Kimchi Fried Rice (Plant-Based!)

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Two bowls of our easy kimchi fried rice recipe

All the flavor of tangy, spicy kimchi combined with comforting fried rice. Our plant-based take is simple with just 10 ingredients required. The perfect weeknight meal or make-ahead recipe for the week. Let us show you how it’s done!

Carrots, peas, tofu, kimchi, rice, onion, garlic, ginger, toasted sesame oil, gochujang, and tamari

Origins of Kimchi Fried Rice

Kimchi fried rice, also called kimchi-bokkeum-bap, is popular in South Korea (source). It’s unclear who exactly invented it, but it’s thought that it originated out of a need to create an affordable and delicious meal with minimal ingredients. It’s typically made with kimchi, leftover rice, and vegetables, and often eggs, meat, or fish.

The following is our inspired, plant-based take on the dish. You can find a more traditional version from Korean Bapsang.

How to Make Kimchi Fried Rice

First, we start by making brown rice using the pasta method because it makes it extra fluffy. You can also use leftover brown rice if you have some around. We prefer brown rice over white here because it’s less prone to becoming mushy and has more fiber and nutrients.

Pan of cooked brown rice next to ginger and gochujang sauce

Next comes the tofu for a protein boost and contrast of textures. Baking it in the oven with toasted sesame oil and gochujang infuses it with flavor and lends a firm (and addictive) texture. Try not to eat the whole pan before your fried rice is ready!

Cubed baked tofu on a parchment-lined baking sheet

Then we sauté onion and garlic for flavor and carrots and snap peas for a pop of color and nutrition. The veggies are flexible here and a great way to use up what you have on hand. We think cabbage and bell pepper would be a nice variation.

Chopped snap peas, carrots, onions, and garlic in a skillet next to tamari and kimchi

To the rice, veggie, and tofu mixture, we add tamari for umami flavor, fresh ginger for zing, kimchi for tanginess and probiotics, and gochujang for heat. The result is incredibly delicious kimchi fried rice with a complex flavor profile that will leave you wanting more!

*Note: You can learn more and find recipes for kimchi here and gochujang here.

Adding kimchi to a pan of sautéed vegetables

We hope you LOVE this kimchi fried rice recipe! It’s:

Spicy
Tangy
Fresh
Toasty
Savory
& Full of flavor!

It’s a great way to use up leftover veggies or give rice a flavorful second life! And while it’s a plenty filling entrée on its own, it would also be delicious with our Gochujang Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts or Spicy Korean-Style Cauliflower Wings.

Bowl of kimchi next to a pan fo our vegan kimchi fried rice

More Recipes With Kimchi

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Bowl of kimchi fried rice with tofu and vegetables

Kimchi Fried Rice (Plant-Based!)

Easy, flavorful kimchi fried rice with fresh vegetables and tofu. An easy, satisfying, plant-based entrée or side. Just 10 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Bowl of Kimchi Fried Rice made with snap peas and carrots
4.93 from 14 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 4 (Servings)
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Korean-Inspired, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

RICE

  • 12 cups water (yes, we really do mean 12 cups — the rice is cooked using the pasta method)
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed thoroughly (we used short-grain, but long-grain works too // alternatively, skip cooking rice and use two cups leftover as recipe is written)

TOFU

  • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp gochujang sauce (or sub store-bought // ensure vegan/gluten-free friendly as needed)

VEGGIES

  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ cups stir fry veggies of choice (we used carrots and snap peas!), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce (if not gluten-free)
  • 1 cup kimchi , chopped into bite-size pieces (or sub store-bought // ensure vegan-friendly as needed)
  • 1 Tbsp kimchi juice (from a jar of kimchi // ensure vegan-friendly as needed)

FRIED RICE

  • 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce if not gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 cups cooked, cooled brown rice (leftovers or rice cooked per Step 1)
  • 1/4 cup gochujang sauce (or sub store-bought // ensure vegan/gluten-free friendly as needed)

