Tangy kimchi and flavorful gochujang chili paste give this simple vegetarian sheet pan meal a punch of Korean deliciousness. Using the oven to bake the tofu instead of frying it saves time and makes the tofu chewy and savory. The veggies and rice roast at the same time and an easy tahini-based sauce brings it all together.
Kimchi gives this plant-based meal a boost of umami and fermented flavors with very little effort on your part. Gochujang (a fermented chili paste) adds another burst of flavor. In fact, this easy gochujang drizzle is my go-to sauce for stirring into stir-fries or jazzing up a bowl of rice.
What Kind of Tofu to Use
For best results, buy extra-firm, water-packed tofu for this recipe. Extra-firm tofu has already been pressed, making it dense and sturdy. It’s easy to cube and won’t crumble when you toss it with tamari or soy sauce and roast it.
All you need to do is wrap it in a kitchen towel and give it a few gentle squeezes to remove any excess water. Plus, roasting the tofu instead of frying it requires less oil and less cleanup.
Instant Flavor Thanks to 2 Key Ingredients
Kimchi has become a popular staple in most American grocery stores. You’ll find it in the produce section or refrigerated case with other prepared foods or you can make your own.
To please the American palate, many domestic producers make mild kimchi with just a hint of heat. If you have low spice tolerance, go with mild kimchi for this recipe and adjust the heat with the gochujang.
Gochujang is a Korean chili paste made by mixing hot chilies with sugar, salt, rice, and soy and fermenting it, giving it much more complexity and depth than your usual hot sauce. The resulting paste is thick and intense, and should not be confused with gochujang sauce, which has added ingredients for use as a condiment.
Once you get comfortable with this sheet pan technique, you’ll see how easy it is to make it your own. Broccoli and carrots can be swapped out for combinations of cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, or peppers—whatever you have in the veggie drawer.
If you can’t find gochujang, Sriracha will work in a pinch. If you want to go whole grain, long-grain brown rice will work beautifully.
Don’t Let Kimchi Go to Waste
Once you use half of a jar of kimchi for sheet pan fried rice, you’ll have enough left over to use in grain bowls, make a kimchi peanut butter sandwich, or whip up one of these tasty recipes:
Sheet Pan Fried Rice
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
1 cup mild kimchi, drained and chopped, plus 2 tablespoons juice
1/4 cup tahini
2 1/2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce, divided
1 tablespoon gochujang paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 clove garlic, pressed
3 tablespoons avocado or canola oil, divided
1 block extra firm tofu, drained
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 large rimmed sheet pans
Cook the rice:
Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a small pot, then add the rice. Return to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 15 minutes or according to the package instructions. Take off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool until ready to use.
You can cook the rice up to 2 days ahead or use 3 cups of leftover cooked rice. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Prepare the kimchi:
Use a fork to move the kimchi from the jar to a measuring cup, then place a small strainer over a small bowl and drain the kimchi, pressing it down. Measure the kimchi juice and add more from the jar, if needed, to make 2 tablespoons. Roughly chop the kimchi and set both aside.
Make the drizzle:
In a cup or bowl, combine the tahini, 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce, gochujang, rice vinegar, sugar, garlic, and the reserved 2 tablespoons of kimchi juice. Stir with a fork or small whisk until smooth. Stir in 2 tablespoons of water to make it pourable and set aside.
Roast the tofu:
Spread 1 large rimmed sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of oil.
Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch cubes and pile on the oiled pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of tamari or soy sauce and toss gently to coat, then spread the cubes out on the pan in a single layer. Bake the tofu for 15 minutes, then toss and bake for 10 minutes longer, until browned and crisp.
Roast the vegetables:
Meanwhile, combine the cooled, cooked rice, broccoli, carrot, and kimchi in a large bowl. Drizzle with sesame oil and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce and toss to mix.
Spread the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on a second large rimmed sheet pan, then spread the rice and vegetable mixture evenly on the pan.
Bake until the vegetables are crisp-tender and the rice is a little browned around the edges of the pan, about 20 minutes.
Drizzle and serve:
Combine the hot rice mixture and baked tofu in a large serving bowl and stir to mix. Drizzle with the tahini and gochujang mixture. Serve hot.
Any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 4 days.
To reheat, microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes. You can also put the leftover fried rice in a small, oven-safe dish, sprinkle with a few drops of water, cover, and place in a 300°F oven until heated through.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 6|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 18g||24%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||11%|
|Total Carbohydrate 25g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 6g||20%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 69mg||346%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|