Vegan Kimchi Fried Rice is a great way of using up leftover rice, is ready in 15 minutes and is a true taste sensation! Featuring just a handful of veggies, an easy-to-make stir fry sauce and the all important Korean ingredient: spicy and flavourful vegan kimchi. You could even make your own kimchi if you like!
Long time readers will notice that this recipe has been updated with new photos and writing. Don’t worry though – the recipe is essentially the same. We’ve just updated the vegetable selection. Read on for more...
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Quick – and we mean quick! If you’re using pre-cooked rice and get all of the ingredients ready before you start cooking, it will be ready in about 15 minutes.
- Easy – as there are only a few simple ingredients in this recipe, there’s not a lot that can go wrong!
- Spicy – kimchi and gochujang chilli paste are quite spicy. So, give the kimchi a try before you add it to the pan, or buy one that is labelled as mild. Gochujang is always generally spicy, but this is key to the flavour of the fried rice. Therefore we’d recommend tailoring the spice level by choosing a mild kimchi, or making your own that’s not too spicy. Please note, kimchi takes at least five days to make. We used shop bought.
- Versatile – a previous version of this recipe included mixed mushrooms, like oyster, enoki and shimeji. As long as you use around 700g of vegetables altogether you can use whatever vegetables you like. Just make sure they’re chopped into small chunks. For long time readers, the rest of this recipe is the same, we’ve just mixed up the vegetables.
🍽 Equipment & Products Needed
To make this vegan kimchi fried rice, you’ll need a good kimchi! We recommend the ones by Biona or Yutaka. That’s because they’re both vegan and not too spicy. We also recommend using a great Gochujang paste, however, both of these ingredients can be bought at large supermarkets.
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Kimchi – kimchi is an amazing fermented Korean side dish. And we couldn't make kimchi fried rice without it! It’s super healthy and as it’s fermented, it’s great for gut health too. We call it a side dish rather than an ingredient because it’s served as a side with almost every meal in Korea! Did you know you can even make your own kimchi? Try this homemade kimchi recipe by Lisa Lin. Please note, we don’t chop the kimchi, we use it straight out of the jar. If you notice that the cabbage or onion in it are too large, just give it a rough chop before adding to the wok.
- Gochujang – this is a Korean red chilli paste. It’s also a fermented ingredient, that’s spicy, savoury and sweet. If you can get Gochujang, rather than a standard chilli paste, it’s preferable. It adds a rich depth of flavour to this recipe. Otherwise, just use whatever chilli paste you have on hand.
- Maple Syrup – we need something sweet to balance out the flavours. So maple syrup it is. You can use another type of syrup if needed, or brown sugar. We use syrup because we make the sauce in advance so it was easier to stir it all up without needing to wait for sugar crystals to dissolve.
- Rice - preferably at least 1 day old. If you have leftover rice from the day before or can make the rice a day in advance that would be ideal. This is because the rice needs to be dry. That’s so it can absorb the flavours without becoming too wet, clumpy or mushy.
🔪 Step-by-step instructions
These instructions are to go with the images as an overview. For full details, ingredients measurements and notes, see the recipe card below.
1. Mix all of the stir-fry sauce together in a bowl, then set aside.
2. In a wok, optionally add one teaspoon of sesame oil and bring up to a medium heat. Fry the garlic for 30 seconds.
3. Add in the kimchi and stir well.
4. Pop in the carrots, babycorn, green beans and tenderstem broccoli. Stir-fry for 5 minutes.
5. Next add the cooked rice into the wok.
6. Stir until well combined, like in the picture.
7. Pour in the stir-fry sauce and mix well.
8. Make sure everything is piping hot and then serve with sesame seeds and sliced spring onions as garnishes (optional).
👩🍳 Expert tips
- Use day old rice – this is so the rice has time to dry out. It can then absorb the flavour without going mushy. If you don’t have time, and you’re cooking the rice directly before adding it to the wok, make sure to rinse it thoroughly with water before cooking. This stops it from clumping in the cooking process. We would also rinse it with cold water once cooked. If you have time, we recommend laying the cool rice out on a baking sheet and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. This is so it can dry out a little. This acts like a cheat’s way of getting it to a similar texture as day old rice.
