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These colorful Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls are full of Thai flavors and made so simply. The beef (or use chicken) is cooked in a sweet Thai basil chili sauce until caramelized around the edges, then added to bowls of lemongrass rice. A fresh, bright, carrot and pepper salad is spooned overtop. The bowl is then finished with flavorful Thai basil, sesame seeds, and peanuts for a balance of spicy, sweet, and savory flavor. Altogether, these bowls are so delicious, plus quick to make.

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

I’m back at it with another summer bowl recipe, and this one is extra special. This is a recipe I made back in 2014, but I’ve continued to make it on repeat. At this point, it’s such a Gerard family staple, we all love it!

Anytime my brothers are home visiting I end up making this at least once. They love that it’s kind of like take-out, but healthier. And I always make it just spicy enough for their tastes, but with a kick of sweetness too.

Honestly, I mostly love this recipe because it’s so darn easy! If I have all the vegetables prepped, it takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

I make this year-round, but it’s on weekly rotation throughout the summer since we grow so much sweet Thai basil and peppers!

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

Make the rice

The first thing I make is the rice since it actually takes the longest to cook. For this dish, I love to use lemongrass. Lemongrass is such a star ingredient that’s so underused. When cooked, it has a subtle citrusy, lemony flavor with a little mintiness in there too.

It’s a very light refreshing flavor and I love cooking it into the rice. The lemongrass really complements the basil.

I cook the rice in coconut milk for a creamy, coconut flavor along with lemongrass paste and Thai jasmine rice. Simply let the rice steam while you prepare the beef.

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

Make the salad and beef

To add color and extra flavor, I made a quick salad with carrots, peppers, and lots of fresh green onions. I kept the dressing simple with a bit of fish sauce, lime, and honey. Then I tossed it all together and let the dressing soak into the veggies, almost like pickling them.

For the beef, I used ground beef, garlic, and ginger cooked together with lots of sweet Thai chili sauce and Thai basil. You can easily use whatever you enjoy here, chicken, pork or even tofu would be great.

If you’re having trouble finding Thai basil, traditional Italian basil works in a pinch!

Since most store-bought sweet Thai chili sauce is full of sugar, I like to make my own chili sauce. I use a mix of honey, chili paste, a touch of ketchup, and then some garlic, ginger, and lime!! It’s really easy to mix up if you’re looking for a healthier sauce option.

Then just put everything together. Load the bowls with rice, beef, lots of salad, roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, and plenty of garden-fresh Thai basil.

These bowls come together so quickly and have so much flavor, which you know we love! And I really appreciate all the color – best kind of recipe!

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

Looking for other quick weeknight dinners? Here are some favorites:

Chili Crisp Chicken Mango Cucumber Rice Bowl

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot Beef Ramen Noodles

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper

Coconut Popcorn Chicken with Sweet Thai Chili Lime Sauce

30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles

Better Than Takeout Sweet Thai Basil Chicken

Spicy Chipotle Honey Salmon Bowls

Lastly, if you make these Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

20 Minute Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 436 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. To make the salad. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Toss well and set aside.
    2. To make the beef. In a large skillet, cook the beef with black pepper over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Add the tamari, sweet Thai chili sauce, and 1 cup of fresh basil. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sauce coats the beef, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining basil.
    3. Divide the rice and beef between bowls. Add the salad to the bowl. Top with peanuts, sesame seeds, and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Lemongrass Rice

  • 1. Add 1 can coconut milk and 1/3 water to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a low boil. Add in 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook ten minutes on low and then turn the heat off completely. Let the rice sit on the stove, covered, for another 15-20 minutes (don't take any peeks inside!).
    2. After 15-20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Note that rice can cook differently for everyone, this is just what works for me.


Homemade Sweet Thai Chili Sauce: Mix 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1-2 tablespoons chili sauce, 2 teaspoons lime zest, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and 1 clove grated garlic in a glass jar. Shake or stir well. Use as directed. 
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Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

(had to leave one of these original photos, for memories!!)

20 Minute Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls | @hbharvest

See, even my picky littlest brother, Red, was all over this one. Now that is rare.

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  1. 5 stars
    So delicious! Loved it and have made it multiple times! Could you add the ingredients for the lemograss rice and sweet chili sauce to the ingredients list? I missed both of those the first time around!

