- If the sauce seems too thick, simply thin it out with a bit of water. Start with a tablespoon and go from there.
How to make beef and cabbage stir fry
This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
- Chop the cabbage and onion. You don't need to be precise. In a skillet, brown the beef. Add in the garlic and ginger, and cook for another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the cabbage and onion, and continue sautéing until the cabbage has softened and the onion is cooked through.
- Remove from the heat, and toss with the sauce ingredients. Serve right away over rice or noodles if desired.
Substitutions and variations
- I wouldn't say this recipe is spicy even with the sriracha, but you can leave it out if it's not something you buy or enjoy. On the flipside, feel free to add more if you want to kick up the spice level! Crushed red pepper flakes work too.
- Some readers have added in other finely chopped veggies to this stir fry to amp up the vegetable content. Try carrots, snow peas, or diced bell peppers.
- As with any recipe, you can definitely add more of an ingredient to customize it to your tastes. Don't by shy if you want to add more hoisin sauce, for example! I don't think you can go wrong with recipes like this.
What to serve with it
- You could serve this ground beef and cabbage stir fry with rice like I did. I like jasmine rice best, but your favorite variety will be just fine.
- It would also work well with noodles. Try ramen noodles, Udon, or even rice noodles.
- Serving it as-is by itself or in lettuce wraps as a low carb dinner is another option!
Leftovers and storage
- This stir fry is best eaten fresh, but you can store leftovers in the fridge for a couple of days in an airtight container.
- I don't recommend freezing this one.
- Reheat in a saucepan over a low heat, giving it an occasional stir. Let it warm through.
Questions about this beef and cabbage stir fry, or want to leave a review? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! If you made one of my recipes, tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry
- 4 cups green cabbage chopped
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon ginger grated
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 heaping tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce or more to taste
- Chop the cabbage and onion.
- Add the ground beef to a skillet over medium-high heat, and cook it, breaking it up with your spoon as you go along, until it's just browned (about 5-6 minutes). I don't drain the little bit of fat released, but if you use fattier ground beef, you may want to spoon some of it out.
- Stir in the garlic & ginger and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add in the cabbage and onion and continue sautéing, stirring occasionally, for another 8-10 minutes or until the cabbage is softened to your liking and the onions are cooked.
- Take the skillet off the heat and stir in the hoisin sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce, and sriracha sauce (feel free to taste it then add more of any ingredient you choose if needed). Serve immediately (I like to serve it over rice). I garnished with scallions mostly to add some color to the photos... that's totally optional!
- Use low-sodium soy sauce if sensitive to salt.
- If the sauce looks too thick, simply thin it out with a tablespoon or so of water.
- This dish isn't spicy, but feel free to leave out the sriracha if it's not your thing.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.