Vegan Korean Seaweed Soup

This recipe is a vegan version of the Korean seaweed soup, also referred to as birthday soup or “miyeouk-guk”, which is a soup with cultural significance in Korea.

A bit different from the traditional Korean seaweed soup, I present you with this umami vegan Korean seaweed soup!

vegan korea seaweed soup

🧐 What is Korean Seaweed Soup?

This Korean seaweed soup, also known as “Miyeouk-guk”, is a traditional Korean soup made with seaweed, beef or seafood, and various seasonings.

It is commonly consumed in Korea as comfort food, especially by new mothers after giving birth, as it is believed to have restorative and healing properties. In fact, it’s so closely associated with childbirth that it’s also called “birthday soup”, as it’s traditionally the first meal a mother eats after giving birth.

Needless to say, seaweed is the key ingredient in this soup, as it is high in nutrients such as iodine, calcium, and iron, which are important minerals for childbirth and post-childbirth.

Apart from its nutritional value, this soup also has cultural significance in Korea as it is considered a symbol of filial piety, as children often prepare it for parents on their birthdays as a way of showing respect and gratitude.

Naturally, I haven’t tried the version made with beef and seafood, but the vegan seaweed soup I made is incredibly delicious!

🗒️ Ingredients You’ll Need

vegan seaweed soup ingredients

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the korean seaweed soup is usually made with beef or seaweed stock, which are both non-vegan. As such we’ve made a recipe that doesn’t use either of these and it’s reliant on veggies only!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make this amazing Korean seaweed soup:

  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger powder
  • Portobello mushrooms
  • Water
  • Dried seaweed
  • Tofu
  • Soy sauce
  • Salt
  • Spring onions
  • Sesame seeds

Although it may seem like it’s one too many ingredients for a soup, it’s actually a very easy recipe to prepare, and it should take you about 40 minutes to have it ready. 

Frankly, I’ve used water instead of vegetable stock for this soup because I think the seaweed, soy sauce, and salt already confer it with enough flavor. However, if you feel like you want more flavor, you can use vegetable stock in place of the water.

👨🏻‍🍳 How To Make Korean Seaweed Soup

Before you bring out the chopping board and start chopping your garlic, mushrooms, and tofu, you want to soak the seaweed first. Fill half a cup with dried seaweed and pour it into a bowl with water for 30 minutes.

soaking the seaweed

It should only take a few minutes for you to see the dried seaweed expand and cover the whole bowl. If seaweed is above water, add a bit more water to cover it completely.

You don’t have to wait the full 30 minutes before you start preparing the recipe. You can go ahead, pull out the chopping board, and start preparing all the ingredients— like chopping the garlic, the mushrooms, the tofu, and the spring onions, and essentially leave everything ready for later use.

To finally start making this seaweed soup, you’re going to add 3 tablespoons of sesame oil to a pot, 4 cloves of garlic, and sauteé them for 1-2 minutes until they’re soft.

You might see a bubbly reaction taking place while sauteéing the garlic, but that’s normal. Add the ginger powder and stir, mixing everything together. As you smell the aroma of the ginger you’ve just added, add the chopped Portobello mushrooms.

Stir the mushrooms, involving them with the garlic and ginger you added. Close the pot with a lid, and let the mushrooms cook for 10 minutes. They’ll release the addictive umami flavors onto the pot, and will also soften and reduce in size, achieving the right texture.

The next step will be to add the 8 cups of hot water and bring the broth to a boil. Once it’s boiling, add the seaweed along with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir, reduce the heat, and leave it to cook for 10 minutes.

Add the tofu and let the broth cook for an extra 20 minutes, allowing all the flavors from the ingredients to come together. Don’t forget to taste the soup. If it’s not salty enough, feel free to add an extra teaspoon of salt or another tablespoon of soy sauce.

korea seaweed soup for vegans and vegetarians

Once it’s ready, serve it in soup bowls and sprinkle some chopped spring onions and sesame seeds on top. And voilá, it’s done!

👌🏻 Things To Consider When Making This Recipe

Use water or vegetable stock.

I’ve personally used water to make the broth for this soup, but you’re totally free to add the richer and more flavorful vegetable stock. I feel like the soup already has enough flavor with the seaweed and seasonings, but the vegetable stock does add more depth to the soup.

