Vegetarian Bi Bim Bap

Vegetarian Bi Bim Bap

One of the drawbacks of working with food all the time is that I inevitably eat more than I should. Since I’d rather eat nothing at all, than eat food that doesn’t taste good, this also means that I tend to eat food that skews towards unhealthy. After getting yelled at by my doctor during a recent visit, I decided I needed to add more healthy dishes to my repertoire.

Bi Bim Bap is a wonderful Korean dish that literally means “mixed rice”. In restaurants, it comes out looking like a color wheel, with small portions of individually seasoned veggies and meat on top. The whole thing is crowned with a fried egg, and you’re supposed to mix it all together with a generous dollop of gochujang (sweet chili bean paste).

Korean Bi Bim Bap Recipe

In my quest to come up with something healthy, I created this “Beet Broc Bap”. I started with a bowl of brown rice, and topped with sukju namul, sauteed mushrooms, seasoned broccoli, raw shredded beats, and a gorgeous Jidori egg. Since Gochujang is loaded with sugar, I came up with an alternative sauce that has a similar spicy, nutty flavor without quite as much sugar.

Aside from looking pretty, and adding some natural sweetness to the bi bim bap, the beets are loaded with iron, folate and vitamin C. The chromium in broccoli helps enhance the effect of insulin, resulting in better uptake of glucose. It also happens to be loaded with cancer preventing phytochemicals. The shiitake mushrooms are an excellent source of iron, copper and zinc, and the brown rice is a good source of dietary fiber.

Bi Bim Bap with broccoli and beets

Sure, the toppings aren’t exactly traditional, but this is a healthier version of one of my favorite dishes, that doesn’t skimp much on flavor or presentation. Since vegetables tend to vary in size, and every person has different tastes, keep this in mind when preparing the toppings, and adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes. This bi bim bap also makes for a great packed lunch. Just put down a layer of rice in a tupperware, add the toppings and have it the next day for lunch at room temperature. For my little lunch bi bim bap above, I ran out of fresh beets, so I just substituted in some beet and onion pickles that I’d made earlier in the week.

Vegetarian Bi Bim Bap Recipe

for broccoli
1 small head of broccoli
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic finely grated

for beets
1 small beet shredded with a mandoline
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

for mushrooms
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms cleaned and sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt

for the hot sauce
1 tablespoon gochugaru (Korean chili flakes)
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
1 small clove garlic finely grated
1/4 teaspoon curry powder

2 high quality eggs fried sunny side up
1 cup short grain brown rice cooked according to the package directions

To make the broccoli, cut the florets off the stalk, then peel and slice the stalk into 1/4″ pieces. Boil a pot of salted water and add the broccoli. Return to a boil and cook for one minute. Drain the broccoli and chop it up into bite size pieces. Toss it with the sesame oil, salt and garlic.

For the beets, toss the beets, vinegar and salt together.

For the mushrooms, heat the sesame oil in a small pan and fry the mushrooms with the salt until lightly browned and fragrant.

For the sauce, just mix the gochugaru, miso, salt, honey, water, garlic and curry powder in a ramekin to combine.

To plate, put a layer of brown rice at the bottom of two bowls. Scatter the mushrooms on top of both bowls, then cover half of each bowl with beets. Cover the other half with the broccoli, then top with a fried egg. Serve immediately with the hot sauce.

  • davina

    I love bibimbap and the past few months I ate a little too much of it simply cause it was cheap, easy and quick to make between my readings and research. Unfortunately, all that gochujang has caused an ugly breakout on my skin! This looks delicious…seems like I’m gonna start craving for more now.

  • esther

    I’m eating my own version as we speak! bean sprouts, spinach, pickled radish, pickled cucumbers mixed with brown rice and a handful of fresh salad greens, mixed with a generous amount of sesame oil and gochujang. =)

    I love the addition of beets and ur own hot sauce! it must taste divine!!!!

  • onlinepastrychef

    I love this! Putting tasty items on rice sounds like a great idea. As always, I’m impressed w/your take on it. Sorry your doctor yelled at you:(

  • elra

    I never made it at home, thanks to you for this wonderful recipe. Now I can make it myself. Also I want to thank you for the recipe and video on the Japanese curry. Made it, and was delish!

  • Grace

    Beautiful photo Marc..looks healthy and delicious. What sauce did you end up using instead of gochujang? Great seeing you and your wife the other night. Keep in touch!

    • Anonymous

      Hi Grace, good seeing you too! As for the sauce, I made my own (recipe is
      included in the post).

  • Anonymous

    I love Bibimbap! Your version sounds really good, especially with that homemade sauce!

  • Katrinaruns

    I’m a kindergarten teacher. Just today, we read a book called “Bee Bim Bop” and it described the process to make that dish from the perspective of a 5 year old. The kids loved the part “mix it like crazy”.
    Congratulations on advancing to round 2. I have no doubt you’ll have a spot in round 3. Keep up the good work!

  • Stephanie Meyer (Fresh Tart)

    Gorgeous pictures, clever (non) recipe :) Your blog is beautiful, I found it through foodgawker.

  • Sarah

    Oh my God, where have you been all my life?! This and the oden recipe have made my day. I wish you had a print function.

    -An East-Asian-food obsessed vegetarian

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  • Hokuao (Karmaloop)

    OH MY GOSH. Yeah, that amazing. I love you. haha

  • pm

    I’ve been wondering what to do about the high-fructose-laden gochu-jang my local Korean store sells (the only kind they sell), and you provided a good alternative. Thanks!

  • Luisa

    What can I use in place of curry powder?

    • Marc Matsumoto

      Garam Masala would work or, you could leave it out altogether.

      • Luisa

        Thank you!!!!! Can I use dwenjang(Korean soybean paste) in place of miso? Thanks!

        • Marc Matsumoto

          Yep absolutely.

  • YUN ok-rek

    i try… and i open new stand . “VeganBiBim” in My town. thank you Sir. :)

  • Esther

    Hi Marc,

    I tried to reach you through contact, but I’m having some troubles sending the email. Is there any other way to reach you?



I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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