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What Are the Vegan Options at Korean BBQ? (Updated Guide)

What Are the Vegan Options at Korean BBQ? (Updated Guide)

Korean BBQ is a community-based food. A Korean BBQ typically takes place around an open grill, and family and friends gather to cook and eat. It is a casual setting and a delicious meal lasting 2-3 hours.

Korean BBQs generally serve salad and a plethora of marinated meats, sides, and other dishes. However, if you have subscribed to the vegan lifestyle, you might be wondering what the vegan options at a Korean BBQ are, isn’t it?

There are several vegan options at a Korean BBQ. These include vegan banchan, vegan bibimbap, loads of vegetables, and rice.

Read ahead to learn more about what a Korean BBQ is. Moreover, you will get enlightened about how to make your vegan Korean BBQ. Furthermore, in this carefully curated article, you can thoroughly explore the vegan options at a Korean BBQ to ensure you stick to your veganism vow. 

What Is a Korean BBQ?

Before we divulge the vegan options at a Korean BBQ, let’s examine what a Korean BBQ is. 

A Korean BBQ is a collective meal you can enjoy with friends and family. It is a fun and straightforward setup around a grill outdoors in your yard or at a restaurant. A Korean BBQ offers a unique experience in cooking and eating. The meal lasts for two to three hours.

You can have a fun-filled lunch or dinner with a Korean BBQ. Generally, meat happens to be the Korean BBQ star. But, since you enjoy veganism and protecting animals, you can forego the meat altogether. 

The uniqueness of a Korean BBQ lies in everyone’s participation in the cooking process and eating of delicious food items. 

So, it is no wonder you want to continue your Korean BBQ sessions despite being a vegan.

A typical Korean BBQ starts with a salad. Then you have a plethora of options in its side dishes, also called banchan. Moreover, you can consume beverages in a Korean BBQ and jjigae or stew. 

A Korean BBQ is a delightful and delicious experience that you should experience at least once in your lifetime.

What Are the Vegan Options at Korean BBQ?

Are you a Vegan? Fret not! You needn’t starve your tongue off this delicious bonanza. There are plenty of vegan options at Korean BBQ for you to enjoy and enthrall. 

You can eat Korean BBQ without harming animals. The proof is there in the dishes listed below. 


Banchan are small side dishes that you consume with your Korean BBQ. 

These are small refillable side dishes at a restaurant. With a smack of flavor, there are several banchan that you can enjoy as a vegan. These use simple and natural plant-based ingredients to give you flavorsome and healthy dishes.

  • Korean seasoned bean sprouts or kongnamul muchim
  • Cucumber kimchi
  • Korean glazed potato or gamja jorim 
  • Korean spinach salad or sigeumchi namul
  • Pan-fried tofu or dubu jorim 


Bibimbap is a single-bowl meal. It essentially consists of cooked and raw elements brought together with gochujang sauce. This is a well-balanced and filling meal as one of the vegan options at a Korean BBQ.

Typically, bibimbap is a rice-based dish. It is a complete meal with assorted exotic vegetables like mushroom, zucchini, pickled daikon, cucumber, spring onion, carrot, edamame beans, and spinach. Moreover, you use traditional sushi rice and tofu for protein to break the taste of the vegetables. 

All this combines with the gochujang chili paste made using plant-based ingredients only. You can also use soy sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup to kick the notch of flavor. 

This recipe is the best excellent vegan bibimbap you can enjoy.

Sounds enjoyable and filling as vegan options at a Korean BBQ, isn’t it? 

Grilled Vegetables

As a vegan, you can never go wrong with more vegetables. You can substitute the grilled meat with grilled vegetables. 

There is a plethora of vegetables you can roast and consume. Squash, zucchini, tomato, eggplant, peppers, onions, mushrooms, and more can get roasted and sizzle your palate. Using an exciting mixture of soy sauce, vinegar, and chili powder as a dipping sauce is all you need to enjoy grilled vegetables at a Korean BBQ.


Well, a nutritionally balanced meal is incomplete without protein. So, tofu is the vegan solution. This is a plant-based cheese. A couple of other options, like tofu steak, grilled and served as a slab at restaurants and BBQs. 

Some other vegan options at a Korean BBQ with tofu include the following.

