Spice Up Your Meal with Vietnamese Pepper Beef Recipe

Have you ever wanted to try a Vietnamese dish that’s packed with flavor and quick to make? Look no further! My Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe will satisfy your craving for savory and delicious food without sacrificing precious time. This recipe is inspired by the famous Vietnamese shaking beef, also known as “Bo Luc Lac,” which is characterized by its tender and juicy beef, seasoned with black pepper, garlic, and fish sauce.

But what sets this recipe apart is the addition of spinach, which not only adds a nutritious element but also complements the dish perfectly. You’ll be getting the best of both worlds – a hearty and healthy meal that’s easy to make.

Whether you’re new to Vietnamese cuisine or a seasoned pro, this recipe is perfect for anyone looking to try something new or improve their skills in the kitchen. Plus, it can be customized to fit your preferences, making it an excellent dinner option for families or friends with different tastes.

So get ready to chop some vegetables, season your beef, and immerse yourself in the deliciousness that is Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach. Trust me; this is one meal you won’t regret making!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach
Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach

Are you a meat lover who enjoys the flavor of Vietnamese cuisine? If so, then this Vietnamese-style pepper beef and spinach recipe will quickly become a staple in your kitchen. With the perfect combination of succulent beef, fresh, leafy greens, and tangy fish sauce, this dish is sure to delight your taste buds and satisfy your cravings.

One reason you’ll love this recipe is that it’s bursting with flavor. The beef is coated in cornstarch and black pepper before being stir-fried until tender and juicy. The addition of fish sauce brings just the right amount of saltiness to the dish while also infusing the meat with a savory umami flavor.

Furthermore, this recipe is incredibly versatile. You can easily substitute other types of protein, such as ground beef or pork, for the rump roast if you prefer. You can also swap out the spinach for other leafy greens like rau muong or Malabar spinach to change up the texture and add more nutrients to the dish.

Finally, this recipe is super easy to make. With just a handful of ingredients–most of which you probably already have in your pantry–and a few simple steps, you can have dinner on the table in no time. Whether you’re a busy parent trying to put together a quick weeknight meal or an amateur cook looking for an exciting new recipe to try out, this Vietnamese-style pepper beef and spinach dish is sure to impress.

In conclusion, with its bold flavors, versatility, and ease of preparation, there are countless reasons why you’ll love this Vietnamese-style pepper beef and spinach recipe. So what are you waiting for? Head to your local grocery store and pick up some fresh ingredients today!

Ingredient List

 Sizzle up your taste buds with this Vietnamese pepper beef and spinach dish!
Sizzle up your taste buds with this Vietnamese pepper beef and spinach dish!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe:

For the Beef Marinade:

  • 1 lb beef rump roast or flank steak, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the Fish Sauce Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice

For the Spinach Stir-fry:

  • 8 ounces of spinach (you can use either Chinese water spinach, regular spinach, or Vietnamese Malabar spinach)
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

These ingredients are readily available at most grocery stores. If you can’t find some specific ingredients, don’t worry; I’ll also provide some substitute suggestions later on in the recipe.

The Recipe How-To

 Tender, juicy beef strips stir-fried to perfection and bathed in a sweet and savory sauce.
Tender, juicy beef strips stir-fried to perfection and bathed in a sweet and savory sauce.

Now let’s get down to business and start cooking! In this section, I will guide you through the step-by-step process of making this delectable Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe.

Step 1: Prepping the Ingredients

Before anything else, it is crucial to have all the ingredients ready for this dish. First things first, cook your jasmine rice according to package instructions. Set it aside once done.

Next, slice your beef into thin strips that are 1 inch long. We recommend using rump roast for this recipe because it has enough marbling to keep the beef tender and juicy.

In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 teaspoons of fish sauce. Add the sliced beef and mix until it is evenly coated with the mixture.

Chop up half of a medium onion into thin slices and mince 3 garlic cloves. Slice 2 Roma tomatoes into bite-sized chunks and set them aside.

Lastly, remove any tough stems from your spinach leaves. You can use any type of spinach for this recipe, but we recommend Vietnamese Malabar spinach or Rau Muong as it has a crisp texture that complements the beef nicely.

Step 2: Cooking the Beef and Spinach

In a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once hot, add the sliced onions and garlic to the pan. Stir fry them for about a minute until they become aromatic.

Then, add the beef strips to the wok and stir fry them until they are browned on all sides – this should take around 5 minutes or so.

