Korean Beef Bowl
Sometimes I test a recipe, and it’s a few weeks before I get around to posting it here. Other times a recipe comes along that is so easy yet excellent, I rush to blast it into the interwebs ASAP, with the hope that it saves you from a dinner emergency at the earliest opportunity—like tonight. This Korean Beef Bowl recipe is practically still cooling on the stove, and I couldn’t wait one more day to share it with you!
A healthy ground beef recipe made of lean ground beef that’s stir fried with ginger, garlic, sesame oil, a touch of honey, and plenty of green onions, this Asian-inspired dinner is perfect for serving with vegetables and rice for a fast, wholesome meal.
And by “fast” I mean lightening. Start to finish, this Korean beef bowl with veggies is ready in about 20 minutes; meal prep your vegetables the day before, and you’ll have it ready even sooner.
This recipe is super-duper loosely based on Deb’s Crispy Rice Bowls, which have been one of our favorite easy dinner recipes we’ve tried lately.
You’ll find a number of major differences between them (particularly the ground beef), but the two recipes are wildly delicious, quick-and-easy, and take inspiration from Korean cooking. Neither claims authenticity. I hope you’ll try them both.
I love Deb’s idea of topping the Korean bowls with shredded carrots and thinly sliced cucumbers. If you have time, let the vegetables sit in a mix of rice vinegar, sugar, and water to lightly pickle—the time the beef needs to brown will be enough, and you’ll adore yourself for making this upgrade.
We served our sautéed Korean ground beef over steamed brown rice the first time I made this recipe and with quinoa the second; we were highly pleased with how they both tasted. If you have a few extra minutes and feel so inclined, I imagine the bowls would be delicious if you crisped the rice on the stove first, the way Deb does.
As with most of my healthy ground beef recipes (like this Healthy Beef Taco Skillet), you also can trade out the vegetables here for just about any you prefer or have around. I love the combination of beef and broccoli in Asian recipes (looking at you, Crockpot Beef and Broccoli, Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli, and Healthy Beef and Broccoli), so making this Korean beef bowl with broccoli is next on my list.
How to Make a Korean Beef Bowl
If you regularly cook stir fries, you probably have these ingredients around. If you don’t, I enthusiastically encourage you to pick them up! You can find all of them at an average grocery store, the investment is nominal, and they will open you up to a whole new genre of tasty dinners, including all of these wonderful healthy stir fry recipes.
- Ground Beef. Lean ground beef (I used 93% lean) keeps this recipe light without sacrificing on flavor.
- Soy Sauce. Coats every morsel of the beef and gives it a delightfully salty, umami flavor. I recommend using low-sodium soy sauce to ensure your beef bowl doesn’t become too salty.
- Garlic + Ginger. Tiny but mighty! Both garlic and ginger pack intense flavors that complement almost any stir fry recipe.
- Rice Vinegar. For a touch of acidity.
- Honey. Adding honey gives the dish a subtle, balanced sweetness without using any refined sugars.
- Red Pepper Flakes. For a pinch of heat. If you like your stir fry extra spicy, feel free to add more red pepper flakes to take it up a notch.
- Sesame Oil. Brings an unmistakeable, lightly toasted flavor to this dish. Don’t skip this ingredient! Sesame oil is typically located in the Asian or international aisle of most grocery stores.
- For Serving. See below for tips on what to serve with this dish.
- Quick pickle your vegetables (optional but worth it!). Start browning the beef. When it’s halfway done, add soy sauce and green onions. Once the beef is cooked, stir in the garlic.
- While the beef cooks, combine the vinegar, honey, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Pour the mixture over the beef, stirring to coat. Remove from the heat, and stir in the sesame oil.
- Serve hot with rice and desired toppings. DIG IN!
What to Serve with Your Korean Beef Bowl
- Rice. A classic and crowd-pleasing base for this beef bowl. We like brown rice for its whole grain benefits.
- Quinoa. For a boost in protein content, serve your beef bowl on top of cooked quinoa.
- Cauliflower Rice. Make this a low-carb Korean beef bowl by serving it with cauliflower rice.
- Broccoli. Korean ground beef and broccoli is a winning combination. Use steamed fresh broccoli, pickled broccoli slaw, or this Roasted Frozen Broccoli.
- Noodles. If you’re a fan of noodles with your stir fries, try this beef bowl with cooked soba, rice, or udon noodles.
Meal Prep and Storage Tips
This Korean beef rice bowl is ideal for meal prep.
- To Meal Prep. Prep your vegetables in advance, and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Portion out your rice into storage containers, top with your desired serving size of the beef mixture, and finish with the vegetables. Store all the containers in the refrigerator, and grab for quick lunches or dinners throughout the week.
- To Store. Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat on the stove. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Store the beef mixture and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Recommend Tools to Make this Recipe
- Glass Food Storage Containers. Ideal for Korean beef bowl meal prep.
- Skillet. An invaluable kitchen tool for making stir fries, browning meat, and so much more! This option is also great.
- Measuring Spoons. Measure your beef bowl ingredients with this double-sided spoons for less cleanup.
If you try this recipe, please take a moment to let me know how it turned out. Your 5-star ratings and reviews are so important to my blog, and they help others out too!
Korean Beef Bowl
FOR THE BEEF
- 1 pound lean ground beef - I used 93% lean
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce - plus additional to taste, divided
- 1 1/4 cups minced scallions - both green and white parts (from about 1 small bundle), divided
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic - about 3 cloves
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons minced or finely grated fresh ginger
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes - plus additional to taste
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil - plus additional to tase
- Cooked brown rice - quinoa, or cauliflower rice
- 1 1/2 cups shredded carrots - see recipe notes to pickle them for an upgrade
- Thinly sliced seedless cucumbers - Persian-style or English/hot house
- Toasted sesame seeds
- Pickle the carrots and/or cucumbers if desired (see recipe notes—I highly recommend). In a large skillet, brown the beef over medium-high heat, breaking it into small pieces, until it is browned and cooked through, about 5 or so minutes. When the beef is about halfway finished cooking, add 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 2/3 of the scallions. Once the beef is completely browned, stir in the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- While the beef cooks, in a small bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, honey, ginger, red pepper flakes, and remaining soy sauce. Pour over the browned beef. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, then stir in the sesame oil. Sprinkle the remaining green onion over the top. Taste and add extra soy sauce or red pepper flakes as desired (I added a bit more of each).
- Serve the beef hot, over rice, topped generously with the carrots, cucumber, and sesame seeds.
- TO PICKLE THE CARROTS AND CUCUMBERS: Place the vegetables in a medium bowl. Top with 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 2 tablespoons water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to coat the strands. Let marinate/gently pickle while you prepare the rest of the recipe. Drain then use to top the bowls.
- TO STORE: Place leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet over medium-low heat on the stove. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store the beef mixture and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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