It’s an extra special day today: I created my first video! Yes, that little animation posted above was crafted by yours truly, in response to a common source of confusion for my readers: food labeling/marketing claims (“grass-fed” can be one of the most misleading). Anyway, give it a peek and let me know what you think!
So what’s the hype about meal prep?
Well, if you’re in the market to take control of your health, your time, and your finances, then listen up.
- Saving time. If you’re like me, you have less than zero patience on weekdays to waste time cooking individual meals separately. All the effort of researching recipes, sourcing ingredients, prepping, cooking, and washing up. . . multiplied by three times per day, five days per week, for a total of fifteen? Hard pass.
- Supporting your health/fitness goals. When you prep your meals, you know exactly what you’re eating. You select each ingredient, measure it to your own specifications and mix it according to your preferences. The closer you get to the production of your own meals, the more confident you can be that you know what you’re putting into your body. Restaurant meals give you little to no control of the nutritional value of your food. Whether you’re using an online program to count calories, tracking your macronutrient breakdown, avoiding allergens, or simply working to limit impulsive, uninformed food choice generally, prepping your own food gives you ultimate control.
- Saving money. You know it already but I’ll say it again: eating restaurant meals for lunch (even just a #saddesklunch to hole up in your cubicle with) can add up over months and years to a sum much larger than the expenditure on meal prep ingredients.
That’s why I reserve time on my calendar for prep every week, and that’s why I crafted this meal prep roadmap (featuring the Korean classic bibimbap, but it could be applied to any number of other recipes) for you. Let’s do something more creative/strategic/relaxing than spending our time in the kitchen, who’s with me? Unless kitchen time totally is creative/strategic/relaxing for you, in which case:
Rock on with your bad self.
For the rest of us, this meal prep roadmap ensures that we have five weekday lunches ready to go when our alarm goes off on Monday morning. If you’re hoping to prep a different number of meals, use the handy “adjust servings” in the recipe card below, and the quantity of ingredients will change to your preferences.Get the #mealprep roadmap for a week of the Healthy Korean classic: Spicy Beef Bibimbap #eatrightClick To Tweet
This bibimbap is not your average Korean-restaurant-in-the-U.S. bibimbap.
Obligatory authenticity note: what you’ll see on domestic Korean menus is typically a kaleidoscope of vegetables accompanied by an egg and often meat, arranged over hot steamed rice. You mix up all of the ingredients—bibimbap literally means mixed-up rice—and wreak happy havoc on that bowl. It’s interactive and dramatic, all the more so if it comes to the table sizzling in a dolsot, or hot stone bowl, which continues to cook the bibimbap as you eat. This recipe echoes that in spirit, but I’ve tweaked it for the purposes of batch-cooking and assembly ahead of time for streamlined enjoyment throughout the week. So you will 1) spend time on the front-end making the various components one after the other (or at the same time), 2) divide the components evenly into a week’s worth of meals, and 3) store the pre-made bibimbap in the refrigerator until desired.
Last but not least is, well, the meat.
First, those are Chinese tea egg nestled in the center of all that beefy, vegetable-y deliciousness instead of the fried egg that bibimbap is more traditionally topped with. I opted for a boiled egg because it will weather days of waiting before you to eat it much better than a fried egg. No one likes rubbery.
Second, I know you were planning to make this with succulent grass-fed beef from pastured cows, right? RIGHT? If you weren’t, may I strongly suggest it? Better for your body, better for the environment, and better for cows. Yes, it’s pricey. Worth it. I created this batch of bibimbap using Stemple Creek beef. I have written about Stemple Creek before (I featured them in my 30-Minute Thai Beef with Basil, my Sheet-Pan Fajitas, and my Meat Pie). Stemple Creek is working with the Marin Carbon Project to fight climate change and enhance ecosystems through carbon farming. “Carbon farming” is the enhancement of grassland’s ability sequester carbon. Common agricultural practices, including driving a tractor, tilling the soil, and grazing, result in the return of carbon dioxide to the air. As one-third of the surplus carbon dioxide in the atmosphere driving climate change today has come from land management practices that cause loss of carbon from working land.
On the other hand, carbon farming involves implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and converted to plant material and/or soil organic matter. Carbon farming is successful when carbon gains resulting from enhanced land management and/or conservation practices exceed carbon losses.Did you know? Grass-fed/pastured meat may actually fight #climatechange. 🌱 🌎 🐮Click To Tweet
Once you’ve sourced the best meat you can find + afford, get ready for five days of home-cooked bibimbap.
First day: rice, meat, mushrooms, spinach, carrots, kimchi, green onions and red chili flakes. Off to a great start!
Second day: I took a break from the green onions, was in a hurry that morning. I’m having fun with different colored chopsticks each day, by the way.
Third day: I mixed the sauce with the meat first before adding it to the bowl, and topped it with fewer vegetables and less meat (to show the rice).
Fourth day: I forgot the chili garlic sauce, absentmindedly adding just red chili flakes for a pop of color instead.
Fifth day: I forgot the chili garlic sauce AGAIN, but it was still delicious!
- 2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
- 2 tbsp honey
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (I used a garlic press)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp coconut aminos
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 5 pastured eggs
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/3 cup coconut aminos
- 3 black tea bags
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 lb baby spinach
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (I used a garlic press)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 small carrots, shredded, grated, or julienned
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 16 oz mushrooms, halved
- 1/4 tsp salt
- I use store-bought, check the label to avoid added suga
- Huy Fong chili garlic sauce
- Chopped green onion
- Sesame seeds
- 3 cups rice
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp salt
- Combine the ingredients for the spicy beef, then cook in a hot skillet—breaking up into small chunks with a spoon as it cooks—until browned. Set aside to cool.
- To make the spinach, heat two teaspoons of sesame oil in the skillet over medium-high heat and cook the two minced garlic cloves and salt until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds) and then cook the baby spinach, stirring occasionally, until wilted.
- To make the carrots, heat the sesame oil in the skillet and cook the grated carrots until softened, stirring occasionally (approximately five minutes). Stir in the salt and black pepper, remove from the heat, and set aside to cool.
- To make the mushrooms, heat the sesame oil and cook the mushrooms until softened and they have released their moisture, 10 minutes or so. Top with salt, and set aside to cool.
- Gently place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with enough water to cover the eggs by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under running cool water. Using the back of the teaspoon, gently tap the eggshell to crack it all over. The more you crack it, the more intricate the design, but do this with a delicate hand to keep the shell intact.
- Return the eggs to their pot of water and add the remaining ingredients for the tea eggs. Bring the mixture to a boil and then immediately turn the heat to low. Cover with a lid and simmer for 40 minutes, then allow the pot to cool, relocate to the refrigerator, and let the eggs steep for 8-12 hours (the longer you steep, the more flavorful and deeply marbled the tea eggs will be).
- To make the rice, heat the sesame oil and salt over high heat in a medium pot until fragrant. Add the rice and four cups of water, stir, and cover. Bring to a boil, then turn heat to lowest setting and cook for 20 minutes, covered, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- Store the rice, meat, and vegetables, then divide evenly among five containers and use the toppings/sauce of your preference.
*These ingredients and instructions are for Japanese sticky rice, but use your personal favorite method of cooking rice, if you prefer, or use two handfuls of fresh arugula or salad greens underneath your bibimbap vegetables and meat per serving instead of rice (for a lower carb option).
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 1062kcal
- Sugar: 19g
- Sodium: 1437mg
- Fat: 40g
- Saturated Fat: 13g
- Trans Fat: 1g
- Carbohydrates: 121g
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 55g
- Cholesterol: 272mg