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There are so many meal combinations you can make with a protein, rice, and vegetables, but if I’m cooking, then this Ginger Pork Rice Bowl is way up there on the list. It uses simple ingredients, but the flavors are way better than the sum of its parts.
The bowl is also a fun and accessible kid meal! Kids can customize their own bowls so they feel involved in the prep, and then either stir everything together or keep things separate (which is what my kids do, much to my chagrin).
What Kind of Ginger to Use?
Sometimes you will see pickled ginger in rice bowls, but I tend to think of that as more of a palate cleanser like you would see with a poke bowl or sushi.
For big flavors like the pork in this recipe, I like to use freshly grated ginger, and a lot of it. I used about an inch of fresh ginger, which equals about a tablespoon of freshly grated ginger.
What Goes Into a Rice Bowl?
I love the combination of cucumber and carrot in my rice bowl, but let your imagination run wild here OR use this recipe as a base to clean out the fridge a bit. You could put almost any veggie in this bowl to accompany the pork and rice. Here are a few ideas:
- Shredded cabbage
- Minced chili peppers
- Red or green peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Soft boiled eggs
I also like to garnish with sesame seeds, scallion, cilantro, and sweet soy sauce. Lee Kum Kee makes a sweet soy sauce that is available in most stores and is great. It’s just what it sounds like—regular soy sauce that’s been sweetened and thickened a bit.
If you don’t have it or can’t find sweet soy sauce, stir a tablespoon of honey into about 1/3 cup regular soy sauce. That'll get you close.
Of course, if you're eating gluten-free, swap traditional soy sauce for a wheat-free option like tamari.
What Kind of Rice Is Best?
Almost any long-grain white rice will work great for these bowls. Personally, I like jasmine rice because a) I have a 20-pound bag of it in my pantry, and b) it has a light, almost-floral flavor that goes well with so many recipes, from stir-fries to rice puddings. It’s my go-to for dishes like this even though it is slightly more expensive than bulk white rice.
What Kind of Pork Is Best?
I wouldn’t get too fancy with the pork for this recipe. I used just a basic ground pork mix that you can get at any butcher (unseasoned). If you wanted to change it up, you could grill a pork tenderloin, slice it thin, and add that to the bowl!
Making Ahead and Storing
Feel free to make the pork in advance along with the rice. You can reheat both in the microwave in 30-second bursts until they are warm, and then assemble your bowl by adding the vegetables and toppings. Leftovers keep great for five days or so in the fridge.
The Dad Add: Leftover Pork Pita Sandwiches
When eating leftovers from this recipe, I like to change up the fillings by stuffing them into a pita. It’s a nice mash-up of Asian and Mediterranean flavors and works really well. Don’t forget the yogurt and sriracha!
The Kid Report Card
I only got to test this recipe on one of my children because my older one was having a special dinner date with Grammie. (Lucky!) But, my two-year-old is always the tougher judge anyway and she was surprisingly into this dish.
She started by shoving rice in her mouth by the handful. This is her normal move with rice. It’s almost like she is worried someone else will eat it if she doesn’t eat it all RIGHT AWAY.
Then she moved on to the cucumbers and housed all those. She was very skeptical of the pork until I bribed her with one jelly bean. Nobody is perfect, people.
Once she tried it, she had a few more bites and proclaimed, “I do like that meat!”
And for once, we agreed on a thing! YAY!
Rice, Rice, and More Rice: 5 Ways to Love Rice in Bowls!
- Black Rice Bowls with Tofu and Veggies
- BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl
- Black Bean Burrito Bowl
- Salmon Avocado Poke Bowls
- Sous Vide Beef Bulgogi Bowls
- For the bowls:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 1 pound ground pork
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (about 1 inch, peeled)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use tamari to keep the recipe gluten-free)
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley
- 1/3 cup fresh basil
- 1/3 cup fresh mint
- 1 cup dried jasmine rice, to serve
- 1 lime, sliced, to serve
- Sweet soy sauce, to serve
- Sesame seeds, garnish
- For the DAD ADD: Pita Sandwich
- 1 pita round
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- Green leaf lettuce
- 1/3 cup leftover ginger pork
- Shredded carrot
- Sliced cucumber
- Sriracha, optional
Cook the rice
Add dried rice to a medium pot and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Fill the pot until water covers the rice by about 1/4 inch. Place over high heat and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering, stir the rice, cover it, and turn heat down to very low. Simmer rice slowly for 8 to 10 minutes, then test rice. If it’s cooked through (i.e. not crunchy), drain off any extra water, remove from heat, cover and steam for five minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Cook the pork
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and diced onions. Cook until the onions turn translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add ground pork and break up with a spatula continuously while cooking until the pork is crumbly, browned, and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes.
When the pork is almost done cooking, add garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir, and cook for another minute or two to combine flavors.
Assemble the rice bowls
Add 1/2 to 3/4 cup of cooked jasmine rice to a wide bowl. Top with 1/2 cup of the pork mixture, sliced cucumbers, shredded carrots, and the herb mix. Sprinkle the bowl with sweet soy sauce and sesame seeds.
Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days. Reheat the pork and rice in the microwave in 30-second bursts until warm.
For the Dad Add: Pork Pita Sandwiches
Soften the pita by putting it in a microwave on high for 15 seconds. Cut it in half and split open each half. Add a tablespoon of yogurt to each half and stuff in some green lettuce. Add 1/4 cup of reheated pork to the pita and also add any leftover cucumber, carrot, or other veggies you have. I also like to add a drizzle of sriracha!