Heart-Stirring Stir-Fry


Sure, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with something chocolatey (like dairy-free mousse or grain-free fudge bombs) — and I 100% approve.

But you can also show the truest form of love with some badass beef and vegetables.

Nothing, and I mean nothing, says I adore you more definitively than a meal that’s delicious and healthy.

Wishing you true love in the (heart) shape of a paleo dinner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto by David Humphreys (originally published in It Starts With Food)

Orange Beef & Broccoli Stir-Fry

Serves 2-4 | Prep 10 minutes | Marinate up to 1 hour | Cook 15 minutes | Whole30 compliant

Meat & Marinade:
  • 1 pound flank steak

  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos or homemade substitute

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos or homemade substitute

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into 1-inch florets

  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

  • 2 large red bell peppers, thinly sliced

  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

  • 6 scallions, cut into 1” pieces

  • garnish: toasted sesame seeds


Place flank steak in freezer for 10-15 minutes. Slice very thinly, across the grain. Toss with marinade ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.


In a small bowl, mix the garlic, red pepper flakes, Chinese five-spice powder, rice vinegar, orange juice, coconut aminos, and sesame oil; set aside.


Put water in a large, non-stick skillet, and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli, carrot, and red pepper;  steam until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pan and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Set aside.


Reheat the pan and add coconut oil, allowing to melt, about 2 minutes. Brown the meat in batches, transferring to a plate as it’s done to save the juices. In the same pan, stir fry the onion until it’s crisp-tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the broccoli, bell pepper, and scallions, stir-frying until heated through. Add the reserved beef and sauce, tossing with two wooden spoons until sizzling hot. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Dig in with chopsticks and feel the love.


Optional Sweetness: Peel an orange, separate the sections, cut into 1-inch pieces, and toss into the stir-fry during the last step.

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  • Hilah says:

    I wish I was eating this right now! Instead, I am eating nothing. My life is so sad!
    Happy Valentine’s Day, you two! xoxo

  • NJ Paleo says:

    That looks really good — I’m going to have to try that! And the heart-shaped peppers are so cute! And duh on me, but I never thought of putting meat in the freezer for a few minutes to make it easier to slice! Brilliant!

  • Rachna says:

    I am looking forward to making this for dinner tomorrow night. My husband is cooking Valentine’s Day dinner tonight:)

  • TSL says:

    Hey Mel – we had stir-fry on valentine’s day down here in Syders AND your Well Fed book arrived, so I thought I should pop in and say hi! Cheers from down under!

  • Lily says:

    This looks really great, but do you have an alternative to coconut aminos and red pepper flakes? I can’t get them where I am.

  • Stompy says:

    I want to make that! But I am (fortunately) making rogan josh this weekend. Still waiting incredibly impatiently for well fed 2.

  • Becky says:

    This looks delicious! I was so hoping, however, that it was going to be a recipe for beef heart, as I’m still struggling with organ meat recipes and want to be better at it. Well Fed 2, perhaps?

  • Meghan says:

    I finally bought your cookbook on amazon tonight! I have been wanting to buy it for awhile! Thank you!

  • alysa farrell says:

    Like your heart peppers! Will be making Heart peppers in everything!!

  • Renee W says:

    Tried this for dinner tonight and loved it! Will definitely make again and again.

  • Kittie Messman says:


    Amazon.com has coconut aminos and tons of other paleo approved products, if you can’t find them elsewhere. Bet they have pepper flakes, too. 🙂

  • Laney says:

    Hey mel, so I made this recipe this morning I doubled it being that stir fry is one of my favs and I was stoked that I found the coconut aminos, unfortunately after adding the sauce at the end the smell was unbearable and my family refuses to eat it……I’m wondering if u have any suggestions for substitutions of the chinese 5 spicepowder? I think its just too strong that was the one thing I didn’t completely double either 🙁

  • Andrea says:

    Hey Mel, Just bought Well Fed! Love it! I’d like to incorporate sliced flanked steaks rather than ground beef into my weekly cookups. Any suggestions on how I should prep/pre-cook them so that I can add them to my hot plates during the week? Should i just brown them in batches and then refrigerate?

    • Mel says:

      I have a flank steak recipe in Well Fed 2, and it’s really yummy. Flank steak is AWESOME for stir-fry!

      Here are some tips for cooking — and yes, I think you can cook it in advance, then just toss into a hot pan to quickly re-heat in a stir-fry.

      1 pound flank steak
      2 teaspoons coconut aminos
      2 teaspoons rice vinegar
      2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

      Place flank steak in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Slice very thinly, across the grain to make 1/4-inch strips. Place the steak in a medium mixing bowl and add the coconut aminos, rice vinegar, and garlic. Toss with two wooden spoons to combine, then cover and refrigerate 10 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove from marinade and stir-fry ’til brown.

      If you wanted flavors other than Asian, you could marinate in red wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar, replace coconut aminos with water, and add herbs of your choice

  • Katie says:

    Where is the best place to find Chinese 5 Spice Powder? I haven’t had luck finding it.