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.

Love quick and easy meals? Try this beef stir fry or healthy beef and broccoli.

Korean ground beef and rice bowls garnished with green onion.

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 healthy dinner with all the flavor!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Budget friendly: This recipe uses simple ingredients like ground beef and rice, veggies and pantry seasonings.
  • Clean out the veggie drawers: 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: Packed with fiber, protein and vegetables, you will feel great both eating and serving your family this dish. We also use twice less sodium and replace brown sugar with half the amount of maple syrup than other recipes on the web.
  • Quick and delicious: It’s a 30 minute meal everyone will love!

Ingredients for Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

korean ground beef bowl
  • Ground beef: I used organic hamburger with 85% fat. Truth is you can use any ground meat, like ground turkey or even ground 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 a scallion or spring onion, is a must for flavor.
  • Asian flavorings: Soy sauce, maple syrup and rice vinegar.
  • Aromatics: Fresh ginger, garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

How to Make Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

 process how to make ground beef and rice bowls recipe.
  • Cook the rice: Before I start cooking ground beef, I decide what I want to serve it with. Usually I make Instant Pot brown rice, Instant Pot long grain white rice or Instant Pot jasmine rice. So, I start that first to make sure my beef can go on the table as soon as it’s ready.
  • Cook the ground beef: You want to sear ground beef in a hot wok or large skillet on medium-high heat. Cook breaking into pieces and stirring constantly, for about 5-7 minutes. Towards the end, add onion, ginger and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Saute the veggies separately: You want to cook veggies separately from meat and in stages, so they caramelize. First goes the bell pepper, then zucchini and eggplant. We just need to soften them a bit and I find both of these veggies absorb sauce flavors like a sponge and bulk up the dish which kids do not notice. Sneaky veggies, basically.
  • Add seasonings: Now it’s 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. Add lots of green onion and make sure to save some for serving. That’s it!

Tips for Best Results

  • Drain the fat: If you are using not extra lean ground beef, drain some of the fat after cooking and before adding the aromatics.
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic or ginger: Use 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger instead.
  • Ground beef size pieces: To make this taste more like beef bulgogi takeout, brown the meat really well and keep chunks larger. Alternatively, if you want the sauce to soak into each piece of beef, break up the chunks small.
  • Cook rice first: Start cooking your grain of choice before you brown the ground beef, so everything gets done at the same time!

Variations

  • Other toppings: Top with toasted sesame seeds, a lime wedge, and some sriracha sauce for increased flavor.
  • Make it saucy: Increase the sauce ingredients by 1.5 times and add a cornstarch slurry of 1/4 cup cold water with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken it.
  • Use sesame oil: Replace regular frying oil with toasted sesame oil for more toasted taste.
  • Swap out your vegetable combinations: Use broccoli and carrots vs zucchini and eggplant, add more bell peppers or mushrooms. One reader even used cabbage, this dish is very versatile.
  • Add nuts for crunch: Throw in some toasted cashews or water chestnuts before serving.
Ground beef with veggies and rice served in white bowl with a fork.

How to Serve

  • With whole grain side: The first time I made this recipe, I served it over brown rice. Second time with quinoa. Third time, with brown rice noodles.
  • With a crunchy salad: For extra hungry days or when feeding a crowd, serve with Asian chopped salad, mango slaw or lettuce salad.
  • In lettuce wraps: Make it as an appetizer and serve on lettuce leaves as a wrap, like I did with these healthy chicken lettuce wraps.
  • Korean “burritos”: Wrap Korean ground beef mix in flour tortillas, add shredded cabbage or peanut slaw and burritos. Can also garnish add Thai chili sauce.
  • Low carb meal: For low carb dinner serve over cauliflower rice or spiralized zucchini noodles.

How to Store and Reheat

Store: 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.

Freeze? I do not recommend to freeze this skillet meal because 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.

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

FAQs

Can I make it with any other ground meat?

Yes. This recipe’s flavors will go very well with ground turkey, ground chicken or ground pork. No need to drain fat from the poultry but I recommend to drain ground pork after sauteing it.

What is the best rice to use?

You can serve this dish with any rice. We like it with brown rice, jasmine rice or basmati rice.

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Close up of Korean ground beef and rice with wooden spoon in it.
Korean ground beef and rice bowls garnished with green onion.

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls

Korean Ground Beef and Rice Bowls is a healthy ground beef recipe full of vegetables and Asian flavored sauce, ready in 30 minutes.
4.97 from 88 votes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 211
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Cook rice as per package instructions. I usually make Instant Pot brown rice or Instant Pot basmati rice.
  • 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 the fat.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fluff rice with a fork and serve Korean ground beef over it.

Video

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Store beef and veggies mix separately from rice, so the grain doesn’t soak up all delicious juices. Reheat in a skillet with a splash of water or broth, simmering on low while covered, stir occasionally. 
  • Freeze: If it contains zucchini, do not freeze. 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.
  • 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.
  • Fresh garlic or ginger substitutes: If missing fresh, use 1 tsp of garlic powder and 1/2 tsp ground ginger.

Nutrition

Calories: 211kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 416mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This is such a yummy, healthy, comfort food kind of meal. My entire family loves it! (I even have a couple of non-lovers of zucchini in the group.)

  2. 5 stars
    We tried this recipe with frozen broccoli & cauliflower floret mix, as well as a 3 pepper blend mix, and everyone loves it!

  3. Hi Olena, I’m dying to try this, it sounds delicious. I have ground pork in my freezer. Do you think this is an ok substitute for the beef? Thank you.

  4. This recipe looks easy and delish! However, step one says to cook the rice. I don’t want to sound dumb here, but rice is in the name of the recipe, but no rice in the ingredient list. How much rice for 1lb of hamburger and all the vegetables?? Did I miss something? Wanting to try this, but will probably cut recipe in half as I live alone. Would appreciate the quantity of rice. You have a great blog! Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Dona. Rice is not part of the recipe itself but rather a side and amount is flexible. If you live alone and would like to cut recipe in half, I think to cook 1 cup of rice would last you a few meals with meat and veggies. Enjoy!

  5. 5 stars
    Found this recipe on my phone while in the grocery store and trying to figure out what to do with ground beef. It was really good and easy to make. I might substitute the eggplant next time except that it’s really good for you.

  6. 5 stars
    Great dish for those evenings when you’re not in the mood to cook as it’s delicious and quick. My crew doesn’t care for eggplant so I threw in carrots, red pepper and cabbage instead and used 1 tbsp honey and 2 tbsp maple syrup. I also used coconut aminos in place of soy sauce. I love that it is so much lower in sodium than even the reduced sodium soy or tamari sauce. And it does not leave a coconut taste. Thanks for another homerun recipe Olena!

  7. I just finished making this for dinner. Very yummy! I like the simple sauce, has a nice flavor! I used ground turkey, carrot sticks, orange pepper, and broccoli, over rice. The pan is empty!!

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe was super tasty and I LOVE how packed with veggies it is! I made 1.5x the sauce and added cornstarch (mixing all of the ingredients before adding it to the veggies) and it was the PERFECT amount. To serve, I topped it with toasted sesame seeds, a lime wedge, and some siracha and I could not have been happier!

  9. 5 stars
    Excellent!!! I love the addition of zucchini and I found it was very filling and awesome. I found it bland but I don’t think that’s the fault of the recipe – it’s too easy just to make extra sauce or add extra ginger, as well as sesame oil! I loved this recipe though 🙂

4.97 from 88 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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