Who was it that first thought to mash up Korean BBQ with tacos? I have no idea, but the idea behind vegan Korean BBQ tacos made with plant protein and kimchi is pure genius.
It sounds like one of those recipe ideas that shouldn’t work, but it does — boldly, beautifully, and easily, especially if you’re a kimchi fan. Remember, though, that not all kimchee is vegan (some brands are made with fish sauce) so check labels.
I make these with homemade seitan, but you can use an equivalent amount (about 1 pound) of your favorite strip-style plant protein.
To make this gluten-free: Use corn tortillas, GF soy sauce or tamari, and in place of seitan or other non-GF protein product; you can use tofu or Butler’s Soy Curls®.
Yield notes: How many tacos you get from this recipe depends on the size of the tortillas used and how you distribute the ingredients. You can get 10 to 12 with small corn tortillas, and more like 8 to 10 with soft taco-size flour tortillas.
You can even use larger, burrito-size tortillas and make wraps, in which case, you may get 6 to 8. Don’t worry about the math, just layer on the ingredients, and serve with plenty of napkins!
- 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil or dark sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1/4 cup good-quality ketchup
- 1 tablespoon agave or natural granulated sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika or barbecue seasoning blend (see Note)
- 16 ounces seitan or steak-style plant-based protein, cut into strips (see Note)
- 1 cup vegan kimchi
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
- 1 to 3 teaspoons sriracha, to taste
- Juice of 1/2 lime
- 3 cups thinly sliced cabbage (add a little red cabbage if you’d like)
Optional garnishes (use either or both)
- Chopped cilantro
- Thinly sliced scallion
Combine the oil, soy sauce, ketchup, agave, lime juice, and smoked paprika in a mixing bowl and whisk together.
Add the seitan (or other plant protein) and stir to coat evenly.
Heat up a large skillet or stir-fry pan. When nice and hot, add the seitan and cook over medium-high heat until touched with light brown spots, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the kimchi and continue to cook until piping hot.
Meanwhile, combine the vegan mayo, sriracha, and lime juice in a mixing bowl (you can use the same one from before, but wipe it out) and stir or whisk together. Save a little bit if you’d like to drizzle over the top of the finished tacos.
Either way, add the cabbage to the sriracha mayo and stir until evenly coated.
To assemble the tacos, lay flat on a surface. Layer on some of the sriracha slaw, followed by the seitan mixture. Top with cilantro and/or scallion. Repeat as needed.
Fold over and eat (messily) out of hand.
Look for barbecue seasoning blend in the spice section of well-stocked supermarkets. McCormick makes a number of good varieties.
Here's our easy Homemade Seitan recipe.
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See lots more recipes for vegan tortilla dishes.