Vegan Bibimbap

Come onnnnnn weekend. I ate a lot of cookies last night. Let’s face plant into a bowl of vegetables.

Vegan Bibimbap Bowls // The Pancake Princess

Sarah B. recently talked about how a hit of acid (not that kind you fuh-reak!) is necessary in every dish. I—pause please while I shovel another pile of pickled vegetables into my mouth—couldn’t agree more.  Tanginess in addition to crunchiness makes carrots 898237x more interesting. The number two reason I’m obsessing over these bibimbap-inspired bowls is because of the pickled vegetables. The number one is the rice.

Vegan Bibimbap Bowls // The Pancake Princess

While in Austin with my mom and sister last month, I showed them my favorite Austin restaurant which serves up these enormous, colorful bowls of vegetables that typically top a base of the most extraordinarily tasty rice. It is heads and shoulders above any other rice I’ve eaten before. I think I figured out how they do it and luckily for us, it’s simple: a good slick of toasty sesame oil and salt.

Vegan Bibimbap Bowls // The Pancake Princess

I make no claim that these are authentic bibimbap. Bibimbap-inspired bowls would be a more appropriate name for these, but that was just too long. Lazy bibimbap-inspired bowls would have been best, because instead of any kind of proper sauce, I just dash fish sauce (try this vegan fish sauce!) and sweet soy sauce all over this before stuffing my face. Pickled vegetables add so much flavor that just a few sprinkles of sauce is enough for a great-tasting bowl.

Anyway, these are just vehicles to stuff really yummy, flavorful vegetable combinations in your face. I hope you like them. Now weekend, get your cute little butt over here.

Vegan Bibimbap Bowls

Yield: 4

A simple bibimbap-inspired bowl with an array of vegetables spanning the spectrum from raw to lightly pickled to cooked. A simple drizzle of fish sauce and sweet soy sauce is the perfect light and easy finishing touch to these healthy bowls.


  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • drizzle of sesame oil
  • generous pinch of salt

  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 carrots, julienned
  • 1 large daikon, julienned

  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • red pepper flakes
  • ½ to 1 head of kale, leaves torn off and rinsed

  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded

  • Vegan fish sauce or fish sauce if not vegan
  • Sweet soy sauce


Make the rice: Set the rice on to cook if you haven’t done so (this is best with fresh rice, not leftover). Once fully cooked and warm, drizzle with sesame oil (I do about 1 tablespoon per cup of cooked rice or so) and add salt to taste.

Make the pickles: In a bowl, combine the water, vinegar, sugar and salt until sugar dissolves. Add the carrots and daikon and set aside at room temperature for at least one hour. These will keep, refrigerated, for at least a couple of weeks.

Prep the tofu: While carrots are pickling, start marinating the tofu. Slice your tofu into approximately 16 thin slices. Combine the soy sauce and ginger in a shallow pan or a bowl and coat the tofu in the marinade. Let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Make the kale: In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until garlic is golden. Add the kale and sauté until kale is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.

Make the tofu: In the same skillet, fry the tofu slices in a bit of sesame oil over medium-high heat until browned on both sides.

Assembly: Over a bed of rice, layer the pickled vegetables, kale, tofu, cucumber, avocado, etc. Douse fish sauce and sweet soy sauce over the top and consume voraciously. (Not vegan alert: a soft egg over all this is also delicious.)


I use the julienne peeler from this set for pretty much all my julienned vegetables. It's functional for a cheap peeler, but I'm not wild about it.

Pickling potion adapted from this lovely blog.

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34 thoughts on “Vegan Bibimbap

  1. E

    Just a pet peeve, but don’t call this vegan. Call it “Easily Vegan”, “Almost Vegan,” or something. The recipe can be modified easily to be vegan but is not in the state you published it. Meat eaters hoping to cook for vegan friends may not read the fine print and trust the title (you would be surprised by how many people don’t realize that things, even things with meat in the names, are not vegan if they’re not actually flesh).

  2. Sophie

    YES!! OK I am on the hunt for some of those incredible stone bowls so I can go all dol sot bibimbap at home, even though I have no idea how to do that without burning the house down :) THIS in the meantime, yes. Delicious! And gorgeous!

    1. erika Post author

      Oooh I never even THOUGHT to buy bowls so I could make actually authentic bibimbap! Love it–now I’ll be on the hunt as well :) Thanks so much Sophie!

  3. Nora (A Clean Bake)

    Ok, I know you aren’t even in this continent, and I am so far behind on all of this, but I guess better late than never that I see this because OMG I need to make this!! Everything looks so good, and gahhhh….I am pretty much at a loss for words right now. Holy shmoly.

