Budae Jjigae (Plant-based Army Stew)

Budae Jjigae is one of my absolute Korean favorites! I’ve featured it more than a couple of times on my instagram because it’s actually a representation of all things comfort food: spicy ramyeon, luncheon meat, sausages, dumplings, and a bunch of other delicious things in a boiling pot to be shared with friends or family. Or perhaps make a personal one to satiate one’s cravings.

Budae Jjigae, also known as “Army Stew” originated from South Korea, shortly after the Korean war. A dish born out of poverty, American goods such as luncheon meat, sausages, and beans made its way to Korean households. The locals then made a stew

Lately though, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve decided to make my meals 70% plant-based. And while Korean cuisine is one that has a lot of delicious meat recipes, it equally embraces vegetables as part of their cuisine. In fact, plenty of Banchan are plant-based. But for today, I decided to take on the challenge of making a vegan or vegetarian Budae Jjigae.

Most of the vegetables added to this stew are vegetables commonly used in Korean cuisine such as Zucchini and mushrooms, but since Budae Jjigae is versatile, you can add other kinds of vegetable as well. I also used plant-based sausages, and I wanted to add some vegan luncheon meat, but this isn’t necessary and you can add more vegetables to the stew instead.

What I really loved about this dish is that while it offers the same comfort that the original Budae Jjigae gives, it is a bit lighter in the stomach, and it didn’t make me feel too full, or bloated and sluggish after.

A little side note: You still can make regular Budae Jjigae with this recipe and add the usual meat items and less of the vegetables.

Budae Jjigae (Plant-Based Army Stew)

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes

Cook time: 5-10 minutes

Serves 5-7


  • 250 grams of plant-based sausages
  • 100 grams of oyster mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 1 medium-sized Zucchini, sliced horizontally into ¼ inch thick slices.
  • 100 grams of Tofu
  • 1 medium sized red or white onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup of assorted vegetables that you might like to add (best ones to add would be broccoli or cauliflower florets)
  • 1 small can of white beans (optional)
  • 1 cup of kimchi
  • 5-6 vegetable or kimchi dumplings
  • 100 grams of enoki mushrooms
  • 65 grams of instant ramen noodles (I used Jin Ramen for this one)

For the Budae Jjigae Paste:

  • 7 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons of Gojuchang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 packet of ramen seasoning.
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • Soy sauce or salt, according to taste (depending on how much stew you will make)

If you don’t want to use ramen seasoning, substitute with:

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth, or 1 cube of vegetable bouillon.


  1. In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for Budae Jjigae paste. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot (preferably with a wider diameter), place the onions at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Then layer all the other ingredients onto the pot: sausages, mushrooms, tofu, zucchini, vegetables, beans etc, except for the noodles.
  4. Place the kimchi near the middle of the pot and add the budae jjigae paste.
  5. Add water to the pot until the ingredients are 70-80% covered.
  6. Place on the stovetop and bring to a boil using a serving spoon to lightly mix the budae jigae and kimchi into the water.
  7. Adjust the seasoning if needed by adding salt or soy sauce.
  8. Add the ramen noodles and let it partially cook for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Serve hot, or serve with the pot on top of a small gas/electric stove over low heat. The diners can then continue
  10. This dish can be served with rice, or can be eaten on its own.


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