Vegan Samgyeopsal

Or I guess in this case it might be called dubusal since it’s tofu. I’m sure there’s a real Korean name for this, but I’m unsure of what it’d be. If you’re Korean and have a suggestion let me know!

Samgyeopsal was one of my all time favourite Korean dishes and I’ve been meaning to veganize it and finally did. It’s a common dish at Korean bbq joints, which I also miss, but my health is more important!

What You’ll Need:

-Firm tofu. Extra firm is fine as well.

-A batter of your choice. I found an “accidentally vegan” beer batter at Publix and just added some seasonings to it. (If you use this or similar and would like to add seasonings to it I just added a little liquid smoke, sesame oil, and umami seasoning, similar to this one).

-Red lettuce

-Kimchi ( make sure it’s vegan)

-Bean sprouts

-Rice, as a side

How to:

Get your rice started, we use a rice cooker because it’s easier.

You’ll want to press your tofu to remove excess liquid. We use this one and it works great! After you’ve pressed it for about 20-30 mins, you’ll chop it into rectangles a few millimeters thick. The next time I make this I’ll cut the tofu strips thinner than what’s pictured. Keep reading to learn from my mistakes!

Make your batter. The one I listed above is super easy, just add water until it’s like a pudding consistency (so thick ish) and your seasonings. I think in baking it’s called “ribbon stage/consistency?”

Here’s my mistake but also my win?

I thought, I don’t want to pan fry them so I’ll use the air fryer. I don’t know if I want to say “don’t do this” or if I want to say “do this but better than I did.”

The air fryer ended up causing the batter to spread then Cook together like one big pancake. I freaked out and tried to cut them apart and I caved and pan fried them until golden because they looked so plain and beige. I then just pan fried the rest of the battered tofu. I thought, “yuck those air fried ones are going to be awful!”

Turns out they were the best. Go figure. The ones I just fried were too thick and maybe too doughy. The good thing the air fryer did was kind of dehydrated the batter and the tofu more so it was thinner pieces and it just all worked really well.
Also just a note, omni Samgyeopsal isn’t battered. I chose to batter it to try out the batter but also to give it more depth. I definitely think you can do it without battering it and that’s what I’ll probably do next time, just season the tofu and air fry it!

Once your tofu is done it’s time to plate! I’ve been using bowls as plates lately, so here’s my bowl, but this is NOT how you eat it! Keep reading!

Here’s how you eat it and I’m salivating just thinking about it and seeing the pictures again *drool*.

Use a full lettuce leaf, a big one! You’ll need it! In your leaf place a strip of tofu, some bean sprouts and some kimchi.

Then roll it up and just eat it like a spring roll!

So delish!

Here’s the thing I’ve learned as a vegan—meat is useless. Honestly. Think about it, how often are you eating just meat? Not often. You’re eating it with sauces, you’re adding other things like mashed potato or, in this case, kimchi to it when you take a bite. Meat is just the vehicle for all of the delicious stuff. In this dish, the combo of the green lettuce, the earthy sprouts, and the bite of the kimchi is what makes it. Even before going vegan I thought that! Meat is useless in every aspect! Trust me!

Let me know if you try this out!


I made it without the batter and I 10/10 recommend without. Just season the tofu and put it in the air fryer until the outside is crispy!

I used nooch, liquid smoke, sesame oil, and umami seasoning!

Second Update:

I’ve gotten lazier and it still tastes bomb! Just nooch, onion and garlic powder. Coat both sides and air fry!

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