Vegan bibimbap

Vegan bibimbap

vegan bibimbap after

Do you remember my recent post for vegan katsu curry? If you recall, it was inspired by my frustration at eating a very mediocre version of that dish while out. Well, the story behind this recipe is pretty much the same. One evening, we came across a little, independent place in the centre of town that, alongside an omni menu, promised to serve an impressive selection of vegan versions of many Asian classics.

We were excited and hoping to finally find a place were we can dine out more regularly, but as soon as the dishes arrived and we tasted them, our excitement wore off. I had a vegan bibimbap, which was so uninspiring that I almost wanted to have a cry.

This classic Korean dish of ‘mixed rice’ is typically packed with texture and flavour, but this was anything but. Oh well. I guess you won’t know until you try. I decided to turn a negative into a positive and to make my own.

The most surprising thing is that a bibimbap is not hard to make at all. It typically consists of several raw and cooked elements brought together by the smoky and spicy Gochujang sauce made with Korean chilli peppers. This Korean pre-cursor to a trendy ‘buddha bowl’ should really have it all. It’s filling, delicious and well balanced if done well. Traditional versions feature short grain rice (like sushi rice, for example), but I went for a more nutritious brown rice in this case.

Like other dishes made of disparate ingredients that only get unified once the sauce gets stirred through, this dish is a perfect candidate for ingredient batch prepping in advance. Handy if, like me, you get so wrapped up in work that you often lack time to think about lunch. Actually, I am lying, I work with food, so I always have time to think about lunch, but a bit of forward planning for the days when I’m photographing is a real life saver.

vegan bibimbap sauce prep

vegan bibimbap before

vegan bibimbap mixed

vegan bibimbap side

vegan bibimbap close

serves
2-3
PREP
30 min
COOKING
15 min
serves
2-3
PREPARATION
30 min
COOKING
15 min
INGREDIENTS
BIBIMBAP

  • 200 g / 7 oz firm non-GMO (cotton not silken) tofu, pressed
  • 4 tsp soy sauce or tamari for GF version)
  • 1 tsp Gochujang (Korean chilli paste) this is the one I used
  • 2-4 tsp oil (I used rice bran oil)
  • 100 g / 3½ oz mushrooms (shiitake if you can get them)
  • 100 g / 3½ oz spinach
  • 1 carrot shredded
  • 50 g / 2 oz edamame beans
  • ½ cup rice, cooked (I used brown)
  • pickled daikon (see below)
  • ½ long cucumber, finely sliced
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced

PICKLED DAIKON (make a day in advance if you can)

  • 100 g / 3½ oz daikon (or radishes)
  • 60 ml / ¼ cup rice wine vinegar + 60-120 ml / ¼-½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp sugar, adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp salt, adjust to taste

DRESSING

METHOD
TOFU

  1. Cut a pressed block of tofu into equal size cubes – I got 12 out of mine.
  2. Place the tofu in a shallow bowl and pour soy sauce (mixed in with 1 tsp of Gochujang) over it. Set the tofu aside for at least 30 minutes to allow the tofu to absorb the marinade, making sure you turn the pieces to the other side at least once, halfway through.
  3. If you have a non-stick pan, you can pan-fry the tofu. Heat up 2 tsp of oil on a non-stick pan. Place the marinated tofu cubes into the hot oil. Fry, turning frequently until browned on all sides. Be careful as the tofu is likely to splatter a little bit initially.
  4. If you don’t have a non-stick pan or want to reduce the amount of oil you consume, you can also bake the tofu. Set the oven to 180° C / 355° F and place the marinated cubes of tofu on a baking sheet. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning once, halfway through.

PICKLED DAIKON (make a day in advance if you can)

  1. Slice the daikon into thin slices and place in a jar.
  2. Bring rice vinegar, water (60-120 ml / ¼-½ cup, depending how sharp you like your pickles), sugar and salt to a gentle boil.
  3. Pour the hot pickling liquid over the daikon. The pickles can be eaten straight away, but they are worth making a day in advance as their flavour develops with time. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge.

DRESSING

  1. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a medium size bowl.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Heat up 2 tsp of oil in a medium non-stick pan. Throw in the mushrooms and fry them gently until they are nicely browned on all sides. Season with salt and pepper once fried so that the mushrooms don’t release too much water during frying.
  2. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, throw in the spinach and a splash of water. Cook on a low heat, stirring from time to time, until the spinach wilts and most of the excess water cooks out. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide all the veggies and cooked tofu between two bowls. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with the Gochujang dressing.

