Vegan Korean BBQ Bowls with Shishito Peppers

These delightful vegan Korean BBQ bowls expertly bring together different flavors, colors, and textures to create an incredible meal. It all starts with a base of warm brown rice that’s piled high with spiralized veggies, hearty red beans, and blistered shishito peppers. The familiar flavors of brown rice vinegar, scallions, and tamari infuse everything with a Korean-inspired profile while a homemade barbecue sauce delivers dollops of powerful spicy-sweetness in every bite. Crunchy sesame seeds create a delicious garnish for a balanced plant-powered meal. Not a fan of heat? Don’t worry about taking the seeds out of the shishito chiles; only 1 in 10 peppers is hot.

For more vegan Korean recipes, check out these tasty ideas:

By Shelli McConnell,


  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • 9 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups fresh zucchini spirals
  • 2 cups matchstick-cut carrots
  • 3 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure cane sugar
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 16 to 20 whole shishito peppers
  • 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium tamari
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 15-oz. can no-salt-added small red beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds


  • In a medium saucepan bring vegetable broth to boiling. Add rice and ⅔ of the minced garlic; reduce heat. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine the next five ingredients (through crushed red pepper); toss to combine.
  • Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high at least 5 minutes. Add shishito peppers; cook undisturbed 3 minutes. Turn peppers; cook undisturbed 3 minutes more. Continue cooking until peppers are blistered and browned, turning frequently, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Sprinkle with tamari.
  • For Barbecue Sauce, in a blender combine the next eight ingredients (through black pepper) and the remaining minced garlic. Cover and blend until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • In bowls arrange garlic rice, zucchini mixture, shishito peppers, and red beans. Top with Barbecue Sauce. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds.

Comments (2)

(2 from 1 vote)

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Heidi Herlihy

I'm not a fan of this recipe. The barbecue sauce is a strange mix that doesn't taste good. Too much vinegar overall and it just doesn't work with these veggies. I like the shishito peppers with the tamari. I think the recipe would work better with a more tamari or low sodium soy sauce base for the sauce. I made this for 4 people including myself. Will not make again. Sorry.


What can be used instead of shishito peppers which are not available where I live?

About the Author

Headshot of Shelli McConnell

About the Author

Shelli McConnell

Shelli McConnell graduated with a bachelor of science in consumer food science and a minor in journalism from Iowa State University. She began her career as a home economist in the Better Homes & Gardens test kitchen before moving into an editorial position within DotDash Meredith. She has since freelanced for 25 years and has served as an editorial project manager for many books and magazines, including three editions of the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book. She has also developed thousands of recipes for publications including Forks Over Knives magazine; Eat This, Not That!; Diabetic Living; Better Homes & Gardens; The Magnolia Journal; and more. McConnell loves to entertain and inspire, so when she’s not in her office, she’s usually in her kitchen. Find her on LinkedIn.
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