23 February 2020

Vegan Tempeh Bibimbap

Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish, served warm with lots of different ingredients, a delicious spicy sauce and is typically all mixed together just before eating. This is my vegan version with marinated tempeh, mixed seasoned veggies & some homemade kimchi with a spicy, tangy chili sesame seed dressing.

I love bowls like this, with tons of variety in flavours, textures and of course plenty of nutrients, too! The tempeh in this dish is just incredible, it's marinated in a sticky, flavourful soy sauce base with plenty of garlic and ginger and pan fried for the sauce to reduce and those flavours to intensify. Tempeh, being made from soya beans is also loaded with protein, fibre and lots of other vitamins and minerals. The chewiness it has adds a wonderful element to the dish, complementing the crunchy veggies. 

Typically bibimbap would use short grain white rice, I used short grain brown rice for some extra fibre and nutrition. Wholegrains are a key part of our diet and should be incorporated where possible and whilst they take a little more time to cook, you can use this time to prep all the components in this dish. Kimchi is also a typical ingredient of bibimbap, the raw, unpasturised kind is loaded with probiotics - good bacteria for our gut. Gut health is linked to so many other parts of our health - digestion, the immune system, our mental health, the list goes on, so getting in some probiotics into our diets is really important! I actually made the kimchi pictured myself, in a fermentation master class by Asa Simonsson in London, it was my first go at fermentation and definitely won't be my last and in the coming months, I hope to be able to share some recipes with you all of my own ferments! It's actually a lot easier than you might think to make these and I'd definitely recommend Asa's master class or her book as a starting point, but even if you're not making your own kimchi, many health food shops will stock vegan kimchi- just look in the fridge with something on the label that indicates it's raw / unpasturised / contains live bacteria! Many Asian shops may also have raw kimchi - but watch out for fish sauce in the ingredients list.

A traditional ingredient in Korean cooking is a fermented chili paste called gochujang, you can pick it up in most Asian supermarkets, but if you can't find it, you can sub some chili garlic paste and a little added miso for that tangy, fermented flavour. You can also use your favourite veggies in this dish and as little or as many types as you like - make it your own! 

Vegan Tempeh Bibimbap | Serves: 4 | Time: 45 mins

You'll need

  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Measuring spoons
  • Fine grater 
  • Non-stick wok/frying pan
  • Spatula 
  • Saucepan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Small bowls x6


  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • Pinch black pepper
  • 1 block tempeh
  • 1 1/3 cups short grain brown rice
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp gochujang / 1 tbsp chili garlic paste + 2 tsp miso paste
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp water
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large courgette
  • 125g shiitake mushrooms
  • 200g bean sprouts
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt
Garlic spinach:
  • 150g spinach
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Salt
To serve:
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 cup raw vegan kimchi
  • 1 nori sheet
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. For the tempeh, mix together the marinade ingredients from the sesame oil to the black pepper and stir together in the mixing bowl. Then slice the tempeh into 1cm thick and about 3-4cm long pieces. Add the tempeh to the marinade and carefully mix together to ensure it's evenly coated. Leave in the marinade for at least 20 minutes whilst you prep the other components and mix every so often to distribute any remaining marinade. 
  2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the rice according to packet instructions until al dente and then drain. 
  3. For the sauce, in a small bowl mix together the gochujang, or chili garlic paste + miso, sesame oil, brown sugar, toasted sesame seeds, rice vinegar, a minced garlic clove, grated ginger and 1-2 tbsp water and set to one side until serving. 
  4. The veg will be cooked in batches and then stored in the small bowls whilst you cook the rest, so if you'd like to keep them warmer, you can heat your small bowls for a few minutes before you begin cooking, or store them in a very low temp in the oven. For the veg, slice a carrot into small batons (~1/2cm thick) then heat up a wok or frying pan, add a splash of oil and add the carrot with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-4 minutes until it starts to soften but is still quite crunchy, then transfer to a small bowl whilst you then cook the other veg. 
  5. Whilst the carrots are cooking, cut the courgette into the same size pieces and then repeat the process with 1tsp of oil, a pinch of salt and a 3-4 min stir fry. Once the courgette is cooked, store in a small bowl and cook the shiitake. Slice the shiitake mushrooms and fry for 3-4 mins in the same way and then finally for the bean sprouts, with just a splash of oil and without any added salt. 
  6. For the spinach, mince the garlic and add to the pan with a splash of sesame oil on a low-medium heat cook for a minute or so then add the spinach and a pinch of salt and mix through until the spinach wilts, transfer to a small bowl and place to one side whilst you cook the tempeh. 
  7. For the tempeh, heat the pan to a medium heat and add the tempeh and any remaining marinade. Cook for 5-10 minutes and keep stirring until the marinade is sticky and reduced and fully coating the tempeh. 
  8. For the garnishes, thinly slice the spring onions lengthways and cut the nori into thin pieces.
  9. Serve your bibimbap in warm bowls with a side of kimchi, top with spring onions and nori, sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle over the sauce. Mix together before eating and enjoy!
Cassidy xx