Careful with the use of salt.

You really want to taste the soup as you make it since the seaweed itself is already quite salty. Not only it might make the soup unedible, but it’s also not good for your health.

Seaweed has lots of iodine.

I enjoy this soup a lot and I would definitely recommend you eat this soup for its deliciousness and nutritional content.

Seaweed is rich in iodine, which is wonderful, but consuming iodine in excess can also be dangerous and may precipitate hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, goiter, and/or thyroid autoimmunity. Keep that in mind!

❓Frequently Asked Questions

Can this soup be made with any type of seaweed, or is there a specific type that is recommended?

While you can make seaweed soup with various types of seaweed, the traditional Korean seaweed soup is made with a seaweed called “miyeok” which is also known as “wakame” in Japanese.

Wakame is a type of brown seaweed that can be easily found in Asian grocery stores. However, you can use any other type of seaweed if you prefer.

Are there any variations or modifications to the recipe that can be made?

Yes, there are different modifications you can do to this recipe. I think the easiest one is to actually include other veggies such as carrots or parsnip, or swap wakame with another type of algae.

Another suggestion would be to use vegetable stock instead of just water as it should make your soup more rich and flavorful.

Can this soup be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to eat later?

Yep, you can store this seaweed soup in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. If you wish to store it for a longer period, you can freeze it in a freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months.

To reheat the soup, simply thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and heat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.

Can this recipe be easily scaled up or down depending on the number of servings required?

Yes, you can easily scale this recipe up or down. Just adjust the quantities of ingredients proportionally based on the number of servings you want.

Are there any tips or tricks to for getting the right texture and consistency?

For the soup to get the right texture and consistency, you have to be careful not to overcook the seaweed as it can get slimy and lose its texture.

I also would be very conservative in terms of the quantity of ingredients used as you can easily go overboard and have this soup go from being a clear soup to a soup excessively filled with seaweed.

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vegan korean seaweed soup

Vegan Korean Seaweed Soup

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  • Author: Alexandre Valente
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Soup bowls 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


This recipe is a vegan version of the korean seaweed soup, also referred to as birthday soup or “Miyeouk-guk”, which is a soup with cultural significance in Korea.


Units Scale
  • 3 tbsps of sesame oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of ginger powder
  • 250 grams of Portobello mushrooms
  • 8 cups of hot water
  • 1/2 cup of dried seaweed
  • 250 grams of tofu
  • 2 tbsps of soy sauce
  • 2 tsps of salt
  • spring onions (to garnish)
  • sesame seeds (to garnish)


  1. Before you start cooking, you have to first soak the seaweed for 30 minutes, allowing it to expand.
  2. In the meantime, you can prepare all the ingredients. Chop the garlic, mushrooms, tofu, and leave all the ingredients displayed in front of you so you can easily add them to the pot.
  3. Add 3 tablespoons of sesame oil to a pot, as well as 4 cloves of garlic, and sauteé them for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is soft and translucent. Bubbles may start to form, but that is a normal reaction of the sesame oil.
  4. Add the ginger powder and stir for a few seconds, involving the garlic and ginger together, and until you can smell the aroma release from the two.
  5. Add the Portobello mushrooms. Stir, mixing them together with the garlic and ginger, and close the pot with lid, leaving it to cook for 10 minutes. As it cooks, the mushroom will release moisture and along with its umami flavor. At the same time, it will also soften and reduce in size, developing the perfect consistency for the soup.
  6. Pour in the 8 cups of hot water and bring it to a boil. Add the seaweed, 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Stir and reduce the heat, leaving it to simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Taste the broth to determine whether it’s tasty and has the right amount of soy sauce and salt. Add the tofu, and leave it to simmer for roughly 20 minutes, allowing the flavors to come together.
  8. Turn off the heat and serve the soup onto bowls. Garnish it with spring onions and sesame seeds.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Soup
  • Cuisine: Korean

🙏🏻 Before you go, I’ve got a favor to ask!

I’d love to get your feedback on this recipe! Feel free to leave a comment below detailing your experience— and let others know how you feel about it!

Of course, you can also ask any questions you may have about the recipe— and we’ll try to respond ASAP.

korean seaweed soup (vegan version)

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