Plant-based bibimbap

Plant-based bibimbap

Chances are, you will never see me very far from some kind of Korean food.  I adore the flavor, the heat, the look.........I am simply in love with it.  So it only made sense to make one of the quintessential recipes, bibimbap.  Fun to say, fun to create, and fun to eat.  It is fun because you can be creative with your veggies, you can adjust the heat too.  So you are really in control.  The one constant is the rice.  That is your base.
 The instructions may seem long, but honestly it takes very little time and just a little bit of patience.  The end result will be an amazing lunch or dinner and a very satisfied tummy.  This recipe is enough for two people, or one very hungry person.  (leftovers!)

Ingredients (for pictured above)

1 medium zucchini, washed, cut in half and cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, peeled, cut in half and cut into matchsticks
1 cup broccoli florets, cut into small pieces 
4 baby bok choy, cut in half, then quarters 
8 medium button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thin
1 large onion, peeled, cut in half then sliced thin
1 lb. of baby spinach
1/2 block extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Cooked rice (about 2-3 cups per person)

 For the sauce you will need:

2 tablespoons of Korean hot pepper paste (Gochujang)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tsp. sesame seeds
 Mix together until smooth, set aside.

Make the tofu next.  After cutting into small cubes, place on a paper towel and pat dry.  In a nonstick pan, over medium high heat, place all of the tofu in, and allow to brown on all sides.  It should happen pretty quickly.  When all the sides are browned, add a few dashes of soy sauce and mix around.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Bring about 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Season the water with about 2 tsp. salt.
When the water comes to a boil, bring the veggies over and starting with the carrots, boil each type of veggie.  You will only boil for 1 minute.  Then with a slotted spoon or a small strainer, remove from the water.  Drain well, then put on a plate.  Add the next veggie, again boiling for 1 minute, then scoop out and drain.  Do this with all the veggies, keeping them in individual stacks.  Last veggie to blanch is the spinach.  Just add all of it to the pot.  It will wilt quickly.  Boil for 1 minute, then remove and drain well.  
Now you should have several piles of blanched veggies.  You want to season them all.  The easiest way is to add a few dashes of low sodium soy sauce to each stack.  

Now lets assemble it all.  In a large bowl, place a base of rice.  I use about 3-4 cups just for me.  Then using half the veggies, place them all around the rice, leaving a hole in the middle so you can see the rice. (see picture above)  Also add half the tofu.  Then pour half the sauce all around and in the middle of the bowl of rice and veggies.  Serve right away.  When you eat, combine all the ingredients in the bowl and eat!  Once you have this recipe down, it will be easy to make, easy to try new veggies and you can adjust the heat too.
I hope you try this dish and enjoy!!!




  1. I checked out 2 local Asian markets today but couldn't find the Korean hot pepper paste. Is there something else I could use or should I order from Amazon?

    1. My recommendation would be to order from Amazon. It really is a unique flavor and texture. I have tried with sambal oelek, and it is runny and the flavor is off. :)

    2. Surprisingly I found it at my local Walmart in the asian food section :)

  2. I don't like overly sweet sauces. Does the Korean hot pepper sauce with the maple syrup make this real sweet? Any suggestions? Possibly regulate the maple syrup addition? Is the Korean hot pepper sauce sweet in itself or is it the maple syrup that sweetens it? Thanks Michael. I am new to Korean food but thai food I love.....especially with sauces made with thai basil.

    1. Yes, you can completely control the amount of sweet in this. Start with just a little and taste test. :)

  3. I made this recipe tonite..... OMG it is super! I also match-sticked the broccoli stalk and tossed it into the boiling water for a minute. I've been trying to figure out what to do with the gochujang and this is great. Thank you for this.


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