25 Of My Favorite Vegetarian Korean Recipe Choices

In South Korea, it’s not always easy to eat a vegetarian Korean recipe diet. But recently, there has been a lot of interest in sustainable, plant-based living and vegetarian Korean recipes. This has led to a growing vegetarian recipe scene and more and more places to eat that are good for vegetarian  recipes. Here’s how to find the best vegetarian Korean recipe food in the country.

South Korea is a great place for people who like meat. This is not a secret. Every town and city smells like a bunch of BBQ, meat, and fish places. Meat and fish are a big part of Korean food culture, which is why so few Koreans choose to be vegetarian. But it is possible to be a vegetarian in South Korea, so don’t worry! There are a lot of restaurants that serve vegetarian Korean recipes, and it’s not hard to find them.

So, you’re a vegetarian, but you’re in South Korea, which is a heaven for meat eaters. How do you deal with the smell of roasting meat that follows you around? The many places that serve galbi (ribs) and seafood that can be found in every city and town? The endless invitations to Korean barbecues where you can eat as much as you want?

Fret not, dear vegetarian. There are more and more people here who are like you, and it’s getting easier to find vegetarian Korean recipes and food already prepared. That doesn’t mean that being a vegetarian Korean recipe in South Korea will be easy, but a plant-based movement seems determined to make its mark on Korean culture anyway.

My Vegetarian Life In Korea

Before I moved to Korea, I wouldn’t eat anything that had been cooked in the same oven as meat or that had touched meat. I also wouldn’t just pick the meat out of something to eat it. But when I moved here, I had to change that fast.

Sometimes, it’s just much easier to pick the meat out of something than to try to explain in a foreign language that you don’t eat meat. This is especially true in Korea, where meat is a big deal. Korean dishes, on the other hand, are usually pretty easy to make. When I eat out, I usually just pick meat or fish from the sides that aren’t vegetables.

Explore the Vegetarian Korean Recipe Dining Options

As the vegetarian Korean  community in South Korea grows, so do vegetarian Korean recipes and the number of vegetarian Korean  restaurants and delivery services, especially in cities.

As the vegetarian Korean  community in South Korea grows, so do vegetarian Korean recipes and the number of vegetarian Korean  restaurants and delivery services, especially in cities.  says that if you’re hungry in Seoul, you should go to Insadong for Buddhist temple food or to trendy areas like Hongdae (where the vegetarian Korean recipe guesthouse Sleeping Strawberry is), Hapjeong, Mangwon, or Itaewon for vegetarian Korean recipes.

“I have it so good. In my neighborhood, Haebangchon, there are options for vegetarian Korean recipes all along the street. I’m talking about dishes like Moroccan tagine from Casablanca, Vietnamese pho from Banh Mi Lee, Middle Eastern fusion tacos at Adm’s Taco, vegetarian Korean recipe lattes from Le Cafe and vegetarian Korean recipe Space, and a full vegetarian Korean recipe menu at Vegetus,”

One of the best ways to find vegetarian Korean recipes near you is to use apps like Happy Cow and Vegefeed. These apps have an English list of about 400 Korean restaurants that serve vegetarian Korean recipes.

“Of course, Lotteria’s Miracle Burger is a good choice if you’re in a pinch, and 7-11’s freezer section has Unlimeat vegetarian Korean recipe dumplings that you can heat up in the microwave. You can also look for vegetarian Korean recipe ramen at convenience stores and supermarkets.”

If you’re with friends or coworkers at a restaurant that specializes in meat or seafood, just order rice and side dishes (side dishes). These are usually served with the meal, but you can make a quick bowl of bibimbap by mixing them together with a dollop of gochujang (red chili paste).

Vegetarian Korean Recipes Pin

25 Of the Favorite Vegetarian Korean Recipes

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1. Japchae (Korean Glass Noodles)

1 Japchae - Korean Glass Noodles

The vegetarian Korean recipe japchae vegetarian Korean recipe I made following her directions omitted the traditional non-vegetarian Korean recipe ingredients, but otherwise tasted exactly like Mom’s–sweet and salty, springy sweet potato noodles with 4 color vegetables (mushroom-brown, onion-white, spinach-green, carrot-orange).

These are the most traditional vegetables, but you could also add your favorite veggies. The rule of thumb with Korean food is to be mindful of the colors represented; red bell peppers would be a nice addition with its vibrant hue.

