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A vegetarian version of the popular bulgogi. My version – Korean Vegetarian Beef – uses textured vegetable protein to achieve the same results as ground beef. 20 minutes start to finish!

A vegetarian version of the popular bulgogi.  My version - Korean Vegetarian Beef - uses textured vegetable protein to achieve the same results as ground beef.  20 minutes start to finish! #korean #beef #bulgogi #vegetarian #TVP #crumbles

I’ve been told that in Korea, this dish is referred to as Bulgogi. It translates to ‘fire meat.”  Now, I’m not a big fan of extremely hot or spicy foods, but I was able to eat this dish comfortably.  I shared it with my colleagues and they reported back that it wasn’t too spicy for them either.

There was never a plan to make this dish. But, I found it as I was researching dishes made with ground beef. The plan was to make ground beef dishes vegetarian with TVP.  I knew I could make a vegetarian version and have it taste just as good – or better – than the original.

As I have said before, if you want the meat version of this dish, simply switch out the TVP with ground beef.  Just be sure to drain the grease before adding the rest of the ingredients in your recipe.

A vegetarian version of the popular bulgogi.  My version - Korean Vegetarian Beef - uses textured vegetable protein to achieve the same results as ground beef.  20 minutes start to finish! #korean #beef #bulgogi #vegetarian #TVP #crumbles

I’ve said it before; I love spending time by myself in my kitchen.  However, there are occasional days where I just need to cook something for dinner that’s quick and easy.  This dish is just that.  It’s fast to prepare; it’s easy; and, most of the ingredients will already be in your pantry or fridge. More importantly, it’s really, really delicious!

You can certainly adapt the spice/heat level in this recipe to fit your own personal preferences as well.  Like I said, I’m not a huge fan of overly spicy or hot food. But, if you are, you can simply increase the amount of dried red chili flakes.

Another really great thing about Korean Vegetarian Beef is that a little goes a long way.  In my opinion, the “beef” is the side, not the main.  If you look at the photographs, you will note that there’s more rice than beef in terms of ratio.  You really don’t need a large amount of beef to feed a group of people.  About a cup full will be more than enough.

When making this dish, please try to use basmati rice.  I have tried this dish with plain white rice and steamed brown rice, but it just does not produce the same flavour.  Basmati rice is very aromatic, and in terms of eating, the smell of a dish accentuates the flavours and tastes.

Lastly, if you don’t have some of the ingredients on hand, please don’t try to make this dish with substitutes, because it most certainly will not taste like it’s meant to.  There’s really no substitute for sesame oil or freshly grated ginger.  Not even ground ginger will give you the right flavour profile.  These ingredients are cheap, so be sure to get the real thing before attempting to make Korean Vegetarian Beef.

Just a quick note before you get to the recipe.  This is just a personal thing and may not affect you in the same way.  I love the taste and ease of textured vegetable protein, but it really does make me bloat.  To offset that, (and this is the only change to this recipe that I will endorse or recommend!) I use three onions rather than one when making this dish for myself.

Not only does using three onions offset the amount of textured vegetable protein I’m actually eating, but it certainly extends the yield of this recipe a little more and makes enough for a least one or two more servings.  How’s that for economical?  🙂

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4.33 from 58 votes

Korean Vegetarian Beef

A vegetarian version of the popular bulgogi. My version – Korean Vegetarian Beef – uses textured vegetable protein to achieve the same results as ground beef. 20 minutes start to finish!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean, Vegetarian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 407kcal
Author Lord Byron’s Kitchen


  • 1 package of Yves Veggie Ground Round, textured vegetable protein
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 4 cups basmati rice, cooked
  • 1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced


  • In a skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onions in olive oil until slightly caramelized; add the garlic and veggie round ground and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes.
  • Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, dried red chili flakes, ground black pepper, and brown sugar. Stir well into the veggie ground round mixture.
  • Continue to sauté until all of the liquid is absorbed – about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add in the sesame seeds and stir to incorporate.
  • Serve over cooked rice and top with sliced green onions.


