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Today: Not all kimchi is vegan -- but the vegan kind is amazing, indeed.
When I first learned that kimchi isn’t typically vegan, I was surprised: What’s not vegan about spicy, fermented cabbage with chili flakes?
The answer is that kimchi is usually made with shrimp paste or fish sauce, which give the kimchi some of its characteristic umami and flavor. The good news for vegan kimchi lovers (like me) is that it’s perfectly easy to find flavorful kimchi that’s made without seafood. Garlic and chili can provide plenty of heat, and ingredients like red miso paste can add that elusive umami to the dish. My favorite vegan kimchi brands include King’s Kimchi, Sunja’s Kimchi, and Mama O’s Kimchi Paste. If you’re up for a little DIY action, it’s also quite easy to prepare homemade vegan kimchi; a little Googling will lead you to easy recipes and tutorials.
More: Learn more about miso paste, another way to get umami into your vegan food.
I’ve come to love kimchi so much that I’ll pile it on salads, stuff it into homemade nori sushi rolls, and even mix it into my scrambled tofu breakfasts. But one of my favorite ways to enjoy it is in a warm, filling grain bowl. This bowl features ingredients that are bold enough to hold their own next to the kimchi (hearty wild rice and spicy roasted broccoli), but it’s the spicy, tangy fermented cabbage that brings it all together.
It’s impossible to talk about this dish without mentioning how great the broccoli -- roasted with Sriracha, garlic, and tamari -- is. So good that you may be tempted to munch on it as a snack. Just try to reserve a little for your dinner.
Warm Kimchi Bowl with Spicy Broccoli and Sesame-Scallion Wild Rice
1 cup wild rice blend, dry
1 3/4 cups water or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon mirin
2 green onions or scallions, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds broccoli, crowns only, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari
1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha (depending on hot you'd like the broccoli to be)
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup kimchi of choice
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
Photo by Mark Weinberg
Gena's new book Choosing Raw: Making Raw Foods Part of the Way You Eat is a thorough, relatable guide to incorporating raw and vegan foods into any diet. It's full of no-fuss recipes for every meal, which range from fully raw to mostly cooked, with plenty of snacks and desserts to keep everyone happy.
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