Once the beef is cooked through, use a slotted spoon to transfer it into a separate plate. In the same wok, add another tablespoon of vegetable oil, followed by your spinach leaves. Stir fry them for just a few seconds until they start to wilt.

Return the beef to the wok and add your Roma tomatoes. Season with 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Give everything a good stir and cook for an additional minute or so.

Step 3: Serving the Dish

You can now serve your Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach dish over cooked jasmine rice. Garnish with some sliced bell peppers, chopped cilantro or basil – whatever you like!

You could also serve this dish with Vietnamese shaking beef (bo luc lac) or a watercress salad for a traditional Vietnamese meal.

With its healthy spinach and flavorful beef combo, this dish makes an excellent weeknight dinner option that you can whip up in no time. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

 Loaded with fresh baby spinach, this delicious and healthy dish will leave you feeling satisfied and healthy.
Loaded with fresh baby spinach, this delicious and healthy dish will leave you feeling satisfied and healthy.

One of the best things about cooking is the ability to experiment and explore different ingredients to make a dish uniquely your own. Here are some substitutions and variations for the Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach recipe that will allow you to explore different flavors and add your personal touch.

1) Protein: Instead of beef, you can use other meats like pork or chicken. You could also switch to ground beef, minced beef or even try morning glory. The important thing is to make sure whichever protein that you choose is thinly sliced or chopped, so it can cook fast.

2) Vegetables: Instead of spinach, try using other greens such as kale, collard greens, bok choy, or rau muong. You could also add bell pepper, roma tomatoes or red pepper to give a pop of color and flavor.

3) Sauce: Want something with more tang? Try adding in more lime juice or a sprinkle of rice vinegar. You could also add oyster sauce to your stir-fry for a deeper umami flavor.

4) Gluten-Free Option: Substitute cornstarch for tapioca starch or potato starch. Make sure the fish sauce, mushroom bouillon powder, and oyster sauce are gluten-free as well.

5) Vegan option: Switch meat out entirely for mushrooms instead by using shiitake mushrooms or portobello mushrooms sliced thinly.

Mixing it up makes it easier to adapt this recipe to what’s already available in your cupboards – and discover new flavors along the way!

Serving and Pairing

 Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or for impressing your guests with your culinary skills.
Perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or for impressing your guests with your culinary skills.

Now that your Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe is ready to be served, let’s talk about the best way to enjoy it! This dish pairs exceptionally well with cooked jasmine rice or even a simple side salad. The combination of the juicy beef, fresh spinach, and the tangy sauce makes for a perfect entrée.

For a complete meal experience, I suggest serving this dish with some Vietnamese-style soup, such as chicken mushroom bouillon, beef soup canh or even some Asian-style pasta. Another great option is to add some sides along with steamed or fried rice like stir-fried morning glory, sautéed bell peppers, or even some roma tomatoes will make your meal more vibrant and nutritious.

If you’re looking for a lighter option, I recommend pairing this dish with water spinach soup or rau muong soup. These two dishes compliment the bold flavors of the Vietnamese style pepper beef dish perfectly.

In terms of beverage pairings, Vietnamese cuisine is so versatile that you can never go wrong with iced tea! Other options include lime juice and soda or even beer if you enjoy a refreshing drink after your meal. Whether it’s a hot summer day or a cozy winter evening, this Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach recipe will surely hit the spot.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Simple and easy to make, this dish is perfect for beginner cooks to try out.
Simple and easy to make, this dish is perfect for beginner cooks to try out.

One of the best things about this Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach recipe is that it can be made ahead, stored, and reheated easily. In fact, preparing it in advance allows the flavors to blend and enhances the dish’s taste.

To make this dish ahead of time, simply cook the beef until it’s tender and set it aside. Then, sauté the spinach separately and store it in an airtight container. Store the beef separately as well without the sauce. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the beef in a pan with the reserved sauce until warm. Reheat the spinach in another pan by adding a touch of water or broth to wilt the leaves.

Alternatively, you can freeze this dish for later use. Make sure to cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container for up to 2 months in the freezer. To reheat, thaw overnight in the refrigerator or microwave until thawed completely. Then reheat on medium heat on a stovetop until warmed through.

If you have leftovers from dinner, store them in separate containers to prevent sogginess. The beef can last up to 3 days while spinach can last up to 5 days if properly stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

To ensure that your meal stays flavorful even after reheating, I recommend that you give your dish a quick stir-fry or saute using some fresh garlic and ginger before reheating it with either microwave or stovetop methods.

