This Vegan Kimbap features crispy fried tofu with seasoned and fresh vegetables! Make delicious homemade kimbap with this easy to follow recipe.
What is Kimbap?
Kimbap is a Korean dish made from cooked rice seasoned with sesame oil and salt with a variety of filling ingredients, tightly rolled in dried sheets or sea weed. Kimbap is very similar to Japanese sushi but there are two identifiable differences.
Whats the difference between Japanese sushi and Korean kimbap?
The rice and the filling. Japanese sushi rice is seasoned with sushi seasoning (vinegar), Kimbap is seasoned with sesame oil and a bit of salt. Japanese sushi rolls are commonly filled fish and/or vegetables, whereas Kimbap is filled with cooked proteins such as bulgogi and vegetables. However, both Japanese sushi rolls and Korean sushi rolls have several varieties and combinations of fillings! Another subtle difference is that Kimbap is usually brushed with sesame oil for a glossy look and a little more toasted sesame flavour.
Ingredients to make easy Vegan Kimbap with Tofu
Kimbap is super customizable and the fillings will depend on where you buy your Korean sushi rolls or what you want to fill it with. Typically, you will find Kimbap with a cooked meat, yellow pickled radish (takuan) with cooked and fresh vegetables. To make vegan Kimbap, I replaced the meat with tofu and fried it for extra crunchy texture. I've also made Korean sushi rolls with smoked tofu which is just as delicious! Here's a run down of the ingredients I decided to incorporate in this Kimbap, but feel free to get creative.
- korean seaweed (called gim)
- and sesame oil to taste
Play around with ingredients! I also love making kimchi kimbap and adding in all kinds of other seasoned vegetables.
How to Make Vegan Kimbap
Unlike Japanese sushi rolls, Kimbap includes a lot of prepared vegetables seasoned with salt and sesame oil. It may seem laboursome to cook each vegetable separately, but it only takes about 15-20 minutes max! To me, for good Kimbap, it's worth it!
- Korean Kimbap Rice: use short grain rice and cook as per usual (with just a tad less liquid). Once all the other ingredients are ready to go, season with salt and sesame oil. Don't be tempted to add too much oil through because a lot of the other ingredients include sesame oil and sometimes it can be too over-powering.
- Fried Tofu: I've used both medium-firm, firm and extra firm tofu and they all work great! Just be a bit more careful with the medium firm to ensure it doesn't break apart. Coat with some corn starch and fry in a pan with some oil over medium heat and season with salt.
- Seasoned Carrots: In the same pan as the tofu, quickly fry the carrots with some salt and sesame oil until cooked through.
- Korean Seasoned Spinach: Blanch the spinach, this should take no more than 45 seconds. Quickly rinse with cold water or shock it in a bowl with water and ice. Squeeze out the excess liquid and slice the ball of spinach in half. Season with garlic, sesame oil and a bit of salt.
- Korean burdock root: You can buy already prepared braised burdock root at Korean markets, but I just use my Kinpira Gobo recipe! They're virtually the exact same thing, except the size might be slightly different. Similarly with the pickled yellow radish (takuan), you can find it at Japanese or Korean markets. Slice into ½ inch vertical strips.
- Fresh vegetables: Slice the cucumber into ½ inch vertical strips.
How to Easily Roll Kimbap
Once you have all the ingredients ready, it's time to roll it up! The easiest way to roll sushi or Kimbap is by using a bamboo mat. I've seen bamboo matts sold everywhere for cheap, so it's definitely worth it to purchase one for tightly rolled perfect sushi and Kimbap.
- Place a piece of Korean seaweed (or nori sheet) shiny side down, with the longer end going vertically. Keep a bowl of water handy beside your station.
- Wet your fingers and add ¾-1 cup of the rice onto the seaweed. Press the rice down with your fingers to evenly cover the seaweed leaving 2-3 cm at the top open.
- Layer your ingredients horizontally. You don't want to over stuff or under stuff the Kimbap, so your first roll can kind of be your "tester" to see how much you can fit in because it depends how large your sliced your vegetables.
- Once all the filling is in place, lift the bottom edge (with the matt) and roll over the filling ingredients. Press firmly against the bamboo matt and continue until you each the top. The seaweed should hold together at the end from the moisture of the rice.
- Lightly brush the roll with some sesame oil. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 8 equal pieces. Wipe your knife with a damp cloth or towel after every cut to make clean cuts
And there you have it! A simple and easy kimbap recipe.
More Korean Food Recipes to Try!
- Vegan Japchae
- Kimchi Pancakes (egg & dairy free)
- Air Fryer Korean Candied Sweet Potatoes
- Korean BBQ Pulled Jackfruit
- Date Sweetened Korean BBQ Sauce
If you recreate this Vegan Kimbap recipe let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment and rating below or by tagging me on Instagram @Okonomikitchen, I love seeing all of your tasty recreations!Print
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