Kimchi Pasta Recipe

In our household, when I’m feeling lazy, or the refrigerator is running low on fresh ingredients, we invariably turn to pasta to ease our minds and fill our bellies. There’s nothing fancy about pasta, but it provides a blank canvas onto which you can unleash your creativity and pantry staples. As a matter of fact, one of the first things I learned to make without a recipe was pasta.

These slinky strands of carbs need little to dress them up beyond a generous dose of oil, some aromatics and a source of umami. My oil of choice is usually olive oil, but this could be anything from butter to duck fat. On the aromatic front, you have your choice of hundreds of vegetables and spices such as garlic, shallots, lemon zest or thyme. Basically, if it smells good, there’s a good chance it will taste good in your pasta.

Lastly there’s that ellusive fifth basic taste known as “umami”. This is the taste that adds that lipsmacking goodness to savoury foods and it’s the taste that allows us to differentiate unsalted chicken broth from water when we have cold. In this pasta, the umami comes from the kimchi, but other more common pastas use meat, tomatoes, anchovies, or cheese, and there are literally thousands of foods that contain umami compounds in varying degrees.

I came up this pasta one evening when all I had in the fridge was the dregs at the bottom of a bottle of kimchi, a few scraps of pork belly, and some wilting scallions. I say “dregs” only because I want you to picture how old it was, but this is when kimchi is at it’s most flavourful. Time, and a lacto-fermentation process turns ordinary vegetables into something quite extraordinary, with a lemony zing that makes this pasta sing.

While kimchi pasta is neither Korean nor Italian, I think it captures the spirit of both cuisines. Like many great pastas, it relies on only a few ingredients to imbue this humble carb with a deceptive amount of flavour. It’s also spicy, vibrant and garlicky, giving it a distinctly Korean flair. Tonight I served this with a steak, so I opted to go meatless in the pasta, but the addition of pork belly adds another dimension, bringing a creamy body and earthy presence that’s as satisfying as it is sinful.

Kimchi Pasta

2 Tbs olive oil
3 oz thinly sliced pork belly (optional)
1/2 C chopped kimchi
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tbs gochujang
4 oz dry pasta (linguine or spaghetti work well)
1 scallion sliced thinly

Boil the pasta according to the package directions.

If you are making this with pork belly, you can skip the olive oil and just cook the pork belly in a pan over medium high heat until some fat renders out. If you’re going meatless add the olive oil to a pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and kimchi and sauté until fragent.

Add the gochujang and stir until combined. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat with the oil and spicy sauce. Add the scallions and serve immediately.

  • Fig and Cherry

    Nice one Marc! I'm a big fan of 'clean out the fridge' recipes. I love kimchi too 😉

  • Chef E

    I turn into Homer Simpson when it comes to pasta…”Ummmmm Pasta”, yours does kick up to a better level!

  • sophia

    OMG I've always eaten kimchee w/spaghetti!! Ever since I was a little kid. Hahaa. But I guess a lot of Korean eat kimchee with just about anything… That pasta looks beautiful :)

    Great post!

  • Manggy

    I have to confess, it's been an age since I've eaten kimchi (a year or more, maybe), but that first pic is making me miss it. Bad. And I've never even really cared for it before! :)

  • my spatula

    kimchi + pasta? brilliant! i love my kimchi.

  • gastrognome

    Perfect peasant food. I try never to be without kimchi, cured pork, and pasta in the house for evenings like the one you describe. Do you make your own kimchi?

  • carolynjung

    Kimchi pasta? A dish I'm sure David Chang would heartily approve of. I know I sure do. 😉

  • Jan

    Looks totally delish!

  • norecipes

    This was part a homemade batch, but I also buy a certain brand from the korean grocery store.

  • diva

    oh ho ho ho, i'm singing because of this recipe (and of course the gorgeous photos). I'm in a pickle and kimchi phase at the moment. Have no pasta at hand but this is definitely something I'll make soon as my fridge is just looking more dire as the days past. THanks for the inspiration Marc!

