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A Recipe for the Off-Season: Spicy Kimchi and Soft Tofu Soup

BY Biju Thomas

Vegetarian, gluten-free, and one of the best low-carb, high-protein soups that will keep you feeling full while you’re watching your weight during the off-season. 

Called “Kimchi Jjigae” in Korean, this spicy kimchi and tofu “comfort food” is one of my favorite winter soups. It’s a great combination of flavors and textures that I crave year-round, but definitely when the temperature dips. This deep red and pungent classic is a Korean restaurant favorite, brought out in bubbling hot clay pots with eggs cracked right into the broth and cooking while it sits at the table.  

Vegetarian and gluten-free, this also happens to be one of the best low-carb, high-protein soups which will keep you feeling full for a long time while you’re watching your weight during the off-season. Your belly will welcome the addition of fermented kimchi and some sour notes to mix up the routine, and you’ll enjoy the digestive benefits of adding the probiotic “good bacteria” into your diet. Kimchi has been known for years as one of the world’s best health foods.

You can get great quality kimchi at any Asian market, and most natural markets now offer it as well.  There are many different types, with various vegetables and levels of spiciness, so make sure to experiment and find the right balance that works for you. For this recipe we’ll keep it vegetarian and a medium spice level with soft custardy tofu and an egg cracked in.  

Kimchi Soup Recipe

Yields approximately 4 servings of 2 cups each.


  • 2 cups kimchi, chopped into bite-sized pieces  
  • 1 quart low sodium stock (any will work)
  • 1 package of soft or “silken” tofu
  • 1 tablespoon white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 jalapenos chopped or cut into strips (optional)
  • 1 stalk scallions cut into bite-sized pieces (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon GoChuJang (Korean Chili paste) or Sriracha (optional)


Mix kimchi and vinegar together, then add to Stock and tofu. Add in any other chopped vegetables, soy sauce or chili sauce you have at this point, and bring to a low rolling boil. Adjust salt to taste, then crack in eggs if you’d like. Let them cook until the whites set.

Approximate nutrition information per serving, will vary based on final ingredients you use:

  • Calories- 185
  • Fat- 9.5gm
  • Carbs- 10 gm
  • Protein- 16gm
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About Biju Thomas

Biju Thomas is a lifelong cyclist and self-taught chef based in Boulder, Colo. With Dr. Allen Lim, Biju is co-author of the popular Feed Zone Cookbook series for athletes, and co-founder of Boulder-based hydration and nutrition company Skratch Labs. Biju regularly cooks and eats with the best athletes in the world from cyclists, triathletes, and runners to climbers and race car drivers. Follow Biju throughout the year on Instagram and Twitter @bijuthechef and at