Alright folks, hello and welcome back to another episode of healthy balanced meals that you actually want to eat: Garlic ginger ground beef and quinoa power bowls.

Ground beef infused with garlic and ginger served with high fiber, high protein quinoa, an amazing smashed cucumber salad and kimchi. All finished off with a drizzle of sriracha mayo because how could you not. This delicious meal idea needs to be the next on your meal plan! Lessss goooooo.

bowl with garlic ginger ground beef, fluffy quinoa, kimchi, smashed cucumber salad, sriracha mayo and sesame seeds

I love bowl food. Ya know, pile it all in a bowl and call it a meal? Which is exactly what we’ve got going on here.

Why I love it and why you will to:

  • Balanced: protein, high fiber carbs, lots of veggies. I am a big fan of the plate method (ie- 25% of your plate protein, 25% of your plate carbohydrate and 50% of your plate non-starchy veggies) and this meal fits that equation PERFECTLY.
  • Flavorful: We have so many simple flavor bombs as part of this recipe. The quick stir-fry sauce of soy, honey and sesame along with the garlic and ginger to season the ground beef. The chili crunch and rice vinegar to add some pizzaz to the cucumber salad. And of course, the creamy spicy goodness of sriracha mayo.
  • Great leftovers: whenever I make a recipe it has to pass the “leftovers test” ie- the next day, am I stoked to eat the leftovers in the fridge? If yes, the recipe is a success, if no, it may need some tweaking. This recipe is a DEFINITE YES to leftovers.
  • Easy meal: although there are several components, this really is an easy weeknight meal that comes together in a snap, saving you on those busy weeknights!
picture of all of the ingredients to make this meal

What you will need to make it:

Ground beef: I like to buy the organic ground beef from Costco. I would recommend an 80/20 or 85/15 option for this recipe.

Quinoa: you will get a bonus dose of protein with quinoa but you could of course use brown rice, white rice, cauliflower rice, barley, farro or any other grain you enjoy.

Mini cucumbers: I like using baby cucumbers for this recipe because they are convenient and easy to smash. You can also use a full-size cucumber chopped into chunks.

Garlic: don’t skimp on this one! Use fresh garlic if you can, but jarred will work in a pinch. And in an even bigger pinch, you can use garlic powder.

Ginger: fresh ginger offers another mega flavor boost to the meat. I like to peel a knob of ginger and use a microplane to finely grate it. If you don’t have fresh ginger you can sub powdered ginger.

Soy sauce: this is used in our flavoring base for the meat. I like the restaurant-grade soy sauce from Momofuku but any soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos will work.

Honey: honey provides a lot of balanced to the salty, spicy and acidic components of the dish.

Toasted sesame oil: another fabulous way to add depth of flavor is toasted sesame oil which we use for both the smashed cucumber salad and garlic ginger beef.

Sriracha: for a touch of heat! If you don’t like spicy, feel free to reduce the amount or omit. If you’re having a hard time finding sriracha (there is a shortage going on right now!) you can use chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek or even hot sauce.

Mayo: I cannot resist a drizzle of spicy mayo on nearly any rice-bowl-adjacent type of situation. It just elevates it x10.

Chili crunch: if you follow me on Instagram you know how obsessed with this stuff I am. It’s garlicky, crunchy, spicy and the perfect add to a cucumber salad. If you didn’t have this, you could add a pinch of red pepper flakes and a bit of extra oil. I get the chili onion crunch from Trader Joe’s but my number one fave is this chili crunch oil which I order online.

Rice vinegar: gives tang and a “pickle-y” like vibe to the cucumbers that is irresistible!

Kimchi: kimchi is a Korean condiment made of spicy fermented cabbage. Not only does it taste amazing in this ground beef and quinoa bowl but you get the added bonus of a healthy dose of live probiotic cultures which aid in diversifying your gut microbiome! You can find kimchi in the produce section or the refrigerated “international foods” section of most grocery stores but if not you will find it at your local Asian grocery store.

smashed cucumber salad with chili crunch, rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil

How to Make:

First assemble the smashed cucumber salad:

  • Lay a chef’s knife flat side down on one baby cucumber and using the palm of your hand apply pressure until the cucumber gives and smashes down. Repeat with all the cucumbers.
  • When all your cukes have been smashed, use your knife to give a couple rough chops to the whole pile.
  • Add the cucumbers to a large bowl and add the chili crunch, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and pinches of sugar and salt.
  • Toss to combine and set aside.
ground beef in pan with garlic, ginger, honey, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil and sriracha

Next, make the garlic ginger ground beef:

  • Chop the garlic cloves. Finely grate the ginger.
  • Whisk together soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and sriracha.
  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat add a swish of olive oil and add the ground beef. Brown the meat, breaking into pieces until golden brown and cooked through. Depending on the fat content of your beef you make need to drain.
  • Reduce to medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant, about 60 seconds.
  • Add the soy honey sauce and toss to coat the meat. Reduce to low heat until ready to serve.
quinoa in strainer, liquid measuring cup with soy sauce, kimchi, grated ginger and chopped garlic

Tips for cooking perfectly fluffy quinoa

I once heard a chef say to cook quinoa like pasta, not rice, and I’ve never done it any other way.

  • In a fine mesh sieve rinse the quinoa well. This helps wash away any bitter flavor.
  • Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa to the boiling water. Reduce to a simmer/low boil and cook uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Drain in that same mesh sieve and then add the cooked quinoa back to the hot saucepan.
  • The residual heat of the pan will help dry out any residual moisture in the quinoa. Use a fork to fluff it up. The result should be perfectly tender, fluffy quinoa!
bowl of sriracha mayo

Assemble!

