Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls

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Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls are chock-full of mouth-watering beef, whole grains, and fresh veggies. This 20-minute meal guarantees to please with the most delicious sweet and spicy sauce.

419 CALORIES54g CARBS9g FAT31g PROTEIN
3 Comments

I don’t know about you, but healthy meals that cook in under 30 minutes are my absolute favorites. If you're looking for a meal that is quick, easy to make, bursting with flavor, and ultra photo-worthy, this is the one. Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls are loaded up with Korean bulgogi-style beef and tons of veggies, all served over a bed of fluffy rice.

If you’ve never made bulgogi at home, don’t let the name scare you off. It’s super easy to whip up and there’s a good chance you already have all the ingredients at home. My bulgogi sauce is made with soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes.

Once you’ve mixed together the bulgogi sauce ingredients, you simply pour it into the pan with your ground beef and stir until it’s thoroughly combined. The result is a little savory, a little sweet, and a LOT delicious.

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My favorite way to serve Beef Bulgogi Bowls is over a bed of brown rice with lots of veggies on the side. However, you could easily swap out the rice for cauliflower rice instead for a low-carb option. Feel free to toss in any veggies you have at home—this dish is fantastic for using up all those veggies in the fridge!

Korean beef blugogi in a bowl with brown rice, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, and red peppers.

Key Ingredients for Beef Bulgogi Bowls

To make this healthy Asian-inspired recipe, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • Lean ground beef: Traditional Korean bulgogi is usually made with rib eye or sirloin steak. However, I substituted ground beef for this recipe. Ground beef is super easy to cook with, budget-friendly, and filled with protein and nutrients. Ground turkey, chicken, or pork would also work.
  • Soy sauce: Feel free to swap this out for tamari or coconut aminos instead for a gluten-free meal.
  • Sesame oil: This ingredient is a staple in many Asian dishes, especially stir-fries. In addition to adding a delicious nutty flavor, sesame oil is also loaded with heart-healthy fats and antioxidants.
  • Veggies: I like to use a combination of fresh and cooked veggies. My go-to’s usually include bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, and cucumbers. However, you can use any veggies you have at home.
  • Aromatics: Ginger and garlic add tons of incredible flavors and aromas, which is why they are commonly used in a variety of Asian dishes. I highly recommend using the fresh versions of both, but the powdered form can be used in a pinch.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

Looking to switch things up? You’re in luck. These bulgogi bowls can easily be customized to suit your dietary needs and flavor preferences. Here are some of my favorite ways to get creative with this recipe:

  • Switch up your protein. Traditional beef bulgogi is made with thinly cut sirloin or rib eye steak. If you have the time to spare and don’t mind spending a little extra dough, I definitely recommend trying out one of these. Alternatively, for a leaner protein, you could try ground chicken or ground turkey. 
  • Add a fried egg. For an extra boost of protein, try adding a fried egg to the top of your bulgogi bowl. Bonus points if the yolk is runny, yum!
  • Switch your veggies. Feel free to use any vegetables you like in this recipe. Any will work, but some of my favorite options not listed in this recipe include broccoli, spinach, onions, and zucchini.
  • Add a little spice. If you like your food with some heat, try adding a spoonful of kimchi or a drizzle of sriracha or hot sauce.

Ground beef bowls with Korean bulgogi sauce in a bowl served with steamed rice, fresh cilantro, and vegetables.

How to Serve Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls

Here are a few of my favorite ways to serve these delicious ground beef bulgogi bowls:

  • Over rice. As the recipe suggests, this dish tastes great with a big ol’ bowl of brown rice. If you’re looking for a low-carb option, try opting for some cauliflower rice. You could also jazz things up with some healthy fried rice.
  • With a side salad. The flavors in this Asian Kale Salad with Edamame and Avocado compliment the ground beef bulgogi perfectly. Pair them together for an extra dose of veggies!
  • Alongside a few spring rolls. Vegetable spring rolls are the perfect side dish to pair with these delicious beef bulgogi bowls. They are perfect as an appetizer or as a healthy side dish.
  • Stuffed into tortillas. In the mood for something handheld? Stuff your beef bulgogi and veggies into a tortilla for the ultimate wrap! For a low-carb option, you could use lettuce wraps instead of tortillas.