- Spice level – gochujang is a Korean spicy chilli paste and kimchi is a popular spicy Korean side dish. So therefore, this recipe is spicy. We recommend giving the kimchi a taste before you start cooking. You can then decide if you want to add the full amount of gochujang or a bit less.
- Measure in advance – this recipe is so quick, it helps to have all of the ingredients weighed out before you start cooking. That way you can just throw all of the ingredients into the pan without any faffing around.
- Make ahead – vegan kimchi fried rice keeps well in the fridge for three days. It can be reheated in the microwave or on the stove. Add around 1-2 tablespoons of water, but it may not need this, only if you think it looks a little dry. It shouldn’t go mushy.
It’s up to you! As long as you have kimchi and chilli paste, preferably gochujang, the rest is up to you! We have decided to pack this dish out with lots of fresh vegetables but you could also add tofu, tempeh or another meat alternative. You can also mix the vegetables up and use mushrooms, peas, peppers or courgettes, to name a few.
Not generally, as it often includes egg as an ingredient. Sometimes fish sauce is also used as a condiment.
Also no. Most shop bought kimchi isn’t vegan, and neither are most recipes to make it at home. However, vegan kimchi is now widely available in supermarkets, just remember to check the packaging! Most traditional kimchi recipes include shrimp paste or fish sauce, so to make a vegan one, just omit that or use miso paste instead.
Yes, all rice in its raw form is vegan, including white rice.
Yes, vegan kimchi fried rice freezes really well! We recommend defrosting overnight and then thoroughly reheating in the microwave until piping hot.
🍛 What to serve with it
Spicy Garlic Tofu by The Korean Vegan
Would you like to learn more about kimchi? Head to: The Lowdown on Kimchi – and let us know if you have any questions!
More recipes you may like:
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Vegan Kimchi Fried Rice in 15 Minutes
For the stir-fry:
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 1 cup kimchi
- 200 g baby corn – chopped small
- 100 g tenderstem broccoli
- 200 g carrots – chopped small
- 200 g green beans – chopped small
- 1 tsp sesame oil – optional, could also use oil spray
- 300 g brown rice dry weight (840g cooked brown rice)
For the sauce:
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Gochujang chilli paste
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
To garnish (optional):
- 2 spring onions – sliced
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- If you're not using pre-cooked rice, cook the rice now according to packet instructions. Once cooked, rinse with cold water.300 g brown rice
- Put all of the stir-fry sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined.
- Grab your wok and optionally add one teaspoon of sesame oil. Place over a medium-high heat.1 tsp sesame oil
- Add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds.2 cloves garlic
- Pop the kimchi in and stir well.1 cup kimchi
- Next add the carrots, baby corn, green beans and tenderstem broccoli. Stir-fry for 5 minutes, the veggies will still be crunchy, yet piping hot.200 g baby corn, 100 g tenderstem broccoli, 200 g carrots, 200 g green beans
- Pop the cooked rice into the wok and stir until well combined with the vegetables and kimchi.
- Pour in the stir-fry sauce and mix well. Make sure everything gets a good coating of the sauce. It should look well glazed. Ensure it is all piping hot and then serve with sesame seeds and sliced spring onions as garnishes.
- If possible, use one day old leftover rice or make the rice the day before. If this isn’t possible, rinse the rice with cold water once cooked. If you have a little bit of time, spread it out on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for an hour to help dry it out.
- Kimchi can be shop bought, just make sure it’s vegan. It’s often not, but there are quite a few vegan options available now.
- Feel free to mix up the vegetables. A previous version of this recipe used mixed mushrooms instead of baby corn. As long as you stick to the total amount of vegetables (700g), you can use whatever you have on hand.
- This meal keeps in the fridge for three days. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water to the container before reheating in the microwave. Make sure it is piping hot before serving.
- This recipe also freezes well, for up to three months. Defrost thoroughly before reheating.