Since I began cooking Korean food a few years ago, I've often had requests for vegan versions of my recipes. Being a meat eater myself, I don't have a lot of experience with vegan cooking. However, I was recently preparing a meal to serve 20+ people at my sons' company, LACRM, and I needed to have something vegan on the menu to accommodate the preferences of the group there.
I decided to try to make a meatless version of my beef bulgogi. It's a popular Korean dish that has a very flavorful sauce. My beef bulgogi recipe uses steak, but it's not uncommon to use ground beef. Turns out that it's easy to swap out frozen veggie protein crumbles to make a vegan version of bulgogi that is really close to the ground beef version. After some experimenting, I settled on a combination of veggie crumbles (I used Gardein Beefless Ground), cremini mushrooms and onions. When the mushrooms are cooked, they have a meaty flavor and texture and dark color that boosts the flavor and appearance of the dish. Once the Korean sauce is added, this vegan bulgogi tastes very authentic. It got an enthusiastic thumbs-up from both the vegans and non-vegans at the meal I served. Yay.
This is so easy to make. Here's how.
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients for the base:
Here are the ingredients for the sauce and garnish (I use this same sauce in many of my other Korean recipes. This bulgogi recipe calls for essentially a half-batch of my Everyday Korean Marinade):
Step 2. Peel and grate the ginger. I use a spoon to easily scrape the peel off and a microplane to finely grate the ginger.
view on Amazon: Microplane grater
Step 3. Chop the onions. Use both the white and green parts. Set these aside to use for garnish later.
Step 4. Mince the garlic. Use a knife or garlic press.
Step 5. Mix the sauce. Whisk the sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
view on Amazon: small whisk
Step 6. Mince mushrooms. Cut each mushroom in half and put in a food processor. Pulse until finely minced. (Or, mince them with a knife.) Remove mushrooms and set aside.
view on Amazon: my Cuisinart Food Processor
Step 7. Mince onion. Cut onion in 8 or so big pieces and put in a food processor. Pulse until finely minced. (Or, mince with a knife.)
Step 8. Cook the mixture.
Done! This recipe is so fast and easy. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl or platter and garnish with chopped green onions.
Make-ahead and freezer friendly. Great for food-prep meals, too.
This recipe can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave. It also can be frozen for up to 3 months.
If you've been reluctant to make or eat vegan food, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. The flavor and texture are so good.
Make it a Yummy day!