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Vegan Tofu Bulgogi (Korean Marinated Tofu)

Tofu Bulgogi is served with rice in a black bowl with chopsticks.
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Bold, salty and sweet, sticky and completely irresistible! Yes, we are talking about a Tofu Bulgogi dish that we whipped up in our kitchen for a weekday dinner! With the flavours of Korean BBQ, this plant-based meal is incredibly moreish and leaves nothing to be desired! The key is to leave tofu marinading for hours before cooking!

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How to Press Tofu?

For this Korean marinated tofu dish, make sure to use firm tofu (we used Cauldron Organic Authentic Tofu). Take the tofu out of the fridge and drain it long before you start cooking. We recommend pressing it for at least 30 minutes. Wrap in a clean tea towel and place something heavy on top: you can use a heavy pan, a chopping board with lots of cans on top or a bunch of books. Doing this ensures all extra liquid is pressed out. If you make tofu dishes a lot, there are lots of Tofu Presses out there that you may want to invest in!

What Goes Into Bulgogi Marinade?

Ingredients for Bulgogi Marinade on a chopping board.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What Does Bulgogi Taste Like?

Korean Bulgogi has a bold flavour. It is salty and it is sweet! Sharp with vinegar and mildly spicy with chilli and ginger, this Vegan Tofu dish has it all!

What Can I Substitute a Pear With?

Traditionally, an Asian pear is used in the Bulgogi Marinade. However, for convenience, we used a standard conference pear that is widely available in supermarkets. If you don’t want to use it though, substitute it with a sweet apple, such as Golden Delicious or Gala.

Is Tofu Bulgogi Gluten-Free?

It depends! Most soy sauces contain gluten, but if you use gluten-free soy sauce or Tamari, this dish is not only vegan, but also gluten-free!

Tofu bulgogi is cooked and served on a wooden table in a black bowl.

How We Make Our Bulgogi Style Tofu?

First thing in the morning, drain and press your tofu for at least half an hour (see notes above).

Slice the pressed tofu into thin slices and add them to a wide-based bowl. Scatter chopped brown onion, spring onions, ginger, chilli and garlic on top.

In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, rice vinegar and grated pear. Season with black pepper.

Pour the mixture over the tofu and vegetables, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.

Cook your rice following the instructions on the packet.

In the meantime, stir fry the mushrooms until they release the water and it evaporates. Remove from the pan, cover to keep warm.

Drizzle the same frying pan with some odourless oil (like vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower). Remove the tofu from the marinade (reserve it for later). Once the pan is hot, place the strips of tofu in the pan (you may need to do this in batches). Sizzle the tofu on both sides for a couple of minutes on high heat. (If you cooked tofu in batches, return all the tofu to the pan at the end of cooking the second batch).

Korean marinated tofu is sizzling in the pan.

Add the mushrooms, then spoon just enough marinade to cover the tofu and let it cook for a couple of minutes until the marinade is reduced and the tofu is brown and sticky.

What to Serve Bulgogi Tofu With?

Serve Korean Bulgogi Tofu on a bed of fluffy white rice. The best vegetable sides for tofu bulgogi are the ones with lots of texture but mild flavours (trust us, this recipe has enough flavour!) We suggest serving this vegan mushroom and tofu dish with some steamed broccoli or char-grilled Pak Choi!

Other Korean Cuisine-Inspired Dishes

For other Korean inspired dishes, have a look at the recipes below. They are delicious (if we do say so ourselves!):

Tofu Bulgogi is served with rice in a black bowl with chopsticks.

Vegan Tofu Bulgogi (Korean Marinated Tofu)

Bold, salty and sweet, sticky and completely irresistible! Yes, we are talking about a Tofu Bulgogi dish that we whipped up in our kitchen for a weekday dinner! With the flavours of Korean BBQ, this plant-based meal is incredibly moreish and leaves nothing to be desired! The key is to leave tofu marinading for hours before cooking!
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Marinading Time: 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Korean, Vegan
Servings 2 portions
Calories 682 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 200 g firm tofu drained and pressed, see notes
  • 1/4 brown onion finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions
  • 10 g ginger finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • 80 ml soy sauce we used light
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 pear skin on, grated
  • 100 g chestnut mushrooms halved or quartered
  • 160 g long grain rice

Instructions
 

  • First thing in the morning, drain and press your tofu for at least half an hour (see notes below).
  • Slice the pressed tofu into thin slices and add them to a wide based bowl. Scatter chopped brown onion, spring onions, ginger, chilli and garlic on top.
  • In a separate bowl, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, rice vinegar and grated pear. Season with black pepper.
  • Pour the mixture over the tofu and vegetables, cover and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  • Cook your rice following instructions on the packet.
  • In the meantime, stir fry the mushrooms until they release the water and it evaporates. Remove from the pan, cover to keep warm.
  • Drizzle the same frying pan with some odouress oil (like vegetable, rapeseed or sunflower). Remove the tofu from the marinade (reserve it for later). Once the pan is hot, place the strips of tofu in the pan (you may need to do this in batches), Sizzle the tofu on both sides for a couple of minutes on high heat. (If you cooked tofu in batches, return all the tofu to the pan at the end of cooking the second batch). Add the mushrooms, then spoon just enough marinade to cover the tofu and let it cook for a couple of minutes until the marinade is reduced and the tofu is brown and sticky.
  • Serve Korean style Bulgogi tofu on a bed of rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 682kcalCarbohydrates: 107gProtein: 21gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gSodium: 2252mgPotassium: 627mgFiber: 6gSugar: 30gVitamin A: 250IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 194mgIron: 4mg
Keyword Bulgogi Tofu, Korean Style Tofu, Korean Tofu, Plant Based Tofu Bulgogi, Plant Based Tofu Recipes, Tofu Bulgogi, Vegan Korean Recipes, Vegan Korean Tofu, Vegan Tofu Bulgogi, Vegan Tofu Recipes, Veganuary Recipes
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12 Replies to “Vegan Tofu Bulgogi (Korean Marinated Tofu)”

  1. Shashi at Savory Spin says: Reply

    5 stars
    I am always looking for more ways to cook tofu and this is one killer recipe! Thanks so much for sharing this one – it looks so fabulous!

    1. Shashi, thanks for the wonderful feedback! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    The tofu looks absolutely delicious. I love Korean BBQ flavours. Can’t wait to try this out.

    1. Thanks, Rachna! Really hope you like it 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for my vegan friends last night and they raved about it. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

    1. I’m so glad your friends liked it! Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    This s absolutely brilliant, I’m always looking for new ways to make tofu that isn’t boring!

    1. Yes, I know exactly what you mean! I think we all had bland tofu before. Well, this is quite the opposite! Hope you like it!

  5. 5 stars
    This turned out great! The marinade had such a great flavor — I really loved the touch of ginger. Super simple too!

    1. Thanks, Amanda! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I love bulgogi! Looking forward to trying this tofu version.

    1. Oh, I am sure you will love this one! All the good bulgogi qualities, but all vegan 🙂

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