Spicy Beef and Basil with Vermicelli Noodles

Oh hey guess what! It’s only 1,462 degrees here in Kansas City.

And my hair has never looked more stunning.

I used to be SUCH a summer-lovin’ gal, back in my ripe years. I lived in New Mexico, rode my faded red Schwinn at like TWO O’CLOCK in the stale, breeze-less July afternoons, with no shoes on. Just a chirpin’ along like a dainty little idiot. Probably humming the new Amy Grant album (WHEN SHE WENT SECULAR, oh the scandal!), not minding the liters of sweat drenching my acid-washed Guess jorts and over-sized church camp t-shirt. Which if I had to do that now, I’d be all kinds of murdery.

The heat, not the album. Baby Baby is a really good song, you guys.


These days, I’m the biggest sissy on the block. I only harvest our garden produce at six in the morning or nine at night, when there are no signs of scary ozone layers, bumble bees, or the West Nile virus.

And even then I’ve attached a garden hose to my head and by the time we’re done the water has soaked my chacos and I’m sliding around in them and falling into the zucchini plants which are REALLY PRICKLY and honestly no good can come from this.


Which is exactly why we need to talk about this beef and basil awesomeness.

Looks can be deceiving, my bunnies, but this tasty bowl of holy crap is actually quite the refreshing surprise for the mouth cavity on these igneous summer evenings.

A) The beef is seasoned and bloomed with spices, garlic, ginger and chiles. Which SOUNDS hot, but wait.

B) Fresh red bell pepper and sautéed zucchini add crunch and depth, along with the pungent basil, fresh scallions and crisp parsley. (I sound so serious right now.)

C) Cooked and cooled vermicelli noodles are slippery and gorgeous all intertwined up in that piece.

D) Gallons of fresh lime juice. Hold on tight, mama.

It’s seriously sick how good this is.

I miss Amy Grant.

Spicy Beef and Basil with Vermicelli Noodles:

What it took for 4:

* 1 pound lean ground beef
* 1 Tbs. Chinese 5-Spice
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbs. freshly minced ginger
* 3 Thai chiles, minced
* 1 zucchini, cut into a small dice
* 2 tsp fish sauce
* 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into a small dice
* 2 scallions, chopped
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley
* 1/2 cup freshly chopped basil
* 1 lime
* 3 oz vermicelli noodles
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Brown the beef in a medium skillet until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Add the Chinese 5-Spice and a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté another minute. Add the garlic, ginger and chiles, sauté another minute.

Add the zucchini and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce and toss to combine. Taste it. Need more salt? Add a pinch if it does.

Cook the vermicelli noodles in boiling water, then drain and rinse under cool water.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked vermicelli noodles, the beef mixture, diced red bell pepper, basil, parsley, scallions and a heavy squeeze of lime juice. Toss to combine.

Serve with more lime slices and seeeeriously, just TASTE that. I know.

*Based on reader feedback, I’ve adjusted the recipe to use only 1 Tbs. Chinese 5-spice. 2-3 worked for the buds in my mouth, but I don’t anyone to have to toss it. So, go with 1 Tbs, but if you want more spice, use more!*

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50 Responses to Spicy Beef and Basil with Vermicelli Noodles

