Korean food is my is my weakness: spicy meats, fermented ban chan, and that smokey hair smell that does not wash out for weeks. I love it all, but could do with a little less greasy. So as you can imagine, I do a fair amount of research/ reading/ kitchen tinkering on Korean home cooking. Vegetarian Bim Bim Bop is a fantastic and easy recipe to spice up your weeknight's. Use the quinoa/ greens as a base and get creative with your favorite toppings. I have shared with you a few of my favorite toppings, but any veggie sautéed with a little fresh ginger and garlic will go beautifully.
Weeknight Bi Bim Bop
2 cups cooked quinoa
6 cups mixed greens, baby spinach or arugula.
6-12 Shitake mushrooms
1 Japanese eggplant
3-5 radishes radishes
6 cherry tomatoes
Kimchee (store bought or homemade no MSG.)
1/2 cup rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar
1 Tbs sesame oil
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs. Soy sauce, tamari or Braggs Amino Acids
Cook your quinoa using the 2:1 ratio: 2 cups water for every one cup quinoa. It cooks just like rice in about 15 minutes. If you'd like to soak your grains before hand, adjust your ratio to 1:1.
While your quinoa cooks, use the time to prepare each topping. It is best done consecutively, using the same pan. This will allow you to tweak the flavor on each topping while, moving quickly through the process.
*Thinly slice the radishes and add them to 1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar for a quick pickle. Marinate them for 15 mins. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds when serving.
*Roast the Eggplant in an oven at 400. Slice eggplant in half and then cut diagonal slices into the flesh of each half. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sesame oil and salt and pepper. Roast for aprox 30 mins.
* Saute the shitake mushrooms with 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp of freshly chopped ginger and 1 tsp of freshly chopped garlic. Remove and set aside.
* Add 1 Tbs sliced onions to the same pan and cook until soft. Then add your chopped greens, stir briefly, then add 2 Tbs water. Cover with a lid and cook for 2 more mins. Remove, drizzle with 1 tsp of rice vinegar. and set aside. Remove any extra liquid left in pan.
* Now is your chance to add your favorite veggie. Slice it and throw it in the pan with 1 tsp of soy sauce. Zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potato would all be great toppings.
When the quinoa is ready, you are set to assemble your Bi Bim Bop. Using two bowls for serving, add 1 cups of quinoa and 1-3 cups of salad greens side by side in each bowl. Top the quinoa/ greens base with small piles of your many, prepared toppings. Add prepared kimchee, and an option for Nori (seaweed) sheets. For an extra protein boost (6 grams in 1 egg) and Bi Bim Bop authenticity, fry or poach an egg (using no more than 1/2 tsp oil) and place it in the center of your masterpiece.
Variety is the spice of life! The more variety you have in your daily vegetables, the more nutrients you're getting in your diet. Each vegetable offers a unique and important vitamin or mineral. For example: radishes contain high levels of folic acid and vitamin C, making them great for your skin and powerful cancer fighters; Shitake mushrooms are the king of the medicinal mushroom world. They contain all the B-vitamins and many trace minerals such as manganese, selenium and zinc. They are best known for their strong immune boosting properties and cardiovascular support. Eggplant, while sometimes controversial as a member of the nightshade family (best avoided for people with arthritis), has strong levels of the antioxidant nasunin which can protect the cells from oxidative damage. Etc.....
The bottom line is, eating a rainbow of veggies with bring you greater health. Rather then relaying on multivitamins, first aim to meet your daily nutrient requirements from a full dose of colorful vegetables.