Typical of many Korean households, my refrigerator is stuffed with little containers of leftover 반찬 banchan. Many recipes for those side dishes are scaled to serve six to eight people, so the two of us always have leftovers. I can only eat so much 비빔밥 bibimbap.

Banchan pizza with sauteed carrots, cilantro kimchi and bulgogi ground beef (photo by Jeff Quackenbush)

While fretting about my bounty of banchan, I was insipred to repurpose those leftovers as pizza toppings. In my fridge, I spied sauteed carrots, cilantro 김치 kimchi and 불고기 bulgogi-style ground beef from some prior culinary creations.

I smothered a fresh-made buy-and-bake cheese pizza with leftover banchan, cooked the pie according to its directions and had a delicious meal.

Frankly, most any vegetable banchan bound for a bowl of bibimbap — such as spinach, mushroom, bean sprouts, kimchi — would find a place on pizza. (I don’t think canned corn counts as banchan or, frankly, as a topping.)

To me, it’s better to bury banchan in one’s stomach aboard pizza than in a food-waste bag, garbage disposal or landfill.

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I'm a writer/blogger for Koreafornian Cooking (USA), the San Francisco Bay Area Editor for ZenKimchi Food Journal (South Korea) and occasionally for WineKorea.asia developing Korean and Korean fusion recipes, and writing articles on the Korean food scene in the San Francisco Bay Area and commentary on Korean food culture. I've written articles for Yonhap News Agency based in South Korea and Plate Magazine, a culinary magazine. My recipes have been featured on Serious Eats/Slice, Foodbuzz.com, New Asian Cuisine, Marxfoods.com and Korea.net.
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