Super-Quick Kimchi-Tofu Soup

A bowl of kimchi and silken tofu soup that makes for a 10 minute, super-quick and easy vegan soup alternative for chicken noodle soup

Jump to Recipe

We here at Planetarian Life follow Mark Bittman. A few weeks ago, he published a post entitled Your Favorite Recipes on The Bittman Project. I scrolled past the frittata but stopped at the next recipe entitled Kimchi Soup with Tofu. When Mark said many of their anti-tofu readers called this soup their gateway drug, I definitely kept reading. Inspired by his recipe, I set out to make it better, easier, and as quick to make as possible.

Store-bought kimchi is so flavor-packed, this soup needs no broth. When mixed with water the two merge into a pleasantly spicy-sour broth you then season with sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar.

The Bittman recipe then adds raw rice to the broth and simmers it for fifteen to twenty minutes, with a total cook time of twenty-five minutes—pretty quick for a pot of soup.

Making it Super-Quick

As we started to make the soup, however, we realized that if you microwave the water before starting the soup, you can jumpstart the simmering process. And by using a couple of cups of cooked rice from The Capsule Kitchen’s Perfect Pot of Rice, this soup can be done—start to finish—in about ten minutes. Short of ordering take-out, there’s hardly a faster from-scratch one-dish dinner you could possibly make.

We particularly love the silken tofu in the soup, which you break up with your hands and drop in just as it’s coming to a simmer. The tofu adds beautiful body and texture, taking on the soup’s distinct flavors. Sprinkle in thinly sliced scallions, and you’re ready to serve up.

Flavor Kimchi Soup to Your Preferences

Some may want more acidity, but between the sourness of the kimchi and the rice wine vinegar, we think the acidity level is right. We’ve purposely gone light on the soy and sesame, leaving it to everyone at the table to season to their own tastes.

After making this soup, we will never, ever be without a jar of kimchi, a couple of cups of cooked rice, and a box of silken tofu.

We’ve come to think of this comforting, healing vegan soup as our new chicken noodle soup.

A bowl of kimchi and silken tofu soup that makes for a 10 minute, super-quick and easy vegan soup alternative for chicken noodle soup

Super-Quick Kimchi-Tofu Soup

Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 5 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Yield: 4 people

Recipe Notes


  • 2 cups (16 oz) kimchi
  • 2 tablespoons each: sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice wine vinegar, plus extra for serving
  • 2 cups cooked rice (here's our recipe: pot of rice)
  • 1 pound silken tofu
  • 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)


  • To speed up the process, microwave 2 quarts of water on high power as you gather your ingredients (about 5 minutes).
  • Heat a large soup kettle over medium-high heat. Add kimchi, sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar, followed by the hot water and rice. Just as the soup comes to a simmer, add tofu, breaking it up with your hands as you drop it in the pot. Return to a simmer. Stir in scallions and serve immediately, letting everyone flavor their soup with extra sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar to taste.

Leave a comment


  • I love your blog and read it thoroughly! The kimchi soup -- I understand kimchi normally has fish sauce in it. Are vegan versions available? Thank you.
    • Hey Cheryl, I’m so glad our content is resonating with you! Building our community is and making planet-friendly cooking accesible is our greatest passion. You’re right that kimchi often has fish sauce, anchovies, etc. but there ARE vegan brands! You might need to do some googling to find where it is sold near you but it is definitely available. Alternatively, there are some great recipes online to make it yourself, if you’re up for it!

Become a Planetarian

Planetarian Life is a community working together to create a brighter, more hopeful future for the Earth. We need you - more people equals more impact! Start by signing up for our newsletter, you’ll receive a not-yet-posted Capsule recipe and seasonal suggestions to inspire your cooking. We also share tips, techniques, skills, and green inspiration.