Trying to cut out pasta from my diet has been one of the hardest endeavors of my life — growing up in an Italian-American household pasta is my comfort food. I had signed up for a meal prep delivery service for a few months and ended up falling in love with a beef bulgogi meatball recipe, but the meatballs never turned out right and once I canceled the expensive meal plan I couldn’t find a sauce anywhere that was the right amount of sweet and spicy without being so bold that the rest of my family wouldn’t eat it. So, after many renditions, I came up with my own, easy to make and seemingly expensive version: beef bulgogi and jasmine rice bowls.

What you’ll need

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • Fresh ginger
  • 2 limes
  • Sour cream
  • Siracha
  • Bulgolgi Sauce (or scroll to the bottom for a simple bulgogi recipe)
  • Green onion
  • Garlic

Cooking the rice

Start with the Jasmine rice so it can settle for a bit. Make sure to wash and rinse your rice a few times before you start. I typically add in a bit of ginger year, some bay leaves, and salt. If you’re using a quick cook rice that’s fine too, simply follow the instructions on the packet.

Bulgogi Beef

In a sauce pan heat up some olive oil and sauté green onion whites, chopped garlic, a minced ginger until fragrant. Add salt or — if you’re feeling a bit more bold and you’re looking to reduce your sodium intake, substitute salt of an insanely small amount of MSG. I know the word MSG has a concerning note in most people’s minds but in moderation it is a great substitute for salt and, so long as you don’t have a food sensitivity to it, is completely healthy.

Once the meat has browned mix in the bulgogi sauce. Don’t drain the excess oils and fat from the meat as it will add to the flavor. If you prefer a less oily sauce use a leaner ground beef.

bulgogi sauce

If you’re like me and you struggle to find bulgogi sauce at the store — or you just don’t love the ones you find, the recipe itself is pretty simple. I chance out the amount of each ingredient based on my personal flavor preferences, but I got this great recipe from Chili Pepper Madness and it’s been a smash hit. You can also use this as a meat marinade.

  • Gochujang – Korean fermented chili paste
  • Rice Wine Vinegar
  • Sesame Oil
  • Honey
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Black Pepper

Plate and garnish

The toppings on this dish are what makes it my absolute favorite. Mix together sour cream and sriracha to your preference on flavor and drizzle on top. Garnish with the tops of the green onions and, if you’d like sesame seeds. I like to add a small lime wedge on the side that gives everyone a little interactive element but if you have younger kids or just want to squeeze the lime juice on top (or mix it in with your sriracha-sour cream mix) you can do that instead.

This meal keeps well and it’s also a fun alternative to a meal prep that’s surprisingly quick and easy to make. Besides that, it sounds much fancier than it actually is and it’s a great way to introduce this flavor pallet to younger family members.

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