The Korean Vegan Cookbook: Reflections and Recipes from Omma's Kitchen
Korean dishes, some traditional and some reimagined, from the home cook and storyteller behind @thekoreanvegan on TikTok
The single most frequent question Joanne Lee Molinaro gets asked is “How can you be vegan and Korean?” Korean cooking is, after all, synonymous with fish sauce and barbecue. And although grilled meat is indeed prevalent in some Korean food, the ingredients that filled out the bapsangs of Joanne’s childhood—doenjang (fermented soybean paste), gochujang (chili sauce), dashima (seaweed), and more—are fully plant-based, unbelievably flavorful, and totally Korean.
In her debut cookbook, Joanne shares recipes and narrative snapshots of the food that shaped her family history. Some of the recipes come straight from her childhood: Jjajangmyun, the rich Korean-Chinese black bean noodles she ate on birthdays, or the humble Gamja Guk, a potato-and-leek soup her father makes. Some pay homage: Chocolate Sweet Potato Cake is an ode to the two foods that saved her mother’s life, Kale & Ramen Salad with noodle “croutons” and a dressing akin to ramen broth.
With the intimate storytelling and stunning photography she’s become known for on social media, The Korean Vegan Cookbook celebrates how deeply food and family shape our identity.
By Joanne Lee Molinaro