Morning Star or Gardein Beefless Ground works as a substitute to Yves Veggie Ground Round


Calories: 407kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 827mg | Potassium: 218mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 4.6mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1.1mg

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A vegetarian version of the popular bulgogi.  My version - Korean Vegetarian Beef - uses textured vegetable protein to achieve the same results as ground beef.  20 minutes start to finish! #korean #beef #bulgogi #vegetarian #TVP #crumbles

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This Post Has 55 Comments

  1. This recipe just popped up on my Pinterest feed and it looks so good that I had to pop over and take a closer look (and pin for later!). I used to live in Korea so have veganised plenty of Korean dishes but never bulgogi - it has to be next on the list now!
    1. Thanks, Paige. I couldn't eat vegetarian food unless it was super delicious - otherwise, I'd be grilling steak every night.
  2. Yumm! You know I'm a Korean food fanatic--this is right up my alley. Glad you found something not too spicy for your repertoire. ;) My Korean boyf says that the "bul" or "fire" actually refers to how this meat is usually cooked over a flame or barbecue, less the heat in the seasoning (though it definitely has a kick!).
  3. This looks amazing! And I like that it comes together quickly as the tiny terror is hurtling into the terrible twos entirely too quickly and it cuts into dinner prep time dramatically. I hope I remember to make it next time I have either veggie crumbles or ground beef in the house! Unrelated note - I actually bought mushrooms the other day to make your mushroom stroganoff and then got distracted and turned them into something else. :(
  4. I can't wait to try this recipe. I just stumbled across TVP recently and I love it. I was just wondering, do you rehydrate your TVP first or does the liquids in the recipe do that?
    1. Hi Sariah, I did not use dried TVP in this recipe. I used prepared, packaged TVP. If you're using the dry TVP, be sure to hydrate according to package instructions first.
  5. We lived in a Korean town for years and always wanted to try Korean Bulgogi. But being a vegetarian, I never found a place that served vegetarian version. Thank you for the recipe, now I can make it right in my kitchen.
  6. Simply amazing! I love how fast it is to have dinner ready and my husband (total meat eater) is in love with this and actually requests it at least 2 times a week! Also its delish in lettuce cups. Thank you
  7. I made this last night. I used gardein crumbles but instead of serving over rice I used the "meat" for a taco topped with an Asian slaw and pickled onions. Delicious!
  8. Delicious but there is absolutely no way to prep this meal in 5 minutes as is indicated. Just peeling and grating the fresh ginger takes 5 minutes. Cutting 2 different kinds of onions also takes some time. Then there's peeling and mincing the garlic. Oh, and measuring out the rest of the ingredients. Let's just say that even the quickest chefs will spend at least 15 minutes prepping this meal if they are doing it alone. Why lie?
    1. Hmmmm... you might have a point there, Vince. I tend to be quite fast when it comes to meal prep. And, I never peel fresh ginger. I wash it really well when I buy it and toss it into a freezer bag. I freeze it and grate it from its frozen state - it take seconds. Toss the unused portion back in the bag and into the freezer. The next time I make this recipe for dinner, I'll pay closer attention to the prep time, and update if needed. Thank you.
  9. This was absolutely dreamy. Hands down the easiest and quickest dinner I could possibly throw together and sooo unbelievably satisfying. I’m in love. Heats up so nicely too. Thank you so much for this beauty of a recipe!
  10. So you put the textured vegetable protein in without hydrating first? I’ve only ever cooked with soya chunks (which I thought were the same thing), and it was very different.
    1. Hi Aaron - I'm using pre-packaged textured vegetable protein that has already been hydrated. I'm not using dry TVP.
  11. Really enjoyed your Asian inspired recipes. As a Californian, I turned semi-vegetarian in New York City, it is difficult to cook well without the real fresh Asian vegetarian ingredients. I have made 3 of your Asian inspired recipes and loved it. Thank you.
  12. my favorite thing I’ve ever cooked! I used sliced seitan however to replace the TVP. My boyfriend would eat the whole serving, so it’s not enough for the two of us! I have to make a double batch, or cook it when he’s not here ;)
  13. My sister, the vegetarian, was wowed. Our husbands, the carnivores, were impressed. I was amazed. We used Beyond Meat "ground beef" and, like many, I used half the sugar. I also used about 3/4 teaspoon Sambal Oelek instead of the pepper flakes. You honestly could not tell it wasn't beef and the flavors were wonderful, complex and rich. The leftovers were just as good. This is definitely a keeper.
  14. What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Mouth-wateringly aromatic, outstanding flavour, and ready in a snap without resorting to hard-to-find ingredients. Thank you, LB! Your recipes are new to me, but I’m a convert now! 🥦♥️
      1. I just made this and have to say is very yummy! I will definitely be making this again! Thank you for the recipe! It is a huge hit even with my meat eating family!
  15. I have made this so many times and my family LOVES IT! I am making it for my 6 year olds birthday and wondering if you think it would be okay if I made it the day before and reheated in a crockpot? Thank you for your awesome recipes!
  16. I LOVE Bulgogi but after going Pescatarian I miss having it. I have tried so many other Bulgoli recipes that just didn't satisfy the craving but after trying this version I'm hooked!! I usually use Impossible but I had a pack of Beyond in the freezer so I used that and it turned out incredible!!! A million Thanks I can't wait to try more of your recipes!

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