Outdoors-Ready, Vegetable-Filled Korean Noodles You Can Make Without a Recipe (2024)

My memories of bibim-guksu go back to any day of my childhood when I can picture my mom opening the refrigerator and realizing she hasn’t gone grocery shopping for several days. All that’s left is an array of half-eaten banchan (side dishes)—not enough to serve alone, but wasteful to toss. Luckily, bibim-guksu, or bibimbap, is the perfect meal when all you have is leftovers.

Before Kimchi Was Cool, My Parents Could Hardly Find a Jar in New York City

Most Korean foods are built on intuition and taste, rather than step-by-step instructions. Case and point: My mom could tell me about her delicious kimchi-jigae (kimchi stew) and the ingredients in it, but could never tell me how much kimchi, tofu, and red pepper paste made up its parts. Following her example, I will tell you that bibim-guksu is a traditional Korean cold noodle dish mixed with vegetables; forget measurements. It’s a dish that is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed for both lunch or dinner.

In Korean, guksu means noodles, bap means rice, and bibim means “to mix together.” Bibimbap consists of rice, Korean-barbecued meat, and vegetables. Bibim-guksu is very similar, but instead of rice, you use rice noodles or buckwheat noodles, and it is typically eaten without meat. (If adding, I recommend kalbi, thinly-sliced beef short rib.) The main difference is that bibimbap is meant to be eaten hot, while bibim-guksu is served chilled. I personally love both, but for the warmer months, bibim-guksu is perfect for experimentation with spring and summer vegetables. It can be spicy (or not), vegetarian (or not), but always salty and refreshing.

How to Make Bibimbap Without a Recipe

What makes this dish incredible is that it tastes well-planned out, but all you really have to do is mix noodles or rice with Korean Red Pepper Paste or soy sauce (staple sauces in a Korean kitchen), and throw in whatever vegetables you have available. Versatility makes these dishes supremely popular in Korean cuisine, for cooks and diners.

Spicy. Salty. Savory. Fermented-goodness. All in one bite. All in one bowl. This is Korean food—and it's been hiding in your refrigerator all along! Here's how to bring all this out of hiding, onto plates, and, ideally, to a table outdoors, under the warm sun.

Gather andPrep

You can really use anything in the fridge, which is one reason I love this dish so much. It’s versatile. That being said, though, for the ultimate oh-so-delicious, I-LOVE-KOREAN-FOOD experience, consider these toppings: a handful of kimchi (my favorite by far is Mother-In-Law’s Kimchi, sold at Whole Foods), raw cucumbers, sautéed zucchini, firm tofu (cut into cubes), scallions, and whatever greens you have. My husband and I love watercress or red lettuce for a subtle, bitter flavor that will balance out the salt and spice of the kimchi. It’s up to you what vegetables you want to keep raw versus cooked, but it’s nice to have a balance of both.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:

“Just want to point out that bibimguksu is traditionally prepared with somyeon, which are thin wheat noodles. ”

— Audrey K.


Some people like more noodles with fewer vegetables. I like mine with equal parts. Keep all raw vegetables in the refrigerator until it is time to mix it with noodles. You may keep the sautéed vegetables at room temperature.

Make theSauce

The sauce is a simple one, but it has a lot going on when tossed in with vegetables and noodles. In a small bowl, mix in about 3 of tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 2 teaspoons of Korean red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, and 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar (a little goes along way). I would start with these measurements first and adjust by taste.

Cook theNoodles

Whatever noodles you choose to use, make sure to cook them al dente, according to the instructions on the packet. Rinse the noodles in cold water after cooking. If you choose to prepare traditional bibim noodles, buckwheat or soba (Japanese for buckwheat) is the way to go. I buy the ones that are from Japan and 100% buckwheat. (Somyeon is also an option.) These are usually found in the international section at supermarkets. Due to its grainy and chewy texture, soba holds the sauce together well. Not all noodles are meant to be served chilled, but this is an exception.


You want to use a large bowl that has a lot of room to mix the ingredients together. In the bowl, place your noodles first. Then add all prepped vegetables. Finally, add the bibim sauce in small amounts at a time. Start with one tablespoon, mixing well using a spoon. Make sure the vegetables, noodles, and sauce are well-incorporated. Taste, and if you need more spice, add another tablespoon and mix. I personally like to have a side of freshly sliced jalapeños for some extra spice. Enjoy!


I like to pack all the components in different containers: noodles, vegetables, and the soy sauce mix. This makes the noodles taste freshly-prepared every time I put them together again.

Eds note: This article's text has been updated to reflect feedback from our community.

Outdoors-Ready, Vegetable-Filled Korean Noodles You Can Make Without a Recipe (2024)


How to make noodles without stove? ›

Boil water in a kettle or on a campfire if you're outdoors. Place your noodles in a heatproof bowl or container and cover them with the boiling water. Let the noodles soak for a few minutes until they soften. Drain the water and add your favorite sauce or seasoning.

What can I put on noodles if I don't have anything? ›

Garlic butter is a terrific way to season all types of noodles. Simply melt butter and sprinkle in some garlic powder. Toss your spaghetti or favorite type of pasta in this delightful mixture to create a filling and appetizing meal.

How to make 2 minute noodles on a stove? ›

To cook 2-minute noodles quickly, bring water to a boil in a pot or kettle. Once boiling, pour the hot water over the noodles in a bowl and let them sit for 2 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking. After 2 minutes, drain any excess water and add the seasoning or sauce to taste.

How to make 2 minute noodles without a stove? ›

Yes, you can use a coffeemaker to cook instant noodles. Simply remove the coffee filter, fill the coffee pot with water, and turn on the coffeemaker without adding any coffee grounds. Once the water is hot, pour it over the noodles in a heat-resistant bowl or container and allow them to cook.

Can you make pasta without a stove top? ›

There are various alternative methods you can use to cook pasta without a stove or microwave. Some popular methods include using an electric kettle, slow cooker, instant pot, or even a grill. How do I cook pasta using an electric kettle?

Can I cook noodles without boiling? ›

Turns out, you don't have to wait for a big pot of water to boil for the best-tasting pasta. The winning method is, in some ways, an amalgamation of all of the best characteristics of the methods tested. The pasta begins in cold water, soaking up the moisture before the heat activates the starches.

How to make noodles with just boiling water? ›

2 – Boiling method:

Bring a saucepan of water to boil on the stove. Drop noodles into boiling water, cook until just tender. Drain and serve. Tip: this is the best method for soba and thin egg noodles.

Can you cook noodles with just hot water? ›

Definitely! While hot water will cook the noodles, you can add various ingredients to enhance the flavor of your ramen. Popular additions include sliced green onions, boiled eggs, meat or seafood, vegetables, and even spices or sauces to create your desired taste.

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