This mouth-watering vegan kimchi fried rice recipe (a.k.a. kimchi-bokkeum-bap 김치볶음밥) will have you savoring every flavor-packed bite. It really delivers the perfect balance of spice and umami goodness. Not only is this easy-to-make Korean dish an absolute showstopper, but it's also a delicious way to give your leftover rice a delectable new lease on life. It also happens to be completely gluten free, as long as the gochujang you use is.
You can use my vegan kimchi recipe to use in this dish, or any vegan store-bought brand you like. Any leftover cooked rice you have laying around will work in this recipe, but I think it works extra-perfect with short-grain white rice.
Prepare for your sense to be enveloped by a Korean comfort-food vibe as you indulge in the heat and spice of this perfect plant based kimchi fried rice. Not only will you relish every nourishing bite, but you'll also love how it puts any leftover rice and kimchi to excellent use, preventing any food waste. It's fast to make, nourishing, an all-around crowd pleaser, and therefore, what I'd call the perfect weeknight meal.
So get your wok ready and let's start cooking up a storm!
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🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
- It’s going to be your favorite way to use up leftover rice! It's one of my favorite rice recipes all around, to be honest.
- Having rice, tofu, beansprouts, sea veggies, mushrooms and veggies, it’s really a nutritionally complete meal on it’s own.
- It makes a great item to batch out for meal prep days, or include in packed lunches for school or work.
- Rice- This recipe calls for day old rice as it firms up and is suited to be fried, since it will not overcook and become mushy. If you don't have any leftover rice, don't worry, cook a fresh batch and let it cool for an hour or two uncovered before frying.
- Gochujang - a red fermented soybean and chili paste, pairs beautifully with kimchi fried rice. I really like the one that Trader Joe’s offers because it is one of very few commercially available brands that is not made with high-fructose corn syrup. Gochujang lasts for months in the refrigerator. If you can't get hold of any, you can substitute sriracha, and add a little more sweetener to the recipe, since gochujang is sweet.
- Another quick thing still about gochujang for you GF freaks to keep in mind- This recipe is completely gluten-free -but only so long as the gochujang you use is! If you avoid eating gluten, please check the ingredients on your gochujang, and substitute with sriracha if necessary.
- Kimchi- Kimchi isn’t usually vegan, but rejoice, there are finally a bunch of brands that are. I make this fried rice using my homemade kimchi, because it’s cheaper than store bought, and gosh darn it, it’s better than anything you can buy! Make sure to include the kimchi juice in what you measure out, as it really helps permeate the rice with that divine fermented flavor.
- Enoki mushrooms- Enoki mushrooms, also called golden needle mushrooms, are widely used in Asian cooking. These mushrooms have a tender, crisp texture and a slightly sweet, mild taste. They are not only a delicious addition to meals but also offer nutritional benefits, containing fiber, potassium, and vitamin B. If you can’t get your hands on them, you can substitute about a cup of any other kind of mushroom that is available to you.
- Date syrup- I think date syrup is the perfect sweetener for this dish. Date syrup is a healthy and flavorful substitute for refined sugar, with a lower glycemic index. In addition, it is a rich source of antioxidants, potassium, and magnesium, which can promote heart health and boost the immune system.
- Tofu- This recipe calls for extra firm tofu that gets roasted up and added in to the fried rice. If you hate tofu, I’m really not sure what it may have done to upset you so much, but this recipe will also work with a different protein of your choice.
- Other yummy stuff! There are a whole bunch of other ingredients in this recipe. Instead of making you read here about the history of scallions or whatever, I listed all the ingredients with their exact qualities in the recipe card below.
Don't be scared. I will hold your hand and we can walk together into the fried rice sunset. Or you can skip this step-by-step guide and just follow the recipe card toward the bottom of this page.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Blot the tofu dry with a paper towel and cut it into 1 cm cubes. Combine the cubed tofu, olive oil, and a tablespoon of tamari in a bowl, then spread the mixture out in a single layer on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Roast the tofu for 25 minutes until it becomes firm and acquires a golden brown color.
