One of my favorite foods in the world in Korean Food! There are so many different dishes and flavors, and places to eat it around the world! It’s a great way to bring families and friends together and bond over cooking various types of meats and foods. When we think about it though, our first thought is probably “KBBQ” or foods that are meat and seafood heavy! Well, what if we told you that we found a way to make it all vegan?! You heard it, no animal products included. That’s right, we’re calling all our vegans to the table and giving you the Best 10 Vegan Korean Food Dishes! Make these at home, meal prep them, or even cook for a party! Even your meat loving friends will be saying, “wow!” Are you ready? Let's get this cooking started!
Best 11 Vegan Korean Food Dishes
Also called bi bim bap or bi bim bop, this is a flavorful dish that features rice, seasoned vegetables, and tangy sauce! This is a food staple throughout Korea and is well loved among many. The best part is that most bibimbap bowls come packed with hearty vegetables, sans meat or egg! To add a punch of protein, simply add tofu to your bibimbap bowl. It’s super delicious when you put savory gochujang (Korean chili paste) on top of the bowl, making it a flavorful yet healthy meal! Get creative with any leftover vegetables you have on hand, or add your favorite ones that aren’t in this recipe. It’s tasty, or “meos issneun”, as the Koreans would say!
2. Korean Vegan BBQ
Wait, what?! Is it even possible to have vegan and barbecue in the same sentence? Most definitely. In fact, one of my favorite recipes at home is eating Vegan KBBQ made with jack fruit or tofu. Jack fruit is awesome because it imitates the texture of meat, which gives it that perfect “beyond kbbq” feeling. It's guilt free fully knowing it’s an animal-product free! Here's a pro-tip: just be sure to drain your canned jack fruit and let it dry out so can make the most of your KBBQ marinades. You can also grill up seitan or meatless patties that really turn heads. I make an easy KBBQ marinade by combining sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, and green onions! I also love a bit of spice in my marinade, so I can put sriracha, gochujang, or other chilli oil varieties. Be sure to eat your dish with a little bit of kimchi (to make sure it’s vegan, check out the next dish for a vegan recipe), potato corn salad, rice paper, radishes, and steamed rice! You’ll thank me later!
3. Korean Tofu Stew
When you mix tofu and kimchi together, the result is a delicious and traditional Korean soup! Kimchi, for those that have never heard of it, is made with salted and fermented vegetables (usually cabbages and Korean radishes), seasonings, chili, garlic, ginger, and more! Love it or hate it, it's some of the best damn flavors out there! Some kimchis are made with seafood or meat broth, so look out for brands that are vegan and you’ll be perfect! This recipe for Korean tofu stew calls for tofu, kimchi, gochujang, onions, carrots, vegetable stock, vegetable oil, soy sauce, and cooked noodles or rice. It’s perfect for cold weather or sick days, when you need a little pick-me-up!
This is hands down my favorite Korean dish! It's a dish that features glass noodles, sesame oil, and assorted veggies! Talk about tasty! Japchae is perfect for parties, family dinners, and intimate gatherings. I personally love going to an AYCE (all you can eat) KBBQ place and ordering tons of plates to share with my loved ones! When I realized that it was so easy to make it at home, my life was changed! It’s a sweet, salty, and silky dish that I can eat for days on end! It’s jam packed with delicious vegetables, and features a sauce with sesame oil, soy sauce, and just a bit of sugar! Vegetables in this dish include carrots, shiitake mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and spinach. It’s a beautiful dish that tastes just as good! Show it off to all your family and friends, they’ll fall in love with it! Here’s a recipe to get you started, or you can go to your local Korean restaurant and order some! Yum yum!
5. Pajeon - Green Onion Pancake
There is something so savory and delicious about a green onion pancake! If you’re used to the breakfast kind, this dish is going to change your life! Eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It’s a great snack, appetizer, or dish you can make in less than 20 minutes! The ingredients in this recipe are also simple: flour, water, soybean paste, sugar, and… chopped green onions! Pull out a pan, some oil, and get them cooking! There’s also a tangy sauce for your to dip your pancakes in- delicious! It’s an overall crunchy texture, and it won’t ever disappoint! I love making these at least once a week for an easy and quick meal. With the recipe, I chopped up the green onions instead of making a box shape, but if you’re a beginner, the shape holds the pancake in place. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes a second nature recipe!
Let’s talk about Mandu real quick. Korean for dumplings, it’s a treasured and loved dish across Asia. It’s the best party meal, it’s freezable, and it’s delicious as heck! If you feel intimidated by pleating or folding these dumplings together, don’t be! It’s simpler than you could ever imagine! The vegan recipe I put below is going to make 60 dumplings, so if you’re ready to have a party, this recipe is a must use! I personally love making dumplings in advance, then freezing them in Ziploc bags for a future event, dinner, or “lazy day”! If you want to kick it up a notch, I absolutely love making Japchae Mandu - just take the recipe I showed you earlier and the mandu wraps… and bam! A whole new recipe to blow everyones’ minds! Pan fry them or boil them, however you want to cook your dumplings is guaranteed to make a tasty meal! Trust me on this one, you can never have just one!
