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Green Pepper Steak with tomatoes and onions
This vibrant and flavorful pepper steak stir fry is easy enough for a weeknight, and good enough for company!
Our Green Pepper Steak recipe with tomatoes and onions is easy to make. Once everything is prepped, dinner’s on the table in about 30 minutes. Serve this beef over rice for a complete meal the whole family will love.
Making Pepper Steak at home:
Start by slicing the steak thin then marinate in a mixture of soy sauce and granulated sugar while the other ingredients are prepped. For easy slicing, place the steak in the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes to firm up the beef.
Once quick fried, the steak is tender and flavorful with little crispy edges that I adore.
Next, the peppers and onions are sautéed until crisp-tender before adding garlic and ginger to round out the flavors. Everything is coated in a simple but tasty umami sauce thickened with cornstarch.
Finally, ripe tomatoes are stirred in at the end just until warm, but not cooked. Served over rice, this complete meal can be on the table in under an hour!
Pepper Steak has been popular in the United States since the early 1950’s.
I’ve made a few changes to my mom’s recipe over the years.
- The original recipe called for twice the amount of soy sauce than I use now. I found this pepper steak recipe is better with less, but pass extra soy sauce when serving, for those who want more.
- Mom’s recipe calls for a slurry made with cornstarch, soy sauce and almost a cup of water. We now use low-sodium beef broth in place of the water for more beefy flavor in the sauce.
- Instead of adding garlic and ginger to the skillet before the vegetables, I’ve switched the order. It takes longer for the vegetables to cook so they go in first. Garlic and ginger only need about 1 minute to become fragrant, which is all they really need to bloom. I found that overcooking garlic and ginger can make the sauce bitter.
- And I added onions, because who doesn’t love crisp-tender onions!
All these little tweaks have made this a much better dish that’s fool-proof and flavorful, every time!
Can you use red peppers instead of green bell peppers for pepper steak?
What are the best kind of tomatoes to use in pepper steak?
For the dish pictured here, I used some beautiful Campari tomatoes found at our local Wegman’s grocery store. Campari are larger than a cherry tomato, and have a nice sweet flavor. Roma tomatoes would also be a great choice here as they hold together well. I love the size and flavor of these smaller tomatoes, especially for pepper steak.
In the summertime, I use small garden fresh tomatoes of any kind or variety, and cut them into bite sized pieces that fit on a fork. It’s all good!
What’s the best cut of beef to use in pepper steak?
We haven’t tried every cut of beef for this recipe, but find that sirloin is always a great choice. Back in the day, I used round steak more often, like my mom, which is a little less expensive than sirloin.
Flank steak is also a very popular cut for pepper steak. You have several great options here, and only need 1 pound of steak to feed a family of six.
Tips for making great pepper steak:
- Have all ingredients prepped and ready to go. Like most stir-fry recipes, it doesn’t take long to get this dish on the table.
- Make the rice first. Rice takes longer to cook than the beef!
- Slice the steak very thin. To make this a little easier, put the whole steak in the freezer for 30 minutes before slicing. It firms up enough to slice easily.
- Be sure to marinate the steak for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. This is the first thing I do, then start the rice, then prep the vegetables.
- Don’t overcook the vegetables. Crisp-tender is best!
- Use regular soy sauce, not low sodium, for the best flavor. I’m very sensitive to salty dishes and always use low-sodium soy sauce, except in this dish. The flavor can taste watered down, in my opinion.
- Finally, don’t really cook the tomatoes. Gently toss them in the warm sauce and serve!
Can pepper steak be made ahead of time?
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Green Pepper Steak
- 1 pound sirloin or round steak sliced thin against the grain
- ¼ cup soy sauce divided
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup low-sodium beef broth
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 2 large bell peppers cubed (red, green, or both)
- 1 large onion sliced into wedges
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced or grated
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 large tomatoes cubed (or several small)
- Cooked rice for serving
- Soy sauce for serving
- Pour 2 tablespoons soy sauce and sugar over sliced steak. Marinate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours. While the beef is marinating, prep the remaining ingredients.
- In a small bowl or 2 cup measure, combine the cornstarch, beef broth, the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce. Whisk until blended. Set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high. Add half the beef and cook until browned around the edges. Turn the beef slices over and continue cooking for about 2 minutes more. Remove to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and more sliced beef until all meat is browned.
- Pour the last tablespoon of oil into the pan. Add the bell pepper, onions and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are crisp tender and slightly charred, about 5 to 8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the in the garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Sauté, stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Return the cooked beef to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, and the beef broth mixture. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gently fold in the tomatoes and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.
- Garnish with additional black pepper and parsley.
- Serve over hot cooked rice. Pass additional soy sauce for serving.
Here are a few more stir fry recipes you might enjoy: