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A Taste of Korea

Updated: Sep 2, 2020

Bibimbap is a traditional spicy rice dish served in Korea and typically made with white rice, meat and vegetables and often with a fried egg on top. Here I offer a whole food, plant-based, oil-free version that is much healthier without losing any of the delicious flavor! You can ratchet up (or down) the "heat" of this dish by adjusting how much of the gogchujang sauce you use.

Plant-based Korean Bibimbap

Serves 2

1 1/2 cups sliced shiitake mushrooms (see notes)

2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari (Japanese soy sauce)

2 teaspoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese rice wine, sold in grocery stores in the Asian section)

1 tablespoon almond butter

3 teaspoons minced garlic cloves

3 tablespoons chopped ginger

2 cups enoki mushrooms (about 3 to 4 ounces) (see notes)

1 carrot, cut into julienne strips

3 cups baby spinach

1/2 large cucumber, cut into julienne strips

1 1/2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice, warmed

1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, optional garnish

Gochujang Sauce:

2 tablespoons gochujang paste (see note)

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon low-sodium Tamari soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar (sold in grocery stores in the Asian section)

Heat a non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add the shiitake mushrooms, tamari, maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of the mirin to hot pan (if no non-stick pan add a little water with the mushrooms if they begin to stick). Cook until mushrooms have released their water and are soft. Remove from pan and set aside keeping them warm.

Whisk together the other tablespoon of the mirin and almond butter until smooth. Add the mirin/almond butter mixture, 1 teaspoon of the garlic and and 1 tablespoon of the ginger to the hot pan and cook for about 20 seconds to deglaze pan. Add enoki mushrooms to the hot pan, separating them as you add them, and cook a minute or two or until soft and brown. Remove from pan and set aside keeping them warm.

Add another 1 teaspoon garlic and 1 tablespoon ginger to the pan along with the carrots and cook about 30 seconds or until carrots are just beginning to soften. Remove from pan and set aside keeping them warm.

Add the final teaspoon of garlic and tablespoon of ginger to the pan along with the spinach and cook about 30 seconds until spinach wilts (again, if things are sticking you can just add a bit of water). Remove from pan and set aside keeping it warm.

Make the sauce by whisking all sauce ingredients together in a bowl.

Place 3/4 cup warmed rice in the bottom of each of two bowls. Arrange the mushrooms, carrots, spinach, and cucumber in little mounds on top of the rice. Top with gochujang sauce and garnish with sesame seeds. Go easy on the sauce at first! It is quite spicy hot!

Plant-based Korean Bibimbap


  • If you can't find gochujang paste, you can order online here.

  • Any type of mushroom will work in this dish, but shiitake and enoki are especially flavorful and attractive.

  • To bulk up this meal you can add tofu as an additional topping. Use one 12-oz package extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss cubes with 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari. Broil on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes until lightly browned and somewhat firm.


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