Craving that Chinese restaurant takeout but longing for a healthier vegan version? The Best Vegan Beef and Broccoli with Soy Curls as the star ingredient transforms a classic favorite into the delectable vegan beef and broccoli stir-fry. These magical soy curls lend a meaty texture that's surprisingly close to traditional beef strips, and when paired with fresh broccoli florets, the taste sensation is one you'll want to revisit again and again—blending the familiar comfort of your favorite takeout with the wholesome goodness of whole food ingredients.
Soy curls have been a plant-based protein game-changer. Up until now, I've been cooking exclusively with tofu, like many vegans, in all the magical ways possible. Discovering these vegan chicken strips opened up a whole new world of cooking possibilities. I started creating recipes like Ultimate Vegan BBQ Sandwich Recipe with Soy Curls, Classic Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup, and Vegan Rotisserie Chicken. Now we have this beef and broccoli recipe, veganized!
If you're new to cooking with soy curls, start here: How to Cook with Soy Curls (Complete Guide + FAQ) for all the information.
Soy curls are recognized as a whole food containing just one ingredient. Their minimal processing marks them as a healthy alternative to meat, something I don't usually associate with store-bought meat substitutes. Plus, they're incredibly easy to prepare. Making soy curls perfect for whipping up quick meals like this quick Chinese takeout copycat!
In this post, I share the following:
- How to get browned beef using a special but optional ingredient
- What ingredients give these 'beef' strips the familiar Chinese takeout flavor
- Ideas on what to pair this recipe with for a full meal
Use this section to jump to areas of interest within the post.
This veganized version of everyone's favorite Chinese takeout is made healthy with limited ingredients you might already have on hand.
After doing a simple internet search, you'll discover that there is really just one brand selling this soy meat: Butler Foods. They have a list of grocery stores on their website that carry the product, mostly local health food stores, although I purchased mine on Amazon, linked here.
Butler Foods boasts that its product is grown without chemicals or preservatives, the beans are soaked in chlorine-free water, and grown in the USA.
I did find non-brand soy curls at my local Asian market, although they contained a handful of preservatives and were made with GMO soybeans.
What you'll need:
- Soy curls - meat replacement
- 'Vegan beef broth - grab some beefless boullion to combine with water for a beefy broth!
- Soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos - coconut aminos give the strips a browned color. You can also add a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce for a deeper brown!
- Flour - gluten-free or regular all-purpose
- Rice vinegar or rice wine vinegar
- Maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)
- Ginger & fresh garlic
See the recipe card for full quantities and instructions.
🌾Swap the flour for tapioca starch for cornflour 1:1. Note that the texture will be slightly more chewy with starch or cornflour.
🌾Swap the maple syrup for your sweetener of choice (either brown sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, or agave).
🌾Swap low-sodium soy sauce for tamari, which is a gluten-free option & I'd recommend the low-salt option since it's naturally salty, or coconut aminos, which is also gluten-free and my pick!
The great thing about using this ingredient is that it's simple to prepare and doesn't take much time. I bet you can cook this delicious meal in a shorter amount of time than having takeout delivered!
Start by pouring the vegan broth over the dried soy curls in a large bowl. Allow the soy curls to rehydrate for 15 minutes. While the soy curls rehydrate, you can make the sauce by combining soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and garlic powder.
This is also a good time to prep the garlic and fresh ginger, steam the broccoli, and make the side of rice.
After about 15 minutes (minimum!) of rehydrating, drain the soy curls of excess water and return to the large bowl.
Toss in flour (GF or regular) until evenly coated.
Heat a large skillet, preferably non-stick, on medium heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil or avocado oil (water if oil-free) and then the garlic and ginger. Cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant, then add the vegan beef strips. Add the sauce mixture over the soy curls and toss until they're evenly coated.
Hint: Top with cut black pepper, a pinch of salt, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve warm with steamed broccoli and a side of white rice!
For this recipe, you'll need a large bowl, skillet, or fry pan and a stovetop!
Store leftover soy meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan on the stove until warm.
Note that soy curls last about 6 months from the date of packaging. If buying in bulk, store extra in the freezer to extend shelf life and keep it fresh.
Use a good amount of oil in the pan and a non-stick pan! Anything coated in flour will stick. Add the oil to an already hot pan and use more while cooking if needed.
Alternatively, swap oil for vegetable broth or plain water and remove the skillet from heat once all the liquid evaporates.
What are some ideas to pair this recipe with?
Our stir-fry was served affectionately with a side of steamed white rice, but there are so many options. Like an Asian-inspired noodle salad or slaw, stir-fried veggies, bok choy, red bell peppers, or spring rolls!
What can I use instead of beef broth in beef and broccoli?
Instead of a veganized beef broth, using bullion, you can use store-bought or homemade vegetable broth or mushroom broth.
Can I prep this dish ahead of time?
Yes! In my opinion, soy chunks taste even better prepped ahead of time! Make as directed, then store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a pan until warm, or enjoy chilled!
more vegan recipes with soy curls
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The Best Vegan Beef and Broccoli with Soy Curls
- 2 ½ cups Soy curls (linked here)
- 2 cups vegan beef flavored broth (mix 2 tablespoons Better Than Bullion with 2 cups of water)
- ½ cup flour (gluten-free or all-purpose) see notes
- ¼ cup olive oil, for frying
- 1 inch ginger, finely grated
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos see notes
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- green onions or scallions, sliced
- steamed broccoli
- side of white rice
- Start by pouring the broth over 2 ½ cups of dried soy curls in a large bowl. Allow the soy curls to rehydrate for 15 minutes.
- While the soy curls rehydrate, you can make the sauce by combining soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and garlic powder. This is also a good time to prep the garlic and ginger, steam the broccoli, and make the side of rice.
- Once the soy curls are rehydrated, drain the excess liquid and toss in a large bowl with flour until evenly coated.
- Heat a large skillet, preferably non-stick, on medium heat. Add a generous amount of olive oil (or water if oil-free) and then the garlic and ginger. Cook for 2 minutes until fragrant, then add the soy curls. Add more oil if needed to prevent sticking. Allow the soy curls to cook for 5 minutes, turning them a couple of times until they become crispy. Lower the heat if necessary.
- Add the sauce (soy sauce, maple syrup, rice vinegar, and garlic powder) over the soy curls and toss until they're evenly coated. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow them to simmer for about 3-4 more minutes, stirring often so that they don't burn.
- Top with sliced green onions and sesame seeds. Serve warm with a side of steamed broccoli and white rice.