NOTES
The dressing has been adapted from this recipe.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
304
15%
sugars
19 g
22%
fats
12 g
17%
saturates
2 g
8%
proteins
13 g
27%
carbs
37 g
14%
*per serving
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5.0
27 reviews, 47 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Paolo:
So Ania, you set yourself the challenge to produce a dish “packed with texture and flavour”. Boom! This is a dish that needs to be experienced rather than described, so I’m just going to thank you for this amazing recipe. The dressing in particular is stunning and one I’ll be using in different contexts - if that’s okay! Gochujang can be a bit of a bully, but your use of it in the tofu and the dressing is inspired. Thanks again, best wishes, Paolo
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much for your kind words, Paolo and taking the time to comment! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed my take on bibimbap so much. Ania
Victoria:
Made this tonight and it was delicious! Nice and easy to make too.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Victoria. I am really happy to hear that you enjoyed this dish and found it easy to make too. Thanks so much for taking the time to review! x Ania
Sarah B:
I got a huge Daikon Raddish in my Oddbox, and wasn't sure what to do. I combined a recipe from Oddbox with this *amazing* recipe for two days of stunning bibimbap lunch bowls.
I swapped a few elements to what I had at home, so easy to do that with this recipe. Used quinoa instead of rice, but look forward to trying it with rice next time.
Added a little gochugaru to my pickling radish to spice it up.
Delicious! thank you.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Sarah. I'm delighted to hear this recipe came in useful and that you enjoyed your lunches. And thanks so much for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it! x Ania
Donna:
Hi. It says serves 2-3 which is a shame as I would love to cook this but need to stick to strict guidance on food amounts for an anorexic child
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Donna,
    I am not sure what you mean exactly as portion sizes are generally very subjective and these are simply based on my estimation of how much an average person would eat for a meal so whether I change it to say 2 or 3, it's still only my estimation. If you have specific guidelines for your sick child - I am sorry about this, it must be very stressful for you - surely these could help you to estimate how much food to serve to them? Ania
    PS: forgot to say that you if store the components separate from the dressing in airtight containers, they can be kept in the fridge for a few days and reheated (except for the rice as that's better made fresh)
Polly:
A go-to in our house that we have made numerous times for numerous people who have all asked where the recipe is from! So tasty and tastes so fresh with all the vegetables. Thank you for such a fabulous recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Polly! I am so happy to hear that it's such a hit in your house and thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Shauna:
I love this recipe so much. I've made it several times and it is perfect. I like to batch cook my meals at the start of the week, and this is a great recipe for that. I prep all the veggies, then just cook the rice each day. The pickles are delicious, and the sauce is a nice alternative to tahini based ones. Can't recommend this one enough 😋
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you for your kind words, Shauna! I’m delighted to hear that you love this recipe so much. And I really appreciate you taking the time to leave this review, thank you. x Ania
Katherine:
you saved my evening, Anya. I didn't think I even had the energy to cook but I managed this and it was delicious and just what I needed. thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Delighted to hear that, Katherine! I'm so happy you enjoyed it! x Ania
Tina Davis:
I made a version of this because I had the Gochikamg and tofu in the house but no mushrooms or spinach. I baked the tofu and it was fine. I have sweet potatoes in the house so I roasted some small cubes after ridding in the dressing. I happened to have some quinoa already made so I used that instead of rice. It turned out very well and we enjoyed it, especially the dressing.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Tina, I'm glad you enjoyed it and good thinking on your feet! The dressing is key here while other elements are much more flexible - and perfect for using up what you already have! x Ania
Camille Soriano:
The dressing was so good!! It definitely tastes like the bibimbap my mom and I had at a Korean restaurant weeks ago 😋 the only thing that didn't workout for me was the tofu marinade; I find it a little bit on the salty side. I think instead of adding 4 tsp of soy sauce, I'll try adding just 2 or maybe even 1 tsp and just add more hot pepper paste. Overall, I really like the dressing and I'll try making it again sometime soon :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Camille,
    I am glad you enjoyed this dish overall. As for the saltiness, of course, it's best to adjust to your own taste as people's perceptions of how much salt is needed can differ quite a lot. Thanks for letting me know! Ania
Sabrina:
This is an exceptional recipe, full of flavour, easy to make and very healthy. I thoroughly recommend it to everybody. I think this is the best Korean-inspired food that I've ever made.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thank you so much for your kind words, Sabrina! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much and thanks so much for taking the time to leave this lovely review - I really appreciate it! x Ania