2. Candied Sweet Potato

2. Candied Sweet Potato

It’s so simple and easy to make, this vegetarian Korean recipe, but freshly made mattang is really irresistible, with an amazing, loud crispy crunch but then so soft inside! When I was a kid me and my friends used to eat these all the time. After school we would stop by a snack bar and order mattang, tteokbokki, and fish cake soup.

These three things went perfectly together because the tteokbokki was spicy so the fish cake soup was a nice counterbalance, and then the mattang was something sweet to top it all off. We would order these three things and keep cycling through bites of each until they were all gone and it was time to go home.

3. Korean Red Sauce

3. Korean Red Sauce

In summer time, the tomatoes are as fat and sumptuous as the days are long and sultry. There is thus little excuse to use tomatoes out of a can or box. I don’t care if you paid $100 to have them shipped from some small village in Modena, Italy.

Fresh, local tomatoes–when in season–always beat out the fancy schmancy stuff they seal into jars. This easy, peasy vegetarian Korean recipe for my red sauce with a spot of Korean spice will make you the goddess of your kitchen. A couple jars of this in your fridge, and you’ll be whipping up all sorts of dishes (pasta, stews, soups, sauces) in minutes.

4. Sweet Korean Lentils

4. Sweet Korean Lentils

So happy to be posting another delicious and easy vegetarian Korean recipe on the blog. As you know, I’m trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into my diet. I find that many vegetarian recipes can have a longer prep time, but that’s definitely not these Sweet Korean Lentils! They only take 15 minutes to make and are so delicious and packed with fiber and protein! I

Not only are these lentils super easy to make and satisfying, I recommend doubling the batch so you have extra, as I can guarantee you they will go fast! They are sweet and salty with a hint of soy sauce, garlic and ginger.

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5. Vegetrain Korean BBQ Ribs

5. vegetarian Korean recipe BBQ Ribs

This vegetarian Korean recipe will not fool a meat-eater into thinking these are beef or pork but who cares about that? Not ME. I was very pleased with myself yesterday – having eaten the entire plate of these spicy wonders and – and sat there wondering why I put off trying to make my own seitan (wheat gluten-based fake meat) for this long.

6. Kimchi Mac and Cheese

6. Kimchi Mac and Cheese

This kimchi mac and cheese is totally vegetarian Korean recipe! The vegetarian Korean recipe is made with creamy and flavorful cashew cream, spicy kimchi, and baked with a crispy panko crust.

The kimchi actually makes vegetarian Korean recipeizing mac and cheese quite a bit easier, as it supplies moisture and sourness, which are two crucial and sometimes tricky elements to every recipe calling for dairy free cheesiness. The rich cashew cream really tones down the heat in the kimchi, so if you like your food spicy, like I do, throw in a bit of extra hot sauce.

7. Vegetarian Korean Recipe Joomuk-bap (Fist Rice)!

7. Joomuk-bap (Fist Rice) Recipe

Joomuk-bap is a picnic food for Koreans. When you’re going on a picnic with your friends or for a date, you make kim-bap (basically the Korean version of a sushi roll without the fish) or joomuk-bap. If you make a vegetarian Korean recipe of joomuk-bap for your date, it is considered to be very sweet and romantic.

When literally translated, joomuk-bap means fist rice. We call it joomuk-bap because we use our fists to make the fist shaped rice ball. It’s a very nutritious, colorful and yummy dish. And it has to be accompanied by miso soup – they are soooooo yummy together!!!

8. Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

8. Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

I was kind of nervous when asked to create a dish with Korean flavors. What do I know about Korean food? How could I do it justice? But I had just set a goal to branch out with my cooking, so with this in mind I took on the challenge and started researching traditional Korean meals and the ingredients used in them.

I stumbled upon kimchi fried rice (kimchi-bokkeum-bap) vegetarian Korean recipe and was immediately sold because 1. there was already a container of leftover brown rice in my fridge, and 2. I love kimchi!

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9. Korean Bibimbap Bowls

9. Korean Bibimbap Bowls

Pan-fried tofu is my protein of choice for Korean Bibimbap Bowls. Topped with seasoned vegetables, a dippy fried egg, and flavorful gochujang sauce, you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this vegetarian Korean recipe!

Finally, I love it because it’s a fun way to enjoy a meal with a group of people. Just give everyone a bowl with rice, tofu, and a fried egg, then let them all build their own bowl from the variety of toppings on the table. Voila!

10. Quick and Easy Spicy Korean Coleslaw

10. Quick and Easy Spicy Korean Coleslaw


This is an easy vegetarian Korean recipe “salad” that has a flavor profile similar to kimchi. It’s a fresh, crunchy take on the classic Korean dish, and it only takes a few minutes to throw together. The combination of garlic, soy sauce, sesame, and vinegar makes a flavorful dressing for fresh cabbage, onion, and carrot.

cYou’ll find the Korean crushed red pepper at Asian markets. Feel free to adjust the amount to suit your spice tolerance.