  • Whisk together the sriracha, mayo and lime for the sriracha mayo.
  • Chop your green onions.
  • Layer together quinoa, garlic ginger ground beef mixture, kimchi, spicy cucumber salad, sriracha mayo, green onions, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime.
bowl with garlic ginger ground beef, fluffy quinoa, kimchi, smashed cucumber salad

Variation Ideas

Make it kid-friendly: have picky eaters? Trust me, I get it. But I firmly believe any meal can be made kid-friendly with a few simple tweaks! if your kiddos struggle with spice, either omit the sriracha from the soy honey sauce or remove some ground beef before adding the sauce. Same with the cucumbers (my girls love the cukes with just rice vinegar and salt!) Serve the meal deconstructed: beef, quinoa or rice and marinated cucumbers. This can easily be a meal the whole family loves!

Make it gluten-free: simply make this with coconut aminos or tamari instead of soy sauce.

Make it plant-based: this recipe would be fabulous with crispy tofu instead of ground beef. Simply fry up some cubes of tofu in a little oil and add the garlic, ginger and stir-fry sauce, tossing to coat. You can use vegan mayo as an egg-free option.

Make it with other veggies: instead of a cucumber salad you could try steamed broccoli, ribboned carrots, red peppers, sauteéd green beans or spinach quickly sauteéd with some sesame oil. The sky is the limit!

two bowls of food, lime wedge and sriracha mayo bottle

If you love this meal you’ll want to try these similar recipes:

Want more beef recipes?

More quinoa recipes?

More Korean-inspired recipes?

FAQs

Can I make this recipe vegetarian?

Absolutely! Simply swap out the ground beef for some TVP or crispy tofu.

Can I make this ahead of time?

Yep! This meal is actually fabulous for meal prep. Make the meat, quinoa, smashed cucumber salad and sriracha mayo. I’d recommend storing the components separately in airtight containers and assembling when ready to eat. The meat and quinoa you will want to reheat but I like the cucumber salad and sriracha mayo cold.

Is this recipe spicy?

As written I’d give this recipe a 3/5 since there is a spicy element in the stir-fry sauce, the cucumber salad and the sriracha mayo. Keep in mind you can also decrease the amount you add or omit entirely to adjust to your desired level of spicy.

Can I use a different protein?

This would be great with chicken breast or ground chicken, ground turkey, ground pork or tofu.

bowl with garlic ginger ground beef, fluffy quinoa, kimchi, smashed cucumber salad, sriracha mayo and sesame seeds

Watch how to make:

Alright my friends, go get that garlicky ginger-y sriracha-y goodness!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Bowl with garlic ginger ground beef, quinoa, kimchi and a smashed cucumber salad

Garlic Ginger Ground Beef and Quinoa Power Bowls

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 11 reviews
  • Author: Erica
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35-40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Korean
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Garlic ginger ground beef, fluffy quinoa, pungent kimchi and a smashed cucumber salad come together to make a nutritious, energizing, FLAVORBOMB of a meal that you will just love!


Ingredients

Units Scale

Smashed cucumber salad

  • 20 mini cucumbers or 1 large English cucumber
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili crunch
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Pinches of sugar and salt

Garlic ginger beef

  • 1.25lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 inch knob ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Sriracha mayo

  • 5 tablespoons mayo
  • 12 teaspoon sriracha, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lime

Assembly

  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • Toppings: kimchi, green onions, sesame seeds, avocado, lime wedges

Instructions

Smashed cucumber salad

Lay a chef’s knife flat side down on one baby cucumber and using the palm of your hand apply pressure until the cucumber gives and smashes down. Repeat with all the cucumbers. If you are using one large cucumber, chop into 1 inch chunks and give those a smash.

When all your cukes have been smashed, use your knife to give a couple rough chops to the whole pile.

Add the cucumbers to a large bowl and add the chili crunch, toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and pinches of sugar and salt. Toss to combine and set aside.

Ground beef

Chop the garlic cloves. Finely grate the ginger. Whisk together soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and sriracha.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat add a swish of olive oil and add the ground beef. Brown the meat, breaking into pieces until golden brown and cooked through. Depending on the fat content of your beef you may need to drain the excess fat and return meat to the pan.

Reduce to medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring until fragrant, about 60 seconds. Add the stir-fry sauce and toss to coat the meat. Reduce to low heat until ready to serve.

Quinoa

In a fine mesh sieve rinse the quinoa well. This helps wash away any bitter flavor.

Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rinsed quinoa to the boiling water. Reduce to a simmer/low boil and cook uncovered for 12-15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Drain in that same mesh sieve and then add the cooked quinoa back to the hot saucepan.

The residual heat of the pan will help dry out any residual moisture in the quinoa. Use a fork to fluff it up.

Assemble

Whisk together the sriracha, mayo and lime for the sriracha mayo. Chop the green onions.

Layer together quinoa, garlic ginger ground beef mixture, kimchi, spicy cucumber salad, sriracha mayo, green onions, sesame seeds and a squeeze of lime.


Notes

I love to use these squeeze bottles for the sriracha mayo!

For variation ideas, FAQ and easy substitutions, check out the blog post.

Nutrition facts are an estimate and may vary slightly depending on the brands/types of ingredients used.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4lb meat + 3/4 cup cooked quinoa + 1 cup cucumber salad + 1/3 cup kimchi + 1 tablespoon sriracha mayo
  • Calories: 581
  • Sugar: 21.2 g
  • Sodium: 874.2 mg
  • Fat: 27 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54.3 g
  • Protein: 31.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 79.2 mg

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. Thank you so much for your support and helping me continue to do what I do!!