Made with flank steak and gluten-free, low-sugar ingredients, this Instant Pot Mongolian Beef is a healthy take on the Chinese classic. You can serve it with regular rice or cauliflower rice or greens for a paleo version.
What Is Mongolian Beef?
If you've never had Mongolian beef before, it's a dish usually served in Chinese restaurants. The dish was originated in Taiwan and its ingredients and how it's prepared are not actually based on Mongolian cuisine. The beef stir-fry is made with sliced flank steak (usually), onions, and vegetables tossed in a BBQ-like, sweet and salty Asian sauce. It's really moreish and is normally served over rice or noodles.
What Makes This Recipe Healthier?
Most traditional recipes use a lot of sugar and corn-starch or regular flour to thicken the sauce. Our gluten-free and paleo-friendly version is low in sugar and uses corn-free, grain-free ingredients. Don't worry, it still tastes pretty amazing and will get the thumbs from kids and grown-ups alike.
What You Need For Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
Beef: Most Mongolian beef recipes call for flank steak, which is a tasty yet cheap cut of beef. We used skirt steak, which is very similar to flank and is interchangeable in our opinion. Flank steak is probably a little more tender, so, by all means, use that instead.
Here is a bit more info about the differences between flank and skirt steaks. You can use rump steak or another type of steak as well.
For the healthy Mongolian sauce: Many recipes call for brown sugar (a lot of it) and soy sauce. We used coconut sugar instead. It's a great natural sweetener, which has a much lower glycemic index and no fructose compared to regular sugar. It has a lovely nutty, caramel sweetness, so it's a great alternative to brown sugar. We found that we didn't need to use as much as the traditional recipe use. This brand of coconut sugar is quite popular. You can use less than the amount stated but it will be less sweet.
And instead of soy sauce, we used gluten-free Tamari sauce. You could also use coconut aminos for a paleo version.
Thickening the sauce: We prefer to use arrowroot starch or tapioca flour instead of corn starch, but you are welcome to use whatever you have on hand. Because we're not flash-frying the beef in a hot pan, we're going to add the thickening starch at the end of the cooking process, rather than coating the meat before frying.
How To Make Mongolian Beef In Instant Pot
You will find the full list of ingredients, instructions and a nutritional breakdown below in the recipe card. Here are the basic steps and pictures to guide you along.
- Step 1. Saute ginger, garlic, chili and sliced steak for a few minutes.
- Step 2. Add the sauce and sweeteners and pressure cook on HIGH for 12 minutes with 2-3 minutes natural release.
- Step 3. Add the vegetables and cook for a few minutes on Saute function. Prepare the starch slurry mixture.
- Step 4. Stir in the starch slurry to thicken the sauce and turn the Instant Pot off.
What To Serve With Mongolian Beef?
If you're following a lower-carb, grain-free or paleo diet, you can serve this dish with cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, shirataki or konjac noodles or extra steamed Asian greens.
Alternatively, simply serve with cooked white rice or brown rice, quinoa or noodles of choice. We love a side of greens or a simple Asian salad.
MORE INSTANT POT ASIAN RECIPES
- Healthy Soy-Ginger Salmon & Broccoli
- Carrot Lemongrass Cilantro Soup
- Japanese Chicken Habichi (Soy Sesame Ginger)
- Instant Pot Brown Rice Salad With Peanut Dressing
- Chinese Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup With Spinach
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Instant Pot Mongolian Beef (Gluten-Free, Paleo)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 5 slices of long red chili
- ½ tablespoon grated ginger
- 1.1 lbs. skirt steak or flank steak, cut into thin strips (500 g)
- 3 cloves of garlic grated
- ⅓ cup Tamari sauce regular soy sauce or coconut aminos can also be used
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar if you can't find it, then use brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil optional but we love it
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce optional but adds a little umami flavour
To finish off
- 2 tablespoons tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
- 1 medium carrot cut into matchsticks
- 2-3 green onions cut into 1-2” long pieces (green and pale green part only)
- Serve with cooked white rice or cauliflower rice
- Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add coconut oil, ginger and chili and stir through. Add the beef strips and garlic. Cook for a minute, stirring a couple of times.
- Add the rest of the ingredients but not the tapioca, carrots or green onion. Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button. Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual (High Pressure) and adjust to 12 minutes. After 3 beeps, the pressure cooker will start going.
- Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 2-3 minutes naturally, then use the quick release method before opening the lid.
- Add the carrots and press Sauté key again. Cook together with the beef for 2 more minutes.
- In the meantime, combine ¼ cup hot water with the tapioca or arrowroot starch in a small bowl. I used my fingers to dissolve the starch. Add the green onions to the beef and then add 4 tablespoons of the tapioca slurry liquid. Stir through and turn the pressure cooker off. The sauce will thicken as soon as you stir in the starch.
- Transfer to a bowl and serve with cooked white rice or cauliflower rice.