I’m not sure if I subconsciously selected my friends based on their willingness to share bites of whatever they ordered for dinner with me, but THANK GOODNESS a good girlfriend let me taste her Chinese pepper steak when we went out for Asian last week. Were it not for her generosity, this Crock Pot Pepper Steak might never have come to be, and our lives would be worse off without it.
Pepper steak is a classic Chinese American dish that’s named for its two primary ingredients: peppers (bell peppers, specifically) and strips of steak (often sirloin, flank, or round). It’s in a thick, almost gravy-like sauce made with ginger and soy sauce; the sauce coats every morsel with its rich, savory flavor. No dry grains of rice here!
Pepper steak is typically served as a fast, stir-fry style dish, but I wanted to see if I could adapt it for the slow cooker.
We absolutely love Asian crockpot recipes like Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken and Crockpot Beef and Broccoli. Since everything is prepped in advance, by the time the meal is ready, it feels a little like someone made dinner for me.
Using the slow cooker to make pepper steak gives you the immediate reward of ordering takeout (hey look! I walked into the house, and dinner is magically ready), with the nutritional and cost-saving benefits that come with cooking healthy food at home.
After sampling several bites of my friend’s pepper steak (TBD if she’ll ever go out to eat with me again), I determined we all needed an easy version of the recipe to make at home.
I tooled around with the sauce a bit, adding more ginger to give it a fresher flavor and sweetening the sauce naturally with honey instead of the brown sugar often used in restaurants.
Forever a lover of a good veggie sneak, I also packed in extra bell peppers, so you can enjoy this recipe as a healthy, all-in-one meal.
Crock Pot Pepper Steak
Crock pot pepper steak is an easy homemade version of the classic Chinese American dish. Bell peppers and tender beef in a rich, thick sauce made with ginger, soy sauce and honey.
- 2 pounds sirloin cut into 2-inch, by ½-inch strips
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola oil grapeseed oil, or a different neutral oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
- 2 green bell peppers cored and cut into ½-inch strips
- 2 red, yellow, or orange bell peppers cored and cut into ½-inch strips
- 1 15-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce plus additional to taste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes plus additional to taste
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch divided
- Prepared brown rice quinoa or cauliflower rice, for serving
- Place the beef in a bowl and sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Toss to coat.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the beef and cook on all sides until the beef is lightly browned, about 5 minutes (no need to cook it all the way through). Transfer the beef and any cooking juices to a 6-quart slow cooker.
- To the skillet where you were just cooking the beef, add the onions. Increase the heat to high. Carefully pour in 1/4 cup water, stirring to scrape up any browned bits stuck on the pan. Sauté until the onions begin to soften and lightly brown and the liquid has cooked off, about 3 minutes, then transfer the onions to the slow cooker with the beef.
- To the slow cooker, add the green and red bell peppers (see recipe note) and tomatoes. In a small bowl or a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, honey, ginger, red pepper flakes, and 3 tablespoons cornstarch. Pour into the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 7 hours, until the beef is tender (you can also make this recipe on HIGH, cooking it for 3 to 4 hours, though I find the beef comes out more tender on low heat).
- In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch with the remaining 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to HIGH and let cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes to further thicken. The pepper beef will still be saucy, but it should resemble a thick, rich gravy. Stir once more. Taste and add additional salt, soy sauce, and/or red pepper flakes to taste. Serve hot with prepared brown rice and a sprinkle of green onion.
- The bell peppers will become quite soft during cooking; if you prefer them more crisp, wait to add them a little more than halfway through the cook time.
- TO STORE: Place leftover steak in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store pepper steak in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
SERVING: 1(of 5); about 1.5 slightly heaped cupsCALORIES: 396kcalCARBOHYDRATES: 29gPROTEIN: 42gFAT: 11gSATURATED FAT: 3gCHOLESTEROL: 111mgPOTASSIUM: 928mgFIBER: 3gSUGAR: 14gVITAMIN A: 2036IUVITAMIN C: 103mgCALCIUM: 99mg