I have some talented friends. Have I ever told you that? It’s true. My friend Ciarra is one of them, and she just released a revised and expanded version of her cookbook, The Frugal Paleo Cookbook. She has very generously offered a sneak peek of her book by sharing this recipe for Bulgogi Meatballs with you all!
bulgogi meatballs from The Frugal Paleo Cookbook
If you’re following a paleo diet, you may find that the biggest challenge is the cost. Ciarra Colacino of Colacino Kitchen is here to help! The Frugal Paleo Cookbook has over 100 easy, wallet friendly recipes that will feed the whole family.
I could have easily just shared the recipe and more information about the book, but these meatballs sounded so good that I wanted to make them for me and Simon. So I did! And they did not disappoint.
In other words, bulgogi meatballs: a win / win / win
I served these bulgogi meatballs over fat rice noodles with kimchi, carrots, quick pickled cucumbers, and topped with toasted sesame seeds, scallions, and a little extra red pepper flakes. Super tasty, 10/10 will make again.
I made these almost 100% following the recipe (yay, me!) The only things I changed: I made them smaller, since I have a small cookie scoop I used to portion them. I got about 20 mini meatballs out of the pound of ground beef. Since they were smaller, I cooked them for about 12 minutes instead of 25.
And since I’ve been less (read: not at all) paleo these days, I have a giant jug of tamari in my pantry and no coconut aminos. Since tamari is more salty and less sweet than coconut aminos, I skipped the salt in the glaze and added a little honey to balance out the saltiness.Print
Bulgogi is a beloved Korean dish traditionally made with thinly sliced marinated beef (or pork) and cooked fast on a hot stovetop or barbecue. It’s… so, so good. But sometimes the traditional preparation can feel like a little much for an average meal. I had the idea to bring the flavors of bulgogi into a meatball! This recipe delivers the flavors you expect with the convenience you need.
Juicy seasoned beef glazed in a sticky, sweet and slightly spicy sauce checks all the right boxes in a fraction of the time. Give these a try with my Cheater Cucumber Kimchee (page 209), Chinese-Style Broccolini (page 193) or Ginger Carrots (page 187) for a meal that takes care of any Korean food craving.
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 lb (454 g) ground beef (no leaner than 93%)
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- 1 egg
- 1⁄2 tsp sesame oil
- 1⁄4 cup (20 g) ground pork rinds
- 1 tsp (5 g) granulated garlic
- 1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
- 1⁄4 tsp sea salt
- A few grinds of black pepper
FOR THE BULGOGI GLAZE
- 1⁄2 cup (125 ml) coconut aminos
- 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) apple juice
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp (10 g) coconut palm sugar
- 2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 tsp (8 g) minced fresh ginger
- 11⁄2 tsp (4 g) Korean red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 tsp ground black pepper
- Heavy pinch of sea salt
- Thinly sliced scallions
- Toasted sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
By hand, mix together the ground beef, scallion, egg, sesame oil, pork rinds, granulated garlic, ginger, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Use a 1⁄4-cup (60 ml) measuring cup to portion out ten equally sized meatballs, rolling by hand and placing on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking mat. Bake for 25 minutes.
While the meatballs bake, prepare the bulgogi glaze. Mix together the coconut aminos, apple juice, vinegar, coconut palm sugar, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper and salt with a whisk, then transfer to a small saucepan. Set the temperature to medium-high and reduce until it becomes a syrupy glaze—about 15 to 18 minutes. This will result in about 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) of glaze. Set aside until the meatballs are done roasting.
Remove the meatballs from the oven, and while still warm, transfer them to a large mixing bowl. I like to use a pair of large tongs to transfer them, or chopsticks or even a large spoon. Pretty much anything but a spatula, if we’re really going to drill down on this step.
Once transferred, drizzle the warm bulgogi glaze over the meatballs and gently toss to evenly coat. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and top with the sliced scallions and sesame seeds. I like to use a rubber scraper to get the last of the glaze drizzled onto the meatballs, then sprinkle the sesame seeds first so they stick and finish with the thinly sliced scallions. Serve hot!
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