How to Store Leftover Bulgogi

Because they refrigerate and reheat so well, bulgogi bowls are perfect for storing and eating later. To ensure that everything stays as fresh as possible, I recommend storing the various ingredients in separate airtight containers.

Make sure to let everything cool down before you pack it away. Once properly contained, you can store your bulgogi bowl ingredients in one of two ways:

  • In the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
  • In the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about this dish:

Of course. In fact, traditional beef bulgogi calls for thinly-sliced sirloin or ribeye steak. If you choose to use steak in this dish, simply cook the steak slices in a single layer on a pan and be sure not to overcrowd them. When sliced thinly, the steak should only need about a minute or so on each side.

Ground beef is best cooked when you break it apart using a spatula or wooden spoon. Typically, it takes about 8 to 10 minutes to fully cook. When you can no longer see any pink bits in the beef, it’s safe to assume it’s cooked. According to the USDA, ground beef should be cooked to 160°F.

Yes! Beef bulgogi bowls are quick, easy, and totally good for you. This recipe is high in protein, fiber, complex carbs, and nutrients, making it an incredibly healthy addition to your diet. These bowls are fairly high in carbs, but can be made low-carb by swapping out the rice for cauliflower rice or leaving out the grains altogether.

Easy ground beef Bulgogi bowls served with rice and raw vegetables with cucumbers and ground beef on the side.
The Recipe
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Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls

PREP TIME: 5 Min
COOK TIME: 15 Min
TOTAL TIME: 20 Min
3 Comments
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (GF if needed)
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. 95% lean ground beef
  • 1 cup cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thin
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Cook the brown rice according to package directions. Prep the vegetables. Normally I like to serve bulgogi with raw vegetables but you could also quickly saute the vegetables if you prefer them cooked.

Brown rice being poured into a bowl.
2

Stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and green onions.

Green onions being stirred into a bowl or Korean bulgogi sauce.
3

Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add the beef and brown for 4-6 minutes, breaking up as you go. Add the soy sauce mixture and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Serve over rice with vegetables.

Ground beef being stirred in a skillet with Bulgogi sauce.
4

Serve over rice with vegetables. If desired, add some fresh cilantro, a fried egg, and kimchi.

Cilantro being added to a bowl with bulgogi ground beef and vegetables.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving
Calories 419
Calories from Fat 35
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
15%
Saturated Fat 3g
15%
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
0%
Cholesterol 70mg
24%
Sodium 1004mg
44%
Total Carbohydrate 54g
18%
Dietary Fiber 4g
17%
Sugars 12g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
3 Comments
On Ground Beef Bulgogi Bowls
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Amy Cook
November 17, 2018 - 09:07
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4
I was astonished at how good this was and how readily it was received by my husband. It was different in texture and taste for us but we loved it. My first concept of a 'bowl' type meal. We loved it.
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Machel Morton
November 3, 2016 - 16:07
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5
Wow, this was really good!! My kids wanted a scrambled egg on top of theirs and that was fine since they were eating all these veggies. Really flavorful and super filling. I noticed cilantro is in the ingredients but not mentioned in the instructions. We added it at the end and it was perfect.
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Sandra Olsen
April 27, 2016 - 09:26
I made this last night and it was SO GOOD! I modified a bit though, but the main flavors were intact. I used ground turkey in place of beef. Instead of raw carrots and cabbage, I cut 8 carrots into matchsticks and 1/2 head of sliced cabbage (I wanted it to be heavier on the veggies so we'd have leftovers for lunch without increasing the meat). I sauteed the veggies until crisp tender, then added the meat. In place of the plain cucumber, I marinated the slices in a mixture of vinegar and coconut sugar. Servings were topped with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro and the marinated cucumber. I can't wait for lunch!
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