This recipe combines noodles with savoury, fried ground beef and optional chilies, in a deliciously salty, garlicky, and sweet sauce. 30 Minute Ground Beef Noodles are a quick and inexpensive meal for the whole family!
This is a recipe that I could prepare over and over again and never grow tired of it! In fact, the day I photographed this recipe, I made it twice! I’ll get to that in a bit, but first, 30 Minute Ground Beef Noodles are what you should have for dinner tonight. It’s quick and easy, it is most certainly budget-friendly, it’s hearty and filling; and finally, it’s most certain family-friendly too!
If you’re like me, you might not have much leftover. But, if you do, it’s great re-heated too! I had enough so that the next day, I could use it as a side. Served with some steamed broccoli and a spring roll, I had a meal for the second day. Anytime I can make a recipe stretch so that it can be used up in the next night’s dinner, it’s a win for me! I swear, the worst part about cooking is making the decision of what to cook! And, don’t get me started on what sides to serve! Who’s with me?
HERE IS WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THESE NOODLES:
There seems to be a lot of ingredients, but most of them are pantry ingredients. You may have most of them already. In addition, there are a few ingredients that are optional, so if you don’t have them, you can just skip them. I’m talking about the whole dried red chilies, for example.
- Cantonese-style Chow Mein Noodles – Whenever possible, I will use the Rooster brand. But, sometimes, it’s hard to find them. In which case, I like to use these Young & Young brand. If you cannot find chow mein noodles, you can substitute them with spaghetti or linguine!
- Ground Beef – I used lean grass-fed ground beef from Ottawa Valley Meats. This beef was so lean, I didn’t need to drain the grease after it was browned!
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce – As a rule, we use low-sodium soy sauce. You can use regular soy sauce too, but if you do, cut back the salt to just a 1/4 teaspoon.
- Dark Soy Sauce – This adds flavour and colour.
- Worcestershire Sauce – This stuff is like a miracle worker when it comes to imparting flavour. Use it often to get really good results in most of your savoury dishes.
- Garlic – Freshly minced garlic is best. You will get more flavour.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger is best. Peel it and use a zester to grate it.
- Olive Oil – You need just a little bit to get the beef frying.
- Oregano – This might seem odd in an Asian-inspired noodle dish, but oregano always makes food taste like it has been simmering all day!
- Ground Black Pepper – Lots of it! Beef dishes love to be generously seasoned with this warming spice.
- Salt – Remember to cut back on the amount of salt by half if you’re using regular versus low-sodium soy sauce.
- Dried Red Chili Flakes – This is optional, but I love mildly spicy food, so I couldn’t resist!
- Dried Red Chilies – I love to cook with these. They add a warming, spicy flavour and pops of colour! They are optional. You can find them at any Asian grocer or online here.
- Sesame Oil – I use this as a finishing garnish. A little bit goes a long way in terms of flavour, but I can’t imagine noodles without it!
- Sesame Seeds – These are used to give the noodles a nutty flavour, but also used as a garnish.
- Green Onions – Used for garnish as well as a freshness.
HOW TO TOAST SESAME SEEDS
To be perfectly honest, this applies to any nuts or seeds, not just sesame seeds. If you are not familiar with toasted sesame seeds, then please try it just once. You will probably never revert to using untoasted sesame seeds in your cooking or baking again! I have tried using non-stick frying pans for toasting, but nothing works as well as a stainless steel pan. You could use a cast iron pan, but since they get very hot and retain heat so well, it’s easier to burn the seeds.
See the frying pan in this picture? That’s the exact one that I use all the time. I’m not suggesting you run out and buy this same cookware set, but I wanted you to see the pan – remember, do not use non-stick if possible. You’ll get better results with plain stainless steel.
So, unlike most cooking where you’re required to preheat first, you don’t want to apply that same rule to toasting seeds. Add the seeds to a cold pan. Place the pan on the burner and turn the heat on – no higher than medium and probably even less if using a gas burner.
