Any time I eat bibimbap it takes me back to the first time we visited South Korea in 2013. It was our first trip abroad and we visited friends who showed us around and taught us the way of bibimbap, which means “mixed rice” in Korean.
Let me show you my inspired take with this Easy Bibimbap with Gochujang Sauce—perfect for weeknight meals, hosting, and beyond!
What is Bibimbap?
Bibimbap is a traditional Korean dish comprised of rice, a mixture of vegetables, an egg, and sometimes meat, often served in a hot stone bowl. It’s typically served with sauce, my favorite being Gochujang.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a spicy-sweet Korean sauce that’s typically made of a blend of chilies, glutinous rice, salt, and fermented soybeans. Because most brands are not gluten-free I made my own vegan Gochujang recipe and have to say it’s quite close to the real thing! Plus, it only requires 1 blender, 5 ingredients, and 5 minutes to prepare.
My take on bibimbap requires just 10 ingredients to make and comes together quite quickly, especially if you’ve already cooked your brown rice and made (or purchased) your Gochujang sauce.
What vegetables are in Bibimbap?
Aside from cooked rice, bibimbap typically comes with a variety of cooked vegetables with various preparations. But to keep things simple for a weeknight meal, I simply sautéed bean sprouts, green onion, carrots, zucchini, and fresh spinach in a little sesame oil and coconut aminos (or sub tamari or sea salt), and topped with a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Do you need a dolsot (hot stone bowl) for serving Bibimbap?
Traditionally, bibimbap is served in a hot stone bowl called a dolsot, which allows you to assemble the bibimbap and then heat the underside so the rice gets browned and crispy. Yum.
However, you can either skip the dolsot and use a basic serving bowl or my little hack is to stir fry your cooked rice in a little sesame oil until crispy and brown before serving so it gets some added crunch and texture.
Is Bibimbap vegetarian?
Depending on the ingredients in the Gochujang sauce and whether or not it’s served with meat, bibimbap can be vegetarian when served with an egg. We opted for a perfect fried egg, but also suggest some vegan options below that are just as delicious.
We hope you LOVE this inspired take on bibimbap! It’s:
Quick & easy to make
This would make the perfect weeknight meal or for hosting, as it’s customizable with protein and vegetable topping options. The Gochujang sauce isn’t overly spicy either, so it’s even great for guests with more sensitive palates.
Need ideas for what to serve this with? How about some Homemade Vegan Kimchi, Gochujang Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts, or Gochujang-Spiced Cauliflower Wings?!
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Bibimbap with Gochujang Sauce
- 3/4 cup short-grain brown or white rice, rinsed (soaking for 12-24 hours to speed cooking is optional*)
- 1 ½ cups water (if rice was soaked, reduce water by about 1/4 cup (60 ml) as recipe is written)
- 1 pinch sea salt
VEGGIES + EGG
- 2-3 Tbsp sesame oil, DIVIDED (toasted for more flavor, untoasted works, too*)
- 3 cups packed mixed vegetables (such as finely shredded carrot, thinly sliced zucchini, or spinach)
- 1 heaping cup bean sprouts (if you can’t find, sub more mixed vegetables)
- 2 stalks green onion, sliced on an angle
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos, DIVIDED (or sub tamari to taste, or sea salt)
- 2 large eggs* (we recommend organic, pasture-raised, and as ethically sourced as possible, such as Vital Farms)
- 2-4 Tbsp Korean Gochujang Sauce (or sub store-bought — look for vegan or gluten-free as needed, such as Wholly Gochujang)
- Kimchi (optional)
- Toasted or raw sesame seeds (optional)
- Optional: If soaking rice, rinse, drain, and add to a mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Soak for 12 hours or overnight. For a quicker soak, cover in hot water for 1 hour. Then rinse and drain.
- To a medium saucepan, add cooking water (if you soaked your rice, start with 1 ¼ cups water as recipe is written), rinsed rice, and salt. Heat over high heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender and fluffy. Soaked rice generally takes less time to cook. Unsoaked rice can take up to 30 minutes or more. Keep covered and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare Gochujang sauce. Skip if using store-bought.
- While the rice finishes cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat (stainless steel or cast iron are best). Once hot, add 1 tsp of sesame oil or enough to just coat the pan.
- Once the oil is hot, add vegetables one type at a time and cook in batches until lightly browned (1-2 minutes), seasoning each with a little minced garlic and a dash of coconut aminos, tamari, or sea salt. Cooking in batches allows you to arrange vegetables separately over the rice for visual effect. We cooked the zucchini first, then carrots, green onion, bean sprouts, and spinach. Add more oil to the pan as needed between vegetables.
- Arrange cooked vegetables in individual piles on a serving plate and cover gently to keep warm until serving.
- To cook eggs (if vegan, see notes for options!), heat the same pan over medium heat. Once hot, add a little more oil (sesame or otherwise), and carefully crack eggs. For sunny-side up (our preference), cover briefly with a lid to steam for 1 minute, then remove lid and continue cooking until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny. Turn off heat and set aside (uncovered).
- To serve, divide desired amount of rice between serving bowls (see notes for traditional dolsot recommendations and crispy rice hacks!) and top with portions of cooked veggies and egg.
- Serve with 1-2 Tbsp Gochujang, kimchi (optional), and a dash of sesame seeds (optional). Bibimbap means “mixed rice,” so once your egg and Gochujang sauce are added, use a spoon or your chopsticks to stir everything together and mix the flavors. Then enjoy!
- This dish is best fresh, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator up to 2 days and be reheated on the stovetop over medium heat as a stir fry. Not freezer-friendly.
*Sesame oil can be found at Asian markets and most grocery stores and is fairly affordable. Its flavor really works best in this recipe and either toasted or untoasted can be used. But it can be subbed with avocado or refined coconut oil for a similar result (don’t use virgin coconut oil or the dish will taste like coconut).
*If vegan, omit the egg and sub our Crispy Baked Peanut Tofu, Quick Scrambled Tofu (similar to the tofu in this recipe), or just double up on veggies!
*To keep this bowl grain-free, omit grains and double up on veggies or sub cauliflower rice!
*In this recipe we served the bibimbap in bowls, but you can purchase Korean-style dolsot bowls, which allow you to cook the bibimbap after plating to get the rice crispy on the bottom of the bowl. However, for a similar effect, simply stir fry rice in a little sesame oil in a hot pan for a few minutes, tossing occasionally, until toasty and golden brown.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with equal amounts of carrot, zucchini, and spinach for the mixed vegetables, with lesser amounts of sesame oil and Gochujang sauce, and without optional ingredients.
*Recipe method adapted from the amazing Maangchi, and inspired by our many bowls of bibimbap while visiting South Korea!
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