Vegetarian Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa

Shine up your dancin’ shoes because this Vegetarian Bibimbap has a beat, and we’re swingin’.

Vegetarian Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa. Healthy and gluten free.A steamy bowl of super-food studded, toasty-roasty sesame oil scented, and hot-mamma chili-bean pasted Korean goodness, bibimbap is also my new favorite word to say out loud. Bi-bim-bap! Try it. No, seriously—try it.

Bibimbap!

Like a dance or a piece of music, bibimbap is a compilation of individual steps and notes, layered together into a single masterpiece. Separately, the components please and are worthy of our appreciation. Together, they dazzle and merit a standing ovation, which in the case of bibimbap means devouring the first bowl, then immediately rushing back to the kitchen for a second. Encore!

Bibimbap! Sorry. I lack self discipline.

In case you are wondering, I actually said bibimbap aloud while typing it. I’m hooked both to bibimbap’s phonetics and to its tasty, healthy flavor-bomb dinner prowess.

Bibimbap (which translates to “mixed rice”) is a traditional Korean dish of hot rice served in a large bowl and topped with all manner of mixed veggies, chili pepper paste, and often thinly sliced beef. The fried egg is common but optional—unless you value all that is good and worthy in life, in which case the egg is totally not optional.
Bibimbap!

Vegetarian Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa. Gluten free and healthy!

I’m out of control.

I often find traditional dishes such as bibimbap to be the most inspiring, because I adore updating them to fit active, healthy lifestyles and common kitchen ingredients. (Unless it’s my Grammy’s Perfect Peach Shortcake complete with rum butter, in which case she who messes does not deserve a slice. Or rum butter.)

For today’s Vegetarian Bibimbap, I swapped the sliced beef for super-flavored chunks of crispy on the outside, meaty on the inside tofu. (Full tofu details in this post about how to cook ultra crispy tofu that tastes deep fried but isn’t.) I also changed the less-than-filling white rice for protein and fiber rich red quinoa. I recently fell in love with this red quinoa from Bob’s Red Mill. Besides being pretty in color, I find its texture more satisfying than other quinoa grains I’ve tried, and it’s not at all bitter so you can skip the rinse. Bonus!

To build our bibimbap, we begin with heaps of stir fried veggies: beautiful julienned carrots; sassy shitake mushrooms; green-power kale; enigmatic bean sprouts. All vitamin rich, feel good foods.

Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa. Vegetarian and gluten free!

Next flavor, flavor: a triumphant trio of sesame oil, soy sauce, and honey; fragrant green onions; spice-so-nice chili pepper paste; super-sponge tofu that drinks up every flavor it meets. Big time taste, represent!

Vegetarian Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa. Gluten free!

To finish with flair: crunchy, toasty sesame seeds and magic-maker eggs. Optional (but not.)

Gluten Free Vegetarian Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu, Quinoa, Eggs, and Sesame

Build your Vegetarian Bibimbap with care, then dive into the layers and mix with abandon. After all, it’s not a dance floor until you break it down.

Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa

P.S. BIBIMBAP!

Vegetarian Bibimbap with Crispy Tofu and Quinoa

Healthy vegetarian bibimbap (Korean mixed vegetables) with crispy tofu and quinoa. One big bowl of healthy, flavor-packed goodness! Vegetarian and gluten free.

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided (use gluten free if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons honey, divided
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 6 cups kale; chopped (or other greens of your choice)
  • 1 heaping cup bean sprouts
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves), divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced, white and green parts divided
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms; sliced thin
  • 3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (2/3 cup dry)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons chili pepper paste

Directions:

  1. Prepare Ultra Crispy Unfried Tofu. In a small bowl, stir together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Toss with cooked tofu and set aside. 
  2. Set out 4 bowls for the cooked vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add chopped kale and cook for 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Remove from the water, squeeze dry, and place in one of the prepared bowls. Toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic. Set aside. 
  3. Refill pot with fresh water and return to boil. Add bean sprouts and cook until tender and slightly translucent, 2-3 minutes. Remove to bowl, toss with 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce. Set aside.
  4. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add white parts of the green onions, 1 teaspoon garlic, and mushrooms. Sautee for 4 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Toss with 1 teaspoon soy sauce and remove to one of the prepared bowls.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining teaspoon olive oil. Add carrots, remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil, and remaining teaspoon minced garlic. Sauté 2-3 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove to final bowl.
  6. Just before serving, heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. Cook eggs sunny side up. In a small bowl, stir together the chili pepper paste and remaining tablespoon honey.
  7. To serve: Place cooked quinoa in the bottom of the bowl. Then top with small mounds of the tofu, kale, mushrooms, carrots, and bean sprouts. Top with toasted sesame seeds, a fried egg, and the green tops of the green onions. Serve with the chili bean paste.

