This smoky, sweet, and savory Vegan Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef) is easy to make, flexible, and uses pantry-staple ingredients. Just throw everything in a skillet, serve over rice, and you’re done!

white rice and cooked ground vegan beef on a white plate.

Inspired by the popular Korean dish (but certainly not authentic!), this vegan bulgogi recipe is incredibly easy to make, exploding with flavor, and completely addictive! All you need are 11 ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard.

Want to know the best part? It’s a one-skillet recipe! Simply throw all of the vegan Korean beef ingredients together in one pan, let it cook for a few minutes, and enjoy!

It’s perfect when you’re looking for a quick and easy dinner or when you need the perfect vegan protein to pair with vegan fried rice, roasted brussels sprouts, Korean-inspired tacos, or basmati rice and kimchi.

close up on cooked vegan ground beef on a pile of white rice.

What is bulgogi?

Bulgogi beef, AKA Korean BBQ beef or “fire meat”, is a classic Korean dish made from strips of savory, spicy, and sweet marinated beef (like tenderloin or ribeye). The meat is traditionally grilled before it’s served over rice, in tacos, with kimchi, and more. 

You have a few options when making a vegan bulgogi recipe. Swap the real meat for vegan ground beef, soy curls, jackfruit, mushrooms, or anything else you can think of! The real star is the bulgogi sauce, which is where this traditional dish gets its signature savory, salty, warm, and sweet flavors.

Ingredients needed (with substitutions)

  • Vegan ground beef – Though real beef bulgogi uses strips of meat, I prefer the flavor and texture of ground Impossible or Beyond beef. If you don’t want to use either of these, you can use half of a package of soy curls rehydrated in water or sliced mushrooms instead.
  • Onion and garlic
  • Soy sauce – Or tamari for gluten free bulgogi.
  • Brown sugar – Feel free to cut the amount in half for less-sweet bulgogi.
  • Sesame oil – This really helps with the dish’s overall savoriness.
  • Agave syrup – Or use maple syrup.
  • Ground ginger – To infuse plenty of warmth and balance.
  • Red chili flakes – For spice! For an authentic flavor (and more heat), swap this for Gochujang.
  • Sesame seeds
raw vegan beef on a white plate next to small bowls of sauces, seasonings, onion, and brown sugar.

How to make vegan bulgogi

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the vegan beef crumbles. Use a wooden spoon to break them up into small pieces and cook until browned.

raw vegan ground beef cooking in a black skillet.

Add the onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, agave, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, red chili flakes, and black pepper to the skillet. Stir to combine.

raw onions on top of cooked vegan ground beef in a black skillet.

To finish, lower the heat and continue cooking until everything is heated through. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Pro tip: Add some more flavor and substance to the meal by adding chopped carrots, green beans, edamame, broccoli, bok choy, or mushrooms to the vegan bulgogi beef in the skillet. Just don’t crowd the pan too much or you’ll lose out on the signature smokiness!

cooked vegan ground beef and onions in a black skillet.

Serving suggestions

The traditional way to serve Korean bulgogi beef is over short or long grain rice on the sticky side (sushi rice) with green onions, kimchi, sliced radishes, and seared vegetables (like bok choy, carrots, or broccolini). 

There are plenty of ways to creatively enjoy your BBQ beef if rice isn’t your thing! Pile some into lettuce wraps with barbecue sauce and pickled red onions, in tacos with avocado and slaw, wrapped in spring rolls, or on top of a Korean-inspired BBQ vegan pizza.

cooked vegan ground beef and onions covered in sesame seeds in a black skillet.

Storing leftovers

Keep the leftover bulgogi stored in an airtight container in the fridge for about 4 days. It’s delicious for lunch or a quick dinner the next day!

cooked vegan ground beef and onions covered in green onions in a black skillet.

More easy Asian-inspired vegan recipes

close up on white rice and cooked ground vegan beef on a white plate.
4.98 stars (44 ratings)

Vegan Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef)

This smoky, sweet, and savory Vegan Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef) is easy to make, flexible, and uses pantry-staple ingredients. Just throw everything in a skillet, serve over rice, and you’re done!
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients 
 

  • 12 ounces Impossible or Beyond beef crumbles See Notes for options
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon agave
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, mined
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds

For serving

  • cooked white or brown rice (about 4 cups)
  • chopped green onions (1/2 cup)

Instructions 

  • In  a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, add the vegan beef and cook until brown, using a wooden spoon to break it up into small chunks.
  • Once brown and no longer pink, add the sliced onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, agave, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, red chili flakes and black pepper. Stir well into the vegan beef.
  • Lower the heat to low-medium and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the sesame seeds.
  • Serve over rice with chopped green onions and enjoy!

Notes

  1. Other beef substitutes: You may use half a bag (4 oz) soy curls, rehydrated. TVP also works, or sliced mushrooms. Jackfruit is also a good choice.
  2. For less sweet, feel free to adjust the sugar.

Nutrition

Serving: 1of 5 servings | Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 800mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 234mg | Iron: 8mg
Course: Main
Cuisine: Korean-inspired
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Read my full disclosure here.

Posted In: , , , , , , , ,

you may also like:

Comments

    1. I am so glad that you and your family love the recipe! It is wonderful to add vegetables to your liking! Thank you for sharing your terrific feedback!

  1. I just made this and it turned out great! I’ve been turning to your blog for recipes more and more lately, and all have been hits so far. I used half a bag of rehydrated soy curls and threw in five sliced rehydrated shiitake mushrooms (along with a little of the soaking water for extra umami). I didn’t have an onion handy so I added half a tbsp of onion powder to the sauce and it worked just fine, used a mix of light and dark mushroom soy sauce, subbed in gochujang for the red pepper flakes and maple syrup for agave. I thought the sauce was a bit too sweet upon tasting, but after cooking it with the soy curls it came out just right. Also added some spinach for greenery since I didn’t have green onion either. Served over cauliflower rice. Yum!

