Vegan Kimbap Bowl (Korean “Sushi” Rice Bowl)

Kimbap or Gimbap is a very popular Korean rice roll dish which consists of rice, some fillings and wrapped in seaweed. The word “kimbap” or “gimbap” literally means “seaweed rice”. We are pretty literal with our words! It could be described as a Korean-style sushi roll, although it is still very different from Japanese sushi. Kimbap has more of a savoury flavour (thanks to the toasted sesame oil that is used) rather than sushi, which contains vinegar in the rice. The fillings are also very different – kimbap is usually filled with a few different vegetables, some pickled radish (danmuji in Korean), egg and sometimes marinated beef. But don’t fret – it’s super easy to make vegan!

When I was a kid, my mom used to make us kimbap to bring to school picnics (it’s a very picnic friendly dish!) and I absolutely LOVED it. Kimbap is definitely one of my favourite foods to eat…! I feel like I say that about everything but I just have a lot of favourite foods. If you haven’t tried kimbap, you MUST give it a go.

I got the idea to make a “deconstructed kimbap” AKA a kimbap bowl… I mean, we always see sushi bowls or burrito bowls… so why not kimbap bowls?! It makes it slightly easier to enjoy the delicious taste of kimbap but without actually having to roll and cut them up… this is kimbap…LAZY VEGAN STYLE. 

Vegan Kimbap Bowl

I’m not going to include any measurements because it really is all up to your own preference and however much you want to eat. So I don’t really want to encourage people to have to measure every little ingredient… since it’s not important for this dish! Feel free to omit some ingredients, add others, etc. It’s your dish, you do what you gotta do. If you want a visual – watch the video above! 


  • Cooked brown rice or white rice
  • Carrots, julienned
  • Spinach or baby spinach
  • Cooked lentils + bulgogi sauce (you could just season it however way you want, but I think the bulgogi sauce goes really well with it)
  • Pickled radish (danmuji)
  • Firm or extra firm tofu, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • Toasted sesame oil
  • A few pinches of salt
  • Roasted seaweed (nori) sheet(s)
  • A pinch of toasted sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Cook rice using whatever method suits you. I prefer using a rice/pressure cooker. Once finished, you can add a small pinch of salt and a small amount of sesame oil and mix well.
  2. You can steam the carrots or pan-fry them with a little bit of vegetable oil just for a few minutes. Once done, add a pinch of salt and a small amount of sesame oil.
  3. For the spinach – bring some water to a boil in a pot and add the spinach (I used a large handful for one serving). Leave it in for only about 30-60 seconds until the spinach just begins to wilt and turn brighter green. Then drain and rinse in cold water right away. Squeeze the water out then add in a pinch of salt and a small amount of sesame oil.
  4. I like to stir fry the lentils with a little bit of bulgogi sauce (Korean BBQ style sauce) to add to the bowl. This acts as a bit of a meat substitute and this part is optional.
  5. For the tofu – heat up a frying pan on medium-high heat and fry the tofu pieces on each side with a little bit of vegetable oil for a few minutes (about 5 minutes on each side or until each side is a nice golden colour).
  6. Cut up the pickled radish pieces into small bite-sized chunks. You can find this at Korean or Asian super markets. Try to pick the one that isn’t bright yellow, as the bright yellow colouring is very bad for our health!
  7. Now you can assemble, starting with the rice as the base! Sprinkle with some toasted sesame seeds, rip up a nori sheet to add that final seaweed touch and there you have a beautiful kimbap bowl.
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