Bulgogi tofu hot off the grill, spicy kimchi, and avocado makes for a sandwich that pops with flavor. Think of it as Korean reuben fusion. It is a hearty vegan sandwich that truly satisfies.
A while back I shared my bulgogi tofu bowl recipe with sautéed spinach, kimchi, and brown rice. Today I’m offering a great option for what to do with any bulgogi tofu leftovers.
Or if you’re just looking for a way to cure any cravings you may have for a savory sandwich that doesn’t pull any punches, make this sandwich all on its own!
This bulgogi tofu sandwich doesn’t shy away from flavor. It includes sweet & savory grilled tofu, bold kimchi, vegan mayo, and avocado.
With fermented cabbage as a layer & rye bread encasing it, you could almost say it’s Korean reuben fusion.
How to make this sandwich
If you’re not using leftover bulgogi tofu, then the first step is to marinate the tofu. (If you are using leftover bulgogi tofu, then obviously you can skip this step!)
Cut 10 ounces of vacuum-packed tofu into half-inch slices.
I use Trader Joe’s high protein tofu, which is one of my favorite Trader Joe’s vegan products. Wildwood also makes vacuum-packed tofu. It’s available at a lot of health food stores.
If you don’t have vacuum-packed tofu, no worries. You’ll just need to press water-packed tofu first. To make up for the difference in water weight, use a 14-ounce package of water-packed tofu. (Here’s a helpful post on how to press tofu.)
Pressing tofu makes the texture firmer. And it makes room for the tofu to pick up all of the flavors of this bulgogi-style marinade.
Make the marinade with:
- Agave syrup
- Brown rice vinegar
- Toasted sesame oil
- Granulated onion
- Ginger powder
- Minced garlic
- Black pepper
Allow the tofu to marinate for at least an hour and up to 24 hours. The longer the tofu marinates, the more flavorful it will become.
Be sure to flip the tofu halfway through, so that every part is evenly coated.
Time to grill!
After the tofu is fully marinated, bring the outdoor grill to 500 degrees. Grill the tofu slices for two to three minutes on each side, until dark grill marks form.
No grill? No problem! You can grill the tofu on an indoor grill pan or even a skillet instead.
Don’t forget to toast the bread!
Spread non-dairy butter on each side of the bread. Then brown it on each side for a couple of minutes.
You can toast it in a skillet, grill pan, or outdoors on the grill. Your call!
Would you like cheese with that?
If you’d like melty non-dairy cheese on your sandwich, add it to two of the bread slices, cover the grill, and allow it to melt. I recommend a smoked gouda-style vegan cheese.
Compile those sandwiches
Now it’s time to put the sandwiches together.
Slather the bread with vegan mayo.
Top with slices of bulgogi tofu, drained kimchi, avocado, and the last layer of bread.
Serve right away alongside french fries or a pile of sesame kale.
A note on vegan kimchi
Kimchi is sold in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. It’s often by the sauerkraut.
Kimchi is made by fermenting cabbage with vegetables, garlic, and chili peppers. Some brands include fish sauce as well. So when you’re looking for kimchi, be sure to turn that label around and check for fish sauce.
My go-to brands are Sunja’s and Gold Mine.
Where can I find gochujang?
Gochujang is a fermented hot pepper paste that’s made with red chili, glutinous rice, and soybeans. It adds a full-bodied flavor that’s reminiscent of miso meets Sriracha.
Gochujang is sold in tubs at Korean grocery stores. You can also find it in jars & bottles at many natural grocery stores in the Asian section.
One jar or tub lasts a long time in the refrigerator since you just need a little bit for a lot of flavor.
Bulgogi tofu sandwich with kimchi
- Non-dairy butter for buttering bread
- 4 slices rye bread
- 2 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise I like Vegenaise
- 1 batch bulgogi tofu
- 1/2 cup kimchi divided**
- 1 avocado pitted and cut into slices, or 2 slices of non-dairy smoked cheese*
- Heat outdoor grill to 500 degrees. Use a knife to spread non-dairy butter on each side of bread.
- Grill bread on one side for a couple of minutes, until grill marks have formed. Flip bread and top two of the bread slices with non-dairy smoked cheese, if using. (If you're using avocado, you'll add that later.)
- Grill for a couple more minutes with the grill lid closed, so that the cheese melts. Once grill marks have formed on the second side, remove bread from grill.
- Now it's time to compile the sandwiches. Slather vegan mayo onto each of the slices. Top each sandwich with two slices of bulgogi tofu. Squeeze the kimchi with your hands over the sink to remove any excess liquid. Place 1/4 cup of kimchi on each sandwich. Top with a few slices of avocado, if using, and the last layer of bread. (That's the one with the melted cheese, if using.) Serve immediately.
Originally posted April 2016. Content and photos updated August 2019.