GARNISH optional

  • Sesame seeds
  • Crumbled nori
  • Sliced green onion

Instructions

  • RICE: For the rice, if not using leftover, bring 12 cups (~3 liters) of water (yes, we really mean that much) to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, add rinsed rice and stir. Boil on high uncovered for 30 minutes, then strain in a fine-mesh strainer. Let the rice sit in the strainer while you proceed with the recipe.
  • TOFU: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Drain the tofu and wrap it in a clean dish towel, then place something heavy on top (or use a tofu press) to press the tofu for 10 minutes. Cut and prepare your veggies while your tofu is draining.
  • Once drained, cut the tofu into 1/2-inch (13 mm) cubes and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame oil and 2 Tbsp (36 g) gochujang and toss to coat (amounts as original recipe is written). Spread into an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through or until golden brown with crispy edges. While the tofu bakes, start cooking the veggies.
  • VEGGIES: In a large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat 1 Tbsp (15 ml) toasted sesame oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add diced onion and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic, stir fry veggies (such as carrots and snap peas), and 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari (amount as original recipe is written). When veggies are vibrantly colored and beginning to soften — about 4 minutes — turn off the heat and add your kimchi and kimchi juice. Toss the veggies one last time and then place them into a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
  • FRIED RICE: With your pan still OFF heat, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil, 1 Tbsp (15 ml) tamari, the finely chopped ginger, and 2 cups (316 g) cooked rice (amounts as original recipe is written). Toss to fully coat the rice and then turn the heat on to medium-high. Spread the rice out into one even layer and cook, undisturbed, for about 2 minutes. You should hear it sizzling and popping a bit. If it’s quiet, turn your heat up a little. After 2 minutes, toss your rice and add 1/4 cup (72 g) gochujang (amount as original recipe is written). Toss to coat the rice fully and then spread into an even layer again, and cook undisturbed for 2 minutes.
  • Give your rice one final toss and then add the cooked veggies and baked tofu. Toss everything together and taste! Add more gochujang for spice or more tamari for saltiness.
  • Option to garnish with sesame seeds, crumbled nori, and green onions. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Not freezer friendly.

Video

Notes

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1 ¼ cups each snap peas and carrots and without optional ingredients.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 481 Carbohydrates: 62.9 g Protein: 18.7 g Fat: 18.1 g Saturated Fat: 2.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.7 g Monounsaturated Fat: 2.1 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 1184 mg Potassium: 704 mg Fiber: 5.6 g Sugar: 15.7 g Vitamin A: 9385 IU Vitamin C: 37.1 mg Calcium: 401 mg Iron: 4.4 mg

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  1. Irene says

    I made this twice, both times without the tofu. The first time I did a mashup with Joanna Gaines’ Korean mom’s “hot dogs & rice” (with vegan hot dogs – don’t knock em till you try em) which I have to say was pretty tasty. The second time I didn’t add any protein and it was still a great dish. I had to dial the heat down a little by reducing the amount of (store-bought gluten-free) gochujang sauce. I also used Seeds of Change Organic Brown Basmati Rice because I do not have the time to make brown rice. Using this rice made this whole dish come together super quick.

  2. Linsey says

    I have to admit I was a bit afraid of kimchi before trying this but wow, I am changed! This fried rice is so flavorful without being super overpowering (it is a LOT of flavor though), is easy (though a bit time consuming), and the end result is just out of this world. My husband has not stopped raving about it and has not-so-subtly hinted he wants it again next week.

    To calm the boldness of the flavor down, I might try and use a tad less kimchi or maybe more rice, or maybe thin out the gochujung sauce?

    Also, I used your recipe for the gochujung sauce – I’ve never had it before so I can’t comment much on it other than it was really tasty and so so easy to make.

    Thanks again for another stellar recipe, but most of all, thanks for helping me explore other foods!

    • Linsey says

      oops – gochujang!

      Also, wanted to add that I used frozen rice – microwaved for 2 minutes instead of the recommend 3 and then left out to cool more. Worked perfect!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you both enjoyed it, Linsey! Thanks for sharing your experience! We’re thinking maybe your kimchi was more flavorful than ours (we used store-bought)? Scaling back on that and/or the gochujang and ginger should help!

  3. Lisa says

    This is one of the most tasty dishes I’ve ever made! And great to make ahead for the week. Just the right amount of savory and heat. I used white miso for my gochujang sauce which has such a great flavor. Thank you!

  4. Anna says

    I am not sure I have ever had gochujang sauce—I have certainly never cooked with it—so this was a welcome adventure. I loved the tofu and the dish overall. One modification I made was cooking white rice in a rice cooker, as my partner is Filipino and I’ve learned cooking it any other way is sacrilege. I also bought gochujang from the store, which may be the reason the dish was so spicy. I can’t handle the heat, so next time I would probably put in only 1/8 cup (or less) of gochujang at the end. I loved the idea of putting kimchi in a dish, too.

  5. Anita says

    As with every recipe I’ve tried from this blog, this was amazing :) I only had radish kimchi on hand, vs cabbage kimchi, so I think it was a little less flavorful, but still, it was great! I also added half a bag of frozen veggies (green beans, carrots, corn, peas) to have more veggies and it worked our great! Thank you for sharing such wonderful recipes!

