This easy recipe for Inside Out Egg Roll is filled with flavor, yet ready in less than 20 minutes! Also known as egg roll in a bowl, this low carb favorite is always a winner with the whole family.
Have you ever had a craving hit for something just an hour before dinner time? I think we all have. Many times that means we're picking up a pizza on the way home, or heading to our favorite take-out spot.
One of the foods we crave the most in our home is Chinese food, both authentic and Americanized. But one of the things we've committed to for both our health and finances is to cook more at home, and I'm sure a lot of you can empathize with that!
A Quick and Easy Skillet Meal
That's why I wanted to share this recipe for Inside Out Egg Roll! It has all the flavor and texture of an egg roll filling, but way fewer carbs and calories (thanks to skipping the fried egg roll wrapper). The best part? It's ready in less than 20 minutes from start to finish!
I've been making versions of this healthy dinner for well over 5 years now. It has helped us eat at home more often, all while crushing our cravings.
Even if you haven't thought ahead to thaw some ground meat, a quick trip to the grocery store means you can grab everything you need for a quick and healthy dinner. OR you could even use frozen ground beef (see my tips at the bottom of the post).
While I prefer the name "Inside Out Egg Roll" because I think it describes the dish best, it has a few different names that generally describe the same (or a very similar) main dish:
- Egg roll in a bowl
- Deconstructed egg roll
- Crack slaw
- Unstuffed egg roll
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- It's ready in less than 20 minutes and uses just one skillet!
- The perfect meal for when you're craving Chinese food, but want to eat at home (and save on calories).
- It's great for meal prep - just portion it into containers and refrigerate for later.
- This easy recipe is gluten free, dairy free, keto, and low carb. It's an allergy-friendly dish that the whole family can enjoy!
- Ground beef: I like to use lean ground beef for this recipe, but you could use any ground meat you prefer. Ground pork, ground turkey, and ground chicken all work well.
- Coleslaw mix: I have tested this recipe with both a bag of coleslaw mix and sliced cabbage, and both are delicious! We do prefer the texture and ease of prep that comes with using pre-shredded coleslaw mix.
- Soy sauce: Low-sodium soy sauce gives the best balance of flavor, but both tamari and coconut aminos work for this recipe.
- Sesame oil: The secret ingredient. Make sure you buy toasted sesame oil, not refined sesame oil. That toasty flavor is a signature part of the dish.
- Garlic: Both fresh minced garlic and pre-minced garlic in a jar work well for this recipe. I was surprised since I'm typically against "jarlic."
- Seasonings: You'll need ground ginger, onion powder, and a pinch of ground cloves. If you have a little extra time, invest in using some fresh ginger. It's so delish!
- Hot sauce: This is optional, but does balance the flavors and add just a touch of heat.
- Garnish: I like to garnish my inside out egg roll with some chopped green onions and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
How to Make Egg Roll in a Bowl
Step one: To get started, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no pink remains.
Step two: Once the meat is browned drain off any excess fat. Add the garlic to the skillet, sauteing for about 30-60 seconds, or just until fragrant.
Step three: Add the coleslaw mix (or sliced cabbage) into the skillet. Toss to combine it with the ground meat crumbles.
Step four: Add in the soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger, onion powder, and cloves (if using). Stir well to combine.
Step five: Add a lid to your skillet and cook until the cabbage is softened to your liking, about 2-5 minutes. If you don't have a lid for your skillet, you may need to add a bit of water during the cooking time to prevent the food from sticking as the liquid in the pan evaporates.
Step six: Once the cabbage is cooked to your liking, remove it from the heat and add the sesame oil. Stir well to coat, then taste and adjust for seasonings.
Step seven: Portion the deconstructed egg roll into bowls and garnish with chopped green onions, sesame seeds, a drizzle of sriracha, etc.
Then serve and enjoy!
This easy recipe for Inside Out Egg Roll in a Bowl is perfectly fine as is, and that's how we most often serve it. If you have a hungry crowd, you may want to add some side dishes to make sure all of the hungry tummies are filled (and double the recipe if needed).
Here are a few of my favorite side dishes for egg roll in a bowl:
- Cauliflower rice
- Regular rice or brown rice
- Steamed veggies
- Cooked frozen veggies (like Instant Pot Frozen Broccoli)
- Noodles (either low carb or regular)
Place any leftovers in an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Reheating: Reheat in the microwave in 30-second intervals until warmed through, or warm in a skillet over medium-low heat with a few additional tablespoons of water.
Variations and Substitutions
Using cabbage: If you want to use fresh cabbage for this recipe, you absolutely can! I've tested it with both coleslaw mix and finely sliced cabbage, and both versions are super tasty. You'll need about half of a small head of cabbage, sliced as thinly as you can manage. That works out to about 6 cups of cabbage.
Ground meat: I use ground beef for this recipe because it's what my family likes best, but you could use whatever ground meat you like best. Ground pork, turkey, and chicken all work well. I would avoid strong flavors like bison since you want the meat to take on the flavor of the soy sauce and seasonings.
With egg roll wrappers: If you want to add the crispy, crunchy element of a classic egg roll recipe, try including the egg roll wrappers. I recommend cutting them into small pieces and pan-frying them in a bit of oil until crispy and golden. Drain on paper towels and top each serving with a scant handful.
With water chestnuts: Want to add some crunch without the carbs? Chop up a can of drained water chestnuts and add them in during cooking. Yummy!
Paleo/Whole 30: Substitute the low-sodium soy sauce for coconut aminos and adjust the seasoning and amount of aminos to your taste.
Tips for Success
- For using fresh cabbage: Use a sharp knife to slice it as thin as possible. If you want a finer texture, try using the shredding attachment on your food processor.
- Weren't thinking ahead and forgot to thaw your ground meat? Try cooking it from frozen! Once the packaging is off, add it to the skillet and cook, scraping off the cooked parts before flipping it back and forth. It takes longer but it works in a pinch!
- If you used super lean ground meat like extra-lean ground beef, ground chicken, or ground turkey, you may need to add a bit of oil to the skillet before adding the meat.
More Easy Low-Carb Dinners
- Sheet Pan Smoked Sausage and Peppers
- Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Chicken
- John Wayne Casserole
- Creamy Mushroom Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders (without Breading)
Inside Out Egg Roll in a Bowl
- 1 pound lean ground beef pork, or turkey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1-2 cloves
- 14-16 ounces coleslaw mix or 6 cups finely sliced cabbage
- ⅓ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- pinch ground cloves (optional)
- 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 green onions sliced
- sesame seeds for serving (optional)
- Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat.
- Add the ground beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until it is browned.
- Drain off any excess grease and add the garlic, sauteing just until fragrant (30-60 seconds).
- Add in the coleslaw mix (or 6 cups of finely sliced cabbage) and toss it to combine with the ground beef and garlic.
- Pour in the soy sauce and stir well to coat the cabbage and ground beef.
- Add in the hot sauce, ground ginger, onion powder, and cloves (if using). Stir well.
- Add a lid to the skillet (if you don’t have one, that’s fine - you just may need to add ¼ -⅓ cup water to prevent the cabbage from sticking) and cook until the coleslaw mix is soft, about 2-5 minutes.
- Once the cabbage is cooked to your liking, remove the skillet from the heat and finish it with 1 ½ tablespoons of toasted sesame oil. Toss well to combine.
- Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and seasonings to your liking.
- Serve in bowls topped with sliced green onions and sesame seeds (optional).
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