Bibimbap (Korean mixed rice)

Bibimbap: It's as fun to say as it is to cook. It means "mixed rice" and it's one of my favorite ways to eat the rainbow. I was inspired by this bibimbap recipe in Bon Appetit to make a healthier, plant-based version. This recipe is admittedly long because of its many components, but I think you'll agree that it's worth the effort. If you're low on time, pick 3 to prepare. Bibimbap is highly customizable, so feel free to substitute with the vegetables you have in your refrigerator. Just make sure you use the classic flavors of the Korean pantry: soy sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a touch of sugar. Each of these vegetables can also be prepared and enjoyed as its own side dish.

Note: These recipes call for two ingredients you may not be familiar with: gochujang (Korean red chili paste) and gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder). Due to their rise in popularity, you may be able to find them in the Asian aisle of your local supermarket, and definitely at any Asian market. It’s important to arrange your ingredients beautifully on top of your rice bowl. Remember: You eat with your eyes and presentation makes a big difference! Enjoy!

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 8 cups cooked sushi rice or Korean mixed grain rice
  • Spicy Korean pan-fried tofu (recipe 1 below)
  • Sesame-pepper bean sprouts (recipe 2 below)
  • Sesame carrots (recipe 3 below)
  • Garlicky spinach (recipe 4 below)
  • Soy-glazed seared mushrooms (recipe 5 below)
  • Sautéed zucchini (recipe 6 below)
  • 8 fried eggs
  • Optional garnishes: gochujang (Korean red chili paste), store-bought kimchi, scallions

Directions

  1. Divide rice among bowls.
  2. Arrange prepared tofu, vegetables, eggs, and a spoonful of gochujang.
  3. Stir together before eating.
  4. Serve kimchi alongside and garnish with sliced scallions.

1. Spicy Korean pan-fried tofu

Ingredients

  • 10 ounces firm tofu
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil, plus 1 tablespoon for frying
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Drain tofu and place a paper towel below and above on a cutting board. Cover with another cutting board and a heavy pot and allow to press for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine garlic, green onion, gochugaru, sugar, soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons sesame oil for sauce, and set aside.
  3. Slice the tofu into bite size pieces (1/2-inch thick rectangles).
  4. Heat pan with one tablespoon of vegetable oil and one tablespoon of sesame oil. When oil is very hot, fry the tofu slices until each side is browned and crisp.
  5. Arrange tofu on a plate and drizzle on the sauce.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 110
  • Total fat: 10 g
  • Saturated fat: 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugars: 0.5 g
  • Protein: 6 g
  • Sodium: 140 mg

2. Sesame-pepper bean sprouts

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups of fresh bean sprouts
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • Gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder), to taste

Directions

  1. Combine sesame seeds, salt, and pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add bean sprouts. Cook until soft but not mushy, about 2 minutes. Drain well.
  3. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons sesame oil; toss to coat. Season with a few sprinkles of sesame mixture and gochugaru.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: 1 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugars: 2 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 125 mg

3. Sesame carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 4 carrots, peeled and julienned
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: 2 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 45 mg

4. Garlicky spinach

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

Directions 

  1. Blanch spinach: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add spinach and cook until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 chopped garlic cloves and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Add blanched spinach, soy sauce, and vinegar. Stir to combine; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 45
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Saturated fat: .5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Dietary fiber: 1 g
  • Total sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 170 mg

5. Soy-glazed seared mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon Canola oil
  • 8 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced thinly, stem on (slice lengthwise to highlight the shape of the mushroom)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated white or brown (demerara) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

Directions

  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until slightly brown on each side. (Make sure to cook in one layer so they don’t get soggy.)
  3. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over seared mushrooms, drizzle on the soy sauce and stir to coat.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 30
  • Total fat: 2 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3 g
  • Dietary fiber: 0.5 g
  • Total sugars: 1 g
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Sodium: 200 mg

6. Sautéed zucchini

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium zucchini, julienned
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, gochugaru (Korean red pepper powder)

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Season with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and gochugaru.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Dietary fiber: 0 g
  • Total sugars: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Sodium: 60 mg

Nutrition Information (per serving)

  • Calories: 607
  • Total fat: 30 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 184 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 68 g
  • Dietary fiber: 10 g
  • Total sugars: 4 g
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Sodium: 835 mg

Contributor

Linda Shiue, MD