Aug 5, 2012

Easy Ground Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff is a classic American dish that is fairly economical. While working in Liberia where cream of mushroom soup was hard to come by and hamburger was the cheapest form of beef, I developed a simple recipe for beef stroganoff using Greek yogurt and ground beef. This recipe is a great weeknight staple that is easy enough to throw together in under 30 minutes, but good enough to serve to company.

Even though cream of mushroom soup is now readily available to me, I no longer include it in my recipe since I learned that cream soups are not very good for you. They contain lots of chemicals, flavor enhancers and preservatives. Any time you can eliminate the need for them or make your own basic cream sauce with butter, flour, and milk, you are taking a small step towards healthier eating. My recipe for beef stroganoff is not only healthier than most beef stroganoff recipes, but I believe it tastes better, which is really the point of my all my recipe experiments; to create healthy food that tastes great!

Now, we need to have a little talk about the noodle aspect of beef stroganoff. It's no secret that noodles are very high in carbohydrates. Noodles, even whole-wheat noodles, are also not Nourishing Traditions approved. To eliminate the carbs while making this meal completely Nourishing Traditions approved I  use lightly steamed frozen green beans. Green beans have a mild, neutral taste that goes well with a lot of sauces, including spaghetti sauce. The long un-cut kind hold the sauce better. If you need to be on a high protein/low carb diet, or you are trying to loose wait, I suggest eating your beef stroganoff over green beans. Otherwise you could use brown rice, which is okay according to Nourishing Tradition, and probably more realistic for kids and husbands! I know pasta may be a staple to the economical cook, but I am happy to report that I have been able to make very inexpensive meals using healthier carbohydrate options, and I only prepare noodles once or twice a month.

Update: I get a lot of visits to this post from people in search of beef stroganoff recipes that call for basil or green peppers. One sliced green pepper can be added at the same time as the onions. For those who  want to try it with basil, a few tablespoons of chopped fresh basil can be added after you stir in the Greek yogurt. Or one teaspoon dried basil can be added the same time as the onions. I've also included the option to use ground turkey.

Easy Ground Beef Stroganoff

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1 pound ground beef or ground turkey*
1 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon pepper, preferable freshly ground
3 garlic cloves (about 1 1/4 teaspoons) or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 medium onion, sliced or chopped, according to preference
1 pint fresh mushrooms, sliced, or one 8 oz can sliced mushrooms, optional
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour**
2 cups (16 oz) plain Greek yogurt or sour cream, preferably full-fat***

Steamed green beans, brown rice, or egg noodles for serving.

Place meat in a medium or large skillet. Turn the heat to medium. Break up the ground beef with a spoon or stiff spatula. Sprinkle 1 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper over the meat. When meat is about half cooked add the garlic, onions, and mushrooms. (You want the onions to not be completely limp for serving). Cook and stir until meat is no longer pink. Drain excess fat, if necessary. (I use a metal spoon and scoop that grease into an empty tin can. When the fat is cool I throw away the can and the congealed fat.) Reduce heat to low.

In a small bowl or the container it was purchased in, stir flour into the Greek yogurt or sour cream until combined. Add this mixture to the ground beef in the skillet. Stir. Heat on low just until hot but not boiling, stirring occasionally. Taste the stroganoff to see if it needs more salt. I found it tasted right with an additional 1/4 teaspoon salt. (But I do like things salty...)

Serve over steamed green beans, brown rice, or noodles of your choice.

Preparation time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes. Servings: 4-6.

*If using ground turkey, fresh, as versus frozen, is superior in flavor and texture.

**Flour is used as a thickener and to prevent the Greek yogurt or sour cream from curdling. It can be eliminated if you really don't want to use it. Use unbleached flour to be completely Nourishing Traditions approved. 

***Greek yogurt will provide the most protein but is more expensive than sour cream. I have used both successfully, but always with full-fat content. Low-fat Greek yogurt may be used, but low fat or fat-free sour cream should be avoided as it is filled with starches (carbs!) and artificial ingredients. If you are confused as to why I am using full-fat dairy in my "healthy" recipe, please see my nutrition post Why Dairy is Good for You, Especially the Fat.

Search terms:
Beef stroganoff without cream of mushrooms soup
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  1. I'm going to put this on our list of recipes to try soon. Just as soon as I buy some local grass-fed beef. You're doing a good job w/this blog.

  2. Sounds delicious! I wish my husband liked mushrooms(I LOVE them!) but this may be a great dish to make when he's at work. We do have TONS of ground beef that needs to be eaten;)

  3. cool recipe is very fitting, I like beef stroganoff

  4. Made this tonight--was delicious. Really, the best stroganoff I've had. Served it with brown rice noodles. Very filling.

  5. Very good! The sauce is very flavorful and rich.