Dille Vos:
Great recipe! Made a lot of people happy with this vegan dish the other night.
Looking forward to try out some other recipes of yours.
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great news, Dille! Delighted to hear that you and your friends enjoyed this dish. And thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review - I really appreciate it. Ania
Jenny:
AMAZING, DELICIOUS, PERFECT. MAKE IT!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Jenny! I'm so happy to hear that you loved it so much! x Ania
Nicki:
Delicious and really beautiful bowl!! Thanks for the great recipe!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, Nicki! I'm so happy that you enjoyed it and thank you so much for taking the time to let me know - much appreciated! x Ania
Adam:
Made this the other night with a meat substitute, instead of tofu. Really great recipe that's so easy to prepare & it tastes amazing! THANKS!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Adam! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it! Ania
Kathleen:
Thanks for a veggie version of this dish.it looks very good. I’ll try it with tempeh as I don’t like tofu at all.
    Ania
    Ania:
    My pleasure, I hope you'll enjoy it! Ania
Katherine:
This sounds delicious, but I'm confused about the rice...you don't mention when/where to add it. I'm guessing it should be hot and added to the bowls. I haven't had bibimbap in years and don't exactly remember the configuration. Thanks for clarification. :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Katherine,
    I mention in the ingredients that it needs to be cooked, I don't go into details as the method depends on the rice variety and I wanted to allow for some flexibility. I add it at the end, warm. Hope that helps! Ania
Char:
I made this and it was awesome! It’s completely different from the other recipes I use, so it is a welcome pleasure. Thank you! Your recipes have so much flavor.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Char! I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! x Ania
Kristen:
Love this recipe! The prep time is way off if you factor in pressing the tofu, making the pickled daikon, and marinating the tofu. Otherwise the flavors were fantastic! Spicy, crunchy, savory ❤️
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Kristen,
    I am glad that you enjoyed this dish. As for the prep, infusing things with flavour does usually take a bit of time and patience. Ania
Laura:
This was really delicious. I found it a bit salty so I don't think I would add any salt if making it again. I'm not vegan but would happily make this a regular weekly meal. I replaced the daikon with carrot, used smoked tofu cooked in the oven and for veg finely shredded stir fried sprouts.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Laura, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! And thanks for letting me know that you did. Ania
Julia:
Wow! This recipe is one of the best I've made in a long time. My husband actually stopped dinner to have everyone give me a compliment on the meal!!!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Julia! Thank you for taking the time to let me know that it was enjoyed so much! x Ania
Annika:
This is amazing!! Better than at the restaurant! Thanks for the recipe, gonna make it again this week
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much, Annika! That's lovely to hear! x Ania
I just read your "about us" page. I didn't realize you'd lived in Paros. On our honeymoon 34 years ago, my husband and I went to Italy and Greece. We'd just graduated from architecture school, and we visited many beautiful buildings and architectural sites, but we spent the last week of our trip on Paros. We stayed in a little pensione and rented a Vespa to get to the beach and back.. It was so wonderful we never wanted to leave. I hope your transition back to the UK has been a good one.
    Ania
    Ania:
    What a small world! Yes, Paros is a special place although it has changed beyond belief in the last few years and it is no longer is a hidden gem, unfortunately. Mass tourism has impacted the island's beauty and caused a lot of pollution. It has been interesting being back in the UK. We struggled a little bit, but now that we are finally on the cusp of buying a house we are beginning to feel a bit more settled here. Thank you! Ania
I made this tonight, exactly as written (I baked the marinated tofu because I like it chewy), and it was SO good!!! I briefly considered putting a fried egg over it (which I know would make it not-vegan), but in the end I decided not to, and I'm so glad I didn't--I didn't miss it at all! Thank you for a great recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that! It's the ultimate compliment if a non-vegan eats vegan food and doesn't miss animal products that they would typically consume :) . Ania
Laura:
I made this on Friday for my boyfriend who is gluten/grain/starch free, and was stoked with how delicious and hearty it is! So good I am doing it again just a couple of nights later for a dinner party (and turns out someone is gf so I am glad I chose something that works for her). Looking forward to trying more of your recipes!
Thanks for sharing 😊😊😊
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Laura! I'm delighted to hear that! x Ania
Charlie:
Made this twice now - really delicious - loved by all the family. Didn't have gochujang sauce so used sriracha instead and made an amai sauce for the kids. So, so good could eat this every day. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Charlie! That's lovely to hear! x Ania
Kristen Marshall:
Um, this looks delicious. Can't wait to try! Also...LOVE your logo 👌
