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Spicy Vegan Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish. Bibimbap simply translates to “mixed rice with meat and assorted vegetables”. This vegan version is a party of flavors, colors, and textures that can easily be adjusted to fit your dietary preferences. Sweet, salty, spicy, sour – all the flavor feels are present in this dish! Plus, it’s full of protein, fiber, and important vitamins and minerals – all plant-based.

While there are many components to this, don’t be intimidated – if you plan ahead a little bit, it’s well worth it! Pickled radishes are essential – the tangy pungent flavor adds complexity to the flavor profile. If you had kimchi on hand, you could certainly use that instead of making pickled radishes.

There are many tofu presses available, but I find that the easiest way is using items already in my kitchen and pantry. Remove the tofu block from its packaging, and set it on top of a couple paper towels on a dinner plate. Place another plate on top, and weigh it down with 3 cans. You may need to replace the paper towels during the pressing time. The longer the better, but an hour of pressing works well.

Baking the tofu ensures that it cooks evenly and gets a nice firm texture. You could pan-fry the tofu, but since other components of this dish require stovetop real estate, I find it’s easier to just throw it in the oven. If you’d like, you could add a soft-boiled egg, or beef or chicken. I couldn’t find any gochujang (Korean chili paste) while shopping for this recipe, so I used Korean chili garlic paste instead. It definitely brings the heat – enough to make my nose run a bit – so you can start with a small amount in the sauce and add more to taste. Enjoy!

Spicy Vegan Bibimbap

Spicy Vegan Bibimbap

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

This dish has a kick! Baked tofu, raw and cooked vegetables are tied together with a spicy sweet sauce.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sliced radishes
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 tsp. rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. block of extra firm tofu
  • 6 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari (if gluten free)
  • 4 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Korean chili garlic paste (or gochujang if you can find it)
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-2 tsp. avocado oil
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (shitake, baby bella, or oyster)
  • 2-3 cups chopped spinach
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup shelled edamame
  • 1/2 medium cucumber, sliced or diced
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1 cup rice (uncooked), brown rice or your rice of choice

Instructions

  1. At least 2 hours before – make the picked radishes: Add the sliced radishes to a jar. Combine 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1/2 cup water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, then pour over radishes. Let cool to room temperature and set aside.
  2. An hour and a half before – press the tofu. Allow to press for about an hour if possible. Cut into 1/2-inch cubes and add to a medium bowl.
  3. Make the marinade: Whisk together 4 Tbsp. soy sauce and 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce in a small bowl, then pour over the tofu cubes (keep the bowl to use for the sauce). Toss to combine, and let sit for 20-30 minutes so the tofu absorbs the flavors.
  4. While the tofu is marinating, cook the rice according to directions and set aside when done.
  5. When the tofu is almost done marinating, preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the tofu cubes in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing one or two times so they bake evenly.
  6. While the tofu is baking, mix the sauce. Whisk together 4 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce, 4 tsp. rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, 2 Tbsp. maple syrup, and minced garlic until combined. Set aside.
  7. Sauté the mushrooms in a medium skillet using a drizzle of avocado oil. Once they've released liquid and start to brown, put in a bowl and set aside.
  8. Sauté the spinach in the same pan until it's wilted and set aside.
  9. To serve, spoon rice into bowls and top with the baked tofu, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, cucumber, pickled radishes, edamame, scallions, and sesame seeds. Drizzle with sauce to taste.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 552Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2131mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 14gSugar: 13gProtein: 28g

Nutritional information is an estimate and may vary per preparation.

This recipe is adapted from Lazy Cat Kitchen.

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