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Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbq

Korean Vegetable Bulgogi is loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. A sweetly spicy main course made for topping rice – with a side of healthy kimchi.

Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbq

*Jump to Recipe*

Perhaps Korean food is not the first thing you think of when you crave a bowl of comfort food. This recipe, for a vegetable-packed vegan version of the classic Bulgogi Korean barbecue, might just change your mind. With its savoury-sweet and only gently spicy kick (or no kick if you wish), this is a one-pan dish perfect for spooning over hand-held bowls of hot, steaming rice.

Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbqKorean BBQ may ring a bell. I recently posted a Korean BBQ Tofu recipe that also gets inspiration from the spicing of Korea’s quasi-national dish. But this one is all vegetable, so anyone not keen on tofu may wish to give this a go. It is also deeply nourishing. You will feel you are not only nurturing your tastebuds but your body as well

At first glance this recipe looks more complicated than it actually is, especially if you take a gander at the ingredients. In point of fact, in common with quite a few Asian dishes, the effort – such that it is – is just gathering, chopping and stirring. The amount of vegetables may also seem unfeasibly large but trust me that it collapses into a manageable, glossy heap.

Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbqWhat is Bulgogi?

Proper Bulgogi Korean BBQ is meat-based, using strips of thinly-sliced beef (usually rib eye; with short-ribs it is kalbi) and either pan-fried or grilled. The marinade sauce is on the sweet side, so if you are serving this to adventurous children (you never know!) just nix the optional chilli. The sauce really is a barbecue sauce, albeit with ginger, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil, so you could use it on veggie burgers or on anything you might use barbecue sauce.

How do I eat Bulgogi?

Bulgogi is a main dish that is often eaten on its own over rice. It can also be a star element in other dishes: japchae (this is my Food To Glow japchae recipe), bimimbap (again, here’s my recipe for bibimbap), or in a lettuce wrap. In a bun might be nice, too. Like a Korean vegan Sloppy Joe. Accompaniments include kimchi, chopped spring onions and sesame seeds.

How does this version differ from the original?

My version is vegan so that is the biggest difference. I’ve also changed the texture to more of a minced texture. This makes it easier to drive off the moisture inherent in the vegetables and more readily take on the taste of the sauce without needing to marinate (woo hoo!). Proper Korean BBQ often uses corn syrup as the sweetener but I’ve gone for treacly dark  brown sugar. Other chefs use agave or honey. My version is also heavy on the ginger, which isn’t usually there either. But I love the spiky, citrussy notes of ginger in this. I think it does a good job of balancing the essential sweetness.

bulgogimixWhat is in this Korean Vegetable Bulgogi?

You probably have most for the ingredients, or can easily get them.

Walnuts. These are not only superbly nutritious, they also really contribute to the minced beef texture

Mixed mushrooms – in this case chestnut (cremini) and shiitake. If I was able to get King oyster mushrooms, that would be even better than the chestnut mushrooms. I adore them! I ask for a goodly pile of them, but they mulch down nicely

Aubergine/eggplant. As little cubes they add a nice chewiness and absorb the sauce really well

Carrots also add their own sweetness, texture and nutrients.

Onions, garlic, brown sugar, reduced-sodium soy sauce, grated ginger (lots!), toasted sesame oil, chilli flakes (optional), rice vinegar (optional), spring onions

I seriously doubt any Korean grandmother would recognise this as bulgogi, but it is delicious comfort food with a pile of rice. And the fact that it is high in fibre, full of plants and low in saturated fat scores well with me. And perhaps you, too.

Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbqHow to make a Food To Glow Vegetable Bulgogi

1) Ensure all of the vegetables are roughly the same size – small. Cube the vegetables not larger than one centimetre and chop the walnuts just a bit smaller (remember, they don’t shrink down).

2) Cook them, in the order described below, in a small amount of oil over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently. I use a cast iron skillet for best results, but any skillet will do.

3) Mix the sauce ingredients in a bowl and wait for the vegetables to cook down and caramelise slightly. Toss the sauce into the pan and let it bubble up and absorb. Meanwhile cook the rice and slice the spring onions.

That’s it! Enjoy this one-pan dish hot with rice, a spoonful of kimchi, sliced spring onions and maybe even the sesame-lime slaw from my other (quite different!) Korean BBQ recipe.

**Remember to follow me on Pinterest and, if you make my Korean Vegetable Bulgogi, click on the pin at the bottom and leave a photo of your make with a comment telling me what you think, or any awesome changes that you made. Similarly, any Instagram posts tagged @food_to_glow using my recipes will go on my Story if I see them. I’m always so proud when you share my recipes with the world. Yay!!!

Whether on Pinterest, InstagramFacebookTwitter or of course here on the blog, I love to see what you do with my recipes, and I welcome your comments, star ratings, tweaks and suggestions.**

Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbq

Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbq
4.7 from 13 votes

Korean Vegetable Bulgogi

Korean Bulgogi (Korean BBQ) loaded with vegetables and completely vegan.

Course DInner, Main Course
Cuisine Korean
Keyword BBQ, bulgogi, vegan, vegetables
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 people
Calories 436 kcal
Author kellie anderson


  • 1 tbsp rapeseed or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 medium carrots small cubes
  • 250 grams aubergine/eggplant small cubes
  • 300 grams mixed mushrooms
  • 100 grams walnuts finely chopped

BBQ Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or wheat-free tamari sauce
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes Korean red pepper if possible
  • 1/2 tsp ground Sichuan pepper optional
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar optional
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil


  • Hot brown or white rice
  • Chopped spring onions/scallions


  1. Heat half of the oil in a pan over a medium flame. Add the onion and carrots, cooking for five minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally. Decant this into bowl. 

