This healthy and easy gochujang soup is loaded with good-for you veggies and carries such an unbelievable flavor. Also very versatile and done in under 30 minutes, making it a great quick weeknight dinner recipe. 100% vegan.
Today we are making a gochujang vegetable soup!
If you love Korean food, meals with a little bit of a kick and comforting cozy bowls of soup, you are going to love this recipe!
It is LOADED with flavors, thanks to the gochujang paste, and simple to make, too. I love gochujang paste so very much: it is super tasty on its own, making it a great ingredient to boost recipes with lots of yumminess and such little effort.
I have been making gochujang tofu and creamy gochujang pasta often when craving Korean flavors, but after trying out this soup, I can say that I have a new recipe that will be a regular for us. It is so good!
This gochujang soup is actually quite similar to a popular Korean vegetable stew (or gochujang jjigae), but made super easy, quick and fully vegan and meat-free, of course. Once you get the gochujang paste, then all you need are simple and pantry-friendly ingredients you probably already have!
My version includes potatoes, carrots and mushrooms, but also onion, garlic and miso paste to help elevate the flavors even more. But, the gochujang paste does most of the work to make this soup so delicious by bringing a kick of unique flavors that's just a little sweet, smoky, spicy and rich-in-umami goodness. The result is a ton of good-for-you vegetables simmering in a SUPER rich and satisfying savory broth.
You can make this soup ahead to have a few ready-to-go lunches during the week and this simple recipe is super easy to customize to your taste.
Now, it is time to get a tub of gochujang paste and make some soup! ❤️
What is gochujang paste
Gochujang paste is a Korean fermented red-ish condiment that's sweet, spicy, smoky and savory, all at the same time. It has a very complex flavor that's so amazing to flavor tons of dishes, such as rice, sauces or marinades, noodles, protein and soups or stews.
Its unique flavor comes from the fermentation of soybeans (meju) paired with glutinous rice, red chili powder, wheat, sweetener and more. The specific recipe often varies depending on the region where it is made and also different brand.
You can now find gochujang easily in most grocery stores in the Asian aisle or in local Asian markets.
Highlights of this recipe
- SO flavorful and very satisfying
- Easy to personalize to your taste
- Great for meal-prep
- Hearty, nourishing and loaded with vegetables
- One-pot easy and quick meal to make during the week
- 100% vegan, fish-free and dairy-free.
Ingredients you'll need
- Potatoes: I used a large Yellow potato, but a Russet potato would work too. You are looking for a potato that does not fall apart too easily while simmering.
- Carrots: you will need 2-3 large carrots or swap for a large sweet potato.
- Onion: I love sweet onion for its milder and sweeter flavor, but yellow onion works too.
- Garlic: I used 3 large cloves, but feel-free to add more for an extra garlicky flavor.
- Mushrooms: use any kinds you like or already have on hands and try using a mix of mushrooms if you can. I LOVE baby shiitake mushrooms, so I included a bunch without slicing them, which gave an amazing chewy and hearty flavor to the soup. I also included a few sliced regular white mushrooms. Another great choice would be Beecher mushrooms.
- Gochujang paste: use any brand you can find and adjust how much you want to add to make this soup more or less spicy.
- Miso paste: adds SO MUCH umami yumminess to this soup and also helps salt the broth with a deeper flavor. Use a white or red miso paste.
- Vegetable broth: I used a concentrated broth from the brand Better than Bouillon that I dissolved in water, it is so much cheaper and convenient.
How to make gochujang soup
This is a quick 30-minute weeknight filling soup that you can make with whatever veggies you have. Again, using gochujang + miso paste gives a huge flavor-boost to the stew without having to simmer it for very long.
Cook the aromatics
First, cook the onion in a little oil (or water if oil-free diet) for about 5-7 minutes until softer and a little caramelized. Then, add the garlic and keep cooking + stirring for about another minute.
Add the potatoes, carrots, gochujang paste and broth to the pot. Stir well to dissolve the gochujang and then bring to a simmer. I like to cover the pot because I prefer a "brothy" soup, but you can keep uncovered if you want it thicker.
Once it is simmering, turn down the heat to medium and keep simmering for about 7-10 minutes. You want the potatoes to become more tender, but not quite done yet since they will keep cooking after adding the mushrooms.
Add mushrooms and miso
While the soup is simmering, then dissolve the miso paste in a small amount of water (about ¼ cup).
Then, add the miso mixture to the soup and the mushrooms. Bring back to a simmer and let the mushrooms cook for about 5 minutes or until done to your liking.
Taste the soup and add salt to taste and if looking for a spicier soup, then add more gochujang paste.
Serve while steamy hot as is or garnish with some green onions and silken tofu for more plant-based protein.
Watch how to make it
- I like to salt only at the end: the veggie broth, miso paste and gochujang paste are salty and very flavorful, so you might not even need to add any extra salt.
