by Olena

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

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Olena Osipov
5 from 73 votes

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Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls is a 30 minute, healthy ground beef recipe full of vegetables, Asian flavored sauce, then served over hearty brown rice or go low carb with cauliflower rice. This weeknight dinner is easily customizable and will have your family going for seconds.

Love quick and easy? Try ground turkey and broccoli pasta, Tuscan chicken pasta or pesto turkey and zucchini.

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

Quick and Easy Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

In no way can I claim these Korean ground beef and rice bowls to be an authentic Asian recipe. But all I do know is that my family “inhales” them every.single.time! It’s such a simple meal with all the flavor.

All 3 of my boys, big and small, love my healthy Korean ground beef and rice recipe. I pack it full of vegetables, use twice less sodium and replace brown sugar with half the amount of maple syrup for an easy clean eating dinner recipe. Fresh ginger, rice vinegar, green onions and a pinch of red pepper flakes, give it distinct Asian flair. Serve over fiber rich brown rice and this healthy, budget friendly dinner cleans out the veggie drawers every time – sign me up!

Your busy weeknight needs this recipe along with turkey burgers and spaghetti with tomato sauce. Even your lazy Saturdays would be happy with it. Since it requires little effort to make, my husband makes it often when it’s his turn to cook. But when you feel “fancy”, promise me you will try lamb or sirloin tip roast.

Need more help with dinner? Check out iFOODreal meal plans.

Why This Healthy Ground Beef Recipe Works?

  • Simple kitchen ingredients like rice vinegar, soy sauce and maple syrup make for an easy and tasty sauce!
  • This beef and rice recipe is a twist on the traditional Korean dish, bulgogi, but it’s kept budget friendly using ground beef vs. thin sliced sirloin.
  • Clean out the veggie drawer with versatile veggie combinations – swap eggplant and zucchini for carrots, bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower – if it’s in the veggie drawer, add it in!
  • Well rounded meal with fiber, protein and vegetables, you will feel great both eating and serving your family this healthy meal with ground beef!
close-up Korean Ground Beef with spoon

Ingredients for Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

I was at the end of my menus, and was looking to make something with pantry staples, thus was born this healthy meal with ground beef.

  • Ground beef: I used organic hamburger with 85% fat. Truth is you can use any ground meat, like ground turkey or chicken.
  • Firm veggies: Like zucchini, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, onion, garlic and bell pepper. Whatever you have on hand.
  • Tomato: It is optional, so if you have one on hand. I like how it holds its juiciness, soft texture and freshness while other veggies become more cooked.
  • Lots of green onion: Also known as scallion or spring onion, is a must for Korean ground beef.
  • Asian flavorings: Soy sauce, maple syrup and rice vinegar that all can be found in Asian salad dressing.
  • Aromatics: Fresh ginger, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes add additional Korean flavor.
  • Optional additions: You can also add cashews, water chestnuts, shredded carrots. Possibilities are endless!
korean ground beef bowl

How to Make Korean Beef Bowl

I have been cooking with ground turkey and beef often lately. Take these Instant Pot quinoa bowls. It is an easy and cheap way to make healthy dinner fast. And kids always seem to like it. And it takes 30 minutes.

  • Start your side: Before I start cooking Korean ground beef, I decide what I want to serve it with. Usually I make Instant Pot brown rice or Instant Pot quinoa. So, I start that first to make sure my beef can go on the table as soon as it’s ready.
  • Cook ground beef: You want to sear ground beef in a hot wok or large deep ceramic non-stick skillet on medium heat. Cook breaking into pieces and stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes. Drain fat if desired. I have to say I used beef thawed in Instant Pot, so I cooked it less time. It is a miracle recipe! 
  • Add fresh flavorings: Towards the end of browning ground beef, add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove beef onto plate and return skillet to the stove.
  • Saute veggies separately: You want to cook veggies separately from meat and in stages, so they caramelize. First goes the bell pepper because its browned version is the most flavorful veggie ever.
  • Then zucchini and eggplant: We just need to soften them a bit and I find both of these veggies absorb sauce flavors so well. Like a sponge. And bulk up the dish which kids do not notice. Sneaky veggies basically.
  • Add condiments and cooked ground beef back: Now is time to combine everything. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar, maple syrup, pepper, red pepper flakes and previously cooked ground beef to the skillet. Stir and cook for 1 minute.
  • Garnish: Add lots of green onions and make sure to save some for serving. That’s it!

Literally your next healthy 30 minute meal has arrived on your dinner table.

Keep reading to discover how we eat Korean ground beef.

Optional Add-Ins and Variations

  • Top with toasted sesame seeds, a lime wedge, and some sriracha sauce for increased flavor.
  • Increase the sauce and add a cornstarch ‘slurry’ to thicken it.
  • Replace oil with sesame oil for a ‘toastier’ taste.
  • Swap out your vegetable combinations – broccoli and carrots vs zucchini and eggplant, additional bell peppers, mushrooms, it’s very versatile! One reader even used cabbage.
  • Add toasted cashews or water chestnuts before serving for crunch.
  • Gochijang seasoning or any other ‘spicier’ Asian seasonings for tastebuds that like a little heat.
  • Use white wine vinegar + 1.5 tsp of sugar if you are out of rice vinegar.
  • Add kimchi or other fermented style veg before serving for a dose of probiotics.

