Healthyish Kimchi Bowl

kimchi rice bowl

This is probably the meal we eat more than anything else in our household: a bowl of white rice topped with a whack of raw, fermented, and/or steamed veggies, a handful of crispy tofu, and garnish

It’s the perfect healthy-ish meal and I usually have all the ingredients on hand. Red cabbage lasts forever so there’s always a chunk somewhere in the fridge; kimchi only gets better with age; if I don’t have any broccoli or kale, I’ll usually have some frozen spinach; there’s usually at least one if not two bricks of tofu in the fridge; and rice, obviously there’s always rice around.

A meal like this makes you feel nourished but not deprived (this ain’t “clean eating”). It can be adapted to use up scraps of whatever you have lying around. It even makes great leftovers whether boxed up separately bento-style, or turned into a sort of mish-mash chilled rice salad.


I started making this a little differently: it didn’t used to have the raw cabbage, and it originally featured a fried or soft-boiled egg instead of tofu. I think I was trying to replicate bibimbap at the time, but it’s now evolved into something a little different. We don’t really eat eggs these days and the raw cabbage was an impulsive addition I liked enough to keep using. I add cilantro when I have it, grated carrot when I feel like it, and barbecued corn when it’s in season. I always top it with a bit of mayo (usually Hellman’s vegan mayo) to replicate the creaminess an egg would add, and green onions and sesame seeds are constants too.

What I offer here isn’t so much a recipe as a manifesto to eat more kimchi (and mayo). Sure it’s good for you, but more importantly, it’s darn delicious and adds a wonderful funk, tang, and spice to whatever you serve it with.


Healthyish Kimchi Bowl

Makes enough for 2 and probably leftovers for 1

1 cup sushi rise, rinsed

1 block tofu (454 g or 1 lb) cubed
Sesame oil (optional)
Soy sauce or hoisin sauce or whatever sweetish sauce you have around, heck barbecue sauce would probably work!

1 head of broccoli or other greens, chopped (stem included for broccoli!)

Hunk red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup (or more!) kimchi, chopped if large
2 green onions
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cook the rice according to the instructions: I usually rinse it, then cook it in almost twice the volume of water over medium heat until tender, adding more water if needed.

Heat the sesame oil in a large pan and cook the cubed tofu until browned on all sides. Alternatively you can dry-fry it without oil, but you’ll have to pry it off more carefully with a spatula. Turn off the heat and add the sauce, just tossing to coat.

*Even another option: bake the cubes in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until crispy, toss with the sauce and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Steam the broccoli (or other greens) just until tender.

Prep all your other vegetables and then assemble: start with a base of rice, then add the kimchi, cabbage, greens, and tofu however you like on top, then garnish with the green onion, sesame, mayo, and sriracha.

Mix it all together and devour, or try eating every component on its own if you’re feeling ambitious.


kimchi rice bowl

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