Who needs takeout when you can make your own gluten-free Thai basil noodles with beef in less than 30 minutes?
How do you feel about fat noodles? My love for them runs pretty deep. I was a fan of pad thai when I first tried it and I still think it’s really tasty, but the minute I took my first bite of pad see ew I switched camps. Something about those wide, flat rice noodles really does it for me. And lately, with my growing love for spicy food, thai basil noodles (otherwise known as drunken noodles or pad ki mao) have become my new favorite.
I made these thai basil noodles with store-bought rice noodles, but if you don’t eat rice, I’ve got a solution for you. Check out my paleo pad see ew recipe, which uses homemade tapioca flour crepes cut into strips instead of noodles. They’re really delicious and a great stand-in for rice noodles if you’re avoiding all grains. Add the homemade noodles at the end of step 4 below, after the eggs are scrambled in–they’re soft to begin with so they don’t need much time cooking with the rest of the ingredients.
This thai basil noodles with beef recipe is quick and weeknight-friendly, which is what I’m all about lately since things are so busy at my day job. I see kids starting at 8:30 in the morning until 6 or 6:30 in the evening, and since they’re half-hour appointments and I’m booked pretty much back to back, I often see 16 or 17 different children in one day. (In fact, I almost feel like I’m leading a double life: from Monday to Thursday when I work, my brain is filled to the brim with speech and language therapy thoughts and what else I need to be doing to help all of my kids. And from Friday to Sunday it’s food, photos, more food, and more photos, with a little bit of writing sprinkled in.) When I get home at the end of a work day, I can barely bring myself to preheat an oven or make anything that takes longer than half an hour. (I also can barely stay up past 9 pm. Is that normal for someone who’s thirty? I can’t even keep my eyes open long enough to watch Game of Thrones when it’s actually on! Please tell me I’m not alone here.)
But, I digress. I’m supposed to be telling you about these noodles. Basically we’re making a sweet and savory sauce with a kick of umami from a dash of fish sauce and some heat from the sambal oelek. We’re letting some super thinly-sliced beef marinate in some of said sauce real quick while we chop peppers and shallots and stuff fragrant Thai basil leaves into a measuring cup. Oh, and don’t forget to soak the noodles (or make the crepes if you’re going the grain-free route). Then it’s just a series of stir-fry moves: veggies, then beef, then noodles and sauce, then eggs. We’re stirring in the basil, and then we’re done. Bam! Most satisfying dinner ever.
This recipe is especially easy if you have some grass-fed beef from ButcherBox that’s already thinly sliced. Thinly-sliced beef was included in this month’s box, but you can also get it as an add-on to your box anytime. (If you’d like to learn more about ButcherBox’s grass-fed meat subscription service, check out these two recipes I developed for them that detail what I got in my first two boxes: slow-cooker Cuban short ribs and mole-spiced hanger steak with strawberry-avocado salsa. Or, if you’re ready to sign up, go here–you’ll get a free pack of paleo bacon!).
- ¼ cup gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon sambal oelek, or more for spicier noodles
- 2 tablespoons raw or coconut sugar
- ¼ cup hot water
- 12 ounces thinly sliced beef, sliced crosswise into pieces about 2 inches long*
- ¾ teaspoon tapioca flour
- 7 ounces wide rice noodles
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 shallot, halved and thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 dried red Thai chiles
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup lightly packed Thai basil leaves**
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl until the sugar dissolves. Put the beef and tapioca starch in a separate bowl, add two tablespoons of the sauce, and toss until well mixed. Let the beef marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Prepare the rice noodles according to the package directions (mine just needed to be soaked in warm water for 10 minutes). Make sure your vegetables are chopped and ready to go.
- Heat a very large skillet or wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil. When the oil is very hot, add the bell pepper, shallots, and garlic, and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, then add the chiles. Stir-fry for one minute and then push the vegetables to the edges of the pan. Add the beef in a single layer and let cook undisturbed for about a minute, then toss with the vegetables for a minute or so.
- Add the noodles and most of the sauce, leaving a little in the bowl to add later so the noodles won’t be dry. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the sauce is clinging to the noodles. Push everything to one side of the pan and add a little more oil to the other side. Crack the eggs into the pan, break the yolks with your spatula, and then flip some of the noodles over onto the top of the eggs. Let cook undisturbed for about 30 seconds, then stir to distribute the pieces of egg throughout the dish.
- Once the egg is cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the basil and the last bit of sauce. If the noodles look dry, add water one tablespoon at a time. Serve right away.
**Italian basil also works, but it's worth it to track down some Thai basil if it's available near you. Most Asian markets will have it.
ButcherBox provided me with the meat I used for this recipe, and this post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase on Amazon or ButcherBox after clicking one of my links, I receive a small commission (the price you pay is not affected). Thank you so much for supporting my site!