Keep the seeds moving about. I use a rubber spatula. Once you start to smell that warm and toasty aromatic smell, pay close attention. The seeds will take on a slightly golden colour. Don’t let them get too dark. Once you’re satisfied, immediately remove them from the hot pan and transfer them to a dinner plate where they can be spread out to cool.
HOW TO PREPARE THE BEEF:
The first thing you want to do is to get the beef browning. Add the beef and the olive oil to a large skillet. Make sure the skillet is large enough to accommodate everything in the ingredients list. They will add be added to the skillet eventually, so you’ll need lots of room. Over medium-high heat, cook the beef, breaking it down into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no pink remains, add the garlic and ginger. Stir into the beef and cook for two minutes. In the meantime, boil a full kettle of water.
Next, reduce the heat to medium low. Add the low sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine. The dark soy sauce will help to darken the beef so that it looks well browned. I use this so that I don’t have to overcook the beef and dry it out to get it a really deep brown colour.
Now, add the oregano, ground black pepper, salt (remember to add half the amount of salt if you used regular soy sauce!) dried red chili flakes and dried red chilies, if using. Stir well into the beef mixture. Allow this mixture to cook on medium low heat while you prepare the noodles.
PREPARING THE NOODLES:
If you use the dry noodles – the ones that come in a cellophane package like the Young & Young brand, the instructions will most likely suggest that you boil the noodles in a pot of water for a specific amount of time. Let me tell you that this is not the way to go! I have been cooking or many years, and no matter which brand I use, if I boil the noodles in the manner suggested, they are always overcooked. I’ve toyed with lesser cooking time, but nothing seems to work.
This is how I prepare chow mein noodles every single time. No matter what the brand, this is how I do it and I’m always extremely pleased with the results. The key, you see, is to end up with a noodle that still has a bit of bite to it. You will be adding the noodles to the beef mixture and heating it all together, so there’s even more risk of overcooking if you boil the noodles.
Place a large heat-proof bowl in your sink. Next, set a large colander or strainer into it. It’s ideal if the bowl and colander fit well into each other without much wiggle room. Remove the noodles from the packaging and place them into the colander. Pour the entire kettle of boiling water over the noodles. If some of the noodles are not covered by the water, just use chopsticks or a fork to gently push them in. Wait a minute or two and pull out a noodle. Is it pliable? Taste it. Does it still have a bit of resistance to the bite?
This is when you decide how much time you want to let the noodles sit in that hot water. The “fresh” noodles, like the Rooster brand, will cook much faster – in less than two minutes. The “dry” noodles, like the Young & Young brand, will need more time – about 3-4 minutes. When cooked, lift the colander up to drain well and transfer noodles to the skillet with the beef. Please note: none of this section applies to pasta noodles like spaghetti or linguine! Follow package instructions.
BRINGING IT ALL TOGETHER!
Now that you have a skillet full of seasoned, spicy beef, go ahead and add the cooked noodles. Use tongs to gently toss the noodles with the beef until thoroughly mixed. This should take about a minute. Finally, add in the sesame seeds, sliced green onions, and the sesame oil.
Toss well to coat and mix everything together once again. Turn off the heat and serve the noodles into bowls. When lifting the noodles into the bowls, the ground beef tends to fall back into the skillet. Use a spoon to spoon the ground beef in the skillet over the noodles. Top each bowl with more sesame seeds and green onions. Serve immediately!
WANT TO MAKE IT VEGETARIAN?
Remember at the top of this post I said I made this dish twice in the same day? Well, that’s because once the one you see in the photos was prepared and plated, John.e, the vegetarian commented on how good it smelled and how delicious it looked. Whenever I prepare meat-based dishes, I always feel guilty that he can’t enjoy them. So, I made a brand new batch, but this time, instead of ground beef, I used vegetarian been crumbles.
