Tofu Gimbap

tofu gimbap recipe

I’m finally sharing this gimbap recipe I made last summer for visitors from a Korean TV network, BTN (Buddhist Television Network). They were traveling to film a documentary about Korean temple cuisine in America. I made some temple dishes — this gimbap and hobak mandu (zucchini dumplings), and shared my thoughts on them for their program. The gimbap recipe came from the book titled “ Temple Food of Venerable Seonjae”, which is authored by a Buddhist nun, Ven. Seonjae (선재스님), a master of Korean temple cuisine.

tofu gimbap recipe

This version of the gimbap recipe replaces the meat in the traditional gimgap with tofu and also uses homemade braised burdock root (ueong jorim) as a filling. The tofu is shallow-fried in oil until golden brown and crispy. Frying gives the tofu a nice texture and flavor. You can buy burdock root premade for gimbap in the refrigerated section of a Korean market, but temple food is all about fresh vegetables and homemade ingredients. It’s pretty simple to make at home!

I’ve made this tofu gimbap several times since the BTN visit. Loved it every time! You won’t miss the meat. It is perfect if you are looking for a vegan gimbap recipe!

tofu gimbap recipe

tofu gimbap recipe

The tableware shown in the final photos of this post are sponsored by Huue Craft, an online store dedicated to the finest Korean pottery tableware. They ship worldwide to over 25 countries. Visit Huue Craft online store for the beautiful tableware created by five of the renowned potters in Korea!

4 from 6 votes
Tofu gimbap
delicious vegan gimbap made with fried tofu
Servings: 5
Author: Hyosun
  • 5 gim aka nori sheets
  • 2 cups uncooked short grain rice standard measuring cup not the cup that comes with a rice cooker - see note
  • 1 tablespoons sesame oil
  • salt to taste start with 1/2 teaspoon
For the fillings
  • 10 ounces firm tofu
  • 1 bunch spinach about 8 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 kirby cucumbers
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 burdock root uoeong, braised - see the recipe
  • sesame oil
  • salt
  • cooking oil
  1. Cook the rice using a little less water than usual. Fresh cooked rice is best for gimbap.
  2. Cut the tofu into about 3/4-inch thick sticks. Pat dry with a paper towel, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Heat a small pan with enough oil to cover the pan. Add the tofu pieces and fry until all sides are golden brown.
    tofu gimbap
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat, and prepare an ice bath. Blanch the spinach, place immediately in the ice bath, then squeeze out the water. Cut into short lengths by running a knife through a few of times. Season with the sesame oil (about 1/2 teaspoon) and salt.
    tofu gimbap
  4. Cut the cucumber into 1/2-inch thick sticks. Do not use the seedy part. Heat the pan with a little bit of oil over medium high heat. Stir fry the cucumber until softened. Lightly season with salt.
    tofu gimbap
  5. Julienne the carrots. Heat the pan with a little bit of oil over medium high heat. Stir fry the carrots until softened. Lightly season with salt.
    tofu gimbap
  6. For the burdock root, see the recipe.
    Braised burdock root
  7. When all the other ingredients are ready, remove the rice from the rice cooker. While the rice is still hot, add the sesame oil and salt. Mix well by gently folding with a rice paddle or large spoon until evenly seasoned. Add more salt to taste. The rice will cool down during this process and be ready to be used.
    tofu gimbap
  8. Put a sheet of gim, shiny side down and longer side toward you, on a cutting board or a bamboo mat if available. Spread about 3/4 cup to 1 cup of rice evenly over the gim, using a rice paddle or your fingers preferably. Lay the prepared ingredients on top of the rice close to the side toward you.
    tofu gimbap
  9. Lift the entire bottom edge with both hands and roll over the filling away from you, tucking in the filling with your fingers. Put firm pressure over the roll with the help of the bamboo mat, if using, to close everything in tightly. Then, continue to roll again, putting pressure evenly over the roll using both hands.
    tofu gimbap
  10. Rub or brush the roll with a little bit of sesame oil for extra flavor and shiny look. Apply a little bit of sesame oil to a sharp knife. This will keep rice from sticking to the knife. Repeat as necessary after each cut. Wipe the knife with a damp towel if the rice still sticks. Cut the roll into 1/2-inch thick bite sizes.
    tofu gimbap
Recipe Notes

Mix 1 cup regular short grain rice with 1 cup short grain brown rice for a healthier option.

Adapted from Temple Food of Venerable Seonjae

Leave a Comment



  1. Hi Hyosun! I made this last night for me and my siblings. My sister thought she would crave meat after eating this as she is a HUGE carnivore, but she couldn’t tell there was no meat. I got her to eat tofu, which she hardly ever eats. This was a success! Thanks for another wonderful recipe, and hope you’re enjoying the fall weather!

    • That’s great to hear! Who needs meat when you can have fried tofu? Right? Yes, I’ve been really enjoying the fall weather and color. It’s just been so beautiful. Too bad it’s almost ending.

  2. You make the best looking gimbap on the internet! 🙂 Thank you for sharing your recipes for so many delicious vegetarian foods. Love them. The tableware you choose are beautiful too!

    I’ve noticed on my last visit to Lotte and Super Hmart that they carry a variety of dried Korean vegetables. Do you use them? They seem convenient for those times when you don’t have much to work with and you need one more side dish to go with your rice and soup.

    • Hi Latha – Thank you for your kind words! Yes I use dried vegetables a lot. I love them. My bibimbap recipe uses dried fern brakes, and I will post more recipes using dried vegetables in the future.

      • Thank you, that would be great! Some of the dried vegetables looked unfamiliar and uniquely Korean since I hadn’t seen them in other Asian (non-Korean) grocery stores. I thought of how resourceful older generation Koreans had to be with vegetables in the winter due to the cold and snowy climate. Not many recipes on the web for these quiet, dependable pantry ingredients. They are overlooked. 🙂

  3. I cant sleep. Now I want to eat this at 4.30 am.

  4. Thank you so much for the recipe! I made this yesterday and it was sooo yummy! The only think I was missing was the burdock root but I’ll get it for next time. I had a little bit of rice leftover so I made a delicious little rice ball as well 🙂

  5. is there any ingredient that i can replace if i dont have sesame oli?