  1. JulieD June 25, 2012 at 8:49 am #
    Looks so good, Bev!! I need some of this for lunch today!
  2. Tracey E. June 25, 2012 at 8:56 am #
    Can't wait to try this!!! :) Looks soo good!! :)
    • Tracey E. June 25, 2012 at 8:57 am #
      PS: I miss Amy Grant too!! :)
  3. IdaBaker June 25, 2012 at 9:59 am #
    I feel your pain. Here in FL, the temps have been above 90 for over 2 weeks, until 3 days ago, when it started to rain. Now, it rain, rain, rain, with lots of humidity. :) This sounds great. I'll have to battle through the rain storms to get the things I need for this, and I'm sure it will be worth it.
  4. Heather June 25, 2012 at 10:12 am #
    um, baby baby is only one of the best songs. duh. :)
  5. Cassie June 25, 2012 at 10:15 am #
    I miss Amy Grant too. Baby Baby was my jam. As are vermcelli noodles. I adore this Bev!
  6. Ali @ Gimme Some Oven June 25, 2012 at 10:57 am #
    This heat is C-RA-ZY!!!! But I would gladly heat a skillet to make this. Delish!!! And I blame you for "Baby Baby" being stuck in my head the rest of the day... :)
  7. Holly June 25, 2012 at 11:04 am #
    Love Amy Grant, and also this delish recipe! Bookmarked!!
  8. kale June 25, 2012 at 11:43 am #
    I've never had a tasty bowl of holy crap... why do I want one so bad? Why do I feel no shame? ...who am I??!
  9. Averie @ Averie Cooks June 25, 2012 at 12:16 pm #
    Gorgeous salad and acid-washed Guess shorts, Amy Grant, and riding Schwinn bikes...oh to be a kid again :) SAME memories!
  10. Deanna B. June 25, 2012 at 12:43 pm #
    Sounds amazing. I love the heat as long as it ain't humid. Humidity sucks balls man.
  11. Julie @ Table for Two June 25, 2012 at 12:47 pm #
    i love the flavors in this especially your use of chinese five spice!! it's my favorite seasoning :)
  12. Kari June 25, 2012 at 12:48 pm #
    Remember skinny jeans and high tops? Ha Ha. Oh wait, I think they're back. This dish looks yummy.
  13. DessertForTwo June 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm #
    This dish puts my heart in motion!
  14. Cookbook Queen June 25, 2012 at 2:10 pm #
    I miss Amy Grant too. Remember "You could be so good for me"? LOVED that stinkin song!! I think that with every decade older, our personal heat index goes up. By the time I'm forty, 95 is going to feel like 125. It's real science.
  15. Kathryn June 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm #
    Oh this is good. I like this a lot.
  16. Candy June 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm #
    I remember all the controversy when Amy Grant went secular - too funny! This dish looks seriously delish!
  17. Deborah June 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm #
    I am so in love with this. And I totally miss the 80s. And Amy Grant.
  18. Julia June 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm #
    I used to ride my bike with no shoes too. It's so dang painful, the pedals are all pokey and stuff. Why i did that, I dunno, musta looked cool or something. Beefy basily noodley goodness, yes!
  19. Jen June 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm #
    This looks perfect for my hubs. He's a total carnivore who only likes ground beef-- it's a challenge. Could I replace the fish sauce with something? Soy sauce? Worchestershire? He can taste a drop of fish sauce and he's a fish-aphobe.
    • Bev Weidner June 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm #
      You absolutely can! I'd use soy over Worcestershire, because I have a deep love affair with soy sauce. Let me know how it is!
      • Jen June 26, 2012 at 9:12 am #
        Turned out great with soy! Some questions though-- is this served hot or cold? Also I assume the scallions and chiles go raw on top? They aren't in the directions. Next time I'll add more ginger and garlic. Thanks for the recipe!
        • Bev Weidner June 26, 2012 at 9:17 am #
          I'm SO sorry my instructions were botched! I just updated it. Actually, the chiles were to be bloomed with the garlic and ginger. And then the scallions, yes! On top with the parsley and basil. MAJOR oops on my part. But yes, since the noodles are cool and the herbs/red bell pepper fresh, the only warmth will come from the beef sauté. So, it's just served like that! The mix of cool and warm. Now I want to eat 13 bowls of it. Thanks for letting me know!
  20. Katie June 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm #
    ohmyheck. I forgot about Amy Grant and I LOVE her. Her Christmas album is the best thing you'll ever hear. And these little noddlies look like the best things I'll ever eat.
  21. Katie @ Blonde Ambition June 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm #
    This is alllllll my favorite things wrapped into one. What an awesome way to snazz up ground beef!
  22. Tara Noland June 25, 2012 at 3:23 pm #
    That looks so good!! I just nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award. Come on over to see at www.noshingwiththenolands.com Cheers, Tara
  23. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts June 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm #
