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Low Carb Mongolian Ground Beef

This low carb spin on Mongolian ground beef pairs extra lean beef with a sweet, salty, and umami black pepper sauce that will light up your taste buds. It’s super easy to make, with a simple ingredient list and 20-minute total recipe time, and every serving is packed with 23 grams of protein and just 4 grams of carbs and fat. That leaves plenty of room for rice, noodles, or other fun pairings.

Mongolian ground beef in a bowl with basmati rice, green onion, and toasted sesame seeds

Low Carb Mongolian Sauce Ingredients

Mongolian sauce is typically made with a blend of soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and ginger, and sometimes dried or fresh chile peppers. My version calls black pepper and red chile flakes. These add lots of flavor without tons of heat, but you’re welcome to add extra chile flakes or dried chiles, chili oil, or fresh chile peppers (pictured below).

ingredients for Mongolian ground beef sauce in a mixing bowl

The key to making this Mongolian ground beef sauce low carb is the substitution of Swerve Brown for brown sugar. If you’re unfamiliar with Swerve, they make zero-calorie sugar substitutes that taste, measure, and cook exactly like their real sugar counterparts. The cooking part is really important because you’re after caramelization in a sauce like this.

If you don’t have this ingredient on hand or want to avoid artificial sweeteners, I’ve included nutrition facts notes in the recipe card below for the recipe with dark brown sugar. And if you’re hesitant to try new products for fear of never using them again, I have tons of recipes with Swerve brown. For example, my Firecracker Ground Chicken, Healthy Country Style Sausage Gravy, and Nashville Hot Chicken Burgers all call for it. It works for baking, too!

Making the Mongolian Ground Beef

Once you have your sauce settled, it’s as simple as browning and cooking a pound of lean ground beef before adding the sauce.

cooked lean ground beef with the Mongolian sauce in a sauté pan

Continue cooking, stirring every once in a while, until the sauce thickens. It should take about 6-8 minutes depending on your pan size and burner temperature.

thickened Mongolian sauce

Your spatula should leave a clean trail when you drag it across the bottom of the pan. If you still see broth or a runny sauce, keep cooking!

Once the sauce is the right consistency, you’re ready to serve. I’ll run you through a low carb Mongolian ground beef and noodles variation below followed by a few more serving ideas after that.

For Mongolian Ground Beef and Noodles

There are plenty of low carb noodle and pasta options out there, but one of my favorites is hearts of palm pasta. An entire box has around 60 calories and unlike other options (looking at you miracle noodles), there’s no weird taste. The texture is of course not like a real noodle, but it’s close enough in my opinion.

The recipe mentions Trader Joe’s hearts of palm pasta but if you don’t have access to TJ’s, I’ve used other products like Palmini pasta in recipes like my low carb pasta carbonara.

low carb Mongolian ground beef with Trader Joe's hearts of palm pasta

To make the ground beef and noodles combo, there’s virtually no extra work. Let the sauce cook for a few minutes before adding the hearts of palm pasta for the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. They’ll soak up flavor as they come up to temperature.

Feel free to use any noodle option you want, but you’ll probably want to cook any longer cooking options before adding to the finished Mongolian ground beef.

Additional Serving Ideas

You can’t go wrong with rice. To keep the carbs under control, we all know about cauliflower rice by now. We also know that not everyone loves cauliflower rice. In case you’ve never made my Tex-Mex ground beef and rice, one thing I like to do is mix cauliflower rice with the real deal to mask its meh-ness. There are also lower carb, higher protein rice options like the Right Rice in my Greek ground chicken and rice bowls.

If you wanted to add veggies to your Mongolian ground beef, you could do something like my sweet and spicy ground chicken and broccoli, pan roasting the broccoli for about 5 minutes before cooking the ground beef and adding at the end. Or you could take a page from my sriracha ground beef and green beans, adding a bit more broth and cooking the green beans as the sauce reduces.

ground chicken and broccoli with Greek ground chicken and rice

For a bit more fun, take a look at my friend Brandi’s air fryer egg rolls. Her version is for taco beef filled, but you could get creative with a Mongolian ground beef and veggie combo. Don’t have an air fryer? Try these oven baked egg rolls instead. You could also use wonton wrappers to make something like these Asian chicken wonton cups.

Whatever you end up doing with your low carb Mongolian ground beef, I’d love to hear about it. Come back and let me know what you thought about the recipe and how you served it in a recipe review. Those are always greatly appreciated! And if you have a question about this recipe I forgot to cover, leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

Low Carb Mongolian Ground Beef

Low Carb Mongolian Ground Beef

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Extra lean ground beef with a sugar-free Mongolian sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/3 C (80g) Low Sodium Soy Sauce*
  • 1/3 C (63g) Swerve Brown (or Dark Brown Sugar)
  • 5 cloves (20g) Garlic, grated or finely minced
  • 2" piece (10g) Peeled Ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 C (120g) Beef Broth
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds and Scallions, for garnish

Optional

  • 9 oz pack Trader Joe's Hearts of Palm Noodles

Instructions

  1. Add the brown sugar, black and red pepper, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce to a bowl and mix together before adding the beef broth. Set aside.
  2. Brown and fully cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Once cooked, add the sauce and continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 6-8 minutes. (If you're adding the noodles, add in the last 5 minutes.)
  4. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion. And if you're skipping the palm noodles, rice.

Notes

*Make sure to use low sodium soy sauce to avoid an overly salty dish. If you only have regular soy sauce, use a bit less and add more beef broth. You can always add more soy sauce at the end.

Nutrition Facts Notes

  • Nutrition info is for the Mongolian ground beef only with 96/4 ground beef. With the palm noodles, each serving has 180 calories, 25g of protein, 7g of carbs, and 4g of fat.
  • The nutrition info is for the beef with zero-calorie Swerve brown sugar substitute. It does not include any carbs from Swerve as erythritol has around 0.2 calories/gram. If you use dark brown sugar, each serving has 225 calories and 20g of carbs.
  • Each serving has 3 WW SmartPoints (blue).
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 23g

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Chad S.

Monday 5th of July 2021

I was nervous to try the Hearts of Palm noodles but this was so delicious. You nailed it!

Mason Woodruff

Tuesday 6th of July 2021

Thanks, Chad! I feel like I'm always pleasantly surprised when I use them. Especially considering the whole box has 60 calories.

Kris

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Good morning! I just entered the ingredients into MacroStax and my #’s are way off from yours. I triple checked the ingredients to make sure ours are the same and I came up with: 18.5 carbs, 35 protein, 8.5 fat and 280 calories per serving (with the yield as 4 servings). Can you please confirm if your numbers are correct or if it is on my end? Thanks so much.

Mason Woodruff

Friday 2nd of July 2021

See the nutrition info notes re: Swerve in the recipe card above.

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