Looking for delicious ways to incorporate more veggies into your meals? Make this Vegetarian Bibimbap! At its most basic, bibimbap means “mixed rice”. But there’s nothing basic about this beloved Korean dish of warm rice topped with seasonal vegetables, a tongue tingling gochujang sauce, and a fried egg. This is a nourishing meal in a bowl, and while the ingredient list and steps may look long, don’t worry; the toppings can be prepared in the time it takes the rice to cook. Vegetarian Bibimbap is one of my favorite ways to serve a meatless meal as there’s so many textures and flavors happening and each bowl looks almost too pretty to eat. Trust me when I say that no one served this bowl bursting with colorful piles of seasoned veggies and a gorgeous perfectly fried egg is going to miss the meat, so let’s get into it!
Vegetarian Bibimbap Prep
I start making this bibimbap by prepping all the veggies while the rice cooks, starting with the bean sprouts. I quickly blanch them, saving the hot water to also blanch the spinach. Use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the bean sprouts and then continue on with the spinach. Rinse the bean sprouts briefly to cool them down.
When the bean sprouts and spinach are done, I set them aside and chop the rest of the vegetables for our Vegetarian Bibimbap.
Cooking Vegetarian Bibimbap
Now that all the veggies are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to start cooking. All of the vegetables get cooked separately so that each flavor remains distinct. The carrots will taste like carrots, the zucchini will taste like zucchini, etc. Plus you want that beautiful rainbow in your bowl.
Each vegetable only gets cooked briefly though so the process goes quickly. We are looking for a crisp-tender texture here, not overcooked and mushy. Each element gets separately seasoned as well, so that every bite of the bibimbap explodes with flavor. It’s not necessary to wash out your pan between veggies. Just wipe it out with a paper towel and you’re good to go.
As each item cooks I put them in bowls and set aside for when it’s time to construct the bibimbap bowls.
Now that all the vegetables are seasoned and cooked it’s time to fry the eggs. Check out Perfect Fried Eggs for a quick primer on getting them right! Once they are done it’s time to assemble the Vegetarian Bibimbap bowls. Divide the rice between 4 bowls, and top with the vegetables, some kimchi, the egg, and a nice sized dollop of gochujang I like to sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds on top too. If you have picky eaters, let them assemble their own bowls, taking more of the veggies they like and less of the ones they don’t.
See what I mean when I say that no one is going to be looking for meat when presented with these beautiful bowls overflowing with goodies? Make these Vegetarian Bibimbap this weekend and see for yourself! Remember to comment and let me know what you think, and don’t forget to tag us in your pics @funkyasiankitchen, we love hearing from you!
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- 4 tablespoons neutral oil divided
- 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil divided
- 2 ¼ teaspoons salt divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced (about 5 cloves)
- 12 ounces mushrooms (you can use button, shiitake, cremini, oyster, or a mix)
- 6 ounces bean sprouts
- 1 large carrot
- 1 large red pepper
- 2 medium zucchini
- 8 ounces baby spinach
- 8 ounces kimchi (any kind)
- 4 fried eggs
- 5 cups cooked rice
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds divided
- 4 tablespoons gochujang
Prep Your Vegetables:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Put the bean sprouts in the pot and stir. Cook the bean sprouts for 1 minute. Take the beansprouts out with a strainer and then bring the pot of water back to a boil.
- Rinse the bean sprouts quickly under running water to cool them down. Set them aside to finish draining.
- Mix 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper in a bowl. Add the bean sprouts, mix well, and set aside.
- When the water returns to a boil, add the spinach, stir it into the water. As soon as it wilts, take the pot off the heat and drain the spinach in a colander.
- Rinse quickly under running water to cool enough to handle. Squeeze out the water and then roughly chop the spinach and put it in a bowl.
- Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of ground pepper. Set aside.
- Peel the carrots and then slice thinly, stack the slices and cut through to create matchsticks.
- Push the carrots to the side of your chopping board or put the carrots in a bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, toss, and set aside. (I have a large chopping board so I’m able to keep the 3 prepped veggies on the cutting board, eliminating the need for any additional bowls. If you can do this too, I recommend it so you can cut down on doing dishes later.)
- Wash the zucchini well to eliminate any sand. Trim the ends and then slice thinly, stack the slices and cut through to create matchsticks.
- Put the zucchini in a bowl. Add ¼ teaspoon salt, toss, and set aside.
- Cut the red pepper in half and take out the core and seeds. Cut the peppers in half crosswise (so your strips will not be too long) and then slice thinly. Set aside.
Cook the vegetables:
- Wipe, trim, and cut the mushrooms so they are roughly the same size, either in thick slices, wedges, or quarters. Heat a large pan over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the mushrooms. Do not touch the mushrooms for 1 minute to let them caramelize. Add 1 teaspoon garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt, a pinch of ground black pepper, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil. Stir fry for 2-3 more mins until the mushrooms are cooked. Put the mushrooms on a large plate and return the pan to the stove.
- Wipe out the pan (no need to wash it) and heat it over medium high heat.
- Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and the carrots. Stir fry for 3-4 mins. Put the carrots next to the mushrooms and return the pan to the stove.
- Again wipe out the pan and heat it over high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, the zucchini, 1 teaspoon of garlic, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Stir fry for 1-2 mins. until the zucchini is wilted. Put the zucchini on the same plate as the carrots and return the pan to the stove.
- Again wipe out the pan and heat it over medium high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of oil, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, the peppers, ¼ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of ground black pepper. Stir fry for 1 minute and then put the peppers on the vegetable plate. Return the pan to the stove.
- Again wipe out the pan and heat it over medium high heat for 1-2 minutes. Crack the four eggs into a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl the pan to coat with oil. Then carefully pour the eggs into the pan. As soon as the eggs start to set, which takes about 1-2 minutes, cover with a lid and then let cook for 1-2 mins until the white is set but the yolks are soft and jiggly. Take the pan off of the heat and then use a rubber spatula to remove the eggs to a plate to keep them from overcooking.
- Divide the rice into 4 large bowls. Top each bowl with a quarter of the bean sprouts, the spinach, the mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, and red pepper. Add some kimchi to each bowl, put a fried egg at the center of each bowl, and then add a tablespoon of the gochujang sauce on the inside rim of the bowl. Garnish with some extra sesame seeds if desired.
- Serve the vegetarian bibimbaps immediately.
Keywords: rice, kimchi, korean, spinach, bibibimbap, fried egg