Updated: Jul 16
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Note: Recipe Updated on July 12, 2020
Most people wouldn’t know by looking at me, but I’m part Korean. I also grew up in a household of Korean women who are excellent cooks, which means my house was always full of the pungent smells of kimchi jjigae, kimchi fried rice, and kimchi pajeon. Bottom line: my family eats a lot of kimchi.
My family members are also big meat eaters, so going out for Korean bbq for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and just random week night dinners was very common growing up. Even though I’m no longer a huge meat eater, I still often crave my favorite dish to order at Kbbq restaurants: bibimbap with bulgogi beef. A dolsot filled with steaming rice is topped with meat, vegetables or banchan (korean side dishes), and, sometimes, a fried egg. Bibimbap literally translates to “mixed rice”. Once you get your beautifully displayed bowl, you use your chopsticks to mash it all up with some gochujang for a spicy, delicious mess.
To curb my craving, I turned to one of my favorite plant based sources: red lentils. These guys cook quickly and absorb the liquid you cook them in, making them perfect for absorbing marinades and sauces. I’m definitely not saying this is a traditional Korean dish, but those lentils make for a protein and flavor packed lunch.
Initially, this recipe may seem like a lot of ingredients, but it’s extremely versatile depending on what you already have on hand and your taste/diet preferences. The best thing about bibimbap is there are no rules about what you can put in it. Switch out the cauliflower brown rice mix for all rice if you’d like. Swap the veggies for anything that looks good at the store. Not a fan of spicy food or can’t find gochujang? Leave it out or use sriracha instead. If you’re feeling a little extra, and are not vegan, I’d also recommend throwing a fried or soft boiled egg on there before serving. The sky's the limit with how you can customize these bowls.
The best part about these Kbbq lentil Bibimbap Bowls is the longer they sit the more flavorful they become, making them very meal prep friendly. These bowls can also be eaten hot or cold. I personally like them cold, but if you want to warm them up, I’d recommend keeping the vegetables separate from the rice and lentils so you can heat them up and then place the vegetables on top.
If you’re looking to reduce your meat intake or just want a tasty meal prep option for lunch or dinner, these Korean bbq lentil bowls are for you!
If you make this recipe or any others on my blog, tag me in a photo on Instagram @figisisters . I would love to see your recreation!
Makes about 3 servings
250 g - Crimini Mushrooms - minced
150 g - Yellow Onion - Diced
3-4 - Garlic Cloves - Minced
94 g - Red Lentils
200 ml - Vegetable Broth
15 ml - Toasted Sesame Oil
30 g - Coconut Sugar
30 ml - Soy Sauce - Sub tamari or coconut aminos for gluten free
½ tbsp - Rice Vinegar
½ tsp - Garlic Powder
½ tsp - Ground Ginger Powder
¾ tsp - Ground Black Pepper
½ tsp - Gochugaru
¼ tbsp - Kosher Salt
25 g - Gochujang
8 g - Coconut Sugar
1-2 tbsp - Warm Water
Cauliflower Brown Rice Mix*:
170 g - Cooked Brown Rice
170 g - Frozen Cauliflower Rice
2-3 - Garlic Cloves - Minced
½ tbsp - Salt
¼ tsp - Ground Ginger Powder
180 g - Red Cabbage - Shredded
150g - Carrots - Cut into matchsticks
100 g - Cucumber - Chopped
200 g - Red Bell Pepper - Cut into matchsticks
84 g - Kimchi - Use vegan if needed
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Shredded Nori Sheets
Fried or Boiled Egg
In a bowl, mix together broth, toasted sesame oil, coconut sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper, and gochugaru.
Using a non-stick method of choice, add onion and to a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Allow to sweat. When onion becomes translucent, turn heat to medium low and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant.
In batches*, add in the mushrooms. Stir to avoid burning.
When mushrooms have browned, add in broth and lentils. Bring broth to a boil before turning heat down to a simmer. Partially cover. Allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until all water has evaporated*. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking.
While lentils are cooking, add frozen cauliflower rice, garlic, salt, and ground ginger to a pan over medium high heat. Using a saute method of choice, cook until cauliflower rice is warmed through. Stir in cooked rice and remove from heat.
To make the gochujang sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients until well combined. Set aside.
When lentils are fully cooked, spoon over cauliflower rice mixture, add any desired vegetables, garnish with green onion and toasted sesame seeds, pour over the gochujang sauce and enjoy!
Alternatively, portion out the rice, lentils, vegetables, and sauce* into Tupperware containers. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
This recipe is good hot or cold. If you want to enjoy the rice and lentils hot, store them separately from the vegetables. Reheat in the microwave.
Sub Cauliflower Brown Rice Mix with all cauliflower rice mix with grain of choice.
Adding the mushrooms in in batches helps them to brown properly
If lentils become too dry before they are finished cooking, add in more broth or water 1 tbsp at a time.
I’d recommend storing the sauce separately and stirring before serving in case it separates.
Need another meal prep lunch option? How about these Greek Pasta Salads?