    1. Hi Haley. I’m so glad to hear you are loving my recipes! Thank you for sharing your experience with this recipe! I appreciate your wonderful feedback and review! Happy cooking

  2. This is my favorite recipe! We’ve made it three times already! I reduce the brown sugar and agave and add extra ginger. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Kendel. I’m glad you are loving the recipe! It sounds like you are really enjoying it! Thanks for your wonderful review and feedback!

    1. Hi Christina. I think it would work with tofu. I have not tested this recipe with tofu myself. I have had a comment that someone used crumbled up tofu. They said it was delicious! Hope this helps!

  3. Wow! I made this tonight and I’m obsessed! I didn’t have enough beef-y crumbles (Gardein) so I added some cooked brown lentils I had in the fridge. I made a few other subs – Coco Aminos for soy sauce, maple syrup for agave, coconut sugar for brown sugar. I will definitely make this again! I can see where it can be very versitile, looking forward to wraps, tacos, etc. It’s so good, I had to stop myself from eating the entire dish and limit myself to about a 3rd. I cooked some basmati rice since I had that on hand and I can’t say enough good things about this quick and easy recipe

  4. I lived in Korea for 7 years and I often make versions of this – you can use mushrooms in place of vegan meat if you wish. Also, many bulgogi recipes have a bit of carrot in there, which I like because it adds a slight lightness to what is a very rich dish. Even half a carrot cut into matchsticks, chucked in about 2 minutes before serving helps.

  5. I rarely miss meat since going vegetarian, but when I saw this post, I immediately began craving bulgogi. This recipe was delicious and did not disappoint! So easy to make, and the flavors are so yummy.

    1. I am so glad the meal fulfilled your craving in a delicious way! Thanks for sharing your great feedback and review!

  6. This was so delicious and so easy! I used v2 plant mince and a handful of mushrooms. It goes amazingly with some eggless Kewpie mayonnaise as well! Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  7. As Mom of 3 vegan adults kids I serve this for the whole family and even the meat eaters enjoy it.  
    Nora, you are my Go-To for pleasing all members of my growing family!! Thank you very much.  

    1. I am so happy to receive your wonderful feedback and review! Thank you for taking time to share! I’m thrilled everyone in your family loves my recipes! Your family meals sound so fun!

  8. Thank you for sharing a good article about good food and overall your blog is great full of good content. thanks a lot.

  9. The picture alone made me want to make this and finally I made it happen. Came out fantastic! I actually took two pieces of advice and did 8oz soy curls _and_ mushrooms (shiitake, baby bella, and button mushrooms, as I happened to have leftovers of all three – tri-mushroom!). The textures are amazing and I always love the flavor infusion you get from sauteing mushrooms anyway.

    I’ll mention that I do recommend chopping up the soy curls a bit, as I think some of the long pieces would throw off the texture. I did this after rehydrating that which was also a huge mess, so break them up beforehand! Anyway great recipe, thanks Nora!

  10. I’m going to make this recipe and I know I won’t be disappointed. My rating above is for the cakes. I’m with a group who celebrates the Sisters birthdays at church and I ask the birthday Sisters what’s their favorite cake each month and I find it on your site. I’ve always feared vegan desserts because so many are made with tofu or weird things in place of eggs, but yours are delicious. Not one cake has been a disappointment. Thank you for your commitment to healthy cooking even to our sweet tooth.

    1. Thank you for your wonderful feedback on my cakes and desserts! I think you’ll love the bulgogi! I appreciate you using my recipes! It’s so great to know you are enjoying them! Happy cooking!

    1. Hi Emersyn. I think it would work with tofu. I have not tested this recipe with tofu myself. I have had a comment that someone used crumbled up tofu. They said it was delicious! Hope this helps!

  11. Delicious.  Didn’t put in brown sugar. Served over hot water rinsed Shirataki tofu noodles. Will make again. 

  12. i’m eating this right now and i could cry, it’s so good :’) added broccoli, mushrooms, & carrots and so glad i did. highly recommend adding in more veg if you try this! thank you thank you thank you sweet Nora for this incredible recipe <3

    1. Hi Anja. Your review and feedback made me smile! I am so happy that you loved the recipe! Thank you for sharing, and wishing you happy cooking!

  13. That’s a is a quick and easy meal, perfect for weeknights. But it is also simply delicious. It’s now one of our favorites. Thank you, Nora, for this wonderful recipe!

  14. I’ve made this several times and it always turns out amazing! So easy and flavorful. Another incredible vegan dinner thanks to Nora 

  15. WOW!!! This is one of the best recipes I’ve ever tried – restaurant quality!! Not only was this dish delicious, it was quick and easy to throw together. I’ll definitely double the recipe next time so that we have more leftovers. 🙂

  16. I paired this with a tortilla, lettuce, cucumber, carrot and a cabbage saute. This beef is flavorful, tangy and VERY close to real bulgogi beef. I find impossible worked the best with this recipe. A must try!

  17. This recipe is absolutely delicious! I used tofu & crumbled it up to replace to beyond meat; it up it was so good ! I really love this sauce, easily my new favorite go to dinner !

    1. Hi Emily. I’m really glad you loved the bulgogi! Your crumbled up tofu sounds delicious! I’m glad you’ll be using this recipe in your meal rotation! Thank you for your great feedback, and happy cooking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.