Flank Steak Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper

Recently I got a call from my friend Elizabeth who said, “You’ve got to try my mother’s flank steak; it’s soooo good!” I begged the recipe from Maria (Elizabeth’s mother) and tried it out last night. It was terrific. Very tasty, everyone ate it right up. Best thing about it? It’s fast and easy. Maria adapted her recipe from one in a Williams Sonoma cookbook (details below).

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Flank Steak Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper Recipe

  • Yield: Serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed, cut on the diagonal into 1 1/2 inch lengths (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 lb of flank steak, sliced in half lengthwise (along the grain) and then cut into thin strips, 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide (put the steak in the freezer for 15 minutes before slicing to make it easier to slice)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, de-ribbed, and cut into thin strips 2 inches long and 1/4 inch wide
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch dissolved into 3 Tablespoons of water

All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce

  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped, peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, including green tops, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp chili oil

Method

1 While you are chopping the ingredients in preparation, bring a small saucepan of water to boil. Parboil the asparagus pieces for 2 minutes, drain, rinse in cold water, drain, and set aside. If you are planning to serve this dish with rice, in a separate pan, prepare 2 cups of white rice, following the instructions on the rice package.

2 Prepare the All Purpose Stir Fry Sauce by combining the ingredients in a small dish, and set aside.

3 Stir-fry the asparagus in a wok (or a thick-bottomed pan with at least 2" sides that can take high heat) in 1 Tbsp of oil, on high heat, for about 2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside.

4 Add another 1 Tbsp of oil to the pan and stir fry the beef strips, in 2 batches, for 2-3 minutes until browned but still pink inside. Return the first batch of beef to the pan and add the bell pepper. Stir and toss over high heat until just beginning to wilt, 1-2 minutes.

5 Quickly stir the cornstarch liquid and add it to the pan along with the stir fry sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 1-2 minutes. Return the asparagus to the pan, toss to evenly coat and serve with steamed white rice (unless you are going low-carb, in which case, leave out the rice).

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Adapted from a recipe in Meats and Poultry: the Best of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library

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30 Comments

  1. Colleen

    I made this for dinner last night…FABULOUS!!! My husband (picky eater) just about licked the wok!

  2. Denise

    Normally I take the lead on dinner in my house, but I had a huge headache a few nights ago. Spouse to the rescue! He asked what I had planned to cook. I gestured weakly toward the picture on this blog. He decided to give it a go, although generally he’s hesitant about trying new recipes, especially on a weeknight. I mixed the sauce, but he did the rest. Thanks for this great, straightforward recipe–the fantastic results have really encouraged him. His own review: “It’s so good it makes me want to cry.” Whoa!

  3. Sheeijan

    I like to cook a lot on Sunday so I have lots of leftovers to take to work for a few days. I made this last night and just loved it. The only thing different I did was used seasoned wok oil instead of chili oil since I didn’t have any and couldn’t find it at two different grocery stores I visited. The wok oil is made of garlic oil, sesame oil, onion oil, and something else I can’t remember. I threw in a few flakes of red pepper to give it some heat. The sauce is just so flavorful! The only thing I might do differently next time is use low-sodium soy sauce. I do low-carb, so without the rice it’s a little salty. I imagine it’s perfect with rice though.

    I’ve cooked at least a half-dozen of your recipes. I LOVE your website!

  4. nancy

    Hi, I tried this recipe and it was great! But, I like chicken a lot so any tips on when and how long to add the chicken instead of the beef?

    I would say about the same. But if you try it, please let us know what worked for you. ~Elise

  5. Sally

    I have a family member who is currently “off” steak of all kinds, so I’m going to try this with chicken — or pork or maybe even shrimp. I’m also going to substitute sesame oil and red pepper flakes for the chili oil.

  6. phil

    This may be a stupid question but how do you know how to cut along the grain?

    Not a stupid question at all. Muscle cells are in the shape of long skinny toothpicks. In a flank steak the muscles fibers are are aligned in one direction, you can see this by looking at the steak, there are dozens of parallel lines or tiny indentations on the surface of the steak. Flank steak comes from a well exercised muscle on the steer, which, unless you break up the muscle fibers will be very tough and chewy. The easiest way to “tenderize” the meat, is to cut it in thin strips, “against the grain” or cutting across the muscle fibers. So, look at the way the lines are going on the steak, and cut, not in the same direction, but across them, in the perpendicular direction. ~Elise

  7. faye

    My husband LOVES this recipe; he requests it three times a month.

    We’ve found the sauce is a little weak for our taste, so I’ve tripled it (with low-sodium soy sauce), add more ginger powder, and the flavors are just WOW. I also add a little more chili oil to give it a kick.

  8. Kate

    I love flank steak and am very sad it has gotten so expensive. I buy it whenever I see it on special.

    Indeed! They had it on sale at our local Raley’s grocery store for $5/pound last week, while at Whole Foods it was selling for $15/lb. ~Elise

  9. student

    I love the colors in this – so pretty. I wonder if it would be of any value to sear the individual items before cooking? You’d have to be fast with that thin steak, but maybe it would up the flavor even more? Ditto the red pepper and the asparagus.

    This came to mind because I roasted some red peppers in class yesterday (I’m a culinary school student) and the taste is always so wonderful on those.

    Hmmm. Your recipe has me intrigued!

    Well, since the items are cooked in a little oil on high heat in a wok or skillet, until just browned, I think that qualifies as searing. I had our commercial gas range on high to cook this, and I never use that setting, tends to burn everything else. ~Elise

  10. SAWII

    This was great! I left the aspargus on the side served the rest over the top of it and added more peppers (to accomodate my picky husband). We are so happy to have the knowledge to make these now.

