Brimming with saucy ground beef, chewy rice noodles, and plenty of veggies, our Spicy Beef Noodles are the perfect way to get dinner on the table fast and without complaint. These guys are equal parts sweet, spicy, and delicious and we can’t get enough of them. Perfect way to use up leftover ground beef and veggies.
Spicy Beef Noodles
Instead of using leftover ground beef to throw together tacos or something equally uninspiring (although the occasional taco night is absolutely a must in a busy household), take an extra five minutes to whip up our Spicy Beef Noodles. A quick, easy, delicious way to make dinner a little bit more exciting.
Of course you don’t have to wait until you have a mountain of ground beef leftover to reap the benefits of this ultra easy meal. Simple staple pantry ingredients mean these guys can be thrown together any time.
At its core, this is simply noodles tossed with beef, veggies and a soy-based sauce. We’ve peppered little tidbits of some of our other quick and easy recipes into the sauce so if you’ve made any of our Asian recipes, it may seem familiar.
We pulled the samba oelek from our Chili Garlic Noodles, the simple soy sauce mixture from our 5-Ingredient Peanut Noodles and the herbaceous hints of basil from our Drunken Noodles.
Every bite is packed with ground beef, chewy rice noodles, plenty of veggies, and the most delicious sweet, salty, and lip-tingling taste.
What makes this particular recipe even more appealing is the versatility of the ingredient list. Use whatever veggies you have wasting away in the fridge. Swap out the ground beef for ground chicken or turkey. Don’t have rice noodles? Use spaghetti or linguine. The swap outs are only limited to what’s in your pantry or fridge this very moment.
Soy sauce. I almost always have a bottle of soy sauce on hand. I love the savory, saltines it gives to our Spicy Beef Noodles. You can also use tamari or low-sodium soy sauce.
Hoisin. I love to use hoisin for easy, quick-cooking recipes. It has about a dozen ingredients intertwined in the sweet and savory sauce so it adds a nice depth of flavor to recipes that don’t have a lot of ingredients.
Brown sugar. Even though there is some sugar in the hoisin sauce, I like to add a little bit more with brown sugar.
Lime juice. I love the acidic bite lime juice can give an asian sauce. It adds a nice zing, but if you don’t have lime juice on hand, you can swap it out for rice vinegar or leave it out altogether.
Sambal Oelek. This is where our Spicy Beef Noodles come into play. Start with two teaspoons and then slowly add more until you reach your spice comfort level.
Cornstarch. Cornstarch isn’t mandatory, but I do love the way it slightly thickens the sauce.
Ingredients in Spicy Beef Noodles
Beef. Use whatever ground beef you have on hand, though I always prefer to use a lean ground sirloin. If you are using something that’s higher in fat, be sure to drain most of the fat before adding the vegetables.
Veggies. As mentioned, use whatever veggies you have on hand. We had a red bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Zucchini, squash, baby corn, bok choy, asparagus, mushrooms – literally any vegetable will work.
Basil. Thai Basil Chicken is a popular dish for a reason. The fresh herb-forward flavor is such a nice departure from your typical Asian dish and I love the way it brightens up our beef noodles.
Rice Noodles. Rice noodles are absolutely not a must when it comes to this recipe, but I do love them. Because you soak them in warm water instead of cooking them, they retain this really lovely chewy texture. Plus you don’t have to take up room on the stove. Simply add the dried noodles to a bowl of hot water and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
We love this brand.
Let’s make Spicy Beef Noodles
Soak the noodles. Fill a large bowl with VERY hot water. Add the noodles to the bowl. After a minute or two, use tongs to move them around. Continue to soak.
Brown the beef. Heat a large skillet with high sides to medium-high heat. Add the beef. Cook until the beef is mostly browned, about five minutes.
Sauté the veggies. When the beef is mostly cooked through, add the veggies. Continue to cook until slightly softened, about two to three minutes.
Make the sauce. While the beef and veggies cook add the soy sauce, hoisin, black pepper, salt, brown sugar, lime juice, sambal oelek, water, and cornstarch to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine.
When the veggies are softened and the ground is cooked through, add the sauce to the pan. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until slightly thickened.
Toss. Use tongs to transfer the softened noodles to the skillet with the beef and veggies. Save the starchy water. Toss the noodles with the beef, veggies, and sauce. Add a few tablespoons of starchy water. Toss until the noodles are coated.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Use any vegetable you’d like. Baby corn, mushrooms, zucchini, squash, bok choy, broccoli, and spinach are all good options.
- If you don’t have rice noodles, we like to use whole-wheat spaghetti. Lo Mein noodles, fettuccine or any long noodle works great.
- Swap out sambal oelek for sriracha.
- You don’t have to use ground beef. Ground turkey or chicken is a great substitute.
- Feel free to ouse all soy sauce or all hoisin if that’s what you have on hand.
More of our favorite Quick and Easy Asian Dishes
- Another great way to use leftover ground beef AND an easy dinner are these Bulgogi Lettuce Wraps. Brimming with flavor and honestly, one of my favorite recipes of all time.
- Our Spicy Dan Dan Noodles are a little bit more work than today’s recipe, but so worth it.
- Shrimp Fried Rice is always an option if we want something quick and easy.
Spicy Beef Noodles
- 6 oz rice noodles Swap out rice noodles for any Asian noodle, spaghetti, or linguine, but be sure to cook them according to the package directions instead of soaking them.
- 3/4 lb lean ground beef
- 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 large garlic cloves, thinly slices
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 2-4 tsp sambal oelek
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped basil, plus more for garnish
- 1/4-1/2 cup starchy water
- Wok or large skillet
- Mixing bowl
- Fill a large bowl with VERY hot water. Add the noodles to the bowl. After a minute or two, use tongs to move them around. Continue to soak. If you aren't using rice noodles, cook your noodles according to the package instructions.
- Heat a large skillet with high sides to medium-high heat. Add the beef. Cook until the beef is mostly browned, about five minutes.
- When the beef is mostly cooked through, add the red pepper, onion, and salt. Continue to cook until slightly softened, about two to three minutes. Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer.
- While the beef and veggies cook add the soy sauce, hoisin, black pepper, brown sugar, lime juice, sambal oelek, and cornstarch to a medium bowl. Whisk to combine. Ladel in 1/4 cup of the water the noodles are soaking in. Whisk to combine.
- When the veggies are softened and the ground beef is cooked through, add the sauce to the pan. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer the sauce until slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes.
- Use tongs to transfer the softened noodles to the skillet with the beef and veggies. Save the starchy water. Toss the noodles with the beef, veggies, and sauce. Add the basil. Toss again. Add a few tablespoons of starchy water if needed. Toss until the noodles are coated and basil has wilted. Add more sambal oelek, soy sauce, or salt as needed.
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