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6 vegan kimchi recipes to try

Explore the vibrant world of vegan Korean cuisine with these delectable recipes featuring the star ingredient, vegan kimchi. From tantalizing tacos to mouthwatering mushroom bulgogi bowls, elevate your plant-based culinary journey with these authentic and easy-to-follow creations.
Written by: Kelly Choi
6 vegan kimchi recipes to try

Vegetables are a big part of Korean cuisine. The vast array of colourful veggie side dishes are a focal point on the table, rather than being placed on the sideline. And foodies crave Korean vegetable dishes like no other. One of the most famous is kimchi. Just thinking about kimchi can make your mouth water! In fact, many of the classic Korean dishes are vegan — and if they aren’t — they easily can be. The following tasty plant-based recipes are vegan and all include deliciously moreish vegan kimchi.

Is kimchi vegan? 

Traditional kimchi isn’t vegan. This is because it includes ingredients such as fish sauce, fermented anchovies, salted shrimp and shrimp paste which are added to contribute to the umami taste. But if you’re making your own kimchi, then you can use a vegan fish sauce instead, or simply leave it out altogether, it’ll taste just as good. When buying shop-bought kimchi, make sure that it’s vegan by checking the ingredients. If you follow a vegan diet, or you just like to choose to eat vegan food when you can — Kelly Loves kimchi sachet is 100% vegan, authentic Korean kimchi with a full-bodied, rich umami flavour. You’ll even spot our vegan kimchi at our Sushi Daily kiosks! All the Sushi Daily professional chefs use Kelly Loves products for their high quality and authenticity.

Vegan kimchi recipes 

Cucumber kimchi

If you find yourself craving the refreshing tang and spice of kimchi and want to rustle something up in the kitchen (but don’t want the hassle of fermenting) then cucumber kimchi is ideal. And you’ll be pleased to read that it’s really quick and easy. You can eat it by the spoonful, or you can add it to any food you like. It works well in sandwiches, rice bowls or burgers (top tip: it’s really tasty in a juicy pulled pork burger!)

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic 
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Korean red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Preparation

  1. Very thinly slice the cucumber into circles.
  2. Sprinkle some coarse sea salt on the sliced cucumber and give it a gentle mix. Leave it for 20 minutes.
  3. Squeeze the slices of cucumber between your hands to remove the excess water.
  4. Remove the salt by repeatedly rinsing the cumber underneath the cold tap (about six times to ensure all the salt has gone).
  5. Mix the other ingredients together and then pour over the cucumber slices and toss through. 
  6. Serve cold with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

Korean spicy sweet potato falafel tacos with kimchi

Ingredients

For the tacos:

  • Kelly Loves vegan kimchi
  • Gochujang sauce (instructions below)
  • Sweet potato falafels (instructions below)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Black sesame seeds
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Soft tortillas
  • Sliced spring onions

For the sweet potato falafels:

  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons gochujang paste
  • 500g sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons wholemeal flour
  • 1 minced onion
  • Approx 100g bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tin chickpeas (rinsed and drained)

For the gochujang sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1–2 tablespoons gochujang paste 
  • 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water

Preparation

Gochujang sauce

  1. Put all the ingredients except the sesame oil into a saucepan and stir constantly until the sauce boils and thickens.
  2. Add the sesame oil and then set the sauce aside to cool. 

Sweet potato falafel

  1. Peel the sweet potato and cut into cubes. 
  2. Steam the sweet potato cubes until they are soft. 
  3. Mince garlic, ginger and onion and mix together. Sauté the mix in some oil in a frying pan for 2 minutes.
  4. Purée chickpeas, sweet potato and sauteed onion mixture plus the spices in a food processor. Add the flour and bread crumbs and stir.
  5. Preheat the oven to 220°C (392°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and gently brush it with oil. 
  6. Using damp hands, roll little falafels and place them on the baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes.

Put it together and enjoy!

Put a few falafels in a soft tortilla wrap and add the vegan kimchi, avocado, radishes, spring onions, sesame seeds and a splash of gochujang sauce. Wrap it up and enjoy biting into the medley of exciting flavours.

Vegan kimchi fried rice

Yet another quick and easy one: hurrah! This vegan kimchi fried rice makes the perfect main or side dish. For your protein hit you can add something like crispy tofu. 