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Kristen! I hope you'll like it! (and thank you, I am glad to hear that you like our logo!) x Ania
Emily Frank:
I made this for some non-vegan friends and it was a huge hit! (But I can't find a way to post a pic.) So tasty. I added a little avocado because I've gotten it that way before and since the real deal often comes with an egg on top, I figured that'd be a nice substitute. Thanks for sharing this deliciousness!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Emily! That's great to hear that you enjoyed it so much! You cannot post a photo on here, but you can shoot it to me via Instagram (tagging it #lazycatkitchen)! I look forward to seeing it! Ania
Traci Carol:
I clicked the link to the Gochujang you use, read the ingredients list, and found that it contains wheat, so not GF. Important info for Celiacs like me. Is there an alternative you could recommend ? I assume this paste is essential for an authentic taste in this recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Tracy,
    That's interesting as when I click on this link these are the ingredients I get: Corn syrup, Rice, Water, Red pepper powder, Salt, Fermented soybean powder, Cooking rice wine, Garlic, Onion, Soy sauce(Water, Fermented soybean, Salt), Koji, Rice flour. I think what is happening is that Amazon updates that link automatically if the product we recommend isn't available where you live. Sorry about that. It is definitely possible to find Gochujang without gluten though. Here is one example I found on Amazon. I will update the recipe to say that not all Gochujang is gluten-free so that people are aware. Hope that helps! Ania
Jes:
I saved this on Facebook when you first posted it, and have been meaning to make it for some time - it looks incredible. However, this kind of dish is completely new to me. Of the 60-120 ml of water for the rice vinegar mix, how much would you recommend that a beginner start with (who is just starting to explore this kind of cuisine) to discover the flavours etc.?
Also, I'm not into a lot of spicy/hot foots, I prefer things mild. Would 1/4 tsp of the Gochujang be enough to add flavour without too much heat?
TIA :-)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Jes,
    I am excited to hear that you are planning to make this and I understand your hesitation if the flavours are new to you, but I would say that you should go with your palate as especially when it comes to spiciness it's very subjective. Start off with 1/4 tsp, taste and keep on increasing the amount until you are happy. As for the pickles, more water means less sharp pickles so I would say go with 120 ml to begin with and if you find them too mild, decrease the amount of water next time. Hope that helps and that it will be a pleasant experience! Ania
Stacey:
I'm so in love with your recipe, especially the gochujang sauce. Try to find out the sauce to eat along but couldn't. Thank you sooooo much! You make my day!
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear, Stacey! Thank you :) Ania
Franziska:
So great! We have a very good asian restaurant in Lübeck that sells amazing Bibimbap and I wanted to make it at home! I really have to try this!
    Ania
    Ania:
    That's great to hear, I hope you'll enjoy my take on it! Ania
Kristin:
wow - this looks so good! it's definitely going on my menu for next week.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Awesome to hear, Kristin! Hope you'll like it. Ania
Debby:
Tried it today and it was very tasty (and indeed, foolproof)!
I didn't have the chance to try the pickled daikon - they didn't have any daikons or radishes at the store - but I'll definitely add it next time.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Debby! I'm very pleased to hear that you enjoyed it! Yes, pickles are great as they add a bit of sour taste to the mix, but sometimes when I'm lazy, I simply add a sliced shop-bought gherkin instead ;) . Ania
Albert Bevia:
This bibimbap looks so tasty, it's hard to find restaurants with great food, but at least you got inspired to create this amazing recipe
    Ania
    Ania:
    I know, tell me about it! It certainly doesn't help that I sort of cook for a living as you tend to be more fussy, I reckon, but that one was really below par :( . Yes, at least it forced me to make my own version! Thank you! x Ania
Natascha:
Oh, this so funny! We are just in Korea for vacation and it is really difficult tovget a vegan dish. Nearly everything is either with meat or fish. So I will try your recipe as soon as I am back at home. Thanks for this nice inspiration!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Natascha,
    Oh no, sorry to hear! I have not been to Korea yet, but would love to visit at some point. Hope you managed to find some good food somehow!! x Ania
Diana / by Dreams Factory:
Ania, are you making ALL your recipes for me? 😊😊😊
I'm in love with EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!
And I have a thing for Asian / Korean inspired food lately and I just made some quick pickled veggies the other day, inspired by you. Perfect timing, can't wait to dive into my pickled daikon jar and try this one too!!!
Thank you for the endless inspiration 💛
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, I am!!! :) Glad to hear that you and I have similar taste in food and that my kitchen experiments are proving useful to you :) You are very welcome and thank you for your kinds words!! Ania
Holly Evans:
I look forward to your recipes. They all sound soooo yummy
Thank you for sharing,
Holly
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much for you kind words, Holly! That's lovely to hear! :) Ania
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