Thai basil is one of my favorite herbs to both grow and to eat. It pairs perfectly with beef and adds a great punch of complex flavor to the dish, which is always welcome but especially when you are following AIP and have to avoid so many other flavors. It’s also very easy to grow… I simply buy a plant from the local greenhouse each spring and stick it in a pot where it flourishes without any attention from me all summer long.
Thai basil beef (AIP)
Typically the dish known as “Thai basil beef” has red chilis for spice and is often quite colorful because it is made with red bell peppers. To make this dish compliant with the elimination phase of the paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) I had to skip both of these since they are nightshades. I don’t miss the spiciness since the flavor of the Thai basil is so good and shines without the competition from the heat, but I wanted the color.
Fortunately, my garden is producing plenty of colorful options for vegetables to add to this easy stir fry, including rainbow chard and carrots. Add in a sliced red onion and you have more color than the original! Keep your cooking time quick so that the vegetables get wilted but not overcooked and you’ll have a dish with both flavor and an appealing texture.
What else can I do with Thai basil?
I’m actually asking that question myself constantly! It grows so well and is so tasty, but yet I seem to forget about it frequently. Last summer I used it to make this Thai chicken curry with mushrooms and carrots and I think I need to make this Thai-inspired pork salad before the cilantro I’m currently growing bolts.
If you like Asian flavors in general, you definitely want to get a bottle of coconut aminos and keep it in your refrigerator to use as a gluten-free soy sauce alternative. Back in 2013 when I first started AIP it was an unusual ingredient that was rather hard to find, but today you can find it in most well stocked grocery stores right next to the soy sauce bottles or you can get it online from ShopAIP. It’s available separately and also as part of the discounted “Savor the Flavor” bundle.
AIP Thai Basil Beef Recipe
- 1 pound grassfed boneless beef steak, cut into pieces ¼ inch thick (flank, strip, or sirloin steaks all work well)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (divided)
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 6 small carrots, cut lengthwise into halves or quarters
- 1 bunch rainbow chard, leaves chopped and stems cut into 2 inch pieces
- ¼ cup bone broth
- 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Thai basil leaves, removed from stems, plus more for garnish
- Season beef pieces lightly with salt.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook beef on each side 2-3 minutes and then remove and set aside. Do not clean skillet.
- Add 1 tablespoon oil to same skillet along with onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes or until slightly soft.
- Add carrots and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add chard leaves and stems and cook just until wilted leaves have wilted then add broth and use a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits.
- Add coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, and meat along with any released juices. Stir to distribute and allow meat to come up to temperature.
- Off heat, toss in basil leaves and allow them to wilt.
- Serve immediately, garnished with additional basil leaves if desired.
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