Easy Weeknight International Dinners: More Adventures in Korea with Kimbap

Leah Recipes, Travel Tagged Tags: , , , , , , , 0

Korean Kimbap

Korean food will always be a running theme in my blog because I try to incorporate it as much as I can into our weeknight meals. My husband is very good about eating anything I make, but he needs a good Korean meal every now and then to remind him of home and satisfy any kimchi cravings.

Our brief travels to Korea took place almost by accident during our SE Asia trip. I found an amazing deal on a flight that had an overnight layover in Seoul both going and coming. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea and completely exhausted us both, but we did have one really great meal on the way home that made it (almost) worth it.

Robert managed to find an awesome Korean BBQ place close to our hotel. We got to sit on the floor at a communal table with built in grills and eat chadolbagi or grilled beef brisket that you dip in sesame oil and salt (one of the few good bets for gluten free in Korea) with unlimited banchan. It was a great meal to end our epic trip to Asia, but we will certainly be going back for a proper trip to Korea as this was far too short a visit to really appreciate the country. Plus, I’d like to actually be awake the next time I go.

Today, I’m going to be showing you how to make kimbap, which is essentially Korea’s version of sushi. You can get this in just about any Korean restaurant and it is a popular dish to take as a picnic because it’s so portable. In fact, Robert and I will make this when we go on a day hike and have found it to be the perfect lunch for a day outdoors. The version below is Robert and my take on the traditional rolls, and is a bit healthier and fresher in our opinion, plus it’s gluten free.

Korean Kimbap Ingredients

Kimbap (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)
Serves 4-5

1 pack of roasted seaweed sheets (10 sheets)
8-10 baby carrots, julienned
½ a cucumber, julienned
2 cans of wild caught tuna packed in water
2 medium avocados, diced
1 cup of cooked rice (I use basmati for a lower glycemic index, but traditionally you would use sushi rice)
Gluten free soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Sesame oil


  • Lightly saute the tuna fish in a small amount of oil and a splash or two of GF soy sauce. Break the tuna up into small bite-sized pieces as you cook and lightly brown. Turn off the burner and set aside.
  • Next saute the carrots in oil until tender. Turn off the burner and drizzle with a small amount of sesame oil and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
  • Place the cucumber slices in a bowl and cover with about 3-4 TBSPs of rice vinegar and salt to taste. Mix and then set aside to marinate for a quick pickle.
  • Pour 2 parts sesame oil and 1 part rice vinegar into a bowl and whisk together. Make more of this as needed for brushing the seaweed.
  • Now it’s time to assemble the kimbap! Place a seaweed sheet with the shiny side down on a sushi mat. Lightly brush with the sesame oil and rice vinegar mixture, covering the entire sheet.

Seaweed Sheet on Sushi Mat

  • Spoon rice onto the seaweed and lightly mash down covering the middle of the sheet.
  • Add a horizontal line of tuna, carrots, cucumbers and avocado. Don’t over-stuff, too much filling will make it hard to roll.

Seaweed Sheet on Sushi Mat with Filling

  • Use your sushi mat to form a small roll and then set aside.
  • Repeat steps 5-8 until you have 10 sushi rolls.

Korean Kimbap Rolls

  • Slice the rolls into bite sized pieces and then roll up in tin foil and refrigerate until ready to serve.

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