Packed with lots of bold flavor, my pepper steak is just the recipe to whip up when you're hungry for a quick yet satisfying meal. Rich and saucy, brimming with lots of peppers and onions, this pepper steak recipe is delectably cozy served over white rice!
Pepper Steak, Deliciously From Scratch
When I was a kid, one of my favorite microwavable meals to whip up in a pinch was pepper steak over rice.
It came in a small cardboard box that read “Budget Gourmet Pepper Steak”. I would cut the top with a serrated knife for venting before microwaving the meal. And presto, in just a few minutes, it was ready!
The way I remember it, the quality was actually pretty good and the taste quite enjoyable...well, for a boxed, frozen dinner, anyway. 😉
And even though at the time I wasn't really the biggest fan of bell peppers, somehow, I didn't mind them in this dish. I adored that savory flavor, and loved the white rice that soaked up all the tasty sauce!
These days when I get a craving for pepper steak, I simply grab my heavy-bottom skillet and a few simple and fresh ingredients. I love that this meal is so quick and easy to make, yet so flavorful.
And the best part?
This meal is made from scratch, with love, which any frozen dinner simply can't compare to. 😉
How to Make Pepper Steak with Bold Flavors
The pepper steak that I enjoyed so much as a kid had just a few elements: the thinly sliced beef, some bell peppers and onions, and a tomato-kissed sauce.
Served over the white rice, it became a complete meal. And to this day, white rice my favorite accompaniment to serve it with.
For my version of pepper steak, I like to use some good quality ingredients, yet still keep things really simple.
I opt for grass-fed ribeye steak because it's super tender with a deeply rich, beefy flavor, and lots of green bell peppers and onions for that bold peppery note.
To boost the flavor, I also add a few earthy spices such as smoked and sweet paprika, freshly-ground black pepper, and hint of white pepper. I also create that delicious and rich sauce with a bit of tomato paste and the added savoriness of beef stock or broth.
Here's a peek at how I prep my pepper steak recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- First, I sear the thinly-sliced ribeye very quickly in my cast-iron skillet, just until browned on the outside, yet rare on the inside; I then remove it from the pan.
- Next, I quickly saute my onions and stir in my spices just until aromatic, followed by the bell peppers just until crisp-yet-slightly tender (don't want to overcook these so they remain vibrant); and last, but certainly not least, I add in the garlic.
- I create my quick sauce by whisking in some tomato paste and some beef stock or broth; and once thickened, I return my beef to the pan, stir to combine, and remove from heat.
- To serve, I garnish with fresh green onions or parsley, and spoon over white basmati rice.
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 531 calories (pepper steak only)
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 2 to 2 1/2 pounds ribeye steaks, sliced into thin strips
- Black pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- Avocado oil
- 2 small onions, cut in half and sliced into thin semi-circles
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 3 medium-large bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced (roughly 3 cups worth)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup beef stock/broth
- Rice, or favorite side to serve with
- Chopped green onions, for garnish
- Add the sliced steak to a large bowl, and sprinkle over a couple of good pinches of salt and black pepper; next, sprinkle over the flour, and toss everything to coat the meat well.
- Place a large heavy-bottom skillet or pan (cast-iron is great for this) over medium-high heat, and add in about 2-3 tablespoons of the oil; once the oil is hot, add the beef in working in batches, and sear/brown the outside quickly for about 2 minutes; remove from pan and repeat with remaining steak.
- Once the steak has been seared and removed, add into the same pan a touch more oil, then add in the onions and saute those for about 10 minutes, just until they become softened and golden-brown; add in another pinch or two of salt and black pepper, the Italian seasoning, the paprika, smoked paprika, and white pepper, and stir to combine.
- Next, add in the sliced bell peppers and saute those with the onions/spices for a couple of minutes, just until softened yet still slightly crisp; add in the garlic, and stir to combine just until aromatic.
- Stir into the onion/pepper mixture the tomato paste, and cook that for about 30 seconds just to cook out the raw flavor; then, stir in the beef stock/broth to combine, and create the sauce (check the seasoning the see if additional salt/pepper is needed).
- Add the seared steak back into the pan, stir to combine, and simmer for just 30 seconds to 1 minutes to warm the steak back through and tighten things up.
- Serve the pepper steak over white rice (or favorite side dish), and sprinkle with chopped fresh green onion, or parsley.
Tips & Tidbits for my Pepper Steak:
- Large, heavy-bottom pan works best: If you happen to have a large cast-iron skillet, then this will work perfectly for this pepper steak recipe. If not, use any other large, heavy-bottom pan that conducts heat well. Make sure you crank up the heat in order to sear the sliced steak very quickly, as you don't want to overcook it—you're looking for medium-rare (or medium, at most), for best texture.
- Ribeye steak, or other options: Ribeye steak has a rich, beefy flavor; and when quickly seared, it's super tender. Other good options for this are thinly sliced sirloin steak, or even flank steak.
- Green bell peppers, or a combo: I like the savory note from the green bell peppers in this recipe, but feel free to use red and/or yellow bell peppers, if you prefer. They'll bring a bit more sweetness, but are a nice choice for a dash of added color, and are typically more easily digestible.
- Delicious accompaniments: While plain white rice will certainly work well here, if you like a little extra flavor, opt for white basmati rice. I even add a clove of pressed garlic into mine as it cooks—delicious! You can also sub brown rice, quinoa, or even couscous, if you prefer.