Rainbow Korean Bibimbap

Bibimbap bibimbap bibimbap. Say that 10x fast. This Korean dish is a bowl full of color and topped with an egg before it was cool on Instagram. Plus, it’s an easy, tasty, and super convenient way to open your pie hole and eat the rainbow.

What is the point of “eating the rainbow?” Why spend our hard-earned money and precious time stuffing our faces with as many different colors as we can?

I get that question more often than you’d think. So let’s get into the nitty gritty, yas?

The reason why fruits and vegetables look like they do is because they contain different phytonutrients (also called phytochemicals); they’re what make a strawberry red (lycopene and flavonoids), a broccoli floret green (indole-3-carbinol and chlorophyll), a yam orange (beta-carotene), and an eggplant purple (anthocyanins). But like, uhhh, what do they do?

Let’s talk about all this in the context of cancer. Alright yes, not everyone’s first pick of a conversation topic, but one that very clearly illustrates the importance of eating a variety of different colored fruit and veggies as well as tea, spices, and herbs.

To put it as plainly as possible, cancer arises from dysregulated cell growth control caused by an interaction of dietary, genetic, and environmental risk factors. Damage to cells from free radicals (which are always present in the body but may accumulate to high enough concentrations to cause cancer) are neutralized by antioxidants that are both formed in the body and acquired through phytonutrients in our diet. Aka: eating the rainbow.

Eating a shit ton of different shades ensures you’re giving your bod all the nutrients it needs to fight off uncontrolled mutated cell growth (like cancer) and a whole host of other diseases. Yes, research has proven this. There has been study after study after study demonstrating the power of healthy (and colorful!) foods in regards to disease prevention.

This Korean bibimbap bowl incorporates red/pink, orange, yellow, green, white, brown, and black. BOOM. Fiber-rich veggies deliciously sauteed with garlic, savory pan-fried calcium-and-protein-packed tofu, satisfying heart-healthy fats, and body-nourishing complex carbohydrates. Plus, it’s like really pretty.

So you admit it? You think it’s really pretty.

Rainbow Korean Bibimbap

Makes: 3-4 servings

Ingredients:

For the pickled onions:

  • 1 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup apple cinder vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

For the pickled carrots:

  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup rice vinegar

For the pan-fried tofu:

  • 1 block firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into squares or triangles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • Dash of black pepper

For the garlic chard:

  • 2 teaspoons sesame or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch rainbow swiss chard (can also use swiss chard, spinach, or kale)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sauteed mushrooms:

  • 2 teaspoons sesame or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz baby bella or cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the sesame cucumbers:

  • 1 large cucumber, sliced very thinly (I used a mandolin)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

For the bibimbap sauce:

  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang sauce (I bought mine at Vons, should be able to find in asian marker or any supermarket)
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • Dash of black pepper

For the rest of the bibimbap bowl:

  • 3-4 cups cooked brown, black, or white rice
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 3-4 fried eggs

Directions:

For the pickled onions:

  1. Place onions in a jar. Combine water, vinegars, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk until sugar and salt is dissolved. Pour mixture over onions and let sit at room temp for an hour. Cover and chill. These can be made up to 2 weeks ahead of time.

For the pickled carrots:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar or other glass container and stir until sugar and salt is dissolved. Let sit 15-20 minutes to pickle.

For the pan-fried tofu:

  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. When it looks smokin’ pour in the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the tofu to the pan and then pour soy sauce over the tofu.
  2. Cook for 4-5 minutes until golden brown, then flip and cook another 2-3 minutes until again, golden brown. Before removing from heat, sprinkle with some black pepper. Place on a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool.

For the garlic chard:

  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. When it looks smokin’ pour in the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the swiss chard and cook 2-3 minutes, until wilted. Throw in the garlic and cook another minute. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the sauteed mushrooms:

  1. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. When it looks smokin’ pour in the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until browned and liquid begins to evaporate (about 7 minutes). Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the cucumbers:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

For the bibimbap sauce:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

For the rest of the bibimbap bowl:

  1. Assemble bowls with rice, pickled onions, pickled carrots, pan-fried tofu, garlic chard, sauteed mushrooms, sesame cucumbers, a few spoonfuls of bibimbap sauce, bean sprouts, and a fried egg on top. *Leftover pickled veggies as well as the sesame cucumbers are uhhhmazing in salads, on toast, or in stir fry dishes.

 

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