Gochujang Tofu and Rice Bowls

5 from 8 votes
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Gochujang Tofu and Rice Bowls, inspired by Korean Bibimbap, feature marinated tofu, quick-pickled vegetables, and seasoned sushi rice. Vegan, gluten free, and wildly flavorful, these tofu bowls are worth skipping the takeout for.

This recipe post is sponsored by USA Rice (@think_rice). I was compensated for my time, however all opinions are my own.Tofu, rice, and pickled vegetables in an orange bowl

Why You’ll Love these Gochujang Tofu and Rice Bowls

While I have many, MANY tofu recipes in my dinner index, this recipe boasts the boldest flavor and most dynamite display of textures. Marinating the tofu allows it soak up the umami-rich sauce and offer maximum flavor in every bite. (Note: if you’re not a tofu fan, you can apply the same cooking method to shrimp, chicken, or even thinly sliced beef.)

Alongside the tofu, quick-pickled veggies (I use carrots, cucumber, and radish), offer cooling crunch and refreshing tang. And to finish with flair, toasty sesame seeds and roasted peanuts. (Optional, though encouraged!)

These ingredients really pop when built on a bed of fluffy seasoned sushi rice (AKA the tastiest rice). This sushi rice is made from U.S.-grown short grain white rice, which is softer and stickier than other varieties with a slight springiness to the bite. The rice is bolstered by the flavors of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt. 

Once you build your tofu bowl, drizzle with gochujang sauce, mix with abandon, and dive in!Tofu and sushi rice styled in a bowl with gochujang sauce

Recipe Ingredients and Substitutions:

  • Tofu: It’s important to use extra-firm (or “super-firm”) tofu for this recipe. The firmer the tofu, the less moisture you need to press out of it. (Less moisture = “meatier”, crispier cubes.) I purchase the super-firm, vacuum-sealed packs of tofu from either Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
  • U.S.-grown Short Grain Sushi Rice: Short grain rice has a short, plump, almost round kernel, and is ideal for Asian-inspired dishes. (Fun fact: 95% of all sushi eaten in the U.S. is made with U.S.-grown rice!) I love the sticky, springy texture of sushi rice in these bowls, and the way it absorbs the gochujang sauce. U.S.-grown rice is nutrient-rich and contributes more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including folic acid and other B-vitamins, as well as iron and zinc. Plus, rice is gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains!
  • Gochujang: Gochujang is a staple in Korean cooking, and classically found in bibimbap. If you’re not familiar with this versatile condiment, it’s a thick and spicy crimson-red paste made from red chile peppers, fermented soybeans, and salt.
  • Soy Sauce: If making the dish gluten-free, use wheat-free tamari instead.
  • Honey: To help temper the spice of the sauce, a liquid sweetener such as honey or maple syrup works best.
  • Rice Vinegar: Look for unseasoned rice vinegar, which is simply rice and vinegar. Seasoned varieties typically have sugar, salt, and sometimes even MSG added. 
  • Toasted Sesame Oil: You’ll notice toasted sesame oil has a darker color and more concentrated flavor than regular sesame oil. The deeper, richer flavor helps make a little go a long way in the sauce. 
  • Veggies: For the quick-pickled veggies, I love using a mix of carrots, cucumber, and radish (such as daikon or watermelon). It’s best if all the veggies are julienne-cut to the same shape and size. 
  • Toppings: For extra richness and crunch, top the bowls with toasted sesame seeds and roasted, salted peanuts. You can also toss in some sliced green onion and/or cilantro. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

Note: The quick-pickled veggies can be prepared up to 3 days in advance to help streamline the bowl assembly. 

Step 1: Prepare Gochujang Sauce

In a large bowl, combine gochujang, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger; whisk to combine. Pour half of the sauce into a separate smaller bowl.

Step 2: Marinate Tofu

Add tofu to the large bowl of gochujang sauce and toss to coat. Marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours), using a rubber spatula to turn tofu in sauce a few times throughout.Cubes of tofu marinating in a large mixing bowl

Step 3: Prepare Quick-Pickled Veggies

Meanwhile, place carrots, cucumber, and radish in a medium heat-proof bowl. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, pour mixture over veggies and let sit until ready to use. (Note: Vegetables can be pickled 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.)Carrots, cucumber, and radish pickling in a bowl

Step 4: Cook Sushi Rice

Rinse rice several times with cold water in a colander until water runs clear. Drain well. Transfer to a small saucepan. Add salt and 1¼ cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir rice once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until water is evaporated and rice is tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 10 minutes.

Whisk vinegar and sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Stir into rice and let sit (covered so it stays warm) until ready to use.Short-grain sushi rice in a bowl

Step 5: Sauté Marinated Tofu

Heat 1 Tbsp. neutral cooking oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat. Add marinated tofu and cook, undisturbed for 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Toss, and continue cooking for 6 to 8 more minutes, turning to brown all sides. (Note: the goal here isn’t for the tofu to get crispy since it’s marinated, but rather to lightly brown and firm up.)Tofu being sautéed in a skillet

Step 6: Assemble Bowls

Divide rice evenly between four bowls. Top with sautéed tofu, pickled veggies, and optional add-ins. Spoon reserved gochujnag sauce overtop, and finish with garnishes of choice. 