Ingredients

  • 4 chopped spring onions
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves
  • 200g Kelly Loves vegan kimchi plus extra for garnish
  • 800g cooked rice (day-old, leftover rice works best!)
  • 200g frozen peas 
  • 4 oz reduced salt soy sauce 
  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • Shredded nori
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar

Preparation

  • Sauté the onions.
  • Add the minced garlic. 
  • Add the vegan kimchi. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. Regularly stir.
  • Add the rice.
  • Mix the sesame oil, soy sauce and coconut sugar in a bowl and add to the pan on the stove. Mix.
  • Add the frozen peas (no need to defrost!) and cook for a few more minutes.
  • Serve immediately!

Vegan kimchi soup

Vegan kimchi soup is delicious any time of year, but is particularly enjoyable in the colder months because it is so aromatic, rich and warming. 

Ingredients

  • 100g vegan kimchi
  • 1 pak choi cut in half 
  • 250g diced tofu 
  • 30ml soy sauce 
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • 35g coconut sugar
  • 1/2 onion finely diced
  • 700ml water
  • 1 tsp Korean chilli flakes
  • 75g mushrooms, diced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 100g dry noodles 
  • A squeeze of lime

Preparation

  • Sauté the garlic, ginger and onions until brown.
  • Add the water, coconut sugar, vegan kimchi, water, soy sauce, mushrooms, pak choi, tofu and chilli flakes. Bring to a boil and then lower the temp to a simmer. Simmer for 40 minutes then remove from the heat.
  • Cook the dry noodles, drain and divide them into two bowls. Pour in the vegan kimchi soup making sure each bowl has enough tofu and kimchi. 
  • Add a squeeze of lime for extra taste and aroma.
  • Handily, this soup will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge. 

Kimchi tempeh tacos

We don’t need it to be a Tuesday to eat tacos! We could eat these delicious tacos Monday through Sunday! This recipe serves four — just multiply the ingredients if you’re having a taco party. Firstly, let us explain how you make the very clever vegan taco ‘meat’...

Tempeh taco meat

Ingredients

  • 200g pack of tempeh
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste 
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon water 
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

Preparation

  1. Grate the tempeh (roughly, no precision needed here!) and then sauté the tempeh until brown.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and cook for around 5 more minutes. When you do a taste test, the slight sourness of the tomato paste should have disappeared — if not, cook for a few minutes longer.

Taco filling

  • Tempeh Taco ‘meat’ — as above!
  • 175g vegan kimchi 
  • 6 taco shells
  • 1 avocado

Sauce

  • 60g vegan mayonnaise 
  • 60g vegan sour cream 
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sriracha 

Preparation

  1. Make the tempeh taco ‘meat’ as above and then make the remaining fillings.
  2. Sauté the vegan kimchi for a few minutes to caramelise it a little. 
  3. Slice the avocado.
  4. Now stir together all sauce ingredients.

Putting your vegan tacos together

Start by putting some of your taco ‘meat’ in each taco. Then add the avocado, vegan kimchi and sauce. Now take that first bite…mmmh…

Tacos are a really sociable food  — invite your family and friends over and show off your delectable kimchi tacos with vegan taco ‘meat’!

Vegan Korean mushroom bulgogi bowls

Featuring another clever meat alternative, this recipe uses juicy portobello mushrooms instead of beef! This recipe serves 4. Yum.

Ingredients

Bulgogi portobello

  • 4 large portobello mushroom caps (sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 8 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons mirin
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar 

Bowl

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 500g cooked brown rice
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, trimmed and cut into florets
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Toasted peanuts (chopped up)
  • Vegan kimchi 
  • Vegan sriracha mayo (or 3 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons sriracha)

Preparation

  1. Add to a large bowl: soy sauce, gochujang, spring onions, sugar, mirin, sesame and garlic. Now add the mushrooms and mix. 
  2. Pop the bowl in the fridge for 2-4 hours, stirring it every so often. The mushrooms will be soaking up all those rich flavours.
  3. When the time is up, preheat the oven to 200C (400F). 
  4. Toss the broccoli with salt and sesame oil and spread across a baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes.
  5. While the broccoli is in the oven you have time to cook the mushrooms. Drain mushrooms from the marinade. Then either sauté the mushrooms in sesame oil or pop them under the grill.  
  6. Divide the rice into four bowls. Add the juicy mushrooms, roasted broccoli, avocado and cucumber. Add a big dollop or two or three of vegan kimchi and sprinkle the chopped peanuts.
  7. Mix the vegan mayo and sriracha and drizzle over your masterpiece.
We hope that we have inspired you to make some of the heavenly vegan recipes above. The health benefits of kimchi are exactly the same whether it’s vegan or not (as confirmed by Brown University) so you’ll be giving your mind and body a boost with these delicious vegan kimchi recipes.

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