    1. erika Post author

      Thanks so much Allison!! So glad you hopped over from Pinterest and omg vegan bowls–SO GOOD!!! I have def been lacking in the veggie department while on vacation but I’m so excited to join you in a satisfyingly healthy dinner soon!! :)

  4. Irina @ wandercrush

    These are stunning bowls of colour! I feel like I’m eating it with my eyeballs from here. Ugh it’s been insane lately and I haven’t been to your blog in ages… so glad to be back, though. Lovely space (and did you get a new layout?) You’re so right—a hit of acid in every dish, and nobody knows it better than Asians with their pungent pickled veg.

  5. Valentina @Hortus

    LOVE this! Bibimbap is one of my favorite dishes ever, and it’s easily veganizable anyway. Even when you take the meat and egg out, it remains a truly kick-a$$ dish.
    I love seeing people’s takes at bibimbap. I love both the pickled carrots and marinated tofu idea. I’d love to try marinated tofu with silken tofu…not sure it would work as well, but I’m not a fan of cotton tofu.

    Thank you so much for the ideas! *goes on a hunt for kimchi* <3

  6. The Vegan 8

    Erika, I don’t know how I missed this post!! This looks insanely delicous and I am SO with you on the sesame oil and the rice…wow, yum!! I think I’ve told you before that the only oil I really would still consume for the most part, is sesame oil. It is one that I just can’t say I would never have again, the flavor is absolutely incredible and on rice, oh yeah! Everything looks so beautiful and colorful. Super jealous when you mention Austin again, too…you know that is my favorite place in the universe?!! :)

  7. Natasha @ The Cake Merchant

    I feel like you read my mind with this post! Did you know it’s impossible to get veggie bibimbap around here? I must make this immediately. Also, I’m going to Austin next month, so will definitely try Koriente. It looks like the perfect place to cancel out my Gordough’s binge.

    1. erika Post author

      WHAT?! GASP.

      Actually, I say that and I don’t think I’ve ever had bibimbap in Houston either lol. And YES. That is a perfect plan. Aka my plan always. Koriente, then straight to Gourdough’s 😉 😉 Oh my gosh. Eat a Granny’s Pie for me. Or the chocolate one. Or any of them, really.

  8. laurasmess

    One click back over to read Sarah B’s ‘acid’ comment and I was lost for half an hour reading her beautiful posts! Ah, I want to live in her kitchen. And yours, shovelling forkful after forkful of your wonderful vegan colourful deliciousness into my mouth. Of course I’d stop to speak every now and then. I am sure we’d have SO much to talk about (through mumbled cookies). Anyway, ahem. This bibimbap (inspired or real!) is gorgeous. Love all of the yummy textural additions you’ve added. That tofu looks DIVINE xx

    1. erika Post author

      Yes!!!! I get SO lost in her blog every time I go. There’s just so much goodness–not just beautiful photos and AMAZING recipes, but so many awesome nutrition tips!

      Ah yes, the mumbled cookies are a must. We must make this a reality someday!! Thank you for your sweet, sweet words, as always <3

  9. janet @ the taste space

    Awesome! I ended up at Koriente on our last Austin trip and ate with Tess.. who also quickly made a recreation of their bibimbap. I made it last week and it was great. Yours looks different but I like how you have the quick pickled veggies. We still have some of those leftover from our banh mi wraps. :)

  10. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Daaaaaaaaaamn that looks good, Erika! I usually don’t like pickled things but this is reminiscent of the pickled veggies in banh mi sandwiches, which are truly tasty. I can’t wait to try making rice this way. The toasty sesame oil and soy sauce is making me drool. And I’m totally topping this with a fried egg. Yum!

    1. erika Post author

      Yes yes exactly!!! Those pickled veggies are what got me hooked for good. And I feel like you can always judge a good foodie by whether they elect to put a fried egg on top or not 😉

    1. erika Post author

      Omg. Karen. I literally exploded in laughter after reading your comment for the first time. It’s still making me explode a little at work (but I’m trying to keep it contained). Blimpoflap is my fav. Okay seriously, THANK YOU for reminding me that not everyone knows what bibimbap is!! (“bee-bim-bap”) I didn’t even know what it was last year, probably. But basically, think: rice, vegetables, mix. Because bibimbap means mix mix in Korean. I think. Don’t quote me on that. Anyway, sorry to make you anxious, you hilarious lady!

  11. Geeeeee

    Ohhhh erikaaa, you are my light during the dark finals week. I am veli veli jealous of your boyfriend and his belly.

  12. Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    I’ve been thinking about pickled vegetables a lot lately… like, for real. Pickled carrots especially, which I’m totally planning to do soon. I’ll admit I’ve never had a real bibimbap, so yours could totally set the bar. Game on?

  13. Selena @

    These photos are just plain gorgeous! Possibly the most appetizing picture of veggies I have seen in awhile! I’ve been looking or a recipe to intrigue me back into eating tofu and I think this is the one!! Pinning and will be my lunch for next week :)


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