Also called Tteokbokki or Topokki, these are Korean Spicy Rice Cakes! This is a must-try dish at least once in your lifetime! Imagine chewy, delicious rice cakes, smothered in a spicy sauce, and cooked to perfection! Not only is it amazing street food in Korea, it’s also a great household meal! Eat them over noodles, served alongside tofu, or even with rice and cucumbers! Adjust the chili and spice level to your liking, cause I’m somebody that needs my food flaming spicy! Or, if you're just beginning with spicy-foods or a little scared, you can add minimal sauce with the recipe. This recipe is an easy 15 minutes of your time, and it’s perfect for any occasion. What are you waiting for? Get cooking on this spicy rice cakes!
8. Hobak Juk
This pumpkin porridge dish is a almost like a yummy dessert dish! It’s sweet, flavorful, and comforting on a cold night, especially during fall or winter. Think of it as your “pumpkin spice”, but twice as nice! Some notes in this dish include persimmon, pumpkin seeds, and chewy rice cake balls. If you can’t find Korean pumpkins in your area, Maangchi suggests using butternut squashes and kabochas! After cooking this dish, you are able to keep it inside the fridge, so you can have it cold or hot. With all the flavors inside this dish, you’ll be feeling cozy and comfy with your loved ones, friends, or when having you time!
Korean Sushi Rolls?! Count me in! In Korea, kimbap is a convenient and easy staple food available everywhere! It’s popular, portable, and easy to make. Since we’re going for a kimbap recipe without meat or egg, this vegan recipe has a lot of nutrients from the vegetables! Get your rice cooked, prepare your ingredients, and get your seaweed and rolling mat ready! With the preparation and seasoning of your rice, this process can take more than an hour. Is it worth it? Absolutely. When I’m making kimbap, I like to make sure that I’m making enough to go around for everyone! I love using it for picnics, beach days, and hikes with friends and family. Now, you can too! It’s great for all-year eating, so don’t be shy, give it a try!
When we’re talking bulgogi, it’s usually over the grill at a K-BBQ restaurant. For those of us new to this dish - bulgogi means “fire meat” or thinly sliced meat on top of a grill. So- what if I threw in the word “vegan” into the mix? Curious yet?! How can we make this vegan? Easy- grill up your vegetables or meatless options! This recipe is made with tofu and mushrooms, two of my favorite types of food when cooking! With a light and flavorful sauce, this bulgogi recipe is going to be a hit at the table, at a party, or in your stomach! The sauce is simple: soy sauce, honey/sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and onions. Get your extra-firm tofu on hand, and you’re good to go! This is such a tasty recipe for every day cooking, I can’t get enough of these flavors!
11. Kimchi Fried Rice
Lastly, I would love to share with you a recipe from my Korean best friend from college. It is something that she grew up with in her household, and she would make it for me during our university years. I’ve recreated this dish with her and we made it vegan for everyone! This is an all-in-one-pot or wok type of dish, and it easily takes 20 minutes or less when the rice is prepared! You can make it as flavorful or spicy as you like, so don’t be afraid to experiment! This recipe is based from friendship and family traditions, so feel free to make your own recipe spin-off from this one! Enjoy!
Kimchi Fried Rice:
Cook Time- About 20 minutes; Serves 2-4
2 Cups Cooked Rice of Choice (I used short grain and want it more on the dry side, not too mushy unless you want a porridge)
1 Cup Kimchi
Seasonings of Choice (for protein, ex: salt, pepper, paprika, garlic)
Canola or Veggie Oil
Tofu, Jack fruit, or protein of choice (ex: 7 strips of meatless bacon) - can also marinade beforehand if desired
1 wooden spoon for mixing
1 wok / pan
Gochujang, Chili Paste, or Chili Oil
- Heat up wok on medium-high, add 2-3 tsp canola oil
- Season your protein of choice and cook it 4 mins thoroughly, add more oil if needed
- Throw in your kimchi and cook thoroughly with protein, 3-4 mins
- Add in your cooked rice and stir the wok, 1-2 minutes
- Add in 1-2 wooden spoonfuls of soy sauce until you reach desired color
- Cook all together for 3-6 minutes, depending on how well done you want your rice
- Turn off the stove, drizzle sesame oil generously and stir your rice
- Serve in bowls
- Add chili paste or oil as desired
It’s easy as pie! I loved eating these with my friend on the way to class, after the gym, or for potlucks.
Cooking alone or with loved ones is always so much fun, so I hope you’ll recreate this dish too! If you’re new to cooking or you're already a stovetop expert, all of these recipes are timeless and taste amazing once you get to try them! They are so tasty that even those that usually love meat might not even believe they’re vegan. These recipes make the world go round and will satisfy everyone from children, adults, and elders! What are your favorite vegan Korean dishes? Drop a recipe below and let’s share the love!