Warm up a wok or large cast iron skillet on high heat for 90 seconds. Pour in the sesame oil and let it heat thoroughly for 60 seconds. Add the scallions, enoki mushrooms, bean sprouts, and garlic to the pan and sauté by stirring for 2-3 minutes until the scallions and bean sprouts start to wilt.
Incorporate the roasted tofu and kimchi into the sauté and continue cooking for 2 minutes until it becomes aromatic.
Add the rice, date syrup, and gochujang. Continue cooking by stirring occasionally for 3 minutes until the rice is heated completely.
When serving, garnish each portion with toasted sesame seeds, additional bean sprouts, thinly sliced seasoned seaweed, and scallions.
- Gochujang - don’t GOCHU any? You can substitute sriracha, and add a an extra 2 teaspoons of sweetener to the recipe
- Date syrup - Rice syrup and maple syrup can be used in place of date syrup in recipes, but keep in mind that they have different flavors and consistencies. Rice syrup is milder in taste and thicker in texture compared to date syrup, while maple syrup has a distinct maple flavor and a thinner consistency. Adjust the amount of syrup used in the recipe to achieve the desired sweetness level and consider experimenting with other natural sweeteners to find your preferred taste.
- Tamari - Tamari is just one particular process of soy sauce making. If you don’t have it on hand, you can use any type of soy sauce, or nama shoyu in place of it.
Everyone’s different, like fingerprints, snowflakes, and whatnot. Make this dish exactly how you want it to be!
- Spicier pls! - To kick it up, simply add MORE gochujang when you make it. If you are a freaking crazy person, you can also add some minced Thai chilies when you are sautéing up the initial ingredients.
- Not spicy practically at all pls! - Leave out the gochujang, and use homemade kimchi that is light on the gochugaru (or free of it completely if you must)
This vegan kimchi fried rice is already a pretty nutritionally complete meal, but my family LOVES when I serve this with my tofu katsu, spicy Korean cucumber salad, and seitan bulgogi, with a little steamed or sautéed bok choy on the side. This kimchi fried rice is DOPE AS HELL to use as the filling for making these crispy rice dumplings. Make it. I promise you will be super-glad about it.
Give those recipes a peep if you want to turn this into an especially-baller-meal-from-heaven.
This dish probably isn’t going to force you to run out and grab any fancy kitchen gear you don’t already own. It’s great to make in a wok, but can also be made in a large cast iron skillet as I have shown in my photos. Other than that, you will just need a baking pan and parchment paper to roast the tofu on.
If you aren’t eating this immediately, you can portion it out into containers for meal prep, or for packed lunches, and it will last for 3-4 days in the fridge, as long as the rice you use in the recipe isn’t already older than 24 hours.
If you want to reheat this dish, just stir-frying it in a wok or skillet over a high flame for a couple of minutes will do the trick. You may want to add a little extra water or sesame oil when you reheat it so it stays juicy.
- “I just made my kimchi yesterday”- if your kimchi isn’t fermented enough the fried rice will not have as intense a flavor. Add an extra splash of vinegar to compensate for the not-yet-sour-enough thing your unripe kimchi has going on.
- Cutting the seasoned seaweed- this works best using sharp scissors instead of a knife. You can even cut 5 or so sheets at a time that way.
- Use day-old rice, or at least rice that has fully cooled for a couple hours. This will avoid the rice being mushy when it gets stir fried.
Stir-fried kimchi mellows out when cooked, diminishing it’s heat and sourness a little. When sautéing the rice, both date syrup and gochujang is added to balance the sour and pungent flavor of the fermented kimchi. If your kimchi is weak tasting, you might want to punch the dish up with a small splash of vinegar to balance off the sweetness.
