Spice up your pasta game with this mouthwatering gochujang pasta recipe! This recipe combines the bold flavors of Korean cuisine with a creamy sauce over pasta. This fusion dish is a tantalizing explosion of heat, savory umami, and delightful complexity.Jump to Recipe
Lately, I've been making trips to this new asian market that opened up near our home. It's the size of a grocery store and they have the coolest ingredients. One thing that stood out to me was gochujang. I've frequently heard of recipes cooking with this but I had never tried using it until just a few days ago. Let me tell you, it's so good. The brand that I got isn't overly spicy but it has so much flavor from the fermentation process.
While there are so many different ways to use gochujang, I wanted to make a creamy gochujang pasta sauce with it. After doing some research I've found that many of the recipes for gochujang pasta include heavy cream and a bunch of cheese. For this recipe, I wanted to go for something light and easy so I created a gochujang pasta without cream.
This gochujang cream pasta uses full fat coconut milk which compliments and cools down the gochujang nicely. You don't miss out on the creaminess because the coconut cream creates a It's also made in one pot so you don't have to worry about doing a ton of dishes on a busy week night.
- What Is Gochujang Pasta?
- Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
- How It's Made
- What Does Gochujang Taste Like?
- How Spicy Is Gochujang Pasta?
- Gochujang Substitutes
- Tips and Tricks
- Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?
- Storing and Reheating
- More Pasta Recipes You'll Love
- Easy One Pot Gochujang Pasta
What Is Gochujang Pasta?
Gochujang pasta is a fusion dish that combines elements of Korean and Italian cuisine. It incorporates gochujang, which is a spicy and savory Korean fermented chili paste, into a traditional pasta dish.
Reasons You'll Love This Recipe
Unique Flavor: Gochujang pasta offers a unique flavor profile that combines the spiciness and savory depth of gochujang with the creamy richness of pasta. The combination creates a delicious balance of heat, umami, and sweetness that can be addictive.
Fusion of Cuisines: Gochujang pasta represents a fusion of Korean and Italian cuisines, blending together the best of both worlds. It showcases the versatility of gochujang and introduces an exciting twist to traditional pasta dishes.
Spicy Kick: If you enjoy spicy food, gochujang pasta is perfect for you. Gochujang adds a fiery kick to the dish, providing a satisfying heat that enhances the overall flavor experience.
Umami Depth: Gochujang paste is a fermented Korean chili paste that is rich in umami, the savory flavor that adds depth and complexity to dishes. When incorporated into pasta, gochujang contributes to a more flavorful and satisfying meal.
Versatility: Gochujang pasta can be customized to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. You can add various ingredients like vegetables, proteins, or herbs to enhance the dish and make it your own.
Easy: This simple gochujang recipe is made in one pot making it a perfect choice for a weeknight dinner and it makes clean up super easy.
2 tablespoons olive oil - sesame oil can be substituted
6 cloves garlic minced - fresh cloves should be used for bold flavor, pre-minced can be substituted but the flavor will be slightly different
1lb pasta - choose a pasta of your choice for this recipe, use what you already have on hand to keep it simple. Keep in mind you'll need to watch the pasta as it approaches its done-ness. The cook time will vary based on the pasta you choose.
1 can full fat coconut milk - this will create the creamy sauce that pulls together all the ingredients. The coconut flavor will be subtle and will compliment the gochujang nicely. I don't recommend substituting low fat coconut milk or it won't be very creamy.
2 cups vegetable stock - to allow for enough liquid for the pasta to cook. Water can be substituted if you're looking for a lower sodium option. Many recipes call for reserved pasta water because the pasta is cooked separately in most cases. However, that's not needed. The pasta will instead absorb the vegetable broth infusing it with even more flavor than regular salted water.
1 lime squeezed - for extra brightness and to enhance the flavor of the gochujang
5 tablespoons gochujang - I highly recommend you taste your gochujang before adding it to the dish. Some brands tend to be way more spicy than others. The one I used was not very spicy so I was able to add more plus the coconut milk cooled it way down.