11. Beoseot Gangjeong (Sweet Crispy Mushrooms)

11. Beoseot Gangjeong (Sweet Crispy Mushrooms)

Beoseot gangjeong is vegetarian Korean recipe for deep-fried crispy mushrooms glazed in a slightly sweet and sour with a spicy kick. The lightly coated mushrooms are deep-fried in shallow oil. The sauce only takes a few minutes!

Gangjeong is a type of traditional Korean confectionery that’s deep-fried and coated with a sticky syrup. The same technique is also used to make various other sweet and savory dishes such as dak gangjeong (sweet crispy chicken) and this beoseot gangjeong.

12. Sweet and Sour Radish Salad

12. Sweet and Sour Radish Salad

I am going to start the new year with this simple Korean radish side dish. Musaengchae (무생채) is a salad like dish that’s made with julienned radish. This vegetarian Korean recipe is a mild variation that’s simply seasoned with sugar, vinegar, and a little bit of salt. You might have had it at some Korean restaurants.

This crunchy, sweet and sour dish is simply refreshing! It goes especially well with the meat dishes such as Galbiand bulgogi.

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13. Spicy Korean Rice Cakes

13. Spicy Korean Rice Cakes


Tteokbokki (also spelled ddukbokki, ddeokbokki, dukbokki, topokki, 떡볶이) is a classic Korean street food of chewy stir-fried rice cakes in a sweet/spicy/sticky red sauce. The traditional version isn’t vegetarian Korean recipe, but it’s very easy to modify into a vegetarian Korean recipe with a few simple swaps!

Dylan (my partner) and I are absolutely obsessed with this dish and eat it all the time! It’s the perfect cozy night dinner that just so happens to be packed with veggies and ready in about 30 minutes.

14. Sweet Rice Mini Bundt Cake with Freshly Milled Sweet Rice Flour

Mini Bundt Cake

Sweet Rice Mini Bundt Cake is an updated Tteokppang version for a vegetarian Korean recipe that uses freshly milled sweet rice flour instead of regular store bought dry flour. Using freshly milled sweet rice flour gives this cake a corn bread like texture with a crunchy crust on the outside and a fabulously springy and chewy on the inside.

The recipe has been modified to have a more cake like texture than my original recipe.

15. Gaji Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Eggplants)

15. Gaji Bokkeum (Spicy Stir-fried Eggplants)

Simple eggplant stir-fry with a spicy kick from gochujang! While summer eggplants are still abundant, I wanted to share this very easy but flavorful vegetarian Korean recipe. Thanks to my container garden, I’ve been enjoying this dish quite often this summer.

For this recipe, you’ll need Korean/Asian eggplants. They have tender skin and sweet flesh. Look for firm and slender eggplants with a rich purple color and shiny skin. The eggplants are stir fried with simple seasonings, including gochujang (Korean red chili pepper paste). It adds a nice kick to the tender eggplants. If you like it spicier, add some Gochugaru (Korean red chili pepper flakes).

16. Gochujang Sauce

vegetarian Korean recipe Gochujang Sauce

As far as flavor goes, there’s nothing like gochujang sauce. I first made it to drizzle over homemade bibimbap, but once I had it on hand, I began topping it onto everything from roasted veggies to avocado toast! A traditional vegetarian Korean recipe, it has a bold sweet/spicy/umami flavor with an underlying funk.

This delicious, distinctive taste comes from gochujang, a fermented Korean chili paste made from glutinous rice, fermented soybeans, red chili pepper flakes, and salt. It’s pretty assertive on its own – even small amounts add intense flavor to whatever you’re cooking.

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17. Easy Korean Noodles Recipe

vegetarian Korean recipe Easy Korean Noodles Recipe

This Easy Korean Noodles Recipe can be made in under 15 minutes. You will love the rice noodles mixed with kale and mushrooms and topped with a sweet, soy based sauce. Top your finished dish with sesame seeds and green onions.

One of my favorite things to make is Asian inspired noodle dishes.

I love rotating between today’s Easy Korean Noodles Recipe, Asian Chicken Noodle Soup, Spicy Asian Chicken Soup and this Easy Chicken Ramen Noodle Stir Fry. It is fun to make some of your favorites you might eat at a restaurant at home. One I often will recreate at home is this Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Stir-Fry.

