Everyday Eats, Main, Recipes, Winter

Vegan Kimchi Soup with Tofu, Mushrooms, & Bok Choy

Inspired by Korean cuisine, this comforting and cozy Vegan Kimchi Soup is just what winter calls for. Spicy. flavourful, and filling – filled with a hearty broth, spicy kimchi, classic Korean flavours like gochugaru and gochujang, mushrooms, bok choy, and tofu.

It’s the time of year when all we’re craving is a little comfort. It’s cold, the sun is hiding, and fresh seasonal veggie are few and far between. Recipes that pack flavour, keep you full and warm, and are easy to make are what the season calls for. Soup hits all those checkpoints and more.

This Vegan Kimchi Soup features medium-firm tofu, tender shiitake mushrooms, fresh bok choy, and an aromatic base of ginger, onion, and garlic. It’s warm, cozy, easy to make, and the ultimate comfort food. Whether you’re looking for something packed with flavour, a warm dish for winter, or the perfect meal prep – our Vegan Kimchi Soup inspired by Korean cuisine is what you need.

We first tried kimchi at Korean restaurants throughout Toronto. A staple in many Korean recipes and meals, this fermented cabbage dish is the heart of this recipe and started our love for Korean flavours. Korean food is full of flavour, heart, and love. Featuring a deep and delicious flavour, Korean cuisine often contains chili pepper paste or flakes, soybean paste, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and green onion. Many of the Korean staples are pickled, salted, or fermented foods like Kimchi.

Recipe Inspiration:

This vegan soup is inspired by Korean flavours with ingredients from other Asian cuisines like Chinese. Made with reference from Korean recipes like Kimchi jjigae (김치찌개) this recipe is our plant-based version of this traditional meal. Of course this recipe is by no means an authentic Korean recipe, which is why we didn’t include it in the recipe title, as neither of us are Korean. For more traditional Korean recipes check out Maanchi’s Kimchi jjigae or My Korean Kitchen’s Kimchi jjigae.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • It’s hearty, delicious, and bold in flavour.
  • Super simple to prepare and cook.
  • Perfect for meal prepping, just make a big batch for the week!
  • Warm and comforting – exactly what you need for winter.

Ingredient Notes

  • Kimchi – Kimchi is a staple food in Korea. It’s a side dish of salted and fermented cabbage made with gochugaru, green onions, garlic, ginger, and more. It’s on the table for many Korean meals and used in many soups and stews. Note that not all kimchi is vegan, some contains fish. Be sure to check ingredients when picking out your kimchi for this recipe to ensure it’s vegan friendly.
  • Gochujang – A red chili paste that is both savoury and sweet with a hit of spice. It’s a fermented condiment made with gochugaru, glutinous rice and more. You can find this ingredient at most grocery stores in a red tub.
  • Gochugaru – A red chili powder that is typically made from sun-dried peppers without the seeds. It has a slightly smoky, sweet, and spicy flavour. It’s used to add heat and a bold flavour to many Korean dishes. You can find it at Asian grocery stores.
  • Mushroom Powder – Dried mushrooms that are blended into a powder, it’s great for adding a deep umami flavour into your dishes. You can make this yourself at home or find it at many Asian grocery stores.
  • Bok Choy – Also known as Pak Choi is a leafy green that belongs to the mustard family is commonly used in Chinese cooking. You can find this green veggie at most grocery stores.
  • Medium-Firm Tofu – Made of soy, tofu is aged and pressed into a block. It’s a great source of plant based protein, used in many Asian cuisines. You can find tofu at most grocery stores, but we tend to like the ones you can find at Asian grocery stores best.

Top tips for making Vegan Kimchi Soup:

  • Cook on medium heat. Allow the flavour to develop deeper by cooking over medium or low heat over longer periods of time. Cooking at to high of a temperature cooks the ingredients too quickly and does not allow enough time for a deep, robust flavour to develop.
  • Season to taste. This soup can be as spicy as you want it to be. Spice level can depend on how much chili you add and the brand you use, ensure you’re cooking with brands and ingredients to you know well so you can gauge the spice level.
  • The longer you simmer, the better the flavour. Cooking the soup on a low simmer for a longer period of time will help develop a deep and rich flavour.
  • Rice is the backbone to many Korean meals. Rice is a staple in Korean cuisine and served with most meals. As a (delicious) option, you can cook up some rice to search alongside this Vegan Kimchi Soup.

Recipe FAQ:

Can it be made ahead of time?

Yes! We recommend eating it fresh, but it can be made ahead of time. Store this Vegan Kimchi Soup in an air-tight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Just reheat over low heat on the stove when ready or enjoy it cold!

Can you use different tofu?

Yes! Feel free to use soft, silken, extra firm, or whatever tofu you want to use. Please note that depending on the tofu it can alter the experience and texture of the soup.

Other vegan comfort food recipes you will love:

How to make Vegan Kimchi Soup:

Vegan Kimchi Soup with Tofu, Mushrooms, and Bok Choy

Inspired by Korean cuisine, this comforting and cozy Vegan Kimchi Soup is just what winter calls for. Spicy. flavourful, and filling – it's filled with a hearty broth, spicy kimchi, classic Korean flavours like gochugaru and gochujang, mushrooms, bok choy, and tofu.
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Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Korean
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 130 g (½) onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated
  • ¾ cup kimchi, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp gochugaru
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 cup mixed mushrooms, chopped
  • 6 baby bok choy, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp mushroom powder
  • 250 g medium-firm tofu, cubed
  • 1 tbsp gochujang
  • ½ cup green onions, for topping
  • 1 lime, for topping

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pot (like a dutch oven) over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook for 1 minute, then add garlic and ginger, and sautée for 5 minutes.
  • Add the kimchi, vegetable broth, soy sauce, gochugaru, salt, mushrooms, bok choy, and mushroom powder. Stir until combined than add the tofu and stir in the gochujang. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer covered for about 25 minutes.
  • Pour in the kimchi soup with some tofu, mushrooms, and kimchi into bowls. Garnish with green onions and a lime wedge and serve hot!

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