Eating healthy becomes a way of life pretty quickly once you get the hang of it. At least it did for me. But I love variety, and a program that has me eating broccoli and grilled chicken all the time gets old quick. I like to get creative in the kitchen and try new flavor combinations.
I remember seeing an episode of Master Chef, where the contestants received a mystery box and were told to prepare bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish. My first thought was "what the heck is a bibimbap?" Then I realized how fun it is to say. I also recall seeing how easily the contestants were able to really tailor this dish to their own style with the ingredients provided.
Time to Customize
I learned that bibimbap is usually served over rice, but I have a ton of my favorite brown rice ramen in the cabinet, and I'm running out of space. So I started thinking: what else do I have that I could throw in here? I don't have any kimchi in the house, because I'm not really partial to pickled foods (and *gasp* I've never tried kimchi). But I always have some bagged coleslaw mix in the fridge because it's super versatile. I also had a bunch of other veggies to make, including leftover snow peas from a recipe I had made earlier in the week. I've seen many versions of bibimbap that top the dish with an egg over easy, but my family won't eat that, so I left it out.
Once I started gathering my ingredients, I realized the fresh mushrooms I had went bad. Easy fix: I used canned mushrooms. Not my favorite, but they work in a pinch. You could also use dried mushrooms, provided they're reconstituted before cooking. The rest was super simple.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: 4 servings
· 1 pound ground beef
· 3 carrots, julienned
· 1 zucchini, julienned
· 1 package mushrooms, any type, can be fresh, canned, or dried
· 1 cup snow peas, cut into 1/2" pieces
· 1 bag coleslaw mix
· 1 bag baby spinach
· 2 cakes brown rice ramen, or 2 cups rice
· 2-3 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
· 1/4 cup coconut aminos or tamari sauce, divided
· 1-2 tablespoons chili paste, or sriracha
· OPTIONAL GARNISHES :
· 4 eggs, over easy
· Sprinkle of sesame seeds
· Dash of hot sauce
1. Using a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil and the carrots. Sauté until the carrots are cooked but still a little crisp, about 2-3 minutes. Add a teaspoon of coconut aminos/tamari to the skillet. When the carrots are done, move them to a bowl and cover it to keep them warm.
2. Place the beef into the skillet with the chili paste. I chose to be a bit cautious, and only used 1 tablespoon, but it wasn't spicy at all. Play around with the amount to find the right amount of chili paste for you. Make sure everything is mixed very well, and cook until there is no pink left (about 8 minutes). Break the ground beef into smaller pieces as you cook, so it should ideally be tiny crumbles. Place into a bowl and cover.
3. Repeat step 1 for the snow peas, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, and cabbage, keeping all in separate covered bowls. I added about double the amount of coconut aminos/tamari to the cabbage, since it absorbed all the liquid right away.
4. While the mushrooms are cooking, put up the water for the brown rice ramen, and cook according to instructions.
5. Once everything has finished, place your noodles in the center of a large bowl (or plate like I did), and surround it with the sautéed vegetables and meat. I topped mine with sesame seeds and hot sauce, but feel free to get creative with your arrangement and garnishes!
I cooked these ingredients in a specific order, since even in covered bowls certain things cool off faster (I'm looking at you cabbage and noodles). Also, cooking the meat (but not draining the fat) allows some of the flavor and spice to infuse into the veggies, which I drained before serving.
Gluten Free Ramen?
If you're gluten free, have no fear. You don't have to skip this recipe or change anything about it. I heard about these amazingly delicious ramen noodles that are made out of brown rice from the amazing Nancylynn over at Confessions of a Fit Foodie, who comes up with a lot of great gluten free recipes. They taste good, have a great texture, and don't get soft or gooey. I couldn't find any in my local supermarket, but Amazon has them and I always keep a supply on hand since I can use them in a lot of different recipes. I've included a link below.
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21 Day Fix Container Counts
This meal is an amazing way to get your family to eat more vegetables. I've heard it said that it's healthy to eat a variety of colors, and this meal is a nice mix of colors and textures. 21 Day Fix container counts are as follows:
· 1 red
· 2 green
· 1 yellow
· 2 teaspoons
· Please be sure to count any additional vegetables or garnishes you use!
This dish is so easy to customize, because you can change just about anything you want. If you don't have one of the ingredients on hand, you can swap it out for something you do have.
If you're vegetarian or vegan - skip the meat. You can add tofu or your favorite plant based protein.
If you're following a low-carb plan - leave out the noodles. You can use cauliflower rice if you'd like. Depending on how strict you are, you may want to skip the carrots as well.
Let your imagination run wild!
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