vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe

Easy Vegetarian Recipes: Korean Bibimbap Bowl

When it comes to one-bowl lunches, there are few recipes that hit the spot quite like a bibimbap. For the unfamiliar, a bibimbap is a staple Korean dish that literally translates to mixed rice. Traditionally it features cooked rice mixed with meat and vegetables. However, the beauty of this dish is that it is endlessly adaptable and can quite easily be made even vegan with a vibrant assembly of your favourite veggies, greens and protein. As with any and all bibimbaps, the star of the this vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe is a spicy sauce spiked with gochujang – Korean red pepper paste – that brings it all together with a fiery depth of flavour.

What Is Gochujang anyways?

An age-old staple condiment in Korean cooking, Gochujang is a fermented hot pepper paste (gochujang paste). With its deep red colour and smooth consistency, it is used to enhance the flavour across dishes from soups and stews to marinated meats, tofu and vegetables. Not only does it add shades of heat, it’s spiciness is complemented by a nuanced intensity of flavour that is part sweet, part nutty and high in umami.

Other popular recipes starring Gochujang include:

Spicy Korean-Inspired Gochujang Ramen Noodles
Elevate your next ramyun fix with this quick, easy and intensely-flavoured spicy sauce spiked with Gochujang and a hot chilli-garlic oil. Don't skip the peanut butter, as it adds a subtle creaminess to offset the shades of heat.
spicy gochujang noodles
Spicy Korean Tofu
Elevate your next tofu fix with a "Korean Ketchup" that is part sweet and part tangy, with a spicy slant and fiery shades of heat!
spicy Gochujang tofu
gochujang bibimbap sauce

How To Make This Vegetarian Bibimbap Bowl

  • Begin by cooking the rice. Typically a sticky short grain rice – kukohu or shirakiku rice – is used. However you can also use regular white rice or even brown rice and quinoa as a base!
  • While the rice is simmering, mix together the Gochujang sauce. It’s surprisingly quick once you have all the required ingredients at hand. Specifically, you will need:
    • Gochujang
    • Sesame oil
    • Rice vinegar
    • Water
    • Light soy sauce
    • Hot sauce/ sriracha
    • Brown sugar
    • Sesame seeds
    • Minced garlic
  • Next, prepare the individual components of the bowl. Feel free to add all your favourite greens, veggies (sliced lengthwise) and protein. Although we mix our bibimbap bowl before eating, the ingredients are usually cooked separately to enhance their individual flavour, colours and textures. The beauty of this dish is in its simplicity and assembly. Some suggestions include:
    • Zucchini
    • Carrots
    • Bell peppers
    • Spinach
    • Mushroom
    • Tofu
    • Fried egg for the centre (if you are not vegan of course!)
  • Assemble the bowl by adding a layer of rice at the bottom and then topping it with the veggies, greens and your choice of protein. Finally drizzle with the Gochujang sauce and mix it all together so that it seeps right through and amplifies all the other flavours and textures of the bowl! This is a dish best served hot.
vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe

Can I Make Any Swaps?

Of course! This vegetarian bibimbap bowl is very versatile and you can make this recipe entirely your own.

Add a variety of mushrooms of your choice, or leave them out altogether. Don’t like spinach? What about sautéed cabbage or bok choy? More veggies, you ask? Zucchini and coloured bell peppers would also be delicious add-ins! Be free with your swaps and substitutes as per your desired tastes and preferences.

vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe

Vegetarian Bibimbap Bowl

Ayushi Gupta-Mehra | The Foodie Diaries
A vegetarian take on the classic Korean rice bowl, assembled with a vibrant medley of mushrooms, greens and veggies. To finish, it is drizzled with a fiery-red Gochujang sauce which adds shades of heat and a potent depth of flavour.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Korean
Servings 2


  • ½ cup rice (traditionally sticky short grain rice – kukohu or shirakiku rice – is used; however you can use regular white or even brown rice)

To make the bibimbap sauce

  • 1.5-2 tbsp gochujang paste
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar (can substitute with white wine vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2-3 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1-2 tsp Sriracha (can substitute with chilli sauce of preference)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (increase if you would like the sauce less spicy)

Bibimbap bowl components

  • 1 large carrot, spiralised / shredded/ sliced lengthwise
  • 1 zucchini , sliced lengthwise/ spirallised
  • 1 cucumber, spiralised or thinly-cut in rounds
  • ½ bell pepper, sliced lengthwise
  • 180 gm mixed mushrooms of choice (baby bella, white button, shiitake and/ or shimeji mushrooms work well)
  • 2 large bunches of spinach
  • 1 packet of silken firm tofu, drained
  • egg (optional)
  • sesame oil/ cooking oil of choice (as required)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • sesame seeds
  • sea salt
  • cornflour (for coating the tofu)


  • Start by cooking the rice according to the instructions on the packet.

Make the bibimbap sauce

  • Mix together ingredients for the sauce until evenly combined.
  • Taste and adjust according to preference: for instance, adding more sugar to cut the heat; more vinegar for a punch; a splash more soy sauce for depth; more sesame oil for a nutty undertone etc.
    vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe

Prepare tofu

  • Drain the excess water out of the tofu by wrapping the block between paper towels and then gently pressing down to release the water using a steel plate or even a wooden chopping board.
  • Let the tofu sit for at least half an hour (ideally an hour) until it is fully drained and firm enough,Then, cut it into cubes or long rectangular strips and coat it with cornflour.
  • Head a tbsp of toasted sesame oil in a skillet and pan-fry the tofu for 7 – 10 minutes , flipping the pieces over until they’re golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the individual components

  • Mix the cucumbers with toasted sesame oil, garlic and salt (as per taste).
  • Heat 1 tsp sesame oil in a pan and add approx 1 tsp garlic. Sautée spinach, tossing constantly until just wilted. Remove from heat and gently squeeze out any excess water from the spinach before setting aside.
  • Heat another splash of sesame oil in the same skillet. Add the mushrooms to the hot pan and cook until golden-browned, tender and fragrant. Set aside.
  • Heating oil as required, cook all the other ingredients (bell peppers/ carrots/ zucchini etc) until lightly sautéed but retaining their crunch.
  • If adding an egg, fry it in the same skillet at the end to a runny consistency.

Assemble the bibimbap

  • Start with a layer of rice and then top with the marinated cucumber, veggies, wilted spinach and mushrooms. Place your choice of protein (fried egg or tofu) in the centre. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
    vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe
  • Liberally drizzle with Gochujang sauce and serve hot, with more Gochujang sauce on the side.
  • To eat, mix the sauce (and egg yolk if preparing with eggs) into the bowl until the rice, veggies and greens are thickly and evenly coated with the sauce.
    vegetarian bibimbap bowl recipe


Keyword Vegan Bibimbap Recipe, Vegetarian Bibimbap, Vegetarian Korean Recipes

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