Easy Vegan Bulgogi Bowl! There are no fancy ingredients, its easy to make and it’s ready in a flash! This delicious recipe swaps beef for mushrooms and tofu, which are pan fried until crisp, then sautéed with julienned carrots and green onions before tossed with a bulgogi sauce which infuses the tofu with flavour without hours of marinating. Pair it with rice, kimchi, and steamed vegetable for a quick and amazing Korean Bulgogi Bowl!
What is Bulgogi?
Literally speaking, bulgogi translates to “fire meat”. Its most commonly made with made thinly sliced, tender cuts of beef (such as rib eye) which is marinated in soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, mirin, gochujang chili paste, brown sugar, and ripe, coarsely grated Asian pear which tenderises the meat. Then the meat is grilled or pan-fried and ignites your taste buds with its sweet and savoury flavour.
An easy bulgogi sauce
This easy bulgogi recipe is made with a little more than a handful of ingredients. All of which, are a easy to come by and possibly already in your kitchen. Chili flakes are used instead of gochujang, and unrefined mascabado sugar is used in place of brown sugar, mirin and Asian pear. Together with sesame oil, garlic, ginger and soy sauce, a little pepper and water to thin, we have a simple but irresistibly delicious bulgogi sauce. One that you are going to want to enjoy again and again!
Ways to adapt this vegan Korean BBQ recipe
I simply love the mix of textures and flavor by using tofu, mushrooms and carrots, however you could trade out the tofu (and even the mushrooms) for jackfruit or a plant-based meat substitute. Alternatively, you could even try eggplant, which could be marinated in the sauce prior to cooking it.
If you like this asian-style vegan recipe, you might also like:
- Miso Soba Noodles with Stir-Fried Vegetables
- Udon Noodle Mushroom Stir Fry (Yaki Udon)
- Japanese Mushroom Donburi (Rice Bowl)
- Asian Glass Noodle Salad (vegan)
- Vegan Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew with Tofu
Easy Vegan Bulgogi
For the bulgogi sauce:
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 4 tablespoons muscovado unrefined cane sugar
- 4 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4-1/2 tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons water
For the tofu and vegetables:
- 1,5 tbsp sesame oil, divided
- 250 g firm tofu, cut into small cubes
- 300 g oyster mushrooms, torn (I used a mix of oyster mushroom types)
- 2 medium carrots, julienned
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- cooked jasmine rice or whole grain rice
- steamed broccoli
- sliced green onions
- toasted sesame seeds
- sriracha sauce
Lightly press the tofu block with paper towels to remove some of the excess water, then cut into small cubes and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce (sesame oil, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce, chili flakes pepper and water). Set aside.
In large heavy-bottomed skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-5 minutes before stirring. Stir, then leave them for another 3 minutes and repeat one more time or until the mushrooms are golden brown and cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil to the skillet, followed by the tofu cubes . Fry, stirring occasionally, until crisps up on sides (8-10 minutes). Add carrots and green onion and sauté until carrot is crisp-tender (4-5 minutes). Add the cooked mushrooms and the sauce and reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes. Add an extra splash of water (1 tablespoon) to thin, if needed.
Serve over rice with steamed broccoli, sliced green onions, kimchi and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy with a drizzle of sriracha sauce on top, if desired.
- Vegan Bulgogi is also great served in lettuce wraps, spring rolls and so much more!
For a relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen I recommend my personal Elle Republic: Chilled Out Kitchen Tunes Playlist on Spotify.
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