This post may contain affiliate links to things like tours, hotels, Amazon associates and products. These help me earn a small commission at no additional charge to you.
After ordering almost 2000g of kimchi online (yes, I’m addicted), I set about researching vegetarian kimchi dishes to make. Since my family are all vegetarian, I made these dishes without meat. Kimchi is so flavoursome you just don’t need it.
The best vegetarian kimchi dishes
There are so many ways to eat kimchi. You can add it to pancake batter, use it to top pizza and fries, and incorporate it into stir-fries and stews. You can eat it with rice and noodles, cold or hot. The real question is what can’t you eat kimchi with?
Of course, kimchi is most commonly used in Korean dishes. But as I found out whilst trying the best Korean foods during my trip, young people in South Korea love Western dishes like fried chicken and hot dogs. Many traditional Korean ingredients go well with Western food.
Making these kimchi dishes vegan
Most of these vegetarian dishes can be made vegan, aside from the grilled cheese sandwich and the devilled eggs. For the rest, simply don’t top them with an egg. Use vegan mayo instead of regular mayo when making sriracha mayonnaise.
ALL THESE DISHES SERVE 2
1. Kimchi pancakes (buchimgae)
Buchimgae is the Korean name for scallion pancakes. These are traditional Korean street food in Seoul, often made with seafood and leek. But since this blog is about vegetarian dishes using kimchi, I’ll be telling you how to make tasty buchimgae with our favourite fermented ingredient.
1 cup sliced kimchi
Half an onion, finely sliced
1 cup white flour
1 cup of water
2 stalks spring onion, chopped
1 tablespoon kimchi juice.
1. Slice the kimchi, onion and spring onion and place them together in a mixing bowl.
2. Stir in kimchi juice from the bottom of the jar.
3. Stir in the flour and slowly add water until it reaches a sticky, thick consistency.
4. Heat a frying pan with oil and spoon in the mix, making a flat pancake shape.
5. Fry the pancake until both sides are crispy, flipping in between.
Dip suggestion: I love to dip buchimgae into sriracha mayo (2 parts mayo to 1 part sriracha). Alternatively, make a sweet and tangy Korean pancake dipping sauce.
Recipe alterations: If you’re vegetarian not vegan, you can use egg in place of water. You can play around with this recipe and add other ingredients to the batter, for example any thinly-chopped veggies you need to use up.
2. Kimchi fries
This vegetarian kimchi dish can be made with either sweet potato or regular potato. However, I love the sweet-salty balance of sweet potato fries seasoned with salt. For this dish, I use freshly-cut sweet potato with just a little oil, salt and pepper. Still one of your five a day, right?
2 sweet potatoes, cut into slices
1 cup kimchi
1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
Dash of olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper.
For the sriracha mayo: Three parts mayonnaise to 1 part sriracha.
1. Slice your sweet potatoes into thin slices.
2. Place the oil, salt and pepper in a bowl and toss the sweet potato fries, making sure to cover them evenly.
3. Spread the fries evenly upon a baking tray and cook for 30 minutes at gas mark 6.
4. Place the kimchi in a bowl and add the rice wine vinegar and soy sauce.
5. Fry the kimchi in a small frying pan until golden. Leave to cool slightly and chop finely.
6. Place the fries in a dish and spread the kimchi mix over the top.
7. Make sriracha mayonnaise by mixing the mayonnaise and sriracha together. Drizzle it over the fries.
8. Finally, sprinkle thinly-sliced spring onions on top.
3. Kimchi ramen
All kimchi dishes were not made equal. I confess this is my favourite! I’ve always loved ramen after first trying it in Japan but I’d never tried making it myself until recently. I’d assumed it was quite complicated with lots of ingredients. I actually found it easier than I expected: all you really need is a garlic, onion and ginger base then a good broth. Oh, and copious amounts of kimchi, obviously!
1 white onion (finely chopped)
Thumb-size chunk of ginger, grated
1 clove crushed garlic
3 teaspoons sriracha (or more if you like spicy!)
3 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
3 teaspoons miso paste
1/2 cup sliced kimchi
1 litre vegetable stock
1. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger in a saucepan until golden.
2. Add 1/2 cup of stock, the miso, rice wine vinegar and sriracha.
3. Add the rest of the stock and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, pan-fry the tofu and boil an egg for 6-7 minutes until soft boiled (gotta keep that yolk slightly runny!).
4. Add the pan-fried mushrooms and kale to the broth. Cook to your liking.
6. Place the cooked noodles in a bowl and pour over the broth, topping with the kimchi and cooked tofu. Slice the egg in half and serve!