    Going to have to make this soon. Unfortunately I didn't have room for zucchini this year, so I will have to go buy it :(
  24. Denise @ Creative Kitchen June 25, 2012 at 6:23 pm #
    So trying this.....love the flavors going on here! :)
  25. Julia {The Roasted Root} June 25, 2012 at 6:50 pm #
    Oh stop it, I LOVE Amy Grant! Baby Baby was a good one, but let me tell ya, I spent a lot of time prancing around in my big puffy scrunchy and side ponytail singing to Every Heartbeat. Phew, good stuff! Your spicy beef recipe looks fantastic! I'd love a huge plate of it for dinner.
  26. Stephaie @ Eat. Drink. Love. June 25, 2012 at 6:52 pm #
    I feel your pain on the heat and humidity. I live in FL and you sweat just walking to the mailbox. We are moving to AZ this fall and I am not looking forward to the heat, but at least there will be no humidity!! Ok, and now this beef and noodles. Its looks scrumdiddlyumptious!!
  27. Nutmeg Nanny June 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm #
    Oh man, this looks awesome! I agree about Amy Grant. She was the best! I had to hide her tape (along with my Judd's and Debbie Gibson tape) because my step-dad said she was a bad influence. If he could only see into the feature what things would be like now...haha. Anyway, the dish looks great. I would totally shovel that into my face :)
  28. Jenny June 26, 2012 at 3:07 am #
    Hello Bev Thanks for the spicy beef and basil with vermicelli noodles recipe. I'll create one for sure, my kids are gonna like it :) If you don't mind, can you submit your spicy beef and basil with vermicelli noodles photo in http://www.foodporn.net ? It's a food photography site full of all DIY food pictures from members around the world. submit by yourself and let me know when you did, so I can share it.
  29. Ashley June 26, 2012 at 6:08 am #
    I remember Amy Grant, but only pre- secular break out, I was 9 or 10 and still under the parental thumb (although "sing your praise to the lord" might have been my jam for a minute there). This noodle dish has me crying for beefy pasta at 7 am!
  30. shelly (cookies and cups) June 26, 2012 at 6:54 am #
    When Amy Grant went secular she was shunned in my youth group. SHUNNEDDDD. Although I secretly listened to Baby Baby on the sly I would never admit in the group. So let's keep that tight, k? I could eat lots of this. And by lots I mean a lot.
  31. Heather Christo June 26, 2012 at 9:46 am #
    Bev- this looks like pure heaven to me this morning. I am so sorry for you in that heat. I got a taste of it back east last week, GROSS, and now I am snug in my house where it is 50 degrees and raining outside thinking about making stews and the like. this summer is weird.
  32. Heather {ModernMealsforTwo} June 28, 2012 at 2:49 pm #
    You're in KC? I had no idea! Hubster and I moved from there about a year and a half ago. We're now in (equally sweltering) St. Louis.
  33. JanAnd June 29, 2012 at 10:58 am #
    You totally crack me up! It is 58 and drizzling in Ocean Park. My plants may never actually make tomatoes. I will console myself with this wonderful dish.
  34. Natalie @ Cooking for My Kids June 30, 2012 at 7:29 pm #
    It looks amazingly awesome, Bev. I must get back to my routine of meal planning according to whatever you blog about each day. :)
  35. Amber @ The Cook's Sister July 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm #
    Love this dish! What a great combination of flavours and textures!!
  36. Sarah July 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm #
    I usually love your recipes and I thought this one would be hit too. But the 5-Spice was so overpowering (used 2 tbl.) in this recipe...
    • Bev Weidner July 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm #
      Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear this! I do hope you'll try it again with less spice - if you liked the overall flavor. Again, I'm so sorry!
  37. Shiloh August 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm #
    Helll no! Not ever again.
  38. kate August 3, 2012 at 6:56 pm #
    Waaay too much 5 spice. Totally inedible. Used 2 tbl. Had to toss out.
  39. andrea August 15, 2012 at 6:39 pm #
    I liked this a lot!
  40. Christine @ Christine's Kitchen Chronicles April 27, 2013 at 10:10 am #
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! It was so unique and I loved the flavors! http://christineskitchenchronicles.blogspot.com/2013/04/spicy-beef-and-basil-vermicelli-noodles.html
  41. Kelly May 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm #
    Made it with just the one tabelspoon of 5 spice, subbed chili paste for fresh chilies and gluten free soy sauce for fish sauce...and then devoured two bowls like a boa constrictor. It was delish! Can't wait for leftovers!
  42. Bob Kegeles January 15, 2019 at 6:39 pm #
    I can only say,. I've made this dozens of times in the past four or five years, and it's sinfully delicious. Yummmm Yummmm Yummmm
    • Bev Weidner January 17, 2019 at 6:12 am #
      Ahhhh that makes my day to hear, Bob!


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