Today, I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite meals that’s gained a lot of popularity recently. Korean BBQ is taking the foodie world by storm, it seems like. So have all kinds of “bowl” meals…buddha bowls, smoothie bowls, oat bowls…the list goes on. Bibimbap checks off both of those! It’s Korean BBQ in a bowl. It’s delicious, full of veggies, and filling.
Traditionally, there is some kind of meat, like beef or pork, in bibimbap. Many vegan versions use lentils or mushrooms in place of the meat, but…I have nothing against a good mock meat. I especially love Yves brand veggie ground, which is an amazing ground beef replacement. If you marinate it for about 10 minutes it tastes wonderful & has a great meaty texture. You can always replace this with cooked lentils or beans or chopped mushrooms – totally up to you! Just skip the marinating step and add the sauce in to the skillet along with your legumes or vegetables and sautee.
If you’ve never had Korean BBQ, you should expect a full umami experience, with saltiness from soy sauce, sweet from brown sugar, tangy from mirin (asian cooking wine), spicy from chili garlic paste, and savory from freshly minced garlic and ginger. There are so many different variations of bulgogi sauce (korean bbq!), and traditionally it calls for fruit as a sweetener in addition to brown sugar. I skipped the fruit step because I didn’t want to get a blender involved – it just meant more cleanup for me afterwards, and I don’t think it needs the extra sweetness!
Bibimbap can include whatever you have in your pantry & refrigerator. You start with a base of cooked & steamed white rice. Next, the way I like to eat it is with bean sprouts, sauteed spinach, spicy kimchi, fresh green onion, bulgogi, and freshly pickled sweet cucumber & carrot ribbons. If you don’t have one of these ingredients or need to make a swap, feel free – such as using kale in place of spinach, or zucchini in place of cucumber.
Once you’ve got all your ingredients prepped, assembling the bowl is a breeze, and it’s so tasty. Just mix it all in together and enjoy!
- 2 cups cooked white rice (or more if you like extra rice)
- 2-3 stalks of green onion, chopped
- 1 cup bean sprouts (or any sprouts you like)
- 1 cup kimchi*
- for the vegan bulgogi
- 1 package (12 oz.) veggie ground round (or other vegan ground beef)
- 5 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp mirin (or sub rice vinegar)
- 1 tbsp chili garlic paste
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole scallion, chopped into small bits
- 1/2 tsp garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- for the sauteed spinach
- 3 cups fresh spinach
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- for the pickled veggies
- 1 large cucumber, cut into thin slices**
- 1 large carrot, cut into thin slices**
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- First, prepare the marinade for the vegan ground beef. To a medium mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients from the “for the vegan bulgogi” except for the scallion & garlic, as you will sautee these in a bit of oil before adding in the marinated veggie ground once it’s time to cook it. Set aside to let marinate.
- If you haven’t already, cook your rice and set aside, covered, to let it steam.
- In another mixing bowl, start to pickle your veggies by adding all of the ingredients from “for the pickled veggies” and stirring to combine well. Set aside.
- Prepare the sauteed spinach. In a skillet, add 1 tbsp sesame oil and fresh spinach and turn the heat to medium. Keep stirring until spinach has wilted down a bit but isn’t burnt. Remove spinach from the skillet and set aside in a separate bowl.
- To the same skillet, add another tablespoon of sesame oil. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the chopped scallion and minced garlic. Sautee until tender and fragrant, then add marinated veggie ground along with any leftover sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Assemble your bibimbap with rice at the bottom of the bowl as a base. Then, add your veggie ground (bulgogi), sauteed spinach, pickled veggies, kimchi, bean sprouts, and chopped green onions.
- Optional: top with sesame seeds.