Korean BBQ Chickpea Bento Bowls
Korean BBQ chickpeas, fresh vegetables and rice come together to make the most delicious bento bowls! These nourishing bowls are perfect for lunches and kid friendly dinners. They are packed with flavor, protein, fiber, and plant-based iron. This fabulous recipe comes to us from the cookbook, Nourishing Superfood Bowls, by Lindsay Cotter. I received a free review copy of the book, and this post contains an Amazon affiliate link, but all opinions are my own.
When I found out my friend Lindsay from Cotter Crunch was publishing a cookbook filled with nourishing superfood bowls, I jumped at the chance to request a copy. I’m a huge fan of colorful bowl meals, from smoothie bowls to Buddha bowls and everything in between. I usually stick to Mexican or Mediterranean style bowls, so this book is just what I needed to broaden my Buddha bowl repertoire. This week I made Lindsay’s Korean BBQ Chickpea Bento Bowls and I’m thrilled to have been given permission to share the recipe with you.
These Korean BBQ style chickpea bowls are loaded with flavor and nutrition. My whole family loved this meal. I wasn’t sure at first if my kids would love it, but they did! As the marinade isn’t spicy, this dish is kid-approved. The slightly sweet marinade is what really makes these bowls special. I want to put it on so many things. I know I’m going to be craving this meal frequently and am so happy to have another flavor option for our bowl meals. The day I made this recipe I actually made it twice. I made it during the photo shoot and planned to save it for dinner, but, it was so delicious I accidentally ate practically the entire batch. Oops. So I made it again for dinner and wasn’t mad at all to have it twice that day. You’re going to love this one.
The ingredient list may look a bit long, but this recipe comes together quickly. The marinade ingredients include tamari, tomato sauce, honey or coconut sugar, garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. They get whisked together in a bowl before coating chickpeas. At this point you know the dish is going to be delicious because you can already smell all those wonderful umami flavors.
The book says edamame can be added in with the chickpeas if desired, and I chose to add them in. I only just now realized I made a mistake. The recipe calls for unshelled edamame and I used shelled. Oh well, it worked well anyway! Once the beans are coated in the marinade they get roasted in the oven for 15-20 minutes. During this time I cooked my rice in the Instant Pot and prepared the fresh vegetables.
Ribbons of carrots and zucchini (I use a vegetable peeler to make the ribbons), chopped Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, micro greens, cilantro, lime, and sesame seeds are the perfect additions to these Korean BBQ chickpea bowls. I loved every single one of these ingredients with the BBQ chickpeas and rice, especially lots of cilantro and micro greens. One of the reasons I love Buddha bowl style meals so much is that everyone can assemble their own bowls. I gave the kids their bowls with just the rice and roasted chickpea mixture and let them top their bowls with the veggies they wanted to use.
This Korean BBQ bowl was one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time. I’ll be making this recipe again and again.
I highly recommend grabbing a copy of Nourishing Superfood Bowls. It’s filled with “75 Healthy and Delicious Gluten-Free Meals to Fuel Your Day.” Most of the recipes have vegetarian/vegan options and I love that the book has so many pictures. Flipping through the book it seems to have a beautiful picture for every recipe! I’ve long admired Lindsay’s photography, and it adds so much to this wonderful cookbook. You can get a copy wherever books are sold. I find Amazon to be an easy option so I’ll leave a link here. This is an affiliate link, so I get a small commission if you order through it – thank you!
Don’t miss the short video!
Korean BBQ Chickpea Bento Bowls
If you love Korean BBQ, I think you’ll love this plant-based bento bowl version. Perfect for lunches and kid friendly dinners, this veggie dish is rich in protein, fiber and plant-based iron.
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) tamari
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) honey or coconut sugar (see notes)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) sesame oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (30-40 ml) chopped green onion or red onion
- 1 (15 oz [400 g]) can cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup unshelled cooked edamame, optional
- 2 cups (420 g) cooked rice
- 1 cup (340 g) chopped Brussels sprouts or shredded cabbage (see notes)
- 1 zucchini, ribbon cut
- 1 carrot, ribbon cut
- 1 cup (160 g) sliced grape tomatoes
- 1/2 lime, juiced
- 1 to 2 tablespoons (10 to 20 g) sesame seeds
- 1/2 tablespoon (1 g) crushed red pepper flakes
- Fine sea salt
- 1 cup (40 g) microgreens or sprouts
- Handful of fresh cilantro
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C). Line a baking sheet with foil.
- To make the Korean BBQ marinade, combine the tamari, water, tomato sauce, honey, ginger, pepper, garlic, sesame oil and green onion in a medium-size bowl. Add the chickpeas and edameme, if desired, to the marinade bowl and toss thoroughly to cover. Reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons (15 to 30 ml) of the marinade for topping the bowl.
- Spread out the chickpea mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes, turning once, until the chickpeas are crispy. Remove from the oven and set aside. Let the chickpeas cool while preparing the bowls.
- For the bowls, divide the cooked rice into 2 bowls, or 3 bowls for smaller portions. Top the rice bowls with the Brussels sprouts, zucchini, carrot and tomatoes, followed by the BBQ roasted chickpeas.
- Squeeze the fresh lime juice on top of each bowl, then sprinkle with the sesame seeds and red pepper flakes. Season with salt or pepper, to taste, and garnish with the microgreens and fresh cilantro. For more BBQ zing, drizzle the reserved marinade sauce on top, or swap it out for your favorite BBQ sauce.
For a vegan option, omit the honey and use coconut sugar. This bowl if full of flavor and great texture. Feel free to roast the chopped Brussels sprouts along with the chickpeas. this adds a smoky flavor to the vegetables.
*Marina’s note: I double this recipe to serve my family of 4.
This recipe was reprinted with permission from Nourishing Superfood Bowls by Lindsay Cotter.