Who needs takeout when you can make your own Beef Bulgogi Bowl! Sweet and spicy ground beef is served on top of rice with kimchi and cucumbers. It’s a quick and easy dinner that can be on the table in 30 minutes!
Why I love these bulgogi bowls
Ground beef – These bulgogi bowls are made with ground beef, which isn’t traditional, but is more affordable and you don’t need to marinate the meat.
Great for meal prep – If you do meal prep, these rice bowls are an excellent recipe to add to your routine. The recipe makes 4 servings and will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator.
Healthy and balanced meal – These bowls are a balanced combination of protein, carbs, and vegetables. You could even increase the vegetables by sautéing shredded carrots and/or zucchini into the meat mixture.
What is bulgogi?
Bulgogi translates to “fire meat”. It is a Korean dish that’s made up of thin marinated strips of meat, usually beef. The meat is cooked on a grill, stovetop griddle, or stir-fried.
Some of the most common ingredients used in the bulgogi marinade are, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sesame oil. Often times you’ll also find ginger, scallions, mushrooms, or onions in the meat mixture as well.
Ingredients you’ll need
Ground beef – Ground beef keeps this cheater version of bulgogi affordable and quick to make. The ground beef may be substituted with ground turkey, chicken, or pork.
Pear – An Asian pear specifically is what I used, but any type of pear will work. The shredded pear is traditionally used to help tenderize the meat, but since we aren’t marinating it’s just used for sweetness.
Green onion – I love using green onion/scallions in Asian cooking because the flavor is more mild than a yellow onion.
Garlic and Ginger – Aromatics that give the meat mixture fresh and little spicy flavor.
Soy sauce – Salty and full of umami flavor. Use tamari for a gluten-free option.
Gochujang – A thick, sticky, spicy red chili paste that is used frequently in Korean cooking.
Maple Syrup or Honey – Used to sweeten the sauce and balance the heat in the sauce for the ground beef.
Sesame oil and sesame seeds – Sesame adds a wonderful nutty flavor to the sauce.
Rice – White or brown rice are my top choices for the bowls. Quinoa would also work and if you want a lower carb option, try cauliflower rice.
Kimchi – Kimchi is a Korean side dish made of salted and fermented vegetables such as Napa cabbage and daikon radish.
Cucumber – Adds a fresh crunchy element to the bowls. I like to use Persian or mini cucumbers for this recipe.
How to make beef bulgogi bowls
Cook the rice – If you’re using white rice it will only take 15 minutes to cook and will be ready by the time you’re done making the bulgogi. If you’re making brown rice, plan ahead as it will take about 40 minutes to cook. Par-cooked rice in a package or frozen rice is always a good way to save time if you’re in a hurry.
Make the sauce – To make the sauce, start by combining the soy sauce, gochujang, maple syrup, sesame oil, shredded pear, and sesame seeds. Use a microplane zester to grate in the ginger and garlic. I like to grate the garlic so it melts into the sauce. Whisk everything together and set it aside.
The beef – Crumble the ground beef and green onions in a large skillet. Once the beef is cooked through pour in the sauce and stir everything together. Let it simmer on low heat just until the sauce thickens slightly.
Assemble the bowls – Add some of the rice to a bowl. Top it with a portion of the ground beef bulgogi. Add in some of the sliced cucumbers and a couple spoonfuls of kimchi. Garnish the bowls with cilantro and extra sesame seeds.
Make ahead and storage
Both the ground beef bulgogi and the rice can be made ahead of time and eaten throughout the week. They will keep for up to 5 days.
If you plan to make this for meal prep or have leftovers, The rice and beef can be stored together in airtight containers. Keep the cucumbers and kimchi separate and add them onto the bowls after your reheated the rice and meat.
More Asian Inspired Recipes
Did you make these Beef Bulgogi Bowls? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 of an Asian pear, grated (any variety of pear can be used)
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari for gluten-free
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon gochujang
- 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 cups cooked rice
- Kimchi, sliced cucumbers, cilantro and sesame seeds for toppings
- In a bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the pear, sesame seeds, soy sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, gochujang, garlic, and ginger.
- Heat a large skillet with a little oil or cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add in the ground beef, green onions, salt and pepper and crumble the beef with a wooden spoon.
- Once the beef is cooked through, pour in the sauce. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir everything together. Simmer for several minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
- To assemble the bowls, start by adding in some of the rice. Top it with a portion of the bulgogi, sliced cucumbers, and kimchi. Garnish with chopped cilantro and sesame seeds.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 472Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 872mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 37g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.