tempeh bbq beef bowls in a blue bowl over rice and veggies

Easy Korean BBQ Tempeh Rice Bowls ready in under 30 minutes! Tempeh adds plenty of plant based protein and is served with lots of veggies — this speedy meal is the perfect healthy weeknight dinner!

close up shot of korean bbq tempeh beef over white rice and veggies in a blue bowl and a spoon inside

My sister came the other day with some bulgogi take out, which is basically marinated slices of beef grilled on a barbecue. The smell instantly caught my attention and a hard craving just hit. Although I wasn’t much of a meat eater as a kid, I did love the flavour and smell of Korean BBQ.

And despite my love for being in the kitchen, recipe testing and all the BTS behind my recipes, I’m a lazy cook. As in, 99% of the time I’m either having left overs (that require just re-heating) or throwing whatever left in the fridge into one pan and calling it a day.

So whats a lazy vegan girl craving Korean BBQ to do??

ENTER: Korean BBQ Tempeh ‘Beef’ Bowls. A play on my East Asian Tofu Beef Bowls and a twist on the traditional Korean dish that is faster, easier, cheaper and fully plant based (but still high in protein). The tempeh soaks up the marinade perfectly and just enough to flavour the rice as well.

ingredients for korean bbq ground beef bowls in on a white marble back drop

How to Make Korean BBQ Tempeh ‘Beef’

The Ingredients

The take out version I remember having was very simple with just stir fried beef, rice and sometimes a side of cucumbers. Since I wanted to boost up the nutrition for this meal, I added some veggies. You could really use any veggies of your choice but here are some suggestions that pair really well with the BBQ marinade:

  • bell peppers
  • spinach
  • onions
  • carrots
  • zucchini
  • mung bean sprouts

For the Korean BBQ tempeh, you’ll need:

I also included a quick Sriracha mayo recipe in the recipe card that I’ll drizzle on top.

A note about the Korean BBQ Marinade: the ingredients used for this sauce are easily found in any grocery store. If you enjoy asian food, you’ll definitely use them for other recipes so they’re great to have in your kitchen.

stir fried bell peppers, spinach and onions in a pink pan

The Directions

What I love about this recipe is how quick & easy it is to make! It takes under 30 minutes to put together and because we’re using tempeh, you don’t have to worry about undercooking the ‘beef’.

  1. Veggies: Cook the onions, bell peppers and spinach with some of the BBQ marinade.
  2. Tempeh: Crumble it with your hands and then cook on the same pan as the veggies with the marinade. Use a wooden spatula to stir fry it around to it doesn’t burn (but also not too much because we do want some browning). Check out my Guide on Cooking Tempeh if you need some additional guidance.
  3. Assemble: Add some rice to bowls and top with the tempeh beef. Garnish with sesame seeds, scallions and optional Sriracha mayo.
vegan ground 'beef' tempeh crumbled in a pink skillet


korean bbq tempeh beef over white rice and veggies in a blue bowl

Looking for more delicious tempeh recipes? Here are some more to try!

close up shot of korean bbq tempeh beef bowls with bell pepper, onions and spinach

If you recreate this Korean BBQ Tempeh “Beef” Bowls recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!
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close up shot of korean bbq tempeh beef bowls with bell pepper, onions and spinach

Korean BBQ Tempeh Rice Bowls

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Lisa Kitahara
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x


Quick & easy Korean BBQ Tempeh Rice Bowls packed with protein, veggies and full of flavour! The perfect healthy lunch or dinner for weekdays.


Units Scale

BBQ Tempeh Bowls

  • 8 oz package of tempeh (224g)
  • 1 batch of Korean BBQ marinade sauce
  • 1 medium onion, sliced (110g)
  • 2 cups spinach (60g)
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (140-160g)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (400g)
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Sriracha Mayo:


  1. Remove tempeh from package and crumble it into a bowl with your hands and set aside. 
  2. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add 3 tbsp of water of 1 tbsp of oil and sauté onions for 3 minutes until semi translucent. Add in the bell peppers and cook for another 3 minutes. Add in 2 tbsp of the marinade and continue to cook until peppers start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook for 30 seconds, just until spinach begins to wilt. Remove from heat and transfer veggies to a bowl.
  3. Place pan back on the heat, add 2 tbsp of water or oil and add in the crumbled tempeh. Pour 2/3 of the marinate over the tempeh and cook for 3-5 minutes, until tempeh soaks up all the marinade. Use a wooden spatula to move the tempeh back and forth on the pan so it doesn’t burn. Taste and add more marinade as needed. Remove from heat.
  4. To make the optional Sriracha mayo, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl. 
  5. Between 2 bowls, add the rice, veggies and tempeh. Garnish with sesame seeds, scallions and Sriracha mayo. Enjoy!


  • Nutritional Information Disclaimer: Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated on an online tool (Cronometer). 
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 13 minutes
  • Category: entree
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, korean


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 612
  • Sugar: 20.6g
  • Sodium: 1555mg
  • Fat: 19g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.1g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 13.8g
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 83g
  • Fiber: 10.8g
  • Protein: 33.3g
  • Cholesterol: 0


tempeh beef bowls over rice in a blue bowl with pinterest text overlay

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About Lisa

I'm Lisa, a home cook, recipe developer and founder of Okonomi Kitchen. Here, you'll find a mix of classic and modernized Japanese recipes, and creative, plant-forward meal inspiration using seasonal ingredients. I hope to share more about Japanese cuisine and culture through food and recipes.

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  1. Great recipe! I didn’t have coconut sugar or scallions so I used 1/3 of the amount of white sugar and threw in some onion powder. Came out delicious, will definitely make again.

  2. I was (happy-)cussing up a storm eating this – it is SO good! I didn’t have vegan mayo, so I subbed it with 1/4 avocado and a few splashes of water – worked great! Definitely making this again… and again and again and again lol. I appreciate you, Lisa – thank you!!!

  3. I still don’t understand what korean bbq really is since I was told it’s grilling meats on a dining table but apparently it’s also a sauce? Someone please enlighten this amateur home cook/foodie LOL

    Jokes aside, this recipe is incredible. The sauce looks so aesthetic on its own & its flavors really come through with the sauteed veggies and in the tempeh; it’s like a bomb in my mouth

    Super clean, healthy and satisfying. I already know this is going to be a regular for lunches and dinners

  4. This recipe is outstanding! I especially appreciate that it incorporates pantry and fridge ingredients I almost always have on hand. The only thing I had to buy specifically for this was the tempeh itself.

    The complexity of the sauce was just right – I’ve seen Korean bulgogi recipes that are just soy sauce, garlic, and ton of sugar, which does NOT appeal to me. Lots of ingredients, but nothing expensive or, again, that I didn’t already have!

    The only changes I made were reducing the sugar in the marinade (which I almost always do for Asian dishes, based on my personal taste) and using a power greens blend instead of just spinach. I did not need all of the marinade which means I have some for leftovers!

    This recipe was excellent and the instructions were easy to follow. It’s the first recipe from this podcast I’ve tried and I have a feeling it will be the first of many. 😀