Thai Basil Beef

This stir-fry features the classic interplay of Thai flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy.

Thai Basil Beef

This stir-fry features the quintessential interplay of sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy flavors that characterize authentic Thai cooking. You can transform it into a creamy curry by adding unsweetened coconut milk at the end.

Makes two to four servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 lb. green beans
  • 3/4 lb. Japanese eggplant, cut into strips
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small jalapeño, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lime
  • 1 tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 tbs. coconut aminos
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • Generous handful fresh basil leaves


•  Boil the water in a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the green beans and eggplant, cover the pan, and steam the veggies until they’re just tender, about four minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and empty out the water.

•  Pour the coconut oil into the skillet and warm the pan over medium-high heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until just soft and beginning to get brown spots, two minutes. Transfer the pepper to the bowl with the beans.

•  Return the skillet to the heat; add the ground beef, jalapeño, and salt. Cook until the meat is browned and sizzling.

•  Peel and crush the garlic and place it in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the bowl and add the fish sauce and coconut aminos. Whisk with a fork to combine.

•  Return the veggies to the skillet and use two wooden spoons to toss them with the meat. Add the sauce and stir to coat the meat and veggies. Cook until the sauce browns and thickens. Turn off the heat, add the scallions and basil to the pan, and toss to combine.

•  Serve with a spritz of lime juice for an extra punch.

Tip: Basil is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as the minerals manganese and copper.

Reprinted with permission from Well Fed Weeknights: Complete Paleo Meals in 45 Minutes or Less by Melissa Joulwan, photography by David Humphreys, published on November 1, 2016, by Greenleaf Book Group Press. Copyright © 2016 by Melissa Joulwan.

Why No Numbers?

Readers sometimes ask us why we don’t publish nutrition information with our recipes. We believe that (barring specific medical advice to the contrary) if you’re eating primarily whole, healthy foods — an array of sustainably raised vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, meats, fish, eggs, whole-kernel grains, and healthy fats and oils — you probably don’t need to stress about the numbers. We prefer to focus on food quality and trust our bodies to tell us what we need.  — The Editors

Photography by David Humphreys

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