Most of the time, kimchi is served with fried egg, but it can totally be made plant-based if you leave that out! But here's the thing: the Kimchi itself can sometimes have seafood stuff in it like brine shrimp or fish sauce. So if you're buying Kimchi, make sure you read the label carefully to make sure it's vegan-friendly.
Short-grain rice (japonica) is often preferred for fried rice because of its stickier texture and higher starch content, which allows it to hold together better when stir-fried with other ingredients. This results in a more cohesive and satisfying texture to the dish. Popular japonica rice varieties include Koshihikari, Calrose, and Nishiki, but any short-grain rice will work great in this recipe.
✌️Other dishes that go great with this:
These are some of my favey dishes to serve with this:
❤️Looking for other veggies to eat and love?
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The easiest vegan kimchi fried rice
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 4-5 servings 1x
- Diet: Gluten Free
You'll relish every scrumptious morsel of this delectable vegan kimchi fried rice (or kimchi bokkeum bap), bursting with bold and savory flavors. It's a simple yet impressive way to transform leftover rice into a gluten-free, plant-based dish that’s a nutritional powerhouse, and also satisfyingly spicy.
14 oz. Extra firm tofu, drained
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 scallions, chopped into ½ inch sections
1 pack enoki mushrooms (200 grams), roughly chopped
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
⅔ cup chopped kimchi with juice
4 cups cooked short grain rice (white or brown as desired)
2-3 tablespoons of gochujang (according to your preference for spice)
1 ½ teaspoons date syrup or maple syrup
1 tablespoon toasted white or black sesame seeds to garnish
Extra beansprouts (optional) to garnish
Roasted seasoned seaweed (nori), cut into thin strips
Thinly sliced scallions to garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat the tofu dry with a paper towel and dice it into 1 cm cubes. Mix together the diced tofu, olive oil and tablespoon of tamari in a bowl, and then spread it out in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking pan. Roast the tofu for 25 minutes until firm and golden brown.
- Heat a wok or large cast iron skillet over a high flame for 90 seconds. Add the sesame oil, and allow it to heat fully for 60 seconds. Add the scallions, enoki mushrooms, beansprouts, and garlic to the pan and sauté, stirring for 2-3 minutes until the scallions and beansprouts show signs of wilting.
- Add the kimchi and roasted tofu. Continue sautéing for 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the rice, date syrup, and gochujang. Continue sautéing, stirring regularly for 3 minutes until the rice is heated throughout.
- When serving, garnish with toasted sesame seeds, extra beansprouts, thinly cut seasoned seaweed, and scallions.
Use day-old leftover short-grain rice. Or at least use rice which has at least co0led to room temperature so it doesn't become mushy when stir fried.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 10
- Category: sides
- Method: stir fry
- Cuisine: korean
Keywords: vegan kimchi fried rice
I mad this today, the taste is amazing!! I accidently added ingredients out of order, however it didn't matter, the flavors meld together. Will definitely make this on repeat! I typically cook oil free, however I did use some sesame oil, it's such a distinctive flavor, just less 🙂
Next time will change up the veggies a bit, add more mushroom, maybe larger pieces for texture.
Yum! We used date syrup because, as you stated, maple syrup has a distinct flavor.
The gochulang and date syrup balanced each other well. We like things spicy, so when we make this again, we will probably use more gochulang. Or, we may add Thai chilies as you recommend (good call!). The flavors in the final dish are wonderful and it was even better the next day.
I made this with a couple of veggie substitutes- sugar snap peas instead of bean sprouts and crimini mushrooms in lieu of enoki. Other than that, I stuck to the recipe and it was very tasty! It’s a great one to prep in advance for cooking on a busy nite, as it comes together in literally 12 minutes if your rice is cooked, tofu baked, and veggies chopped.
I recently made this recipe and love it! The texture of the enoki mushrooms, the tofu and the chopped kimchi together resulted in something magical. This will be a go-to way to use up leftover rice and kimchi!