Chili pepper paste (gochujang) is available in many grocery stores and at Asian specialty food stores. It will give you the most authentic and appropriate spice, but If you substitute sriracha in a pinch, I won't tell.

More tasty Asian-inspired dishes to try:

About Erin Clarke

I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, lover of bourbon, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN...

46 comments

  1. I am totally like you, and I read bibimbap out loud while reading it. I have heard of this dish, but never actually tried it. Me and the hubs adore these flavours though…and there’s an egg. That makes it a winner. Always. Pinned!

  2. I want it all. I want it now.

  3. This is gorgeous! I was seriously just researching bibimbap YESTERDAY! But got stuck on kimchi, convinced that I could never pull that off successfully. Love all your simple solutions here, love the tofu– need it all now. Pinned!

  4. All of my favorite flavors!!

  5. That fried egg looks so perfect!

  6. That looks amazing.. I just want that entire bowl all to myself.

  7. These photos are making me drool!!!

  8. I think I need to go for a 2nd breakfast now. YUM!

  9. bibimbap..bibimbap I need you in my life..bibimbap.

  10. Oh, Erin, this bowl of goodness just made my morning complete–even though I’m totally craving bibimbap now :) And I love how you described the flavors as a “triumphant trio.” I will now think of that whenever I use that combination.

  11. This bowl…my face…BIBIMBAP!

  12. I had never heard of “bibimbap” before …and now it’s stuck in ma brain! I love that you posted this as dishes like this make me pretend its warm and summery outside! So simple – but yet so many layers of flavor to this! Thanks for sharing, Erin!

  13. I must say I was a bit offended to read about your curious fascination with the pronunciation of the word bibimbap. Being Korean, the word is just as normal as something like “library” or “blanket” in the English dictionary, nothing worth making a big deal out of. I’m sorry but it just rubs me the wrong way – it comes off as culturally insensitive, annoying, and naive.

    • Hi Grace, I never meant this to be offensive in anyway. I find words in many languages to be phonetically pleasant to say, including English! The words “surreptitious”, “lollipop”, and “shenanigans” for example always make me smile, just because I enjoy the way they sound. It is the same with bibimbap. I think it is a beautiful dish, and if nothing else I only wish that I could cook it more authentically! I have tremendous respect for other languages and cultures and never meant to imply anything else.

  14. I almost just licked my screen. This looks SO fresh and delicious. I need this in my life, for lunches, next week. Happening.

    Also, thanks so much for linking to my Kimchi Fried Rice :)

  15. This is so gorgeous, and holy flawless fried egg! Though I had never heard of this dish before, you’ve definitely inspired me and made me crave it! Great recipe.

  16. Teach me how to fry eggs like you fry. Gawwwgeous.

  17. Wow! I love all the color! Talk about nutritious and gorgeous (if food can be gorgeous…)!

  18. You just know the way to my heart – egg on top is the way to be!!

  19. I NEED some of this now! the egg is perfect!!

  20. I had never heard of bibimbap (it IS fun to say!), but after today I know I’m a fan! So much flavor going on!

  21. Bibimbap is one of the best words that we have in food culture!

    I’m really digging this bowl and now I’m totally craving Korean food! I want to break into that egg so bad!

  22. I just tried my first bibimbap at a restaurant here in Columbus and LOVED it. So much tasty stuff all in one bowl. Can’t wait to try making it at home!

  23. I have never had bibimbap before, but after seeing these beautiful pictures, I can’t wait to try it!

  24. I love love love bibimblap! (I also really like saying it, haha!)

  25. Now you’ve got me saying ‘bimimbap’! I learnt a new word tonight … yay! The recipe looks fabulous .. I’d definitely add the egg!

  26. I seriously just spent 2 minutes saying bibimbap. As I was reading your post, I just kept saying in my head ‘bibimbap.’ I have slight concern it will forever be chanted in my head …
    Gorgeous pictures – that egg is stunning!!!!

  27. This looks incredible Erin! Haha totally love saying bimbimbap out loud and in my head – this is one of my husband’s favorite dishes to order when we get Korean food take-out and I always ask if I can be the one that orders it just so I can say bimbimbap:) Love this vegetarian twist and making this with quinoa instead of rice? Genius girl!

  28. consuelohoneyandfigs Reply

    I can’t decide what I like better: the name or the dish itself! Bimbimbap sounds sooooo cool. And this looks like a delicious meal with that fried egg on top. How did you get it to look that pretty ahhh?

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