18. Gochujang Roasted Butternut Squash

vegetarian Korean recipe Gochujang Roasted Butternut Squash

Cubed butternut squash roasted with sweet and spicy Korean gochujang sauce. This Gochujang Roasted Butternut Squash makes an amazing easy healthy side dish when you’re looking for more flavor in your life and are tired of boring roasted vegetables.

This Gochujang sauce is a vegetarian Korean recipe from a red chile paste that contains fermented soybeans, salt, and a little sugar. Think sriracha, but with the consistency of ketchup and a sweeter, fuller flavor. It’s a little spicy, a little sweet, and makes a great condiment and addition to lots of dishes.

19. Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad)

vegetarian Korean recipe Korean Potato Salad (Gamja Salad)

Korean potato salad, or gamja salad, is similar to American potato salad, but has an added level of creaminess and crunchy texture; it’s sooo good!

Ever since the first time I went to a Korean barbecue restaurant, I’ve been in love with this Korean potato salad (gamja salad) and have tried to make my own vegetarian Korean recipe.

My friend Oke, would also make this Korean potato salad when we went to her house for a traditional Korean barbecue dinner, which is where I learned to make it.

20. Korean BBQ Jackfruit Sliders

Mung Bean Pancackes vegetarian Korean recipe

Jackfruit has become a bit of a big deal over the past year, and for good reason. Late last year I made this Smokey Slow Cooker Pulled Jackfruit Chili and that was my first introduction to this meat-disguised fruit; it was divine.

But over the past year, after reading further into jackfruit and its uses, I’ve come to learn that the *real* trick to enjoying jackfruit is to throw it in a vegetarian Korean recipe where it can mimic pulled meat, such as pork, beef, or chicken.

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21. Korean Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Tahini Gochujang Sauce and Spicy Slaw

vegetarian Korean recipe Korean Tofu Lettuce Wraps

vegetarian Korean recipe Korean Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Tahini Gochujang Sauce and Spicy Slaw are the fun, flavorful and healthful way to get your Korean food fix! This vegetarian Korean recipe, vegetarian Korean Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Tahini Gochujang Sauce and Spicy Slaw, has all those wonderful characteristics in a lettuce wrap.

In my not-so-humble opinion, tofu gets a bad rap. First of all, it’s an inexpensive source of protein. Second, tofu is a culinary blank canvas because it takes on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with. To me it’s not any different than a plain piece of chicken or a plain piece of fish–it’s all in how you season and flavor it.

22. Korean Fried Zucchini (Hobak Jun)

vegetarian Korean recipe Korean Fried Zucchini

In this vegetarian Korean recipe, the zucchini is coated in a thin batter of flour and egg with a bit of salt and sauteed on both sides in a lightly greased sauté pan. This dish takes just a few minutes to make in a hot pan.

The result is golden brown coins of zucchini that will complement the rest of your Korean dishes, regardless of what you’re serving with the meal. It’s suitable for vegetarian diets.

23. Korean Seasoned Spinach

vegetarian Korean recipe Korean Seasoned Spinach

This Korean spinach dish side is easily customizable. If you want to use more or less of any of the ingredients in your vegetarian Korean recipe version, depending on your tastes, feel free to do so. Those with specific health concerns, for example, may want to use less soy sauce (or use a low-sodium version) or less sugar.

But you can feel good about a dish such as sigumchi namul because spinach is one of the best plant-based foods you can eat. It’s chock full of iron.

24.  Korean Soft Tofu

vegetarian Korean recipe Korean Soft Tofu Stew

This Sundubu Jjigae 순두부 찌개 (which literally translates to ‘soft tofu stew’) is one of my favourite vegetarian Korean recipe.

It has a light yet really rich and flavourful base with a kick of spice from gochugaru. I’ve made this countless times at home and it’s a family favorite!This is so comforting and perfect for warm and hearty meals with a bowl of steamed short grain rice and some banchan (or side dishes) like kimchi and kongnamul.

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25.  Mung Bean Pancackes

vegetarian Korean recipe Mung Bean Pancackes

Made with mung beans and brown rice flour, these savory and gluten-free Korean Mung Bean Pancakes are chewy in the middle and crisp on the edges. These pancakes, known as nokdu bindaetteok, are a simple and addictive Korean side dish or snack with this vegetarian Korean recipe.

They use mung beans, which, when soaked, become very easy to process into a paste with a blender or food processor. Often, these pancakes are made without additional flours, relying solely on the solidifying ability of the ground beans. I, however, like to make them with the addition of brown rice flour for added heft and chew.

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