What to Serve with Gochujang Tofu:

While these rice bowls are plenty satiating as is, they’re also delicious with an extra veggie component. For example:

Storage Tips:

  • To Store: Transfer leftover rice, tofu, and leftover sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Chill leftover pickled vegetables in a separate container.
  • To Reheat: Transfer rice and tofu to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until warm. Alternatively, you can reheat leftovers in a skillet over medium heat until warm. 

Gochujang marinated tofu and rice in a bowl topped with pickled veggies

More Delicious Tofu Recipes to Try:

General Tso’s Tofu

Tofu Tikka Masala

Tofu Picadillo

Sesame Tofu Ramen

If you give these tofu and rice bowls a try, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations. I also really appreciate readers taking the time to leave a rating and review! Lastly, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates

5 from 8 votes

Gochujang Tofu and Rice Bowls

Gochujang Tofu and Rice Bowls, inspired by Korean Bibimbap, feature marinated tofu, quick-pickled vegetables, and seasoned sushi rice. Vegan, gluten free, and wildly flavorful.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Medium Saucepan with Lid
  • Large skillet (preferably nonstick)
  • Mixing bowls

Ingredients  

Gochujang Tofu

Pickled Vegetables

  • 1/2 cup julienne cut (or matchstick) carrots
  • 1/2 cup julienne cut cucumber
  • 1/4 cup julienne cut radish (daikon or watermelon)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sushi Rice

  • 1 cup dry U.S.-grown short-grain sushi rice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar

Optional garnishes: toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onion, roasted peanuts (roughly chopped)

    Optional add-ins: sautéed shiitake mushrooms or spinach, bean sprouts

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      Instructions 

      • In a large bowl, combine gochujang, soy sauce, honey, vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger; whisk to combine. Pour half of the sauce into a separate smaller bowl.
        Add tofu to the large bowl of remaining gochujang sauce and toss to coat. Marinate tofu for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours), using a rubber spatula to turn tofu in sauce a few times throughout.
      • Meanwhile, prepare pickled vegetables by placing carrots, cucumber, and radish in a medium (heat-proof) bowl. Combine vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, pour mixture over vegetables and let sit until ready to use. (Note: vegetables can be pickled 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.)
      • Rinse rice several times with cold water in a colander until water runs clear. Drain well. Transfer rice to a small saucepan; add salt and 1¼ cups cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir rice once, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until water is evaporated and rice is tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 10 minutes.
        Whisk vinegar and sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Stir into rice and let sit (covered so it stays warm) until ready to use.
      • Heat 1 Tbsp. neutral cooking oil in a large skillet (preferably non-stick) over medium heat. Add marinated tofu and cook, undisturbed for 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Toss, and continue cooking for 6 to 8 more minutes, turning to brown all sides. (Note: the goal here isn't for the tofu to get crispy since it's marinated, but rather to lightly brown and firm up.)
      • Divide rice evenly between four bowls. Top with sautéed tofu, pickled veggies, and optional add-ins. Spoon reserved gochujnag sauce overtop, and finish with garnishes of choice. 

      Notes

      To Store: Transfer leftover rice, tofu, and leftover sauce to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Chill leftover pickled vegetables in a separate container.
      To Reheat: Transfer rice and tofu to a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring after each, until warm. Alternatively, you can reheat leftovers in a skillet over medium heat until warm. 

      Nutrition

      Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 390kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1010mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g

      I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

      If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!

       

       

       

       

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      Recipe Rating




      11 Comments

      1. Carole says:

        5 stars
        Oh my goodness, soooooooo good!! Super easy and the flavors are amazing! Unsung hero of the dish are those pickled veggies….I may be making a batch of those just to have on hand for lunches! Yummmm!

        1. Jamie Vespa says:

          I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, my friend! Thank you for taking the time to leave a rating and review!

      2. Karen says:

        5 stars
        This is amazing. Everyone was munching happily along, and my teenage daughter kept raving about how great it tasted. A keeper!

        1. Jamie Vespa says:

          I’m so glad this recipe was a hit, Karen! Thank you for taking the time to leave a review!

      3. Jules says:

        5 stars
        Really tasty but gochujang is not traditionally gluten free, so anyone who is celiac or can’t have gluten needs to find a special gluten free gochujang.

        1. Jamie Vespa says:

          Hi Jules – thanks for the heads up!!

      4. Heather Brown says:

        5 stars
        This was really fantastic! I always have a difficult time with tofu taking the flavor. I had no idea to marinade it! Thank you!!
        The pickled veggies were perfect.
        This was a great recipe.

      5. Laura says:

        This bowl is amazing. Thank you the recipe!!

      6. Kyle says:

        5 stars
        I eat variations of this dish all the time. Tofu, veggies and rice. This is one of my favorite ways to have it. The gochujang just gives me the spice I love and crave. I always have mushrooms but that’s just because they’re the best thing ever. I also love the firecracker sauce on this other recipe. https://dishingouthealth.com/firecracker-salmon-bowls/

      7. Susan Poolarea says:

        5 stars
        This rice bowl looks so filling and nutritious! Thank you!

        1. Jamie Vespa says:

          I hope you enjoy it, Susan!!