Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

In this recipe for vegetarian grilling, the hot grill imparts a smoky flavor to the tofu and leaves it with some crispy edges. The gochujang, which is a fiery Korean chili paste, is used to make a barbecue sauce that may be used as both a glaze and some sauce to slather over the tofu when it is served at the table. You can serve this dish with farro or brown rice.


In recent years, Korean cuisine has gained immense popularity worldwide for its bold flavors, vibrant colors, and diverse range of dishes. Among these, Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage stands out as a vegetarian-friendly option that doesn’t compromise on taste or satisfaction.

Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage
Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

In this comprehensive article, we will explore the origins of Korean BBQ tofu, the health benefits of incorporating tofu and napa cabbage into your diet, and provide a detailed recipe for creating this mouthwatering dish at home. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we dive into the world of Korean-inspired flavors and plant-based goodness.

Origins of Korean BBQ Tofu:

Korean BBQ tofu, also known as dubu gui, is a popular Korean dish that showcases the versatility of tofu as a protein source. While traditional Korean BBQ often features grilled meats marinated in a savory-sweet sauce, tofu offers a delicious alternative for vegetariKorea’s long history of tofu production, where people have enjoyed it in various forms for centuries, is the origin of Korean BBQ tofu. Today, this dish has evolved to incorporate modern twists and creative flavor combinations, making it a favorite among health-conscious food enthusiasts and adventurous eaters alike.

Health Benefits of Tofu and Napa Cabbage:

Before we delve into the recipe, let’s take a moment to appreciate the health benefits of the key ingredients in this dish: tofu and napa cabbage.

Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

  • Tofu: Made from soybeans, tofu, also known as bean curd, is a rich source of plant-based protein, calcium, and iron. It is low in calories and contains no cholesterol, making it a heart-healthy alternative to meat. You can incorporate tofu into a wide range of dishes, from stir-fries to soups to desserts, due to its versatility.
  • Korean cuisine widely uses Napa cabbage, a type of Chinese cabbage. It is low in calories and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Napa cabbage is known for its mild flavor and crunchy texture, making it a popular choice for stir-fries, kimchi, and salads.

Recipe: Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

Let’s dive right in and discover the recipe for Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage.


  • 1 block (14–16 ounces) of extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 1 cup Korean BBQ sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 small head of napa cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish


Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

  1. Prepare the tofu:
    • Slice the tofu into ½-inch-thick slabs and place them in a shallow dish.
    • In a bowl, whisk together the Korean BBQ sauce, sesame oil, minced garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar.
    • Thoroughly coat the tofu slices with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  2. Grill the Tofu:
    • Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
    • Lightly oil the grill grates or pan to prevent sticking.
    • Grill the marinated tofu slices for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred and heated through. Brush with additional marinade as needed.
  3. Stir-fry the Napa Cabbage:
    • While the tofu is grilling, heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
    • Add the thinly sliced napa cabbage, julienned carrot, and sliced bell pepper to the skillet.
    • Stir-fry for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender-crisp and lightly caramelized.
  4. Assemble and serve:
    • Arrange the grilled Korean BBQ tofu slices on a serving platter.
    • Spoon the stir-fried napa cabbage mixture alongside the tofu.
    • Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions for added flavor and visual appeal.
    • Serve hot and enjoy it as a satisfying and nutritious meal.


step 1:

Cut the tofu crosswise into eight equal pieces, then press it for one to four hours (see Tips for more details).

step 2:

Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage

In order to make barbecue glaze, bring one tablespoon of peanut oil to a medium heat. Cook the onion for about five minutes, tossing it frequently, until it becomes mushy. Cook for a further minute after stirring in the ginger and garlic. Take a break from the heat. Incorporate the shallots, a quarter cup of soy sauce, gochujang, chili powder (or paprika), vinegar, water, one tablespoon of sesame oil, honey, miso, and molasses into the mixture. Transfer to a bowl of medium size. Keep it chilled until it is cool.

step 3:

To prepare the tofu for marinating, distribute one teaspoon of barbecue glaze on each side of the tofu pieces. Put it in a baking dish that is 9 inches by 13 inches. Refrigerate the mixture for at least four hours and up to one day with the lid on.

step 4:

Begin by preheating the grill to a medium temperature. Apply the remaining two tablespoons of peanut oil to both sides of the tofu and brush it completely. Be sure to generously oil the grill rack. Grill the tofu for four to five minutes on each side, or until it is lightly charred. Place on a plate and maintain at a warm temperature.

step 5:

After combining the soy sauce and sesame oil in a small dish, place the bowl close to the stove in order to prepare the cabbage. In a large carbon steel wok with a flat bottom, heat the peanut oil to a very high temperature. After two to three minutes of tossing, add the onion pieces and continue cooking until they have become more tender. Cook the cabbage for two to three minutes, stirring it until it has wilted. Combine the soy sauce mixture with one tablespoon of sesame seeds and stir to combine.

step 6:

Transfer the cabbage to a serving bowl or tray. Use the grilled tofu as a topping. Drizzle three tablespoons of barbecue sauce over the tofu. Garnish with cut scallions and the remaining tablespoon of sesame seeds. Depending on your preference, serve with the leftover sauce.

Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage


So as to get ahead: Cook the barbecue glaze (Step 2) in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, then marinate the tofu (Step 3) for up to one day.

To press tofu, cut a block of tofu that weighs between 14 and 16 ounces in a transverse direction into eight equal pieces. Using a clean dish towel, position it on top of a baking sheet. Place one layer of tofu on the towel, then place another towel on top of it. On top of that, position another baking sheet and weigh it down with two cans that are 28 ounces each. Wait anywhere from one to four hours.

EatingWell Magazine first published the article in September and October of 2017.


Grilled Korean BBQ Tofu with Stir-Fried Napa Cabbage offers a delightful fusion of flavors and textures that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you feeling nourished and satisfied. By incorporating tofu and napa cabbage into your diet, you can enjoy the health benefits of plant-based eating while indulging in the bold and vibrant flavors of Korean cuisine.

Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or simply looking to add more plant-based meals to your repertoire, this recipe is sure to become a favorite in your culinary arsenal. So fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and get ready to savor the irresistible combination of grilled tofu and stir-fried napa cabbage in this delicious Korean-inspired dish.

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