Savory, spicy and slightly sweet, these ground beef bulgogi rice bowls are the perfect weeknight meal. Adaptable, versatile, quick and easy—everything a great weeknight dinner should be!
- 2 english cucumbers
- ¾ cup rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 (10-ounce) bags shredded carrots
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup grated onion
- 4 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
- 4 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (90% lean)
- 3–4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, or tamari if gluten-free*
- 3–4 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons gochujang, gluten free if needed
- 2 tablespoon mirin or rice wine**
- White sesame seeds
- Cooked rice, bibb lettuce cups, kimchi for serving
Whisk together rice vinegar, ½ cup water, 1 tablespoon honey and ¾ teaspoon salt until salt has dissolved. Add cucumbers and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add carrots and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and starting to brown, about 10–15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in now empty skillet over medium. Add onion, garlic and ginger; cook until starting to brown, 3 minutes.
Add beef and cook, breaking up into small pieces with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink; drain beef.
Return beef to sauté pan and stir in soy sauce, honey, gochujang, and mirin and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes; season with salt and additional gochujang to taste.
Serve in lettuce cups with pickled cucumbers, carrots, and rice.
Rice: for six people cook 1½ cups white rice.
Pickled Cucumbers: I don’t like throwing pickling liquid away after making homemade pickles. These cucumbers use a small amount of pickling liquid (to reduce waste). Because if this, the cucumber slices will need to be lightly tossed occasionally to ensure each piece gets pickled. If you don't want to do that—double the pickling liquid.
Honey & Soy sauce: I list a range on the amount of honey and soy sauce used because both of those are very much about preference. I prefer to use 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) of each—it’s more bold and flavorful. For a lower-sodium and lower-sugar option, use 3 tablespoons of each.
Cooking the carrots: stir the carrots occasionally, not constantly, to achieve slightly charred carrots (flavor!). You want the carrots to get to the point where they almost start burning. Only do this in a pan you trust can handle it—stainless steel high quality pans are best.
You may need to use a steel wool to clean the pan. If you don’t care about getting char on the carrots—just cook them until tender, 8–10 minutes.
Cut down the cook time: you can get dinner on the table faster if you pull out a second pan. Cook the carrots in a large skillet while you cook the ground beef in a large sauté pan.
What's the difference between a skillet and sauté pan? Sauté pans have straight vertical sides while skillets have shorter rounder sides. Since this recipe uses 2 pounds of ground beef, it's best to use a sauté pan (keeps things from flying out).
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe (¾ cup beef mixture + carrots and cucumbers)
- Calories: 333
- Sugar: 14g
- Sodium: 1075mg
- Fat: 13g
- Saturated Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 24g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 35g
- Cholesterol: 93mg
Keywords: ground beef bulgogi, beef bulgogi, bulgogi