Everything you need for a full course vegan Korean BBQ, including crispy BBQ tofu, instant kimchi, cucumber salad, and spring rolls!
Thanks so much to Lucky Foods for sponsoring this post! Thoughts and opinions, as always, are my own.
With summer in full swing, I’ve got BBQ on my mind. More specifically, the smell wafting into my apartment from my neighbors’ nightly BBQ has forced the issue. And while we’ve done the BBQ classics – the plant-based hamburgers and hotdogs – we haven’t done Korean BBQ. Let’s fix that.
This plant-based Korean barbecue is everything you need for an Asian-inspired meal, from the crispy BBQ tofu main dish to the instant kimchi, cucumber salad, and spring rolls sides!
What is Korean BBQ?
Korean BBQ is a method of cooking and serving food that usually involves lots of marinated meats and sides. But it’s just as much an experience as it is about the food. Korean BBQ is typically grilled at the table, with steady streams of meats and mains being cooked up and thrown onto your plate constantly! So…how can we make it vegan?
Our plant-based version of Korean BBQ takes that same feeling – copious amounts of flavorful food – and simplifies it. You’ll just need the kitchen basics, no fancy grill required!
And then there are the authentic Korean flavors, turbo boosted by our friends at Lucky Foods who make the most magical, flavor-packed Korean products. Here’s what’s on the menu!
- Kalbi Tofu: We’re using Kalbi Sauce, a classic Korean BBQ marinade, to add major flavor to our crispy tofu.
- Cucumber Salad: Even the folks who don’t love cucumbers will love this salad! It’s light and flavorful – perfect for balancing all the savory flavors of Korean BBQ.
- Instant Kimchi: You can make kimchi in minutes by combining shredded cabbage with Kimchi Hot Sauce!
- Spring Rolls: To wrap it all up, we’ll serve our BBQ with these vegan spring rolls (they come in 4 flavors, what’s your pick?)
Crispy Kalbi Tofu
Let’s start with the tofu! You’ll want to press out the moisture to help get it as crispy as possible. A tofu press is handy for this, but you can also just set a cast iron (or heavy pot) on top! Once pressed, toss the tofu in cornstarch.
Then you’ll panfry the tofu until it’s crispy on all sides and golden brown.
Finally, stir in a bit of salt and your Kalbi Sauce!
This makes 4 small-ish portions of tofu, so feel free to double the tofu portion of this recipe if you’re hungry for it (hint: this tofu is so addicting).
Next up, the cucumber salad! We’re whipping up this Asian-Inspired Cucumber Salad, which is packed with rice vinegar, garlic, cilantro, and green onions (all while taking just 15 minutes to make).
Make your own kimchi in minutes by simply combining Napa or green cabbage with Kimchi Hot Sauce! This is such an easy side dish that complements the flavors of the BBQ so well.
Looking For More Korean Inspiration?
- Korean Eggplant Tacos
- Loaded Kimchi Fries
- Vegetarian Bibimbap
- Korean Kimchi Pizza
- Korean Kimchi Soup
- Or check out the Korean recipe inspiration over on Lucky Foods!
- 1 16-oz block firm tofu 453 g
- ¼ cup cornstarch 30 g
- 2 Tbsp oil 30 mL
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup Kalbi Sauce 120 g
- ½ head Napa or green cabbage
- ½ cup Kimchi Hot Sauce 120 g
- Press Tofu: Drain the tofu and wrap in a few layers of paper towels. Place something heavy (like a cast iron skillet) on top and let sit for 20 minutes to remove excess moisture.
- Instant Kimchi: Meanwhile, finely shred the cabbage and stir together with Kimchi Hot Sauce (5 minutes).
- Cucumber Salad: Make cucumber salad using this recipe (15 minutes).
- Spring Rolls: Cook spring rolls according to instructions on the package (for ease, I like to microwave them then transfer to the stove to make them crispy).
- Coat Tofu: Cut tofu into bite-sized blocks. In a bowl, toss tofu together with cornstarch until evenly coated.
- Cook Tofu: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook, flipping occasionally, until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with salt, then stir in Kalbi Sauce.