Looking to spice up your next dish? This homemade, sugar-free bulgogi sauce recipe adds flavor and depth to meat, veggies, and more!
If you've never had bulgogi sauce, you're missing out. This sauce is easy to make and provides a rich, deep flavor to the dish it is typically used in, beef bulgogi.
It's incredibly easy to make (hello, blender!) and tranforms the meal.
I originally experienced bulgogi sauce through Hello Fresh - they had a beef bulgogi bowl as a meal we got, and while I loved the flavor, I wanted to transform all of it to gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, and paleo.
So, if you're scouring the internet trying to find the HelloFresh bulgogi sauce recipe - this is actually modeled off of it, and will get you pretty dang close in regards to flavor.
What is bulgogi sauce
Bulgogi comes from the Korean word bul-gogi (불고기), consisting of bul ("fire") and gogi ("meat"), translating literally to "fire meat."
I don't know what fire meat is, but I like the sound of it - good things usually come from fire and meat!
If you're interested to read more about the history of bulgogi and how it came to be in Korea, you can read a bit more history here.
Now, traditional bulgogi sauce is made with soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic, black pepper, and sometimes ginger and scallions.
Pureed pear is a common ingredient as well, used as a tenderizer for the meat.
Since we don't cook with soy sauce or sugar, I had to find replacements for these. For the soy sauce, I subsituted coconut aminos.
I really like the Thrive Market brand, or the Big Tree Farms organic aminos - you can find these on Amazon here or often times in the grocery store - my Publix and Harris Teeter both carry the brand!
To sweeten it just a touch, I subsituted a single date in place of any sugar, which was perfect. It provided just the right balance to the bulgogi sauce recipe without making it overly sweet.
If there's one thing I dislike, it's for my meat to taste like sugar.
How is bulgogi sauce typically used
Bulgogi is typically used with beef, made from thin slices of sirloin. The meat is marinated in the sauce before cooking to enhance its flavor and tenderness.
And you can certainly use this bulgogi sauce recipe that way if you want to!
But I'm a shortcut cook. I'm always always...ALWAYS...looking for a shortcut. My bulgogi shortcut includes using ground beef, and cooking it with the sauce until the sauce thickens and coats the meat.
If you're looking for an easy weeknight meal, I highly recommend this version.
Is bulgogi sauce paleo
Typically, no. A traditional bulgogi sauce recipe would not be considered paleo, as traditional recipes include soy and sugar.
The good news is, this one is! This bulgogi recipe subs coconut aminos and dates, to keep the bad stuff out, but all the flavor in!
And - it's even Whole30 compliant.
How to use this bulgogi sauce
My top recommendation is to use it in my Beef Bulgogi Bowls. They're quick, easy, and pack a punch of flavor.
They make a great weeknight meal, and if you use pre-shredded carrots and cauliflower rice, I can promise dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less.
But you don't have to stop at bulgogi bowls! You could also use the sauce to spice up a stir fry like this one, or some mixed veggies, chicken, or anything with a mild flavor that you wanted to kick up a notch!
- ½ pear
- ¼ cup coconut aminos
- 1 medjool date
- 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon chili paste
- Peel and core the pear. Cut half into chunks for the sauce; save the other half for another use.
- Combine pear chunks and all other ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender and blend on high until combined and smooth.
Looking for a way to use this Bulgogi Sauce? Try out my Hello Fresh copycat version of Beef Bulgogi Bowls!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 115Saturated Fat: 1gSodium: 341mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g