Overhead view of Korean Meatball Rice Bowl on a table.

Korean Meatball Rice Bowl

This Korean BBQ rice bowl is a delicious balance of flavors and textures that students will love. Sweet and spicy meatballs are paired with U.S.-grown brown long grain rice, crunchy vegetables, and a quick kimchi that really makes this dish special.

This tasty K-12 school recipe was created for us by our friend Chef Sam Cowens-Gasbarro. Click on the PDF below to download the full recipe with crediting from the USDA Food Buying Guide recipe analysis workbook (RAW).

  • Servings


  • 6 ¼ pounds brown long grain rice, dry
  • 6 ¼ quarts, water

Korean BBQ Sauce and Meatballs

  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup soy sauce, less sodium
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons gochujang paste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, ground
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, granulated
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch 
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 8 pounds, 2 ounces (200) Meatballs, turkey, plain or savory

Quick Kimchi Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sriracha
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, granulated
  • 2 tablespoons ginger, ground
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar, granulated
  • 4 cups pears, diced or sliced, drained
  • 1 ¼ pound cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pound matchstick carrots

Bowl Toppings

  • 1 ½ pounds radishes, red, thinly sliced (1/8 cup per portion)
  • 2 pounds cucumbers, english, thinly sliced (1/8 cup per portion)
  • 3 cups, 2 tablespoons scallions, cut on bias 
  • 1 cup, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)



  • Combine rice and water into a 2-inch steamtable pan. Stir to combine. Cover tightly. For 50 servings use 2 pans.

    OVEN METHOD: Cook in a 350 °F oven for 45 to 55 minutes.

    STEAMER METHOD: Cook in a steamer for 30 to 40 minutes.

    CCP: Heat to 135 °F for at least 15 seconds.
  • Remove from oven or steamer and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Remove cover; fluff rice with a fork before serving. CCP: Hold warm, above 135 °F for service

Korean BBQ Sauce and Meatballs 

  • Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, gochujang paste, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic.
  • Bring to a boil. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly.
  • Make a slurry by mixing cornstarch and water. Stir into sauce and bring to a boil.
  • For meatballs: cook according to package instructions.
  • Remove from oven and toss with the Korean BBQ sauce: return to oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and hold, covered, in warmer until service.

    CCP: Heat to 165 °F or higher for at least 15 seconds.
    CCP: Hold warm, above 135 °F for service.

Quick Kimchi Sauce

  • Mix sriracha, vinegar, garlic, ginger, sugar, and pears. As you are mixing, break up pears into small pieces. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  • Combine the cabbage and shredded carrots in a bowl. Toss the cabbage and carrot mixture with the quick kimchi sauce.
  • Cover and place in refrigerator. Let sit for 2 hours or overnight. Use within 7 days. CCP: hold cold for service, below 41 °F

Bowl Assembly 

  • Place 1 cup of brown rice in each serving bowl.
    -In one quadrant of the bowl, top with 4 glazed meatballs.
    -In a second quadrant place ¼ cup (#16 scoop) of kimchi.
    -In a third quadrant place 1/8 cup of thinly sliced radishes and 1/8 cup of sliced cucumbers.
  • Garnish with 1 tablespoon of thinly sliced scallions and 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds per bowl and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

One portion provides: 2 oz. eq. grain, 2 oz. eq. meat/meat alternate, ½ cup vegetable

Often kimchi is made with Napa cabbage.

Starting with hot water in cooking rice will reduce cooking time. 

Samantha Cowens-Gasbarro, Healthy School Recipes

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 400
  • Total Fat 7g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Cholesterol 45mg
  • Sodium 620mg
  • Carbohydrates65g
  • Dietary Fiber 4g
  • Protein 19g