4. Kimchi fried rice
Could there be an easier yet more satisfying meal than kimchi fried rice? I like this vegetarian kimchi dish because it’s quick and easy, plus it’s a great way to use up leftovers. As well as veggies you have lying around, you can use leftover rice. Rice that’s 1-2 days old is actually recommended because it has a slightly sticky texture that holds the dish together.
It’s also best to use ‘old’ kimchi that’s been in the fridge at least two weeks. This is because kimchi juice gathers in the bottom of the jar which can be used to flavour the rice. Kimchi fried rice doesn’t have as much flavour without it.
With all that said, kimchi fried rice is a fantastic ‘leftover’ dish. If you plan to recreate all the vegetarian kimchi dishes in this blog, you should leave this one ’til last.
1 cup white rice
2 cups kimchi
1 cup kimchi juice
2 cloves garlic
Spring onion to garnish.
1. Fry the garlic and onion until golden.
2. Finely chop the kimchi. Add to the pan and cook until golden.
3. Lightly fry the tofu and add to the pan along with the cooked rice.
4. Mix everything together and add the kimchi juice.
5. Serve topped with a fried egg. Sprinkle finely-sliced spring onion to garnish.
5. Devilled eggs
This is a quick and simple vegetarian kimchi dish that only takes a few minutes to prepare once you’ve boiled the eggs.
I’d previously never heard of deviled eggs but they have a long history. Apparently, the word ‘deviled’ was originally used to describe spicy food prepared over high heat. Deviled eggs were traditionally spiced with mustard or curry powder. I’m all for this Korean twist on the classic!
Kimchi deviled eggs would make a great addition to a picnic. They’re probably not enough for a whole meal but they make a tasty starter or side dish.
This recipe below is for two eggs but edit it according to how many you want.
2 tablespoons kimchi
1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
Pinch of salt and pepper.
1. Boil the eggs for 10 minutes and leave to cool.
2. Remove the shells and spoon the yolks into a small bowl.
3. Add the mayo and finely chopped kimchi and mix together. Start by adding a small amount and season to taste.
4. Spoon the mix back into the eggs.
5. Top each egg with a piece of kimchi and spring of parsley.
6. Kimchi grilled cheese
For an indulgent vegetarian kimchi dish, you can’t do better than kimchi grilled cheese. Tangy kimchi paired with strong cheddar is the perfect balance of sharp and smooth. I had a ‘Eureka!’ moment when I learned about this dish: why had I never thought of it before?
Kimchi grilled cheese is a dish you can experiment with. To add extra flavour (not that it needs it!), you can choose to spread the inside of the bread with a sauce of your choice such as gochujang or sriracha. I’ve also been told that avocado goes well inside.
This kimchi dish is a winner, fried in garlic sesame butter. Oh yeah!
This recipe below is per sandwich.
50g grated cheddar
2 slices bread
1 clove garlic, grated or crushed
Knob of butter (room temperature)
1 pinch sesame seeds.
1. Make a garlic butter by placing the butter, crushed garlic and sesame seeds in a bowl and mixing them together.
2. Use the garlic butter to spread two slices of bread (one side each).
3. Layer cheese and kimchi between the two slices of bread to create a sandwich with the buttered sides facing outwards.
4. Once the sandwich is prepared, fry it in an oiled skillet pan.
5. Flip to ensure both sides are crispy and the cheese is fully melted inside.
7. Kimchi tempeh burgers
This vegan kimchi dish is a fantastic twist on your average burger. My sister and I used tempeh for the patties but you could use any type of veggie burger you fancy. I’d point out that tangy kimchi goes well with smoky flavours which is maybe why our tempeh burgers worked so well.
For the burgers:
1 tbsp miso paste
3 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp vegetable stock.
2 burger buns.
For the kimchi:
1 cup kimchi
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
For the burger sauce:
1/4 cup sriracha
1/4 cup gochujang
1 tsp mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise.
1. Crumble the tempeh into a bowl. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the other burger ingredients. Pour over the tempeh and coat well.
2. Make patties with the tempeh mix and fry in oil for 5 miniutes.
3. Loosely chop the kimchi, season with the sugar and fry in sesame oil until golden.
2. For the burger sauce, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir.
5. Toast the brioche bun then assemble the burger by spreading the inner sides of the buns with the burger sauce, then topping the patties with the fried kimchi. Voila!