  6. Cheryl says

    If one wanted to substitute frozen riced cauliflower for the rice, would you recommend thawing or pre-cooking? Or just stir frying longer? Thank you!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cheryl! We haven’t tried it with frozen riced cauliflower, but we would suggest following the recipe as written and using the riced cauliflower frozen, no thawing. Let us know how it goes! xo

  7. Kedi says

    Such a good way to use up the last cup of a kimchi jar! I made the rice last night, so putting everything together today was super easy. Thank you for another winner!!!

    • cheryl says

      Just made it and it was delicious!! Used straight frozen cauliflower – did not cook prior. Texture and taste was perfect! Will definitely make again. We love your recipes and your website is so accessible- thank you!

      • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

        Wahoo! Thanks for the lovely review and for sharing what you used, Cheryl! We’re so glad you enjoyed! xo

  8. Glenn M Smith says

    I made this a few nights ago and it was delicious. A bit spicy but good for the soul. My wife is mostly vegetarian and 100 % Gluten free. This was flavorful and nurishing. Im not a big lover of Tofu but enjoyed it in the rice. Thank You

  9. Kay says

    As someone who LOVES kimchi I was very excited to give this recipe a go. Only had silken tofu on hand, so just crumbled that in instead of using hard tofu. It was DELICIOUS and really easy to make. Will definitely make it again.

  10. Elena says

    Made today for lunch – so delicious! and plenty of leftovers.

    I have to say the flavors are perfectly balanced, right amount of salt, sweet, and spice. It did take a bit of prep work with cooking the tofu and the rice, but if you somehow have that already done the rice and veggies is super fast.

    This is going into the rotation :)

  11. Milena says

    I really enjoyed this recipe. I am also sharing it with friends.
    I was wondering, what could some of my carnivorous friends use instead of tofu? In case they don’t like it.
    I am thinking chicken, my question is more along the lines of how to cook it, not sure it would work as well as the tofu in the oven. Perhaps stir fry it after the onions and before adding the veggies?

    Any other suggestions

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it! They could add chicken (breast tenders or sliced chicken breast would work well). We’d suggest cooking it in a skillet or the oven in sesame oil + gochujang and then removing from the pan, slicing, and adding back in step 7. Fried eggs would also work cooked separately and added on top. Hope that helps!

  12. Ken S. says

    I was stationed in Korea in the early 90s and loved kimchi bokkum bap! This recipe sounds very close to what I would get in the restaurants. I have a soy allergy so will have to make some adjustments with tofu and soy sauce.

    Do you have any insights on using the Quorn products? I tried to get my local co-op to carry it, but when they researched it they said they wouldn’t stock it because of how it is made and they wouldn’t give me any more info than that. Some of our larger groceries carry it, but have always been a little leery since getting the comment from my co-op.

    Do you have any other soy-free tofu replacements that you like?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Some grocers are beginning to carry soy-free tempeh made with chickpeas or lentils. However, if that’s not an issue I might just suggest subbing chickpeas! Similar to this recipe.

  13. Milena says

    Oh WOW! This is wonderful!

    I just made this and it was A-Ma-ZING!
    Loved that the kimchi got minimal heat at the end, because my kimchi is raw and unpasteurised (with turmeric and black pepper), so it got to keep the good bugs alive (I hope).

    I made a small changes to the recipe:
    – mixed the oil and paste in a bowl to coat the tofu cubes
    – added the cooked rice to the veggies mix, followed by the rest of the rice ingredients and then the kimchi at the end.

    It was easy enough to scale the recipe down to two portions, as I live on my own and don’t have a freezer.

    The taste was zingy, tangy and with just the right amount of heat!

  14. Sarah says

    Delicious! I did not have tofu so substituted with tempeh. I marinated the tempeh first, then pan fried in my cast iron skillet until it was browned on both sides. I was low on veg so I used cauliflower, radish, and carrot (random, I know!) At the end I sprinkled on kelp flakes…yum, yum, yum. Happy belly and happy hubby. Will definitely make again. Thanks Dana!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Sarah! Love the modifications too. Thanks so much for sharing! xo

  15. Jo says

    Hi there! This looks delicious and can’t wait to make it!
    Can you give a store bought gojuchang sauce recommendation? A certain brand you think is good?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’ve never found one we love, but we do know there’s some great GF brands online!

  16. Lauren says

    OMG I’m dying over here with no kitchen, I just want a delicious homemade meal and this looks amazing! My mouth is literally watering at the sight of this. Can’t wait for this renovation to be done!

  17. Lena says

    This would be so good if you shred the tofu in a box grater to absorb even more flavor and add texture!