Overall, preparing this Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach recipe ahead of time is an excellent way to save time while still enjoying its authentic flavors. So don’t be afraid to make extra leftovers or prepare this dish ahead for those busy weeknights. Trust me – you won’t regret it!

Tips for Perfect Results

 The bold flavors of black pepper, soy sauce, and oyster sauce come together in perfect harmony in this dish.
The bold flavors of black pepper, soy sauce, and oyster sauce come together in perfect harmony in this dish.

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese cuisine, I thoughtfully consider each component of this recipe to achieve maximum flavor and texture. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe:

1. When slicing the beef rump roast, do so against the grain to ensure that each piece is tender and easy to chew.

2. Use cornstarch to coat the beef before stir frying. It helps to create a crispy crust on the surface of the meat.

3. Marinate the beef in fish sauce, garlic and black pepper for at least 30 minutes before cooking, allowing it to fully absorb all the flavors of the marinade.

4. Cut your vegetables in bite-sized pieces for even cooking time and to keep them from becoming mushy.

5. Cook the spinach separately from the beef, since it will produce a lot of liquid when cooked. You want the beef to be crispy, not soggy.

6. Do not overcrowd your pan or wok when stir frying as it can lead to steaming rather than searing or browning of ingredients.

7. Use toasted sesame oil as a finishing touch for an extra nutty flavor.

8. Serve your Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe with steamed jasmine rice for an authentic Vietnamese dining experience.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe turns out deliciously every time!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, if you’re a lover of Vietnamese cuisine or just looking to try something new and flavorful, this Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe is the perfect meal for you. With its tender beef cooked in a delicious blend of black pepper, garlic, and fish sauce, paired with the nutritionally-dense spinach, this dish is not only tasty but also healthy.

But don’t take my word for it – try this recipe yourself! I promise that you’ll fall in love with the unique flavors and aromas of Vietnamese food. And with the helpful tips and substitutions listed in this article, you can customize this dish to suit your personal taste preferences.

So next time you’re in the mood for an exotic meal that’s bursting with flavor, think of this Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe. It’s sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you feeling happy and full.

Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach

Vietnamese Style Pepper Beef and Spinach Recipe

Or, "Rau Muong Xao Voi Thit Bo." In Vietnam, the spinach used would be "rau muong" or "water spinach." Here in the states, though, I've made it with sautéed beef and regular spinach (although if you can find actual rau muong, that much the better). Delicious! This recipe is adapted from the "Rau Muong Xao" recipe available here on Zaar (you can read my review, there) and throughout the internet. 🙂
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 476.4 kcal


  • 6 -8 ounces beef or 6 -8 ounces buffalo rump roast
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped sweet yellow onions
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, divided (nuoc mam or nam pla)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, cleaned and dried (about 4 cups worth; or "rau muong" instead of spinach)
  • 3 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced into thin wedges
  • hot cooked jasmine rice, for serving


  • Trim excess fat from meat and slice thinly (which is easier when meat is slightly frozen) against the grain.
  • In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion, sliced meat, 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper, 2 teaspoons of the fish sauce, and the cornstarch; stir well to coat and set aside to marinate (the cornstarch tenderizes and makes the meat "velvety").
  • Over high temperature, heat a large skillet or wok and - when the skillet is very hot - add the oil ("hot wok, cold oil, food won't stick"); add the marinated meat mixture and sauté until the meat is cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove cooked mixture from skillet and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan and stir fry the minced garlic for 1 minute.
  • Add spinach leaves and stir fry for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Add remaining 4 teaspoons fish sauce and tomato, and stir fry 2 minutes.
  • Add the cooked meat mixture and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper to the skillet, combine well, and cook until heated through and sauce comes to desired consistency (the cornstarch will effect the consistency - you can add a bit of water, broth, or sherry if it becomes thicker than you'd like).
  • Serve immediately with hot cooked jasmine rice.
  • Note: I've been told that "the recipe is not exactly Vietnamese, since we actually use minced pork to stir fry water spinach; beef is always more expensive than pork at home - the good cuts are often on their own, or cooked with minimal side ingredients; other cuts go into stews and soups" so feel free to try this with pork, too!
  • Also, when I first made this recipe I really wasn't expecting too much from it - it came out much tastier than I expected, an absolute keeper (especially according to my husband)!

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 246gCalories: 476.4kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 9.9gFat: 37.6gSaturated Fat: 13.5gCholesterol: 42.1mgSodium: 765.5mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 3.9g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Asian, Greens, Meat, Onions, Spinach, Stove Top, Vegetable, Vietnamese
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