  • Sticky baked Korean BBQ tofu bites
  • Tofu sundubu, a spicy tofu stew
  • Grilled tofu
  • Crispy tofu

You could probably fill yourself with tofu if you enjoy it. 

These are some of the primary vegan options at a Korean BBQ. Read ahead to learn the health benefits of a vegan Korean BBQ and how to make it. 

Health Benefits of Vegan Korean BBQ

Vegan options at a Korean BBQ tend to offer you a multitude of health benefits. Most Korean BBQ food hails from its Buddhist origins. This cooking uses locally sourced natural ingredients to ensure you have smooth digestion. Moreover, a Korean BBQ offers deliciousness plus health. 

Since a vegan Korean BBQ gets devoid of meat that proves to cause cancer, you are already eliminating a significant health risk by being vegan. 

The banchan, bibimbap, and grilled vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbs. They contain less fat and promote your well-being. 

A Vegan Korean BBQ promises excellent taste and a healthy diet. You can protect yourself from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer by consuming vegan options at a Korean BBQ.

How to Make Your Vegan Korean BBQ?

Now that you know the vegan options at a Korean BBQ and their health benefits, you might be wondering how to make your vegan Korean BBQ, isn’t it? Keep reading this article. You will find the tips to make your vegan Korean BBQ listed below. 

Choosing a Cooking Appliance

Suppose you want to have your Korean BBQ outdoors in your backyard. Invest in an outdoor grill. It will be easier for your family and friends to gather around and enjoy vegan delicacies. 

However, invest in a portable hot plate if you want to do it indoors. You will get a restaurant-like feel too. 

Ensure you get a plant-based natural cooking oil to barbeque your food. 

Moreover, you will need a rice cooker to cook white sticky rice for bibimbap or other rice-based vegan Korean BBQ dishes. 

Selecting Your Protein

There are several vegan options for Korean BBQ proteins. You can substitute all the meat options with vegetables and some mock-meat options. 

You can use proteins like tofu, tempeh, seitan, and more. Suppose you aren’t a fan of soy-based products. You can use vegetables like mushrooms, cauliflowers, eggplant, and squash. 

Whatever protein you choose, ensure your protein can withstand the high temperatures of the grill.

Choosing the Right Marinade and Sauce

Marinade and sauce are the key to tasty flavor in Korean BBQ. So, there is no doubt that you have vegan options at a Korean BBQ in marinades and sauce. 

Your Korean BBQ marinade has a savory flavor filled with soy, hints of spice, and sweetness. Your marinade should combine well with the vegetable and protein you choose to grill. Moreover, your marinade should satisfy your taste buds completely. 

A recipe for a perfect vegan marinade consists of the following ingredients.

  • Soy sauce or tamari
  • Cloves of garlic
  • Brown sugar or apple or pear puree
  • Ginger powder or grated ginger
  • Sesame oil
  • Green onion
  • Sesame seeds
  • Red pepper powder or chili powder
  • Black pepper to taste

You can tweak the quantity of the ingredients according to your family and friends’ taste buds to achieve the perfect smack of flavor. 

One of the famous Korean BBQ vegan sauces is the gochujang chili paste. It mixes well with several vegan options at a Korean BBQ.

Adding Rice and Banchan

Your Korean BBQ would probably stay incomplete without white sticky rice and banchan. White sticky rice gets used in bibimbap and completes your Korean BBQ.

Banchan, as mentioned above, are small plates of side dishes to add flavor to your Korean BBQ. Kimchi, Korean BBQ Brussels sprouts, and enoki mushrooms sauteed or grilled are popular banchan recipes you can make for your Korean BBQ. 

Moreover, you can incorporate several flavors into your Korean BBQ. Your banchan has sweet, savory, spicy, tangy, sour, or salty flavors that give your palate a burst of deliciousness. 


A Korean BBQ remains incomplete without a beverage to accompany it. Gulping a drink will help you have a complete Korean BBQ experience. 

Soju is the national alcoholic drink in Korea. It is often referred to as Korean vodka and is one of the best vegan options in Korean BBQ beverages. It’s made of rice. It is vaguely sweet alcohol with a hint of milky flavor. 

Wrapping Up

A Korean BBQ is a communal meal you can enjoy in your backyard or restaurant. Suppose you have been prescribed or subscribe to veganism. You needn’t worry. There are plenty of vegan options at a Korean BBQ. You will get spoilt for choice and have an enthralling meal with a beverage.