Give your Korean beef bowl a bibimbap flair by topping it with either a fried or sunny side up egg!

Tips for Best Results

  • If you are using a fattier cut of ground beef, drain off some of the fat before adding aromatics. No need to do this if you opt to use ground turkey or chicken.
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic or ginger, use ground garlic and ground ginger in its place (½ teaspoon of each). Note this may not be as flavorful.
  • To make this taste more like Korean beef bulgogi takeout brown the beef really well and keep chunks of beef larger.
  • Alternately, if you want the sauce to soak into each piece of beef, break up the chunks small!

Start cooking your grain of choice (I use brown rice) before you brown the ground beef so everything gets done at the same time!

FAQs

Is Korean ground beef similar to beef bulgogi?

The main difference between bulgogi and this healthy meal with ground beef are that this beef bowl uses less expensive meat than bulgogi – ground beef vs sirloin.

What happens if overcook this healthy ground beef recipe?

Your hamburger meat will be a bit dry! You can increase the sauce ingredients to try to compensate or drizzle with a small amount of oil (I recommend sesame oil) at the end.

What type of rice is best with Korean ground beef?

That is entirely up to you! I only buy brown rice – this includes jasmine, basmati, long grain and short grain. My preference for this Korean ground beef and rice bowl is jasmine or basmati.

How do I make spicy Korean beef bowl?

Increase red pepper flakes, use chili pepper flakes or chili pepper paste. Gochujang (a thick and spicy paste made from red chili pepper flakes, fermented soybeans and more) has been used by readers to add some ‘kick’ to this recipe.

How is this a healthy meal with ground beef?

Healthy means something different to everyone! I consider this a healthy ground beef recipe due to using a leaner cut of hamburger meat, adding in a variety of vegetables, making a homemade sauce with less sodium/sugar/preservatives than store bought and then serving it with fiber rich brown rice.

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

Serving Recommendations

Leftovers warm easily, which is great for easy lunch ideas or when you’ve got teenage midnight grazers.

Don’t forget dessert! Try almond flour brownies with a scoop of dairy free ice cream or no bake peanut butter pie for a sweet finish.

Making This Healthy Meal with Ground Beef in Advance

Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I recommend to store beef and veggies mix separately from rice, so the grain doesn’t soak up all delicious juices.

Freezing? I do not recommend to freeze Korean ground beef and vegetables if it contains zucchini. But if you used more sturdy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant, then it’s fine. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

Reheating: Reheat in a skillet with a splash of water or broth, simmering on low while covered, stir occasionally. Should take about 7-10 minutes to heat through.

More Asian Inspired Recipes

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls Recipe {Healthy 30 Minute Meal}

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls is a 30 minute, healthy ground beef recipe full of vegetables, Asian flavored sauce, then served over hearty brown rice or go low carb with cauliflower rice. This weeknight dinner is easily customizable and will have your family going for seconds!
4.96 from 73 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 211kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cook rice as per package instructions. I usually make Instant Pot brown rice.
    Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
  • While rice is cooking, preheat wok or large deep non-stick skillet on medium heat. Add ground beef and cook breaking into pieces and stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes. Drain fat if desired. I have to say I used beef thawed in Instant Pot, so I cooked it less time. It is a miracle recipe!
    Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
  • Towards the end of browning ground beef, add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove beef onto plate and return skillet to the stove.
    Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
  • Swirl oil to coat, add bell pepper and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, eggplant and tomato; saute for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
  • Add soy sauce, rice vinegar,  maple syrup, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir and cook for 1 minute. Add cooked beef and stir. Turn off the heat and sprinkle with green onion; stir again.
    Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls
  • Fluff rice with a fork and serve Korean ground beef over it.
    Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. I recommend to store beef and veggies mix separately from rice, so the grain doesn't soak up all delicious juices.

    Freezing? I do not recommend to freeze Korean ground beef and vegetables if it contains zucchini. But if you used more sturdy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant, then it's fine. Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.

      Reheating: Reheat in a skillet with a splash of water or broth, simmering on low while covered, stir occasionally. Should take about 7-10 minutes to heat through.

        Video

        Notes

        • Ground beef: I used organic hamburger with 85% fat. Truth is you can use any ground meat, like ground turkey or chicken.
        • Other firm veggies: Like cabbage, broccoli or even cauliflower. Whatever you have on hand.
        • Tomato: It is optional, so if you have one on hand. I like how it holds its juiciness, soft texture and freshness while other veggies become more cooked.
        • Optional additions: You can also add cashews, water chestnuts, shredded carrots. Possibilities are endless!
        • Fresh garlic or ginger substitutes: If missing fresh, use 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp ground ginger respectively.
        Serving Ideas
        • With whole grain side: The first time I made it, I served it over brown rice. Second time with quinoa. Third time with brown rice noodles.
        • Lettuce wraps: Make it as an appetizer and serve on lettuce leaves as a wrap.
        • Korean “tacos”: Wrap Korean style ground beef in flour tortillas and add shredded cabbage and make “tacos”. Then garnish with red garlic chili sauce.
        • Low carb meal: For low carb dinner serve over cauliflower rice.
        For more tips and FAQs see recipe post.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 416mg | Potassium: 717mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 849IU | Vitamin C: 42mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 3mg
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