Last week was “Sneak zucchini on  your neighbor’s porch day” – and lo and behold, I got a few on my doorstep.

Except none of my neighbors have gardens.

It’s a complete mystery, and I appreciate the thoughtful gesture. I guess if anyone could find a use for zucchini on my block, it would be me. Though I’m hoping the kind gifter was not expecting me to make Zucchini Corn Dog.

Instead, the zucchini was made into a supporting role in this one-bowl Korean Beef Rice dish.

One bowl meals are awesome.

That means I can set the table in 10-seconds flat (everyone gets either a pair of chopsticks, fork or spoon — pick the weapon of your choice) and just 1 bowl to clean per person.

Thin slices of beef are marinated in a combo of soy, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic and ginger – the same marinade I use for Korean bulgogi. Because the beef is thin, the vegetables are small, it’s also a 29.5 minute meal.

One bowl, 29.5-minute meal that uses zucchini.

Top that, Rachael Ray!

How to make Korean Beef Rice Bowl

Here’s the marinade ingredients – soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger, garlic, brown sugar.

It’s important to cut the beef very small or very thin. It’s a one-bowl meal, remember? No knives. Either cut the beef into small pieces like this.

Or thin slices.

Marinate the beef while you cut the vegetables.

Zucchini, baby spinach, onions and carrots. Notice that the veg is also cut very small or very thin. They all gotta cook almost at the same time!

Start with a wok or large saute pan (frying pans don’t have high enough sides — you’ll end up flipping and tossing all your ingredients right outta your pan!)

Saute the onions.

Then add the beef. Stir-fry beef until just barely pink in middle.

Add the carrots and the zucchini.

Now add the spinach.

Toss it all about.

Once spinach has wilted, the carrots softened and zucchini cooked, it’s done. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

And serve over rice.


Korean Beef Rice Bowl

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

You can use many types of beef, including ground beef, sirloin, flank steak, tenderloin trimmings -- or change this recipe to include other meats such as ground pork, ground turkey, chicken. If you want to go vegetarian, use very firm tofu, cut into cubes. The dish includes cooked rice - please feel free to use whatever rice you want - brown rice, jasmine rice, short grained rice. In a pinch, use basmati. Typical Korean style rice is short-grained. At the market, just look for "short-grained" or sushi rice. Different rice has different cooking times and rice:water ratios, so read the package directions carefully.


2 cups raw rice
1 pound beef (see headnote)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks (or 1 cup matchstick cut carrots)
1 small zucchini, diced
2 handfuls of spinach leaves
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds


1. Cook the rice according to package instructions. See How to Cook Perfect Rice recipe on Steamy Kitchen. If using basmati, see this recipe.

2. For the beef, if using flank steak: Cut the steak into very thin slices ACROSS the grain. If using other steak: Cut the steak into very small cubes, about 1/2-inch. If using ground beef: leave as-is.

3. In a large bowl, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and brown sugar. Add the beef and toss to coat. Let marinate while you prep the vegetables. Steps 1 and 2 can be done ahead of time up to 1 day before.

4. Heat a large saute pan or wok on medium heat. When hot, swirl in the oil. Add the onions and saute for 1 minute. Turn the heat to high and give it just a few seconds to heat up. Add in the beef, spreading the beef all over the surface of the pan, tossing with the onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes until just barely pink.

5. Add in the carrots, zucchini and toss. Cook for 1 minute. Toss in the spinach and cook for an additional minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with rice.