These easy Korean Beef Bowls come together in less than 20 minutes! Packed with the most delicious Korean-inspired ground beef, tons of fresh vegetables, and rice.
If you need a quick and easy dinner, these healthy Korean Beef Bowls with Vegetables made with lean ground beef, a sweet and spicy Korean sauce, and plenty of vegetables are the perfect option. Love Korean recipes? Try this Slow Cooker Korean Chicken or Shredded Korean Pork.
Instead of opting for take-out, make this delicious Korean bowl instead! It couldn't be easier to make, works with any ground meat, and uses up any vegetables you have on hand. It's the best easy meal for busy nights.
The key to making this recipe is the simple Korean-inspired sauce made with soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and chili paste. It's sweet, savory, and slightly spicy. It's inspired by bulgogi sauce that's typically used for Korean barbecue.
Now typically this recipe would have gochujang, a fermented Korean chili paste, but since many people shared they couldn't find it, I used sambal olek instead. Swap in gochujang if you have it!
Key Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make this recipe
- Ground beef: Any ground beef works for this recipe, although usually I use 95% lean to keep things light and healthy. Swap in ground turkey, pork, or chicken. For more traditional Korean beef, use thinly sliced sirloin.
- Asian vegetables: Make this beef bowl with any vegetables you like. favorites include cabbage, bean sprouts, bell pepper, green beans, spinach, scallions, mushrooms, carrots, and cucumbers. Both raw and cooked vegetables can be used.
- Soy sauce: Use regular, low sodium, or a soy sauce substitute like tamari or coconut aminos.
- Brown sugar: This sauce needs some sweetness. Brown or white sugar is commonly used, but you could swap in honey, agave, Stevia to taste.
- Sesame oil: This adds a nice, nutty flavor to the sauce. Both regular and toasted sesame oil can be used. Toasted sesame oil has a stronger sesame flavor.
- Asian garlic chili paste: This sauce should have some heat. Use sambal olek, gochujang, Sriracha, or red pepper flakes. Adjust the mount to make the sauce as spicy as you like.
- Garlic and ginger: These two aromatics add so much flavor to the sauce. Fresh adds the most flavor.
How to Make Korean Beef Bowls (Build Your Own)
Let's talk about building the perfect Korena bowl! There are so many fun ways to build your own bowl.
- Rice bowls: You can go the traditional route and serve it over white or brown rice. These are also delicious with quinoa for some added protein.
- Low-carb options: Use greens, spaghetti squash, or cauliflower rice for the base of the bowls for a lower-carb option.
- Change up the toppings: Add kimchi, sprouts, pickled vegetables (cucumbers, carrots, daikon), shredded cabbage, broccoli, mushrooms, or bell peppers.
- Protein: Make these bowls with ground beef, thinly sliced sirloin, ground turkey, pork, chicken, or tofu.
- Add an egg: Don't be afraid to add a fried or soft-boiled egg for an authentic Korean touch like you would find with Bibimbap.
- Add fresh herbs: Finish this dish with some fresh basil, mint, or cilantro.
- Use fish sauce: For a more umami flavor, add a few dashes of fish sauce to the sauce.
Tips and Recipe Ideas
There are lots of ways to personalize and customize this recipe. Here are some things to consider:
- Thicker sauce: The sauce for the beef isn't super thick. Personally, I like this since I can spoon the extra sauce over the vegetables. However, if you want a thicker sauce, stir in a little cornstarch before adding it to the beef. This will thicken up the sauce nicely.
- Change up the vegetables: Any vegetable combination will work for this recipe. Usually, I opt for a bag of mixed Asian veggies but you could choose any single vegetable or an assortment of your favorites. Consider using broccoli, green beans, bok choy, or cabbage.
- Change the spice level: If you don't like things spicy, leave out the Asian garlic chili paste, and let people add their own afterward. You can also substitute the sambal olek for Sriracha or some red pepper flakes depending on what you have on hand.
- Double the sauce: If you fall in love with the sauce, which you will, it can be used for marinating just about any type of meat. We use it all the time for chicken, steak, and pork. make a double or triple batch to keep in the fridge.
Meal Prep, Storage, and Leftovers
This Korean Beef Bowl is great for meal prep and the beef can be frozen for future meals.
- Meal Prep: Store the cooked rice, beef, and any cooked vegetables together in individual containers you can pop in the microwave to reheat. Keep any fresh vegetables packed separately and add them after reheating. This keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: The beef can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
- Sauce: The sauce can be made and kept n the fridge for up to 5-7 days. Use it to marinate proteins or drizzle on rice bowls.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these Korean Bowls.
Korean bulgogi beef is normally served with steamed rice, pickled cucumbers, and kimchi. It sometimes is also served with pickled daikon, pickled carrots, bean sprouts, green onions, lettuce wraps, fresh carrots, and extra hot sauce.
Add any of those ingredients to these homemade bowls for a more authentic flavor combination.
If you want to add some additional sauce to these bowsl, you can double the sweet and spicy sauce used for the beef and drizzle more on top of the rice bowls.
You could also add spicy mayo, extra hot sauce, or gochujang, or simply drizzle the whole dish with soy sauce or sesame oil.
Korean Beef Bowls
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- 3 cups mixed Asian vegetables
- 2 tbsp water (more if needed)
- 1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce (GF if needed)
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar (or honey, agave, Stevia to taste)
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp. Asian garlic chili paste (like sambal olek or Sriracha)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp ginger, minced
- 1.33 lbs. 95% lean ground beef
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- Nutritional Information
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* 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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