- For a thicker stew, then simply keep your pot uncovered while simmering or simply add less broth at first (3 cups instead of 4) and adjust consistency at the end.
- To me, one tablespoon of gochujang makes this soup perfectly spicy, but feel-free to add some more!
- Also, classic Korean stews often include Gochugaru, which is a Korean chili flakes, something you could also add for more heat.
- Make sure you don't overcook the potatoes or they will fall apart and be too mushy.
- If your soup ends up being too spicy for you, then simply add more water or broth to dilute the flavor.
You can serve this gochujang stew in a traditional way pairing it with a side of rice. You can use a spoon and dip the rice in the soup to soak up all the goodness.
The vegetables make this soup super hearty and filling, but if you wanted to make this meal higher in plant-based protein, then add some silken tofu (as seen in the pictures and video). Simply drain and cube the tofu and use to garnish your bowl of soup. I just love how the cold soft tofu contrasts well with the rest of the spicy soup!
More plant-based protein booster ideas include edamame, chickpeas, cooked lentils and even cooked quinoa.
Even though the potatoes already bring a bunch of healthy carbs, I think this soup would also be amazing with ramen noodles (there are never too many noodles ❤️). We love the Asian noodles from the brand Lotus Food, where they make all sorts of whole grain noodles super filling and good-for-you. I would cook the noodles apart and simply combine with the soup in a bowl when serving.
Also, I like to top with green onions. Sesame seeds, bean sprouts, fresh cilantro and ultra finely sliced sweet onions would add more texture and fresh flavors.
This vegetable soup is super easy to modify to your taste or using what you already have. I cannot wait to make it again using cauliflower and sweet potatoes instead. I think broccoli, bok choy, green cabbage, zucchini, eggplant and leafy greens, such as kale or Chinese broccoli (add them at the end), would also be amazing here.
Also there are more aromatics you could add to this soup depending on your taste and inspiration of the moment. Try adding some grated fresh ginger for a touch of warm aromas. Also, if you like kimchi, then definitely add some for more heat, texture and gut-friendly nutrients.
And if you love creamy soups, then use only half the broth and add a can of coconut milk. To make it that way, try pouring the coconut milk into the pot only when adding the mushrooms so it does not simmer for too long.
This soup stores very well, although the vegetables might lose some of their texture if soaking in the broth for a while. Keep the leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
To reheat this soup, simply use the stove or the microwave.
No, this soup is not gluten-free. Gochujang paste often is made using wheat products (the starches help thicken the paste), so most gochujang pastes are not GF, although you can find some gochujang brands made GF, such as this one from Siempo.
If you don't have any gochujang paste or just don't like its flavor, then I would simply use more miso paste with a few red pepper flakes for a little heat. A red chili paste would also be a good option, just add to taste!
The paste itself is pretty spicy, but this will vary depending on the brand. The soup is to my taste mildly spicy, although this obviously also vary person to person. If you are worried the soup will be too spicy for you, then add less at first and adjust the amount at the end.
More easy vegan soups or stew you might like
- Eggplant ramen soup
- Simple carrot celery soup
- Spinach potato soup
- Chunky potato cauliflower creamy soup
- Cabbage miso soup
- Spanish pisto
- Lentil barley soup
More Korean inspired recipes
I hope you like this vegan gochujang soup as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Easy Gochujang Vegetable Soup
- 1 yellow onion - finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 1 large potato (Russet or Yukon) - chopped in large cubes
- 2 large carrots - thickly sliced
- 1 tbsp gochujang paste - or more for a spicier soup
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 8 oz mushrooms - sliced, a pre-mix of mushrooms containing oyster, shiitake, white button or beech mushrooms work well.
- 1 tbsp miso paste - white or red
- 16 oz silken tofu - cubed, optional (to serve)
- 1-2 green onions - sliced, optional (to serve)
- Warm up a medium-large pot with a little oil (if using, can be done oil-free) and then, add the onion. Stir well and cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. Then, add the garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add the potatoes, carrots, vegetable broth and gochujang paste. Stir well to dissolve the paste, cover and bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and let the soup simmer for about 7-8 minutes (or until the vegetables are more tender, but not quite done yet). For a thicker soup, you can also simmer uncovered.
- While the soup is simmering, combine the miso paste with a little water (3-4 tablespoons) until smooth.
- Then, uncover, add the mushrooms, the miso-water mixture and stir well. Keep cooking the soup for about 5 more minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.
- Taste the soup and adjust salt and gochujang paste to your liking. Garnish with green onions and diced silken tofu for more protein.
- Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Reheat on the stove or using the microwave. This recipe is great for meal-prep!
- You can add more gochujang paste for a spicier recipe!
- Other vegetables can be used in place of the potatoes and carrots, such as cauliflower, leafy greens (add them at the end with the mushrooms), zucchini, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc.
- When serving, I like to garnish with diced silken tofu (uncooked). This adds extra plant-based protein and a fun texture. You could also serve with ramen noodles, rice, lentils or quinoa.