  11. Burk

    Just tried this tonight, using leftovers from your grilled marinated flank steak recipe – terrific! I stir-fried the red peppers for a minute before adding the already-medium rare slices of flank steak. Very easy, very flavorful.

  12. Monica

    Instead of white rice try brown rice, it’s healthier and it tasted really good.

  13. Lilly

    Thank you for posting this wonderful recipe. I made this for dinner a couple of nights ago and my husband absolutely LOVED it. He loves asian food and he is very particular, but the flavor and balance in this dish was out of this world. He has requested this one again, and it has only been 2 days since I made it for the first time. This one is a winner, anyone out there that is looking for a great meal with lots of flavor and ease in preparation has to try this one.

  14. maureen wilson

    What is the proper way to cook a good flank steak?

    Sear it quickly, then slice it thinly against the grain. We have 2 excellent recipes for flank steak, one pan fried flank steak the other, grilled marinated flank steak. ~Elise

  15. Esther

    Hi, I ran into this wonderful site a few weeks ago and I was delighted to see these wonderful recipes that looked very appealing yet simple to make.

    I made this dish the other night (Flank Steak Stir-Fry with Asparagus and Red Pepper) and it was very yummy. My son who is home from College liked it so much he wanted me to make it again.

    The next one I want to try are the Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce and that Chocolate Ganache Torte! I can’t wait for the weekend to come.

    I was wondering if you would consider recommending appropriate wine to pair with these dishes.

    Just a thought.

    Keep it coming!
    Esther

  16. Melissa

    Wow, this was good. I used reduced sodium soy sauce and canola oil in place of vegetable oil. My husband raved about it! He took it to work for leftovers today and said it tasted even better than it did last night. My 18 month old ate it too. What a find! And this was so fun to make, i’ll definitely add to the rotation. I’m off to put a link to this recipe on my own personal blog!!!

  17. Aja

    Hi! I’m just wondering if someone can tell me where to buy chili oil. I couldn’t find it at my regular grocery store. Thanks!

  18. Soyon

    I just made this for Father’s Day… never cooked flank steak before and was worried it would be tough but it came out so tender and so good! The only think I changed is added more pepper b/c I love a lot of veggie… another keeper Elise! My recipe binder starting to be full of your recipes!

    Tx!

  19. Carol

    LOVE this stir fry. It’s already in our regular menu rotation. The sauce is awesome! Thanks for sharing yet another fabulous recipe.

  20. Jennifer

    This dinner was wonderful! The colors are gorgeous and the house smelled awesome while cooking. I added broccoli and some green peppers along with the red pepper and the asparagus. I would have liked it a little spicier, but it was perfect for my guests. Thanks so much for a great gluten-free dinner.

  21. brandy

    I’ve never used flank steak and I have never seen it at my grocery store. Do you think I could use sirloin instead?

    Yes, if you slice it thin. ~Elise

  22. Sara

    I made this last night. Very easy to make. Very good, but I feel it is missing one ingredient that I cant put my finger on. However, I would cook it again.

  23. Sonia

    Wow this looks so yummy (all your photos are incredible, Elise)! I want to try it tonight, but I feel like something might be missing as well. Maybe instead of the green onion (which I think is too subtle for this dish?) I’ll stir-fry some sliced white onion with the beef and add some chopped cilantro at the end. Hope it’s good! Cheers

  24. Catherine

    Elise, thanks for posting this recipe! It’s he first time I made stir fry beef and it turned out really well. The beef wasn’t chewy, and the vegetables were crisp-tender, the way they’re supposed to be. I LOVED the asparagus! Thanks for the tip about parboiling. Only change for next time is I might experiment with ingrediments for the stir fry sauce. This version is great, but I’m looking something with a little more spice. LOVE your website. Thanks for all the hard work!

  25. KathyE

    I made this tonight with leftover flank steak and substituted broccoli for the asparagus. I also used sesame oil because I didn’t have chili oil. It was delicious. I’ll make it again. For those who think it’s missing something perhaps you could try adding a dash or two of red pepper flakes. I almost did but my husband isn’t into really spicy foods like I am. Is sesame oil tangier than chili oil because I didn’t think that it was missing anything.

  26. Heather

    This was wonderful…I added in onions (just sauteed them with the peppers)and used red pepper flakes instead of chili oil (which I didn’t have). It was delicious–the sauce had a nice kick, and emphasized the flavor of the beef.

    Also, there was a great deal on flank steak at my local Costco this week…

  27. Denise

    DELIGHTFUL! This recipe will satisfy my cravings for chinese food and it’s much healthier! The only thing I added was Black Pepper to it all. I usually don’t eat asparagus, but because I was taught how to cook it in this recipe,….I am a fan! Thanks for all that you do…I love your website!

  28. Katy

    Great recipe and so simple! I used this as a base and changed it to fit what I had in the kitchen and preference. Used a jumbo onion instead of the asparagus, and chili sauce instead of chili oil. Also put extra garlic and ginger.

    It was easy and delicious!

  29. Teresa

    Why cook the steak in two batches if at the end, you return the first batch back in?

    Because there’s a lot of beef, and it’s easier to fry the beef in batches. So, when you are done with the second batch, you return the first batch back to the pan. Now you have all of the beef in the pan, and all of the beef has cooked for approximately the same amount of time. Now you can proceed with adding the bell pepper, etc. ~Elise

  30. Janet jacobs

    This is, hands down, the best recipe I have ever gotten from a recipe website!!! The third time I made it I was out of flank steak and used skirt steak. Even better, if you can imagine! THE best recipe for company…never any leftovers!

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