This easy Thai beef bowl with garlic and spinach over brown rice is an easy dinner recipe that will just take you 20 minutes from start to finish.
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Easy flavorful bowls are the best quick dinner ever! Everything in one bowl, tons of flavor, it really can’t get any better!
How this Thai beef bowl with garlic and spinach fits into my lifestyle
I LOVE Thai food. Like dream about it. My dad lived in Thailand for a couple years when he was younger, and that lead my mom to take Thai cooking classes from a local Asian market owner. So, needless to say, I grew up eating Thai food.
Then, I was lucky enough to visit some of the places that my dad lived with my family a couple years ago. I fell even more in love with Thai food then. Hot soups on a hot muggy day, yes please! A whole fish bought from a small roadside restaurant. Oh yes. Was I apprehensive? Yup, but one bite, and I was sold. I’d peel the skin back and pick the bones out of that fish any day it was so delicious. Pad Thai from a food court, that turned out to be the best pad Thai we had on our trip.
Again, I’m obsessed.
While there are a few unique ingredients for good Thai food, it just takes a couple, and they’re probably available at your local market. All you need is oyster sauce (which is thick like molasses, but doesn’t taste like molasses) and fish sauce that looks like vinegar, and smells like fishy vinegar. Don’t let these descriptions scare you, super fishy smells gross me out, and these are pretty fishy. But you don’t u
se a bunch in cooking, and they’re honestly some of my favorite sauces for any dish.
I was inspired by a Milk Street stir fried spinach recipe that I’d made for my birthday last year. Stir fried spinach, for my birthday? Like it was on purpose? Yes, it was and yes, it was so good I’ve made it since. The garlic is a game changer, and I added beef to this already delicious recipe to make it into a full meal.
How it’ll make your life easier
This is a one-two pan meal. One pan for the Thai beef and garlic and spinach, one for the rice. That’s it. You can use frozen or quick-cook rice so your rice will be done when the beef is. I also froze half the beef that I cooked up to make my beef stuffed squash. I didn’t thaw it, just threw the frozen crumbles into the pan and it cooked up really quickly. This is a great way to save time and energy. Because it really doesn’t take much longer to cook up a whole pound or tray of ground beef than enough for one meal. So cook up your proteins and save for the week. You can use them for very different recipes & love how much time you’ll save without sacrificing on interesting flavors.
Quick Notes on This Recipe
Where can I buy the Thai Sauces?
Fish sauce can be found at your local grocery store, and oyster sauce at an Asian market. You can also find them online if you’d rather have them delivered. Get them once and you can use them for lots of delicious recipes.
How do I prepare the garlic?
This Thai bowl is delicious on it’s own, but the garlic makes it. Slice the garlic thin, and yes you’re welcome- no need to mince it. Then toss it into a pan with some oil like canola or grapeseed oil. Remove the garlic once it’s golden brown, then cook the beef and spinach in the remaining oil.
How much spinach?
Spinach loses a ton of water when cooking, so it’ll shrink like crazy. Don’t hesitate to add a TON! 3+ handfulls is totally fine. It’ll stretch your meal out, and you’ll be surprised at how delicious it is. This is NOT your regular bitter nasty sauteed spinach. This is *cool* spinach.
Thai Beef Bowl with Garlic and Spinach
- cutting board
- Measuring Spoons
- Measuring Cups
- Large Skillet
- Medium Saucepan
- 2 tablespoons mild oil like grapeseed
- 7 cloves garlic sliced thinly
- 1/3 pound ground beef
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar I used turbinado
- 3 large handfulls baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cup brown rice cooked
- optional red pepper flakes
- Heat oil up in frying pan. Once oil is hot, add sliced garlic to pan. Fry for about 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove garlic, but leave oil.
- Add ground beef to heated oil. (use frozen precooked or uncooked ground beef) Cook until beef is browned. About 3-7 minutes depending on whether it's precooked or not.
- Add in oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Stir. Add baby spinach. Stir until wilted. Heat up rice while spinach is wilting.
- Add rice to bowl, top with beef and spinach mixture, then fried garlic. (optional: add red pepper flakes). Enjoy.
- Cook until water from the spinach evaporates.
- rice can take some time to cook, here's a couple ideas to expedite the cooking process:
- buy precooked frozen rice
- buy minute rice
- cook a large batch at the beginning of the week.
- find rice that takes just 15-20 minutes to cook
Here are a few of my other fave beef dishes:
Let’s get chatty:
- What’s your favorite cuisine?
- What would you add to this Thai bowl?