I say all the time that takeout food was one of the things that I missed the most when I began my journey to eating for my health. As I first began teaching myself to cook, there was something about Thai foods that seemed more intimidating to me. But trust me when I say that these meals truly can be so incredibly fun to put together!
This paleo and Whole30-compliant Thai Basil Beef is a perfect example. It’s an exclusive recipe from my book, Healthy in a Hurry, which is full of delicious, flavorful dishes that come together in a snap. So if you’re always on the hunt for dinners that come together fast and don’t take a lot of energy, this book would be a great addition to your cookbook lineup!
This one-pan meal only takes 15 minutes from prep to table and it tastes and smells like an authentic dish. And as if it can’t get easier… any ground meat will work here! I’ve tried beef, lamb, turkey, and dark meat chicken and the recipe turned out beautifully with each one. So feel free to use what you have on hand or what is on sale at the market.
Unique Ingredients to Create Thai Basil Flavor
Though the star ingredient might be tricky to find, don’t worry because I have a hack to replicate the flavor using easily available ingredients! Thai Basil, if you aren’t familiar, has a slightly licorice flavor and some heat to finish. However, if you aren’t able to find Thai Basil, you can substitute regular basil (just use 3 cups, instead of the 2 cups listed in the recipe). Then add a 1/4 tsp of anise or fennel to mimic that flavor profile. Just be sure to grind either one using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. And if you don’t have one of those you could pop them in a little baggie and tap them on your countertop with a rolling pin to grind them down that way.
Customize Your Heat & Spice
The number of chiles you choose to use in this recipe for Thai Basil Beef is up to you. But when I make it for my family, I use one chili, cook it into the sauce, and then serve out the kid’s portions. Then I add additional chiles to the grown-up portions. And I even leave a little extra chopped for Ryan to add to the top if he wants more kick. The bottom line is that this is very customizable and you can add whatever amount feels comfortable for you. Also, please don’t panic over the number of garlic cloves in this recipe! The full amount works so well with the other seasonings, I promise. And if you are following Whole30, this recipe is still for you! Just be sure to omit the coconut sugar.
Goes Well With…
My favorite accompaniment to this meal is my Sweet and Sour Thai Salad from Healthy in a Hurry, page 256. Try it!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! And if this recipe is right up your alley, Healthy in a Hurry is full of lots more delicious takeout-inspired dinner recipes and is an excellent resource to get you comfortable exploring world cuisines and flavors.
You can find my take on the classic Chicken Pad Thai on page 116.
My Kung-Pao Style Chicken was also a huge hit when I posted it as “Cook the Book” feature on Instagram recently, so that’s another great one to check out. Find it on page 177.
Photography by Aubrie Pick
Watch me make it on Instagram!
View this post on Instagram
Definitely looking for more gluten-free, grain-free recipes to try?
Here are some blog recipes to explore:
Thai Yellow Curry with Prawns
15 Minute Veggie-Packed Fried Rice
Instant Pot Thai Coconut Soup
Paleo Pad See Ew
SHOP THE RECIPEPrint
Thai Basil Beef (Paleo & Whole30)
- Prep Time: 8 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes
- Total Time: 14 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Asian
- 1/2 cup beef bone broth
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar*
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 8 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
- 1 to 5 red chiles, thinly sliced, seeded for mild flavor
- 4 scallions, white and tender green parts thinly sliced
- 2 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 cups packed fresh Thai basil leaves**
*Omit for Whole30
**If using regular basil instead of Thai basil, use 3 cups of basil and add 1/4 tsp ground anise or fennel when you add the chile, scallion, and garlic.
- Whisk together the broth, coconut aminos, fish sauce, and coconut sugar.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic, the white parts of the scallions, and half the chile slices and stir-fry for 20 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add beef, season with salt and pepper, and press down into a packed disc in the pan. Brown on one side for 2 to 3 minutes, then flip in pieces and cook another 1 to 2 minutes to brown the other side.
- Break apart the pieces and sauté 1 to 2 minutes longer, until cooked through. Drain off any liquid then return to the stove.
- Add the sauce mix and bring to a boil. Stir-fry for 1 minute, until the sauce thickens and coats the meat.
- Stir in half the basil and the green parts of the scallions and let wilt for 30 seconds.
- Remove from the heat.
- Sprinkle the remaining fresh basil on top and the remaining chile slices over top (if desired)
Serve hot with Sweet and Sour Thai Salad in Healthy in a Hurry (page 256)
Keywords: dinner, cookbook, Danielle Walker, easy, quick, against all grain