Spicy Thai Basil Beef

Thai Basil Beef 6You guys! Can you believe that this whole meal was cooked with solar sunshine? Seriously. Kinda crazy but really awesome. Plus, it’s Thai food so it’s basically my fav. Hello spicy, savory Thai food that didn’t make my kitchen a hotmess is everything. Especially right now when temperatures in Austin are the highest they have been in years! Heat wave, y’all. So why not take advantage of all the sun power and make dinner?

Technically, I think the Solavore Sport Oven was made with campers and outdoor enthusiasts in mind. But let me be the first to tell you that I am not really a camper. As in, I went camping once, repeat one time in my life, where I actually pitched a tent and slept on the ground. It was terrible. Awful. I swore I was never, ever doing that again. And I haven’t since. It was that crazy hot summer, 2011 I believe, and somehow a group of friends and I got the notion that it would be a great idea to go camping in the middle of July in Texas. As I write this, I can’t believe how we ever thought this would even remotely be fun. Anyways, it was suffocatingly hot, even at midnight and as soon as daylight peaked through, I was packing up and loading out. So there was my one experience with camping. Maybe sometime, some place else I will try again, but I think I am still sweating from that failed attempt, haha.

I tell you this because you don’t have to be a really outdoorsy, camp-y type to get into this whole solar cooking thing. For one, I live in a tiny apartment with big windows that face west, aka setting sun and hottest time of day. So trying to cook dinner only makes my AC work harder and me sweat in the kitchen. Which reminds me of camping and well…you know how I feel about that. Last week I had a loaner Solavore Oven to try out. It cooks like a crock pot, low and slow, and uses heat from the sun. Pretty neat. I tried my hand at a fresh recipe that required zero prep that uses heat and something that could be easily put together ahead of time, if say you were to actually like camping or something like that. Or maybe, like me, you have a kitchen that friends love to hang out at, but you don’t want to make it a sauna this time of year.

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It really is as easy as those pictures make it look! Chop up ingredients, put into pot, stir, close and come back to your hot meal! And it does it all with the heat on the patio and NOT in my kitchen, win-win. Then you plate the meal and enjoy inside your cool as a cucumber apartment. Or campsite, if you’re into that 🙂

Has anyone cooked with solar power before? Tried a Solavore Oven? I want to know! What did you think. Thai Basil Beef 1
Spicy Thai Basil Beef

Serves 4-6

For the beef:

1lb lean ground beef

2 cups fresh chopped basil + more for serving

5 cloves grated garlic

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

juice of 1 lime

1 bell pepper cut into strips

2 green onions chopped

1/2 cup matchstick carrots

1 serrano pepper thinly cut

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons garlic chili paste

2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon black pepper

Sprinkle of sesame seeds


Stir all together making sure to break up the ground beef.

Cook for 2-2 1/2 hours in the Solavore Oven or until the thermometer reaches 250 for over an hour and the beef is thoroughly cooked.


For the rice:

1 cup long grain white rice

1 can (13.5oz) full fat coconut milk

1/4 chopped fresh lemongrass

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil


Stir all ingredients together and add to Solavore Oven about halfway through the beef cooking. Cook for about an hour or until all liquid is absorbed.


Serve together and top with fresh basil and sesame seeds!

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Natalie Paramore

The places I go, the things I do and what I eat.



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