8. Kimchi peanut noodles with tofu
This is a lovely little kimchi dish that makes a quick and tasty lunch or dinner. It’s a bit like pad Thai, and the tang of kimchi goes great with the creamy peanut flavour. It takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
90g soba noodles (cooked)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
70g peanut butter
Sprinkle of spring onion.
1. Coat the tofu in soy sauce and fry in an oiled wok for 2-3 minutes.
2. Whisk the peanut butter with a spoon of water until it forms a paste. Add to the pan and stir gently until melted.
3. Add the kimchi and spring onions with the noodles and toss together over the heat. Once piping hot, serve!
9. Kimchi tempeh tacos
These kimchi tacos blend two of my favourite cuisines (Korean and Mexcian) and better yet, they’re entirely vegan, providing you make the gochujang mayo with vegan mayo.
1 cup kimchi
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
For the gochujang mayo: Three parts mayonnaise to 1 parts gochujang.
1. Grate the tempeh and fry in a saucepan.
2. Stir in the tomato puree and heat through.
3. Add the rice wine vinegar to the kimchi and gently sauté in a saucepan for 3-4 minutes.
4. For the dip, mix together the mayo and gochujang.
5. Assemble your tacos by adding the tempeh mix first, then topping with kimchi and finally, the gochujang mayo.
10. Korean stew (jjigae)
This tasty kimchi stew is a favourite in South Korea. It’s traditionally made with meat but can also be made using tofu for vegans. This dish is similar to ramen (but don’t tell the Koreans I compared their dish to a Japanese one!) minus the noodles. It’s deliciously warming on a cold day, plus the kimchi gives it an extra kick.
2 garlic cloves
Thumb-size chunk of ginger
1 white onion
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup kimchi
1 pack tofu
To garnish: 1 spring onion (sliced) and pinch of sesame seeds.
1. Finely slice the onion and garlic and grate the ginger.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 2 minutes.
3. Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable stock, the miso, soy sauce and kimchi (along with any kimchi juice in the pack) and str.
4. Add the rest of the stock, bring to the boil and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, coat the tofu in the soy sauce and fry in oil for 5 minutes until golden.
6. Pour into bowls and top with sliced spring onions and sesame seeds.
Note – we use hard tofu and marinate it, however you can also use soft tofu which goes well in soup and doesn’t need marinating.
11. Kimchi nachos
Korea meets Mexico (well, Texas to be honest!). This kimchi dish is vegetarian but can be made vegan if you swap in vegan cheese. It’s a quirky take on regular nachos with kimchi and gochujang!
1 large pack of tortilla chips
100g grated cheddar
3/4 cup sliced kimchi
2 tbsp gochujang mayo
5 tbsp tomato salsa
1 spring onion
1. Spread the tortilla chips evenly within an ovenproof dish.
2. Add the tomato salsa, then the sliced kimchi and grated cheese.
3. Bake at gas mark 5 for 10 minutes until all the cheese is melted.
4. Drizzle over the gochujang mayo and sprinkle the spring onions. Serve!
12. Kimchi mac and cheese
Now here’s a winter warmer! In my experience, anything cheesy goes well with tangy kimchi. Follow this mac and cheese recipe for a simple yet hearty vegetarian kimchi dish. Here’s my method:
50g cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sliced kimchi
1 clove garlic
1 piece brown bread
For the sauce:
1 knob of butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1. Cook the macaroni as per packet instructions.
2. In a different saucepan, melt the butter then stir in the flour to form a paste.
3. Gradually add the milk over the heat, whisking to remove lumps.
4. Stir in the grated cheese (holding back a handful for the topping) and the kimchi.
5. Add some oil to a frying pan and fry the garlic and onion until golden. Stir into the sauce.
6. Transfer the mix to an ovenproof dish and top with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs (grate the bread with a cheese grater).
7. Bake at gas mark 6 for 15 minutes until golden on top. Serve!
13. Kimchi scrambled eggs
This final vegetarian kimchi dish couldn’t be simpler. It gives your average scrambled eggs a kimchi kick that I imagine would go perfectly with your favourite breakfast cocktail!
Ingredients (serves 1)
Knob of butter
1/2 cup sliced kimchi
2 pieces bread
1 spring onion
1. Whisk the eggs together and add to a small frying pan with the butter
2. Leave on a low heat for 30 seconds then continue to cook, gently stirring the eggs to break them up
3. Add the sliced kimchi until heated through
4. Meanwhile, toast the bread
5. Top the toast with kimchi and sprinkle the spring onions over the top.
Thanks for checking out my vegetarian kimchi dishes!
Ps. Liked these vegetarian recipes using kimchi? Pin them for later!