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Szechuan Beef Pasta

This easy recipe for Szechuan Gourmet Beef Pasta is a family staple and a reader favorite. Flavorful ground beef and pasta make it easy to skip the takeout and still keep weeknight dinners delicious! So much simpler than traditional Szechuan Beef and just as flavorful.

a plate of szechuan gourmet beef pasta on a black table with greens

Today I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite dishes: Szechuan Gourmet Beef Pasta. I’ve been making this Szechuan beef dish for years and we never get bored from enjoying it too much.

In fact, if too many days go by and I haven’t made it, requests for it inevitably start rolling in from family and even friends. It’s become such a part of our weekly family life that when it doesn’t appear we all really miss it.

What I love most about this particular ground beef and pasta dish is that it’s fast and easy. Traditional Szechuan beef isn’t difficult to make, but why bother when you can get the same amazing flavor with less work? It’s something different to do with ground beef from the typical casserole, tacos, etc.

a plate of szechuan gourmet beef pasta on a black table with greens and chopped peanuts

What is Szechuan Beef?

If you see “Szechuan” in the name of a dish, you can bet that it’s going to be spicy. Szechuan cuisine is, by default, very spicy Chinese food and very flavorful. This Szechuan Gourmet Beef Pasta can be spicy but that’s completely up to you. It’s nowhere near as spicy as you might find in a Chinese restaurant, but it’s definitely just as delicious!

Here in the United States, Szechuan Beef is typically thin slices of beef that’s either coated in cornstarch prior to stir-frying or marinated in a cornstarch mixture. It’s very flavorful with a sweet and sometimes spicy sauce. Assorted vegetables are usually added to the stir-fry, then it’s all served over rice.

How Szechuan Gourmet Beef Pasta is different

This version uses ground beef and pasta and skips coating the beef in cornstarch. Instead, the cornstarch is used to thicken the sauce which is much easier. The sauce is sweet and I like to add plenty of crushed red pepper to balance the flavors. Some readers keep it sweet to appease any eaters who aren’t fond of spicier foods.

You may want to start with a bit less hoisin sauce and increase to your taste. The same goes for the crushed red pepper. Start with less and add more if you prefer it spicier.

I’ve made it with ground turkey, too, and even served it over rice or scallion pancakes. Both versions are fantastic (although we do prefer it with pasta). Use whole wheat pasta and turkey in place of beef and you’ll have the healthiest Szechuan Beef around!

a closeup of a plate of szechuan gourmet beef pasta on a black table

It’s an easy dish to make your own. Minced pork or chicken would definitely work here. I like to serve it with some veggies or greens on the side (bok choy is a natural choice but even some roasted asparagus would be good). I usually opt for steamed or sauteed spinach since that’s almost always in my refrigerator. Add a can of drained, chopped water chestnuts for a nice texture!

I haven’t tried it (yet), but minced mushrooms would be really good if you wanted to swap them for the meat. You’d have all the szechuan flavors and your vegetarian friends would love you for it.

You can even sprinkle on some chopped peanuts, or add shredded carrot, chili, or tofu.

One of my longtime readers, Wendi H. from Seattle, WA, has raved about this dish for years. She frequently posts about it on Facebook and often makes funny Szechuan Beef references on my personal Facebook posts (we became Facebook friends through Szechuan Beef, haha)! She’s made this dish for her family once a week since first trying it several years ago and they’ve never tired of it, either!

a plate of szechuan gourmet beef pasta on a black table with greens

Szechuan Beef Pasta

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Make a double batch and freeze some of the Szechuan Beef for an even easier weeknight meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions
  • 8 ounces vermicelli, cooked (spaghetti or rice are also good)

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring it occasionally and breaking it up as you go. Drain off any fat and set it aside.
  2. Pour the sesame oil into the same pan. When it's shimmering, add the onion, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Saute for a few minutes until the onion has softened.
  3. Whisk together the cornstarch and beef broth until it's smooth. Add the broth mixture, hoisin sauce, and soy sauce into onion mixture. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, then cook about one minute more (continuously stirring). Add the ground beef back to the pan and cook for a few minutes until it's hot.
  4. Toss the Szechuan gourmet beef with the hot cooked pasta. Top with the chopped green onions and serve.

Notes

You can make this dish as spicy (or not) as you like. See the post for ideas and variations.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 572Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 1057mgCarbohydrates: 41gNet Carbohydrates: 38gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 37g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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Tuesday 21st of September 2021

[…] you love beef and pasta together, try this Szechuan Gourmet Beef Pasta (it uses ground beef and comes together in just 25 […]

Lester

Tuesday 14th of April 2015

Thank you Wouldn't change a thing

Kristy Bernardo

Wednesday 15th of April 2015

Thanks, Lester! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. This is one of my favorites!

Theresa

Friday 4th of January 2013

Made this last night! Kids loved it! Thanks for sharing

the wicked noodle

Friday 4th of January 2013

I'm so glad! Thanks so much for letting me know, Theresa!

Wendi

Tuesday 5th of June 2012

This was AMAZING !!! My 5yo told me.... MOM, this dinner was DELICIOUS.... make sure and make it again !!" woo hooo (do note: only gave one shake of the pepper flakes).

the wicked noodle

Tuesday 5th of June 2012

That is so awesome, Wendi!! Thanks so much for letting me know that - you made my night! I do less pepper flakes when I'm making it for the kids, too. I figure I can always add more to mine later ;-)

Michelle

Sunday 28th of November 2010

That looks delicious!!

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