  2. Made this recipe tonight and it’s absolutely delicious. I did mess up though and used 1/3 cup of chili sauce instead of sweet thai chili sauce. WHEW. It is so spicy. Will try again with the right ingredients next time because the other flavors are wonderful and it’s quick and easy to make!

    1. Hey Allison,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe out! Yikes, sorry to hear about the chili sauce! I hope you’re having a great Monday! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    This was very tasty and quick to pull together. I did cook the carrots and peppers very briefly as that is our preference and it turned out great. We decided to have Rice Pad Thai noodles in lieu of the rice as we didn’t have lemongrass or coconut milk. Yummy!

    1. Hey Lucy,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it! Have the best weekend! xxT

    1. Hi Carla,
      Sure, that will work well for you! I hope you love this dish, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

    1. Hey Ruth,
      Thanks a lot for trying this recipe out and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was a winner! xTieghan

  4. 4 stars
    Pluses – the flavor was great and easily adapted to a couple of different ingredients I used. I stuck with 90% of the recipe but decided to go with soy alone instead of fish/tamari sauces. This did not have a negative impact at all. The ginger/garlic ratio was spot-on and married very well with the rest of the meat ingredients. The dressing on the salad was easy and highly effective. I agree with others about taking out the tomatoes and putting in cabbage or maybe seasoned cucumber.

    Minuses – I struggled with the rice. I don’t know if anyone else did, but I wonder if my coconut milk can was bigger than the recipe suggested. It ended up being 15 oz of coconut milk plus 1/3 c. of water. The liquid never did evaporate with the above heating instructions, so we just made regular white rice afterward, as I did not have a second can of coconut milk to try again. Any tips on the rice part of this would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thanks for making this recipe and sharing your feedback! I do note that the rice can cook differently for everyone, that method is just what works for me. What kind of rice did you use? I typically have the best results with basmati or jasmine. xTieghan

      1. Hi, Tieghan!

        We use organic jasmine rice. I don’t think the organic-type is different in cooking regular jasmine rice, as we have used the same instructions with good results for either.

        I’m thinking that maybe I should have just stuck with the following:
        Get liquid + salt to boiling
        Add rice and cover, reduce to medium-low heat (3 on a scale of 10)
        Wait 13 minutes, remove from heat, fluff and serve after a few minutes.

        My wonder is whether or not coconut milk could do this and not ruin it’s flavor or composition, and if the water was necessary for the amount of rice used. I also put in lemongrass that I cut length-wise, as that’s what I had.

        Thanks! – Laura

  5. 5 stars
    Made this exactly as recipe states and it was great! Flavors reminded me of our trip to Vietnam/ Thailand. So good!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Happy Monday!! I really appreciate you trying this recipe out, I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have a great week:)

  6. 5 stars
    This is AMAZING!! So simple to make and the flavors are insane! This will be a staple meal in our home now. DELICIOUSSS

    1. Hey Brittaney,
      Happy Sunday! I am so glad to hear this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it:) 🌼

  7. This recipe looks amazing cant wait to make it, making the One Pan 4 Cheese Sun-Dried Tomato and Spinach Pasta Bake. smells great should be out in 12 minutes. It smeklls great……….

    1. Hey Kaylyn,
      Amazing!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so excited it was enjoyed! Hope you’re having a great weekend! xx

  8. This was very yummy. Next time I will leave the tomatoes out and maybe add something else. Some thinly sliced red cabbage, perhaps? I, too, added sliced Thai chili peppers to the beef. Thanks for the great recipe!

    1. Hey Laura,
      Amazing!! Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so excited it was enjoyed! Sure, cabbage would be great! Hope you’re having a great weekend! xx

  9. I have been dying to make this for weeks since I saw it pop up on your insta feed and when I finally had the opportunity it didn’t disappoint one bit! Was a hit with husband, kids and parents who happened to stop over for dinner tonight. Most of your recipes take me longer to prep than stated but was happily surprised that this one stayed pretty close to suggested times! Absolutely DELICIOUS and will 100% be adding this to our regular rotation!

    1. Hey Amanda,
      Happy Friday!!🌟 Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, I am so glad it was a hit! xT

      1. Hey Ellen,
        I like to use Sriracha or Thai Kitchen brand. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

  10. So good! Made this last night as directed except I subbed in Beyond Beef for real beef and it was excellent! New favorite!

    1. Hey Rebecca,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan