Want a super healthy vegan recipe that kicks butt? Try this Korean inspired spicy noodle bowl, made with spaghetti squash.
This recipe is a spin on traditional Korean Bibimbap — a rice bowl served with different veggies, meat and Gochujang sauce — my go-to vegetarian option at Korean restaurants. The lightly seasoned veggies and Gochujang sauce in Bibimbap are so yummy, you don’t need meat and I’ve added soy beans to my version for more protein. By swapping out the white rice for seasonal spaghetti squash, this noodle bowl becomes ultra-healthy!
Oodles of (low-cal) noodles:
How can you not love a vegetable disguised as a noodle?
1 cup of white rice:
31 grams of carbohydrates
1 cup of (wheat) noodles:
25 g of carbohydrates
1 cup of spaghetti squash:
7 g of carbohydrates
Spaghetti squash is low-cal and ultra absorbent so all that lovely sauce flavour gets into every noodle bite.
This recipe may seem complicated at first but it is fairly simple. It just requires a bit of time and patience since each of the veggie topping must be prepared separately.
What you’ll need from the Asian Market
Never made Bibimbap? Visit your Asian market and pick up the following items:
Gochujang (sometimes spelled Kochujang), a fermented Korean hot pepper paste
Toasted sesame oil – a must in EVERY kitchen
Black sesame seeds
Dried shiitake mushrooms
Frozen soy beans (without husks)
All other ingredients can be found at your standard grocery store.
Spicy Korean inspired spaghetti squash noodle bowl
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Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Author: Melodie Le Siege
A delicious low carb noodle bold that blends Korean spice with seasoned vegetables and fabulous squash.
1 spaghetti squash
1 cup frozen soy beans, defrosted
1 cup arugula, washed
1 red pepper, cut into match sticks
1 cup carrots, cut into match sticks
1 medium zucchini, cut into match sticks or half moons
1 medium cucumber, cut into half moons
1 cup bean sprouts, washed
1 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
2.5 cups spinach, washed
4 tbsp Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
1/2 cup sesame oil
4 tsp garlic, minced
5 tsp canola oil for sautéing
2 tsp tamari
1 tbsp black sesame seeds *toasted sesame seeds are fine as well
1 green onion sliced
sesame oil to drizzle
Prepare the squash:
Preheat the oven to 375°F (200°C)
Use a long sharp knife to cut the spaghetti squash lengthwise from stem to tail. Spaghetti squash are really hard, so be careful.
Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy flesh from inside the squash. Don't dig too deep, leave the hard flesh intact — this is what makes the spaghetti! Discard the seeds and flesh.
Place the squash cut-side down on a baking tray or roasting dish.
Cook the squash for 35 to 45 minutes: while you prep you other veggies. Check the squash after 30 minutes to see the progress. The squash is ready when you can very easily pierce a it with a fork through the peel.
Pour 1.5 cups of boiling water over the shiitake mushrooms, set aside for 30 minutes to rehydrate. In the meantime feel free to begin preparing other veggies.
Once shiitakes are rehydrated, drain mushrooms and rinse over cool water. Squeeze water out excess water using your hands.
Heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat in a wok (or a large pan), add mushrooms, 1/2 tsp of garlic, and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Place mushrooms in a bowl, mix in a tsp of sesame oil, 1/2 tsp of tamari, and a 1/4 tsp of agave sirup.
Add your freshly washed bean sprouts, a pinch of salt, and two cups of water into a medium pot to simmer for 30 minutes over medium heat.
Drain, rinse with cold water, and place in a bowl. Mix in 1 tsp of sesame oil, a pinch of salt and a 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, set aside.
Red pepper, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, soy beans:
You'll need to prepare each of these vegetables separately but the process is the same. You could speed up the process by adding them all together but it's not advised.
To begin, place red peppers, carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers into separate bowls, sprinkle with salt, let sit for minimum 10 minutes, allowing the salt to extract water from the vegetables.
Heat 1 tsp of oil over medium heat in a wok (or a large pan). Add red peppers and 1/2 tsp of garlic, sauté for about 2 minutes. They should be tender but still firm. Place them back into the bowl, set aside.
3. Repeat this step for the carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers and soy beans. Soy beans may need to be cooked longer if not totally defrosted.
Blanch spinach: Add 3 cups of ice cold water in a large bowl, set aside. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil then lower heat. In two equal batches: drop spinach into boiling water for about 2 minutes (until lightly wilted), quickly remove and dip into the ice cold bath. Repeat step for batch 2 then remove all spinach from bath and squeeze water out with your hands.
Place blanched spinach in a bowl, mix in tsp of sesame oil, 1/2 tsp of tamari, 1/2 tsp of minced garlic, and a 1/4 tsp of agave sirup.
Blend 4 tbsp Gochujang, 1/4 cup sesame oil, 1/4 water, 1 tsp tamari, and 1/2 tsp agave sirup. Add a little more water if required for ease of blending.
Once your spaghetti squash is cooled from the oven, use a fork to scrape the flesh to create long strands. Place all the spaghetti flesh into a large bowl and toss with a drizzle of sesame oil and a pinch of salt. Divide into 4 bowls, you may also use tupperware containers if you wish to save portions. They last for 2 - 4 days in the refrigerator.
Divide shiitake mushrooms, bean sprouts, red pepper, carrots, zucchini, cucumber, spinach, and arugula among the four bowls of spaghetti squash. Carefully place them into sections for presentation. Sprinkle each bowl with black sesame seeds, green onions and a final drizzle of sesame oil.
In order to avoid confusion, I've divided the steps by the different vegetable toppings. You can work in and out of the steps or prepare a few of the steps in advance in order to make the final assembly simple and easy. Just remember that your patience will pay off with a meal that is really tasty and so healthy! By replacing the rice with spaghetti squash, you remove those starchy carbs for a high fibre and very filling meal.