Spicy Vegan Gochujang Tofu Rice Bowls
Enjoy this spicy gochujang tofu with rice and sautéed garlic green beans for a delicious and satisfying plant-based meal.
About this Recipe
This spicy tofu recipe combines the bold flavors of spicy Korean chili paste, or gochujang, with plant-based ingredients for a delicious combination of taste and texture.
The bowls feature crispy baked tofu tossed in a spicy gochujang sauce and paired with tender garlic green beans and rice, and though there are 3 components to the dish, it all comes together quite easily for an easy weeknight dinner or meal prep.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a traditional Korean condiment widely used in Korean cuisine. It’s thick, sticky, and spicy-sweet fermented chili paste made from red chili powder, glutinous rice, fermented soybean powder, barley malt powder, and salt.
Gochujang is known for its distinctive taste, combining spiciness, sweetness, and umami flavor. It adds depth and heat to dishes and is a key ingredient in many Korean recipes.
- Tofu: This recipe is best with extra firm tofu but you can also use firm tofu. I did not press the tofu as there isn’t much excess water in extra firm tofu. For even crispier tofu, you can press the tofu for 15-20 minutes to squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Corn Starch: Substitute arrowroot starch (arrowroot powder) if needed.
- Soy Sauce: Low-sodium soy sauce is suggested but regular is ok.
- Gochujang: Korean red chili paste. Readily found online, with Asian foods in well-stocked grocery stores or in any Asian specialty store.
- Sugar: Use brown sugar or coconut sugar.
- Green Beans: Technically optional if you just want to do the gochujang tofu with rice though they make it a complete meal and pair well with the rice and tofu.
- Rice: You can use basmati rice, jasmine rice or brown rice for serving.
- Oil: I use olive oil for the tofu and sesame oil for the green beans. Any cooking oil is suitable for both uses.
This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.
Serving & Variations
- You can omit the rice and green beans and just make the gochujang tofu, serving as a side dish or with any bowl or grain.
- Serving: Try sprinkling with sesame seeds, thinly sliced green onion, and/or fresh coriander.
- For alternative vegetables, you could serve with steamed broccoli, this eggplant stir fry, steamed bok choy or roasted broccolini.
- To make this with tempeh instead of tofu, brown tempeh cubes in a pan until crisp and golden brown then toss with the sticky sauce.
- To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauce.
Before You Start: If you need to cook rice for your bowls, start that first following the package instructions. It’s suggested to use 1/2-1 cup rice per bowl, depending on your nutritional needs. I use about 3/4 cup cooked white rice per bowl, or 3 cups total.
Step 1: Tear the tofu blocks into bite-sized pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with 1 tbsp cornstarch, 2 tsp oil, 1 tbsp soy sauce and a pinch of black pepper.
Step 2: Spread the tofu on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
Step 3: Rinse out the bowl and add the gochujang, sugar and soy sauce and mix until fully combined. Set aside for now.
Step 4: Bring a large pot of 3L salted water to a boil. Wash the green beans and cut or snap the tips of the ends. Once the water is boiling, cook for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse under cool water.
Step 5: Heat 2 tsp oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook 1 minutes. Add the green beans and cook 1 minute. Toss with chili flakes and pepper and set aside.
Step 6: Add the crispy tofu pieces to the bowl with the sauce and toss to coat.
Add the cooked rice to bowls and top with the gochujang tofu and green beans on the side. Serve with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.
Yes. You can substitute maple syrup for the sugar.
Prepared rice bowls can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you’re just making the gochujang tofu, it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheated in a saucepan, the microwave or on a baking sheet in the oven.
Notes & Tips
- I like to tear the tofu rather than cut it into cubes so it creates more surface area for getting crispy and holding onto the sauce. It’s fine to cut it into cubes or any other shape as well.
- If you’d like to press the tofu, use a tofu press or wrap the blocks in paper towel or a dish towel and place a heavy object on top for 15-20 minutes.
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
A Korean-inspired dish featuring spicy gochujang tofu and garlic greens served over rice.
For the Tofu
- 2 350 g packages extra-firm tofu
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tsp olive oil
- black pepper
For the Gochujang Sauce
- 4 tbsp gochujang paste (64 g)
- 3 tbsp brown sugar or coconut sugar (38 g)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (80 mL)
For the Bowls
- Prepare choice of rice according to package instructions. Suggested amount is 3/4 cup cooked rice per bowl (3 cups total) or about 1 cup uncooked rice.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Break the tofu blocks into bite-sized pieces, placing them in a large bowl. Add the cornstarch, soy sauce, oil. Season with a bit of black pepper. Toss with a spatula until the tofu pieces are coated.
- Spread the tofu bites in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
- Wipe out the bowl and the sauce ingredients (gochujang, soy sauce, brown or coconut sugar) and mix until fully combined. Set aside for now.
- Bring a large pot of 3L of salted water to a boil on the stovetop. Prepare the green beans by washing then chopping or breaking the tips off the ends. Once the water is boiling, add the beans and cook for 3 minutes then drain and rinse under cold water.
- Once the beans are in the water, heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the green beans and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the black pepper, chili flakes and a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Remove from the heat.
- Once the tofu is done, add it to the bowl with the sauce and toss to coat.
- Divide the rice between 4 bowls and top each with the tofu and green beans. Top with thinly sliced spring onion and sesame seeds, if desired.
Nutrition facts include 3/4 cup cooked white rice per serving.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 513
- Sugar: 12 g
- Sodium: 1249 mg
- Fat: 15 g
- Carbohydrates: 70 g
- Fiber: 8 g
- Protein: 27 g
Keywords: gochujang tofu