This Vegan Gochujang Tofu combines crispy pan-fried tofu with a spicy gochujang tahini marinade. All you need is 30 minutes to make this easy vegan & gluten-free tofu dish!
If there is one type of recipe I never get tired of, it's a tofu dish. I first started experimenting with tofu recipes when I made my viral Black Pepper Tofu and Green Beans.
Since then we've added countless favorites to SGTO including my Spicy Baked Peanut Tofu, Kung Pao Tofu, and my comforting Tofu Lo Mein.
This gochujang tofu is bound to join those as another weeknight dinner favorite!
What is gochujang?
Gochujang is a spicy paste from fermented red chili peppers, soybeans, rice, and salt traditionally used in Korean cuisine.
It has a slightly sweet flavor from the rice, a spicy kick from the chili peppers, and a sticky consistency that makes it perfect for sauces, soups, and so many other dishes.
While this recipe is not a traditional Korean dish, it is inspired by the flavors of gochujang and gochugaru!
See the recipe card at the end of the blog post for exact measurements.
Ingredient & substitution notes:
- Gochujang: I used Mother-In-Laws Gochujang and absolutely love it! Gochujang can vary in spicy level by brand, so make sure to find one that works for you.
- Gochugaru: A Korean chili powder actually used in gochujang and kimchi which has a vibrant red color and sweet and spicy flavor. I used The Spice Lab Gochugaru which is pretty mild.
- This ingredient is optional so just omit it if you do not have it!
- Tahini: As you already know I pretty much exclusively use Soom Foods Tahini- it has a great texture and is not bitter like some other tahini brands.
- You can substitute peanut butter, almond butter, or sunflower butter for variations in this recipe. If you don't like the flavor of sesame and are okay with a slightly thinner sauce, you can also omit it completely.
- Soy sauce: I used Kikkoman soy sauce for this recipe. You can also substitute for tamari to make sure it's gluten-free!
- Brown Sugar: Adds a kick of sweetness to the gochujang sauce! You can substitute for coconut sugar or maple syrup to keep the sauce refined sugar-free.
- Lime Juice: I personally LOVE the taste of gochujang and lime together which is why I used it. However, it can also be substituted for rice wine vinegar if that's all you have on hand.
- Cornstarch: Coating the tofu in cornstarch helps it get super crispy and also helps to thicken the sauce. There really isn't a great substitute and I don't recommend skipping it!
How to make tofu with gochujang
Press & season the tofu
Cut the tofu in half lengthwise and press between two paper towels for about 8-10 minutes to remove any excess moisture.
While the tofu is being pressed, mince the garlic and make the gochujang sauce.
Make the gochujang marinade
Add the gochujang, soy sauce, tahini, brown sugar, lime juice, and water to a bowl and whisk together until a smooth sauce forms. The gochujang tofu marinade won't be very thick right away but will thicken once cooked.
Pan-fry the tofu until crispy
Cut the tofu into cubes and add to a mixing bowl. If you prefer, you can also tear apart the tofu vs. cutting it into cubes for a different texture.
Coat with cornstarch, salt, & the optional gochugaru.
Add the oil to the pan and, once hot, add in the tofu and cook until crispy (about 10 minutes)
Add garlic & sauce to the pan
Once the tofu is crispy, add in the minced garlic and saute with the tofu for another 2 minutes.
Then, pour in the sauce, stir, and cook it with the tofu and garlic for about 1 minute until it begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and get ready to serve.
Serve & enjoy!
I love serving this gochujang tofu over a big bowl of rice and topping it with sesame seeds and scallions. However, it's just as great to enjoy right out of the pan!
FAQ & Tips:
Can I add extra veggies to this dish?
Of course! This spicy Korean tofu goes well with tons of veggies like broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, green beans, and carrots.
How do I store vegan gochujang tofu?
This dish can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month. It's best enjoyed right after making as the tofu will lose a bit of its crispiness when sitting in the sauce.
I can't wait for you to try this easy Vegan Gochujang Tofu! It's the best quick & easy weeknight dinner when you're craving something delicious, spicy, and saucy, yet still packed with protein. Enjoy!
More tofu recipes you will love:
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Vegan Gochujang Tofu
- 14 ounces extra firm tofu pressed & cubed
- 1 ½ Tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt reduce to ½ teaspoon for a less salty dish
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon gochugaru optional
- chopped scallions
- sesame seeds
- Cut the tofu in half lengthwise and press it between paper towels for about 8-10 minutes to remove any excess moisture.
- While the tofu is being pressed, mince the garlic and make the gochujang sauce. To make the gochujang sauce whisk together the water, soy sauce, gochujang, tahini, brown sugar, and lime juice. Set aside for later.
- Take the pressed tofu and cut it into cubes. Then add to a bowl and coat with the cornstarch, salt, and gochugaru.
- Add the oil to a pan and turn to medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the tofu and cook until crispy, about 10 minutes. The trick to really crispy tofu is to not move it around in the pan too often and really let it cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown.
- Once the tofu is crispy, add in the minced garlic and continue cooking with the tofu for another 2 minutes.
- Then, add the gochujang sauce. Stir with the tofu and cook everything together for another minute until thickened. Then, remove the pan of gochujang tofu from the heat.
- Serve the gochujang tofu as is or serve over rice and top with scallions or sesame seeds to enjoy!
- Please see the blog post for substitution ideas and more recipe tips.
- This dish can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
- It's best enjoyed right after making as the tofu will lose a bit of its crispiness when sitting in the sauce.
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