Friday, May 3, 2013

Vegan Bibimbap

It never fails that most of my conversations with friends turn to food-vegan food at that.  Recently during one of these conversations I was made aware of a dish that somehow I've totally overlooked all these years. Bibimbap.  Fun to say and even more fun to eat!  It's a Korean dish typically consisting of veggies, ground beef and egg, served over rice.  I was intrigued and immediately starting researching this yummy concoction of a meal and developed my own delicious vegan version.  I could eat this every night!  My family agrees.

Vegan Bibimbap
serves 4-6

1/2 (16 oz.) package rice noodles (so use 8oz. total)
toasted sesame oil
rice wine vinegar
agave nectar
2-3 C. fresh spinach
3 medium zucchini, cut into strips 2" x 1/2"
2 medium carrots, cut into strips 2" x 1/2"
4 C. chopped shitake mushrooms
2-3 Tb. coconut oil
4-5 vegan sausage links, diced (or use tofu)
5 C. cooked brown rice (use white if ya like)
4-5 C. mung bean sprouts
4 green onions or ~1 bunch
soy sauce
crushed garlic
sesame seeds

1.  Have a large platter or serving dish ready to transfer all your cooked veggies too as you make them. 

2.  Place rice noodles in a large pot of warm water and let sit for 5-10 minutes.  Drain and drizzle with 1 Tb. sesame oil, 1 Tb. rice wine vinegar and 1 Tb. agave nectar.  Toss and set aside.  (Add more of any of those three ingredients to your taste)  Place onto the large platter.  Cover with foil to stay warm.

3.  Prepare the vegetables by slicing them thin at an angle, almost into strips about 1 1/2" x .5".  Set them aside.

4.  Steam spinach until just wilted and transfer to bowl.  Toss with 1 tsp. crushed garlic and 1 tsp. sesame oil.  Place onto the large platter.  Cover with foil.

5.  Heat a large saute pan or wok with 1 Tb. coconut oil over med-high heat.  Cook zucchini for 4-5 minutes, stirring.  Sprinkle with salt, toss again and place onto the large platter.  

6.  Add 1/2 Tb. more coconut oil as needed and cook carrots for 2-3 minutes.  Place onto platter.

7.  Add 1/2 Tb. more coconut oil and saute mushrooms for 2-3 minutes while adding 2 tsp. soy sauce and 2 tsp. agave nectar.  Add 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic and stir once more. Place onto platter.

8.  In a medium saute pan, heat 1/4 tsp. coconut oil over med-high heat.  Add in vegan sausage along with 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic, 2 tsp. soy sauce and 2 tsp. agave nectar.  Cook until browned and almost cripsy.  You may have to scrape the bottom of the pan a bit.  (If the bottom of the pan gets too browned, add a little water or rice wine vinegar while scraping with a spatula over the heat)

9.  Prepare the soy dipping sauce by thinly slicing 4 green onions.  Mix into a bowl with 1/2 C. soy sauce, 2 tsp. sesame seeds, 2 tsp. agave nectar and 1 Tb. sesame oil.  

To Serve:
1.  Place the noodles and/or rice onto the platter surrounded by the spinach, zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bean sprouts (I like to serve these raw so they're nice and crunchy) and noodles.  
2.  Serve the entire (giant!) platter along with the soy dipping sauce and dig in!

Typically, bibimbap is served with fern brakes which not only were difficult to find but after reading article after article about the carcinogenic properties of it I decided to forgo the fern and go for the trusty noodle.  Rice noodles and rice.  Yup!  Carb it up, baby.

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