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Learn how to make Vegetarian Bibimbap with this fun, step-by-step recipe! It's packed with veggies and tons of flavor!
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I love eating out, and lately I've been craving Korean food.
We don't have a Korean restaurant nearby, so whenever I spot one, I make my husband stop! I enjoy everything from the banchan (small side dishes) to the savory pancakes to the spicy kimchi, but my favorite dish is Bibimbap.
This flavorful rice dish is full of delicious, savory flavors. And the colorful presentation makes it a feast for the eyes, too.
My cravings for Bibimbap couldn't be satisfied with the occasional restaurant visit, so I knew I had to recreate it at home!
This Vegetarian Bibimbap recipe is my version of the classic Korean mixed rice dish. I'm not claiming it's the most authentic recipe out there, but it is delicious and relatively easy to make at home.
Are you familiar with Bibimbap? You'll find this rice dish on the menu at most Korean restaurants. Every place prepares it a little differently, but it's basically rice topped with different vegetables (and often meat). It's sometimes served in a hot stone bowl (dolsot) and frequently arrives with a raw or fried egg on top.
Rather than taking little bites of each separate ingredient in this colorful dish, you're meant to mix everything to blend all the flavors together. Yum!
This Vegetarian Bibimbap is such a fun dish to make and eat! It has a wonderful balance of sweet, savory, spicy, and salty flavors, and I love it paired with the equally bold Diet Coke Ginger Lime!
How to Make Vegetarian Bibimbap
If you're looking for a delicious vegetarian Korean recipe that you can make at home, you have to try this Bibimbap recipe!
This recipe is not difficult, but it does have lots of different parts. So before you start cooking, gather all your ingredients, and prep your veggies. It's worth the time spent up front, because one you start cooking, you'll be working on multiple components at the same time.
Once all your veggies are sliced and diced, you'll start the rice. I used medium grain rice. It's a little stickier than long grain, making it easier to eat with chopsticks.
As soon as the rice starts cooking, you'll work on the quick-pickled carrots. These carrots are super simple to make with a little vinegar and sugar, and they add a tasty sweet-sour flavor to the finished bibimbap.
Set those carrots aside to allow them to marinate, then mix together the ingredients for the tofu sauce. This sweet, soy-based sauce is truly addictive, and I've used it a few times before for my Korean BBQ Tofu Tacos and Sliders ... it's one of my favorite recipes!
You'll saute the tofu until golden on both sides, then combine it with the sauce. As the sauce cooks, it will reduce, and the resulting sticky glaze will coat the tofu.
While the sauce is reducing, you'll cook the shiitake mushrooms, and then the spinach, in a separate pan. By the time those ingredients are finished, you're tofu should be just about ready, too. Good timing, right?
Part of the fun of making this dish is the assembly! If you add each component separately, rather than layered on top of one another, the finished Vegetarian Bibimbap will look beautiful!
You'll need four large bowls. Start by adding a big scoop of rice to the center of each bowl.
Then, arrange the different components around the edge of the bowl. I like to place the hot ingredients (tofu, mushrooms, and spinach) on one side, then add the cool ingredients (kimchi, carrots, cucumber, and green onions) on the other side.
Add a little gochujang (a spicy red chile paste) and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, then top your bowl with a fried egg.
One thing I love about this tofu Bibimbap recipe is that it can be totally customized to taste.
Add less kimchi and gochujang for a milder bowl, or add more if you like things hot. Substitute your favorite veggies or use leftover vegetables to save a little time. If you're short on time, leave out the tofu or one of the other components.
You could even let your dinner guests assemble their own bowls. Wouldn't that be a fun idea for a party?
If you've ever had Bibimbap in a Korean restaurant, it may have been served in a hot stone bowl, or dolsot, with crispy rice on the bottom. You can recreate the dolsot Bibimbap effect at home (without buying a stone bowl). Simply heat a little oil in a heavy skillet, like a cast iron pan. Add the cooked rice in a single layer and cook without stirring until the rice is crispy on the bottom.
You can also make this recipe vegan friendly. Just skip the egg for a vegan Bibimbap. And replace soy sauce with tamari to make it gluten-free.
Once your Bibimbap bowls are assembled, it's time to eat.
I usually serve this recipe with chopsticks, although I've heard it's traditional to eat Bibimbap with a spoon. Whatever you use, give everything in your bowl a good stir to mix it all up. Then dig in.
This Vegetarian Bibimbap recipe is sure to be a hit without whoever tries it, especially when paired with Diet Coke Ginger Lime!
- 2 cups medium grain rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 medium carrots, julienned
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon
- 1 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, minced
For Mushrooms and Spinach:
- 4 teaspoons oil, divided
- 10-ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (10-ounce) package spinach
- 1 ⅓ cups
- ½ English cucumber, julienned
- 3 green onions, cut into 2-inch lengths and thinly sliced vertically (green part only)
- sesame seeds
- gochojang sauce
- 4 fried eggs
- Place rice in a fine mesh strainer, then rinse under running water until water is mostly clear. Drain well.
- Combine rice, salt, and 3 cups water in a medium, heavy bottom pot. Place over high heat and bring to a boil.
- When water boils, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat and set aside undisturbed until ready to use.
- While rice is cooking, combine vinegar, sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Mix well, then stir in carrots. Set aside to marinate.
- While rice cooks, combine soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and gochujang in a small bowl. Mix well, then set aside.
- Cut tofu into 3 slices horizontally. Place slices on 4 layers of paper towel, then top tofu with 4 more layers of paper towel. Gently press tofu to remove excess liquid.
- Slice pressed tofu into cubes.
- Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pan. Add tofu and stir to coat with oil.
- Cook tofu until golden on one side, then flip and cook until golden on second side.
- Give sauce a stir, then add to tofu. Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is mostly reduced and coats tofu. Remove from heat.
Prepare Mushrooms and Spinach:
- Once you add the sauce to the tofu, add 2 teaspoons oil to another large pan and heat over medium-high heat.
- Add mushrooms to oil and cook until lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then transfer to a plate.
- Return pan to heat, then add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to pan.
- Add garlic to pan and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Do not let garlic brown.
- Stir spinach into pan and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted. Remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Fluff rice with a fork, then divide between 4 large bowls.
- Top rice with equal parts tofu, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, kimchi, cucumber, and green onions.
- Sprinkle bowls with sesame seeds and add gochujang to taste. Top each bowl with a fried egg.
- Serve bibimbap immediately. Enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed this Vegetarian Bibimbap recipe!
Let me know if you try it. I'd love to hear what you think.
Have you ever tried making Korean food at home?