  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and sauté the aubergine until soft, then add the mushrooms and walnuts and cook until the mushrooms release their moisture. Add the onions and carrots back to the pan and stir.

  3. Whisk together the sauce ingredients.

  4. Add the sauce to the vegetables and let it bubble up; stirring frequently. The bulgogi is ready when the sauce is absorbed

Recipe Notes

If you want to make it nut-free leave out the walnuts and add more aubergine or mushrooms.

Other serving options: wrapped in lettuce, in japchae, in a bun like a sloppy Joe, in bibimbap

Adjust the sauce to your tastebuds. Traditionally this is a sweet dish but I have cut the added sweetness back. I also like a splash of rice vinegar or lime, but this is not traditional.

The recipe reheats well at a low temperature. Add a little more soy and vinegar plus a splash of water to keep the flavours and to keep it from sticking to the pan.

Nutrition Facts
Korean Vegetable Bulgogi
Amount Per Serving
Calories 436 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Sodium 944mg41%
Potassium 895mg26%
Carbohydrates 38g13%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 21g23%
Protein 10g20%
Calcium 79mg8%
Vitamin C 7.3mg9%
Vitamin A 7010IU140%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Korean Bulgogi loaded with vegetables and completely vegan. #Koreanfood #vegan #recipe #vegetables #bulgogi #koreanbbq

23 thoughts on “Korean Vegetable Bulgogi {vegan} – a healthier recipe

  1. Mr A says:

    I’ve just had this for my tea and it’s awesome! Not sure how you do it every time Mrs A but you’ve smashed it!

    1. Rachel Anderson says:

      You’re so cute, Mr A <3

  2. Kelsey says:

    Looks delicious!

  3. What a great idea and looks like its packed with flavour. i will try this out at the weekend, thank you!

  4. ruralwifie says:

    Just made this, it is super! I served it on your recipe chickpea flour pancakes – awesome

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Oh I’m so glad you like it!! And the soccas are a great call. I wouldn’t have thought of that. Super for more protein as well as tasty. Thank you for awesome feedback. Can I ask that you leave a 🌟 rating in the recipe card? It helps me immensely with Google. Cheers!

  5. Wow, this looks delicious Kellie! I’ve never eaten bulgogi but it looks so good. You know how to make an exotic meal accessible for home cooks. Will be making this when my husband is traveling (he has a slight allergy to walnuts)!

  6. Rachel Anderson says:

    What a unique idea. Your creativity is endless <3 Also, I never thought that food photographs could have "atmosphere", but you'r certainly do!! Love the fabric in the first pic too. From Copenhagen? X

  7. Joanna says:

    Delicious! Linky from twitter to your site got me here and just made this and it is soo good! Thankyou!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      That is so fab to hear, Joanna. I saw your tweet this morning and I was thrilled! Thanks so taking the time to leave a comment here. It will help others decide whether to make this or not 🙂

  8. Anna Röser-Dümmig says:

    This really is an amazing vegetarian Bulgogi recipe! 🙂 Bulgogi is one of my favorite Korean dishes and now I have a meet-free option. I was really surprised by the great flavor – no meet needed at all in my opinion. Thanks for the great new recipe. Already shared it with some friends. Best, Anna

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Oh thank you, Anna. Such lovely feedback. 😊 I did work to get the balance so I’m glad you appreciate it!

  9. Holly Malott says:

    We’ve made this twice since finding the recipe. So yummy and easy to make. Love the walnuts. Definitely a quick dinner staple.

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Thanks so much for letting me know, Holly. Because I develop recipes all the time I often don’t go back to others for awhile. This is a reminder that I really must do so!

  10. Kris says:

    We are almost a month into trying for meatless Mondays, and this looks great to try. My husband loves bulgogi. (Today was massively stressful so I roasted a chicken for comfort food. But it’s the first Monday in a month we’ve eaten meat for dinner. One of my 2 year old twins got into my husband’s medicine, and is at the hospital being observed with my mil.)

    1. kellie anderson says:

      Oh gosh, Kris! I hope all has settled down for you. I can imagine you were beyond stressed out. Sending good vibes to you and your family. And I am so pleased that this recipe looks enticing to you x

  11. Kris says:

    Oh, and I’m also an American expat in England. I make all our Asian food because we can’t get any as good as I can make in our tiny seaside town.

  12. Kris says:

    Everything was perfectly fine with Dalton, and I’ve put the ingredients for this on my grocery shop. We love Asian food, so I may be able to sneak this past my husband. He got upset when I went to use fake meat one time for burritos. Now I need a veggie version of bahn mi

  13. Juhi says:

    thank you for sharing this! My toddler and husband both loved it! I hope everything’s well at your end!

  14. Sarah K says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I tripled the amount of Korean red pepper flakes/gochugaru as I thought the sauce needed a little extra oomph 😊 Very delicious and love the texture that the walnuts provide. Next time I will chop everything smaller as it took much longer than written to soften vegetables. Yummy!!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      I’m so glad you like it and made it to your own tastebuds, Sarah. Most of my recipes are highly “tweakable”.And thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Much appreciated 🙂

  15. BF says:

    I made this as directed and served it with basmati rice. I peeled the eggplant and salted it to get rid of any bitterness. I used a mix of shiitake and baby Bella mushrooms. Very tasty!

    1. kellie anderson says:

      I’m so glad you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. 🙂

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