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This refined sugar free Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi with broccoli and red peppers is the perfect antidote to boring weeknight meals. Packed with flavour and satisfying textures, this dish is ready in 30 minutes! Try it with steamed rice, kick it up with a drizzle of Sriracha sauce, or switch up the veg or protein to suit what you have on hand.
Judging by the few dinner recipes I have on my site, it’s pretty obvious that I love me some Asian-inspired comfort food.
It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to hit up an authentic Korean BBQ. Like everyone else in the world, I’ve been staying indoors to help slow the spread of Covid-19 and most London restaurants have been shut for weeks. On Sunday I read that restaurants aren’t due to open doors until sometime in August!
As a foodie, this was a difficult pill to swallow. So I’ve had to come up with my own versions of the comfort food classics I’ve been missing.
Lately, that’s been Korean BBQ and Chinese beef and broccoli, so I went rogue and combined them into one extraordinary, comforting meal that hits all the right spots!
This Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi with Broccoli is a healthy-ish take on the two. It fuses a refined sugar free version of (semi) traditional Korean bulgogi sauce with a speedy ground beef, broccoli, and bell pepper stir fry served over rice.
While I know my at-home dishes can’t compare to their authentic counterparts, recipes like this quick Korean beef and my Japanese Maple Miso Salmon use similar flavour profiles and are great when you need to satisfy that restaurant craving and get dinner on the table fast.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- The bulgogi sauce is completely refined sugar free! Unlike traditional recipes that use a heap of brown sugar, we’re using caramelly coconut sugar as a natural sweetener.
- This Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi is super quick to prep and to cook. Depending on how quickly you can chop, the prep takes all of 10-15 minutes and the cooking time is about 15 minutes. Which means you can get a hearty dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!
- It’s packed to the rafters with veggies, yet still feels naughty thanks to the sweet n’ salty bulgogi sauce. It’s pretty much perfect in terms of “healthy-ish comfort food”.
- This recipe is super affordable, even if you’re on a small budget. We’re saving some money by using ground beef instead of rib-eye or sirloin steak, which are more expensive cuts. The recipe also makes enough for three generous portions or four regular portions, so if you’re a two-person household like we are, you’ll have lunch the following day.
- No barbecue required! I don’t know about you, but I live in a tiny flat. I don’t even have a balcony, let alone a barbecue. Yes, traditionally Korean beef bulgogi should be done on the barbecue, but we’re cheating a little here for maximum pay off.
What is bulgogi sauce made of?
Traditional Korean bulgogi sauce is a combination of soy sauce, brown sugar, apple, garlic, and ginger.
The sauce I use for this Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi substitutes coconut sugar for the brown sugar and low-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free Tamari) for the regular soy sauce. These two small subs keep the essential flavours while making it just a little bit healthier.
Ingredients in this sugar free Korean beef recipe
- Ground beef: Our protein source for this recipe. If you’re feeling fancy, feel free to substitute this for thinly sliced rib-eye or sirloin steak.
- Broccoli: Full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, broccoli helps bulk up the dish.
- Red peppers: An incredible source of vitamin C and perfect for adding some vibrancy.
- Garlic: Instead of using garlic in the sauce, we’re adding fresh garlic to the beef to season it.
- Refined sugar free bulgogi sauce: The star of the show! This sauce adds so much flavour to the Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi and it wouldn’t be the same without it.
- Green onion: I love the flavour a sprinkle of sliced spring onion adds.
- Sesame seeds: For garnish! You can use white or black sesame seeds here.
How to make easy Korean beef bulgogi
These Korean beef bowls are one of my favourite weeknight meals when I have no idea what to make. I know you’re going to love them too! Here’s how to do it:
- Whisk together the bulgogi sauce ingredients. Make sure these are well combined.
- Brown the ground beef. Then season with minced garlic and cook through.
- Add the vegetables. Cook only until the broccoli and peppers are vibrant and just fork tender.
- Pour over the bulgogi sauce. Stir to coat.
- Serve over cooked rice. Top with green onions and sesame seeds.
Need a little visual help? Follow along with the video tutorial for this Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi with Broccoli recipe:
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Use a medium to high heat. This is fast stir fry cooking, so we want there to be some heat in the pan to ensure we’re frying the beef and veggies and not boiling them. This will ensure better texture in the final dish.
- This recipe can be adapted to suit the veg you have on hand. I’ve tried this with carrot, cabbage, asparagus, fine beans, pak choi and snap peas, and they all work well.
- You can use date sugar or maple syrup in place of the coconut sugar in this Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi recipe. However, maple syrup will make the sauce a bit thinner – you may have to cook it down a bit more in the final step of the recipe.
- Swap out the ground beef for turkey, chicken, or pork mince. Any ground protein will work!
- Serve this dish over brown or white rice for a complete meal. You could also use a mix of cauliflower rice.
Looking for more healthy weeknight dinner options?
If you make this recipe, let me know by snapping a picture and tagging me on Instagram @naturallysweet_kitchen. I love seeing your creations and sharing them in my Stories. Or let me know you love this Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi with Broccoli by leaving a comment and rating below!
Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi with Broccoli
This refined sugar free Easy Korean Beef Bulgogi with broccoli and red peppers is packed with flavour, satisfying textures, and ready in 30 minutes.
- 60 ml low-sodium soy sauce (or gluten-free Tamari)
- 2 ½ tbsp coconut sugar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp rice wine or mirin optional
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
Beef & Vegetables
- 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 250 g lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 150 g diced red bell pepper (about 1 medium pepper)
- 200 g broccoli florets (about 1 small head)
- 3 stalks green onion sliced
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- Steamed rice for serving
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, coconut sugar, sesame oil, rice wine, red pepper flakes, and ground ginger until emulsified. Set aside.
Beef & Vegetables
- Bring a large skillet to temperature over medium-high heat and then add the sesame oil.
- Once the oil is hot, brown the beef, about 5 minutes. Drain any excess fat or water. Add the garlic and finish cooking the beef through.
- Add in the bell pepper and broccoli and toss until the vegetables are just above fork tender and the broccoli is bright green.
- Pour over the sauce and toss well until heated through. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Serve over steamed rice and top with the sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
- Leftovers will keep for up to 3 days.
- Adapted from My Korean Kitchen.