If you use store-bought vegetarian crumbles like Gardein, Morning Star, or Beyond Meat, you can treat them all just like the ground beef. You will not need to fry them until the pink is gone, but heat them though just the same. Read the instructions on the package. Other than that, you can follow the recipe exactly as written.
If, however, you want to use textured vegetable protein in a dry version, you can do that as well. I have been using the dry format much more lately. It’s not only cheaper, but it has less additives. We purchase it from Good Rebel in Toronto. The only thing differently you need to do is to add 1 cup of the product to the skillet with the olive oil and 1 cup of water. Once the water evaporates, continue on with the recipe as written. Easy right!?
GROUND BEEF RULES
30 Minute Ground Beef Noodles was prepared with 100% grass-fed Black Angus lean ground beef. Sounds pretty fancy, doesn’t it? It’s not really. What it means is that the beef is sourced from a cow known as the Black Angus. The beef develops with more marbling than other types of beef. Marbling is the fat that you see running through steaks. It improves flavour, makes the beef more tender, and keeps it moist while cooking, especially when frying or searing.
Just one pound of beef will make enough for four pretty hefty servings. I source ground beef from Ottawa Valley Meats. The beef is completely antibiotic and hormone-free. And, of course, for me, it’s local! You should always buy your food as local as you possibly can. If for no other reason, it just tastes better! And, because it’s so lean, you won’t need to drain the grease!
If you are in Ontario, be sure to check out Ottawa Valley Meats. I absolutely love the quality of the beef, as well as the chicken and the seafood too! The prices are very competitive and they deliver right to your door! It’s a great way to stock up, especially with the upcoming colder months when everyone seems to cook heartier meals!
The first night I made this, I served it up just as is. As a complete meal, the recipe as written will feed three people. You might get four servings, depending on how much you like to serve as a meal. If, however, you are serving this as main, but would like to serve some sides with it, try thinking of 30 Minute Ground Beef Noodles as an Asian main.
Try some baked spring rolls or egg rolls. Steamed broccoli is always a good choice. We love broccoli and I probably serve it as a steamed side at least twice a week. For that matter, any steamed or sautéed vegetables would work well! I have a Hot and Spicy Szechuan Green Bean dish that would pair well, especially if you live for spicy food! Finally, if you want to try more noodle dishes, please consider my Vegetable Noodles, or my Garlic Sesame Lo Mein.
30 Minute Ground Beef Noodles
- 400 grams chow mein noodles
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional
- 20-22 whole dried red chilies, optional
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
- Add the beef and the olive oil to a large skillet. Over medium-high heat, cook the beef, breaking it down into smaller pieces as it cooks.
- When no pink remains, add the garlic and ginger. Stir into the beef and cook for two minutes.
- In the meantime, boil a full kettle of water.
- Next, reduce the heat to medium low. Add the low sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir to combine.
- Now, add the oregano, ground black pepper, salt (remember to add half the amount of salt if you used regular soy sauce!) dried red chili flakes and dried red chilies, if using. Stir well into the beef mixture. Allow this mixture to cook on medium low heat while you prepare the noodles.
- Place a large heat-proof bowl in your sink. Next, set a large colander or strainer into it. Remove the noodles from the packaging and place them into the colander. Pour the entire kettle of boiling water over the noodles. If some of the noodles are not covered by the water, just use chopsticks or a fork to gently push them in. Wait a minute or two and pull out a noodle. Taste it. Does it still have a bit of resistance to the bite? The noodle should not be cooked all the way through.
- Add the cooked noodles to the beef mixture. Use tongs to gently toss the noodles with the beef until thoroughly mixed. This should take about a minute.
- Finally, add in the sesame seeds, sliced green onions, and the sesame oil.
- Toss well to coat and mix everything together once again. Turn off the heat and serve the noodles into bowls. Garnish with more sesame seeds and green onions. Serve immediately!