Korean Beef Bowl is an easy recipe to convert to a completely meatless version. And here we have it — a vegan Korean beef-less rice bowl for an easy weeknight meal. I don’t know if this dish, found in abundance all across food sites, is an authentic Korean dish — or, whether it’s one those dishes, like others on Asian menus, that’s only found in the west. Or on blogs.
The original recipe, whatever its origins, is a simple dish made of ground beef bathed in a gently spiced and slightly sweet sauce, served over rice and topped with scallion.
Like dozens of blogs claim about the meaty version, this vegan Korean “beef” bowl is equally super easy and fast. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal, whether you make your own beef-less crumbles, or use a prepared variety.
Easy DIY beefy crumbles or packaged plant-based ground: This recipe will show you how to make a vegan beefy crumbles substitute made from three basic plant proteins: red quinoa, black beans, and walnuts. Or, given all the plant-based ground substitutes readily available, you’ll have the option of using those instead.
Use a bottled Korean BBQ marinade: If you’re as lazy as I can sometimes be, you’ll appreciate the use of a prepared Korean sauce. It’s more economical than buying the 8 or more ingredients to make it from scratch — some of which you may never use again. Look for Korean stir-fry sauce or Korean BBQ marinade in the Asian foods section of well-stocked supermarkets.
More recipes like this in Plant-Powered Protein
You can embellish the bowl with any kind of simple salad or even just some sliced raw vegetables. Kimchi is always a welcome addition!
While I highly recommend making your own super-easy “beefy” crumbles as instructed in the recipe, here are just some of the plant-based ground beef substitutes available:
- Beyond Beef — main ingredients: pea protein and rice flour
- Boca Veggie Crumbles — main ingredient: soy protein concentrate
- Gardein Beefless Ground — Main ingredient: soy protein isolate
- Lightlife Smart Ground — Main ingredient: textured soy protein concentrate
- Amy’s California Burger (you’ll be crumbling the burgers) — main ingredients: mushrooms, vegetables, bulgur, oats, and walnuts
Homemade beef-less crumbles (or see Notes)
- 1/2 cup quinoa, preferably red
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon olive or other neutral oil
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Korean stir-fry sauce or BBQ marinade, plus more, to taste
- 4 to 5 cups hot cooked rice (brown or white, as preferred)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Any kind of simple salad or raw veggies you have on hand
- Sriracha or other hot seasoning, optional
- To start the homemade beef-less crumbles, combine the quinoa with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Place the walnuts in the bowl of a food processor and pulse on and off until very finely chopped. Add the beans and pulse on and off until they, too, are finely chopped.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet and add the garlic. Sauté over low heat until golden.
- Add the cooked quinoa and walnut and bean mixture to the skillet along with the stir-fry sauce or marinade. Stir everything together. Cook over medium-high heat until sizzling hot and starting to brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste to see if you'd like to add a little more marinade.
- Distribute rice among 4 or 5 bowls.
- Divide the cooked crumbles over the rice, and sprinkle some scallion over them.
- Arrange some of the fresh vegetables on the side of each bowl.
- Serve at once. Pass around the optional sriracha for anyone who’d like to add some spice to the dish.
If you'd like to use commercially prepared plant-based "beefy" crumbles or ground, and you aren't a fan of soy protein, there are several brands to try, including Beyond®, based on other ingredients.
For a more whole food shortcut, my personal favorite readymade beefy crumbles substitute is Amy's California Burger. Crumble each burger finely (there are 4 to a package) to use in recipes like this one. The ingredients include mushrooms, vegetables, and bulgur (cracked wheat), oats, and walnuts. Look for it if you prefer not to use soy or soy protein, and note that Amy's All-American Burger, which is also vegan, is based on soy protein.
You'll find these kinds of products in the freezer section of natural foods stores or the freezer aisle in the natural products section of well-stocked supermarket.
Amount Per Serving: Trans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mg
Nutrition data is always an estimate and can vary slightly depending on program and exact products used.
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