Korean eggplant and mushroom tacos with kimchi cream are a weeknight taco dream come true: meaty, umami-rich strips of vegetables balanced by a creamy sauce and cooling, and crunchy fixings.Taco lovers unite! Both vegetarians and omnivores can get behind these flavor bombs. They encompass everything there is to love about a succulent, meaty taco in a plant-based, decidedly Korean alternative.
Plus, they’re dead-simple, 100% weeknight-approved, and make for some fantastic leftovers. The meaty texture and umami flavor of both eggplant and portobello mushrooms work beautifully in these plant-based tacos. Use whatever type of eggplant looks most appealing at the grocery store; Japanese or small globe varieties work great. They should be firm to the touch, with glossy skin.
Though what really brings the vegetables to life is the fiery, funky sauce they’re tossed in. The sweet heat of gochujang (Korean red chili paste) combined with soy sauce, rice vinegar, and a touch of honey achieves the kind of savory depth that hits you from all sides. If you’re craving a little extra spice, feel free to add either dried red pepper flakes or fresh chiles to the mix. Now to introduce you to your new favorite homemade condiment: KIMCHI CREAM.
I could wax poetic about this funky, fermented masterpiece all day long. It’s a supremely simple mix of kimchi, Greek yogurt, and a dash of mayo, and it comes together in two minutes flat. Take my word, you’ll want to double (or even triple) the batch because you’ll be using it on everything from salads to roasted vegetables and grain bowls for the remainder of the week. Every dish could use a little punch of probiotics, right?
As far as toppings, use whatever your taco-loving heart desires. I tossed in some thinly sliced English cucumber for added crunch, extra kimchi (necessary), and a flurry of fresh cilantro to brighten everything up. Shredded cabbage, green onion, or a homemade slaw would also be delicious. Meaty strips of eggplant and mushrooms.
Punchy kimchi cream.
Crunchy, fresh toppers.
If I can’t convince you tacos are a perfect food, this recipe will.
- 1 Tbsp. gochujang (Korean chili paste)
- 1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. lower-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 small globe eggplant (or 2 medium Japanese eggplants), sliced into strips
- 2 portobello mushroom caps, sliced into strips
- ⅓ cup refrigerated kimchi, undrained
- ¼ cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 8 corn or flour tortillas, toasted
- Toppings: additional kimchi, thinly sliced English cucumber, fresh cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Combine gochujang, vinegar, soy sauce, and honey in a bowl; stir with a whisk. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large, oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Add eggplant and mushrooms; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown. Add gochujang mixture; toss to combine. Transfer skillet to preheated oven; bake 5 minutes.
- Combine kimchi, yogurt, and mayonnaise in a food processer; blend until mostly smooth. Add extra kimchi juice as needed to thin mixture out. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To assemble tacos, divide vegetable mixture evenly into each of 8 toasted tortillas. Add toppings of choice (additional kimchi, sliced cucumbers, cilantro, etc.); spoon kimchi cream overtop.