  • Jeff

    Nice1 Kimchi for me is normally tossed with diced chicken, ginger, onions, and some other spices and let to rest overnight. The next day everybody into the wok for a simple chicken kimchi stir fry. However, pasta is another go to of mine but mostly just with brown butter or tomato sauce.

  • Heather

    This, from the man who is leery of Asian fusion! This sounds great – kimchi and pasta satisfy two itches with one scratch.

  • norecipes

    “two itches with one scratch” LOL…. I'm only leery because of how loosely the term is used.

  • we are never full

    oh NO YOU DI-INT! very interesting combo. give you thumbs up for having the balls to showcase this! it's gotta be good – pork belly + kimchi? i think the italians would approve with a taste.

  • Bethany

    perfect! pork and kimchi is a classic combo….. why not toss it with some pasta! I think we are about to receive some homemade kimchi from my mother in law, so the old store-bought stuff (just now reaching its most potent stage, as you point out) might end up in a dish like this! Do you really need gochujang in addition to the kimchi? That's a lotta flavor!

  • dining room tables

    This is a new pasta dish! I like it! I never tried making pasta with an Asian twist!

  • quickies on the dinner table

    What a fabulous idea! I cook pasta all the time and am no stranger to kimchi but would not have thought to combine the two. Absolutely brilliant Marc. And, of course, anything with pork belly gets my attention 😀

  • Chou

    Wow. I think this may be my favorite kimchi recipe yet.

  • norecipes

    For me, the gochujang rounds out the flavour with a little sweetness
    and a little bit more salt. Without it I find the pasta is a bit too
    one dimensional. But do whatever works for you, everybody's tastes are

  • cheffresco

    Nice creation. We always go for pasta or pizza on those nights. Looks tasty!

  • BananaViews

    Koreatown tomorrow. This is making me hungry and sad that I finished my jar of kimchi last week.

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  • Tougeika Potter

    kimchee pasta is a regular dish on my table, one variety is made by sauteeing shiitake in butter, then adding in kimchee, etc, finishing with natto as a great kimchee natto spag. sauce. the pungeunt natto and sour/spicy kimchee have a nice balance to the umami and sweetness of butter and shitake.

  • Geosdsd

    I was bored hungry so I was about to make some pasta with marinara when I thought whether I could make a kimchi pasta and so I googled it only to find your recipe blog. Thanks, it was delicious! Except instead of pork belly I added tuna to my pasta so it tasted like a fusion of kimchi chigae and pasta. Yum!

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  • Han Lee

    This appears to be your version of what Koreans make as bibim gooksoo, a pasta version of kimchi bibimbop.  Rinsed, chopped up kimchi, sauted and mixed with cooked Asian noodle (cooks quicker than the Italian version), tempered by gochoojang and aromatic sessame oil.  Throw in garnishes like roasted sessame, pine nuts, chopped up spring onions, or whatever.  One of these days I will try your version.  Thanks.

  • Nellie

    Hi Marc! This past weekend I made a kimchi pasta inspired by your recipe.  I used bacon instead of pork belly, added a chunk or two of butter, plus a small glug of sesame oil, also may have splashed some white wine in there…we were drinking while cooking what can I say…  I think they real key to this dish, however, is the ripeness of the kimchi and I’ve been saving up this kimchi for 6 months plus now. I was hesitant to use “western” noodles, but it ended up being fantastic and probably better than the noodles used for bibim gooksoo.  Btw,  I’m Korean-American and this dish got some rave review from my Korean and non-Korean friends. Thanks!!

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  • Katrina

    I tried kimchi with heart-shaped pasta and veggies. Just added soy sauce and pepper … DELICIOUS! Thanks!


I'm Marc, and I want to teach you some basic techniques and give you the confidence and inspiration so that you can cook without recipes too!

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