Vegan Kimchi Fried Rice with Smoky Tempeh & Broccoli

Vegan kimchi fried rice with smoky tempeh and broccoli is an easy meal that can be served any time of the day. Hearty, spicy, and delicious!

An overhead shot of vegan kimchi fried rice in a grey bowl on a white background. A black fork is sticking out of the bowl and there is a grey linen napkin nearby. The dish is garnished with sliced green onions.
An overhead shot of vegan kimchi fried rice cooking in a stainless steel sauté pan with a black silicone spatula sticking out of the pan.
Two photos: An up close shot of a cake of tempeh + an overhead shot of a stainless steel steamer basket with broccoli and cubed tempeh on it.


Amidst all the cookies, cocktail recipes and grand holiday mains, couldn’t you use a quick, pantry-friendly recipe that’s great for breakfast, lunch or dinner? How’s my sales pitch? :D I thought I’d pop in with something a bit easier to keep you well-fed in those moments. Maybe you’re tired from shopping, slightly hungover/just tired from last night’s party, or you’re just looking for a healthy dinner break.

This kimchi fried rice is super hearty, spicy, mildly funky, protein-rich, and simple to prepare. It relies on cold leftover rice for the right texture, so that is one aspect you’ll have to plan out. I use brown basmati because that’s the only rice I have on hand these days. Any rice is fine though. A lot of commercial kimchi has fish-based components. If you are 100% plant-based, check labels or make your own if you have a few extra weeks to spare! I like Wildbrine’s vegan kimchi if you’re considering buying one.

Kimchi fried rice is typically served with eggs in the mix, but since I’m allergic (and also totally plant-based haha), I went with some seared tempeh as our big time protein component. It gets a light steam before a trip in the sauté pan with garlic, smoked paprika, salt, and maple syrup. Just going for that meaty/fake bacon-y vibe.

I find this dish comforting in a lot of ways. It rests on my favourite food group: hella carbs. It’s a total flavour bomb. It features a lot of pantry ingredients as well as fresh foods that I typically keep on hand all the time (broccoli, green onions, tempeh). It’s also ready in less than 30 minutes. Sometimes the thing that you can make the fastest is the most soothing and satisfying option. I can admit that it’s not much of a looker, but man is it good! Enjoy, friends.

An overhead shot of ingredients for vegan kimchi fried rice on a white background.
An up close shot of tamari and sesame oil being poured into a stainless steel sauté pan filled with cooked rice.
An overhead shot of vegan kimchi fried rice in a grey bowl on a white background. A black fork is sticking out of the bowl and there is a grey linen napkin nearby. The dish is garnished with sliced green onions.
A 3/4 angle shot of vegan kimchi fried rice in a grey bowl on a white background. A black fork is sticking out of the bowl and there is a grey linen napkin nearby. The dish is garnished with sliced green onions.
KIMCHI FRIED RICE WITH SMOKY TEMPEH & BROCCOLI - The First Mess
Print Recipe
4.6 from 5 votes

Vegan Kimchi Fried Rice with Smoky Tempeh & Broccoli

PREP TIME10 mins
COOK TIME20 mins
TOTAL TIME30 mins
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 2 -3
Author: Laura Wright

Ingredients

  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 8-oz block tempeh, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil, divided
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ⅓ – ½ cup vegan kimchi, drained (reserve the juice) and chopped
  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • Get yourself a large pot with a tight-fitting lid and a steamer basket that will fit inside. Pour two inches of water into the pot, secure the lid, and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • Arrange the tempeh and broccoli in the steamer basket, with each ingredient taking up its own respective half of the basket. Drop the steamer basket into the pot, secure the lid, and steam for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, carefully remove steamer basket from the pot and set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the avocado oil to the skillet. Add the steamed tempeh pieces to the skillet and stir with a spatula. Keep sauteing and stirring the tempeh until golden brown edges start to appear, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, smoked paprika, maple syrup, and a pinch of salt to the skillet and stir until fragrant, about 10-20 seconds. Don’t let the garlic burn.
  • Scrape the tempeh out of the skillet into a small bowl and cover with a towel.
  • Wipe out the skillet if necessary and return it to the heat with the remaining avocado oil. Add the chopped kimchi to the skillet and saute until kimchi is slightly browned, dried out, and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the rice to the skillet and stir, breaking up the clumps with your spatula.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together a tablespoon of the reserved kimchi juice with the chili paste, tamari, and sesame oil. Add this mixture to the skillet and stir. Raise the heat to high. Keep stirring until the rice stops sticking together and is slightly browned. Add the steamed broccoli and smoky tempeh to the skillet and stir. Check the seasoning. To serve, divide the fried rice between two bowls and top with green onions.

Notes

  • Kimchi varies in saltiness, so feel free to add more tamari at the end of the cooking process if the flavour doesn’t seem as well-rounded as it should.
  • If you avoid soy, you can use coconut aminos for the tamari. As for the tempeh, fingers crossed you can find hemp or grain-based options near you. Smiling Hara Hempeh is a good one.
  • I simply top mine with green onions, but you could add sprouts/microgreens or chopped cilantro.
  • Leftover rice from the night before or longer is key here. That’s how you get the browning on the rice.


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