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese - to bind the ingredients and add even more flavor. What's a creamy pasta without some cheese? You can add more cheese if you like the pasta extra cheesy.
Green onion sliced - for extra color and flavor, every good pasta needs a garnish
How It's Made
Step 1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Once heated add the garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1-2 minutes.
Step 2. Add the vegetable stock, pasta, and coconut milk. Stir until all the ingredients are well distributed.
Step 3. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook with the lid partially covered for about 8-12 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed. The cook time will vary based on the pasta you're using. Feel free to add more vegetable stock if needed. Stir every few minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking.
Step 4. Once done set aside and stir in the juice from 1 lime and parmesan cheese. Place the cover over the pot and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.
What Does Gochujang Taste Like?
Gochujang has a distinct and complex flavor profile that combines spicy, savory, and slightly sweet elements. It offers a unique taste that is often described as a balance of heat, umami, and subtle sweetness.
The primary flavor in gochujang comes from the fermented red chili peppers, which give it a spicy kick. The level of spiciness can vary depending on the brand but in general, gochujang delivers a moderate to medium level of heat.
Alongside the spiciness, gochujang has a deep and rich umami flavor. This comes from the fermentation process and the combination of ingredients like fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt. The umami provides a savory, complex taste that adds depth and richness to dishes.
Gochujang also has a subtle sweetness that helps balance out the spiciness and umami flavors. Some gochujang varieties may contain a small amount of added sugar or honey, contributing to its mild sweetness. The sweetness is not overpowering but acts as a pleasant contrast to the other flavors.
How Spicy Is Gochujang Pasta?
The spiciness level of creamy gochujang pasta will vary based on your personal preference. It's also going to depend on the brand of gochujang you use. That's why I highly recommend you taste a little bit before adding it to the recipe. When you go to make the pasta, add a little bit at a time. Stir the chili into the vegetable broth and coconut milk and taste before deciding to add more if you're sensitive to the heat.
Can't find gochujang sauce but still want to enjoy this recipe? Try the easy substitutions below:
Sriracha: Sriracha sauce is a popular hot sauce made from chili peppers, vinegar, garlic, and sugar. While it has a different flavor profile from gochujang, it provides a similar level of spiciness. Keep in mind that sriracha is thinner in consistency, so you may need to adjust other ingredients in the recipe accordingly.
Red Pepper Flakes or Cayenne Pepper: If you prefer a simpler substitute, you can use red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to add heat to your dish. These options lack the depth of flavor and umami found in gochujang but can still provide spiciness.
Chili Garlic Sauce: Chili garlic sauce is a blend of chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and salt. It offers a combination of spiciness and garlicky flavor that can work as a substitute for gochujang. However, it won't provide the same level of complexity as gochujang.
Miso Paste: Miso paste is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans. While it doesn't have the spiciness of gochujang, it does offer a rich umami flavor. Mixing miso paste with a bit of chili powder or red pepper flakes can help add some heat to the dish.
Homemade Gochujang Substitute: If you're feeling adventurous, you can try making a homemade gochujang substitute. Combine equal parts red chili paste (like sambal oelek or red pepper paste), soy sauce, and honey or sugar. Adjust the ratios to your taste and desired level of heat.
It's important to note that while these substitutes can provide a similar level of spiciness, they may not replicate the unique flavor profile and complexity of gochujang. Experimentation is key, and you may need to adjust other ingredients to compensate for the flavor differences.
Tips and Tricks
Start with a small amount of gochujang: If you're new to gochujang or prefer milder spice, start with a conservative amount of gochujang in your sauce. You can always add more later if you want to increase the spiciness. This recipe is made with 5 tablespoons but you may decide you want less so customize this to your personal preference.
Customize with additional ingredients: Gochujang pasta is versatile and can be enhanced with various toppings and add-ins. Consider adding cooked vegetables, proteins like shrimp or chicken, or fresh herbs like cilantro or basil to elevate the dish and add extra flavor and texture.
Cook the pasta al dente: When cooking the pasta, aim for al dente, which means it's cooked until it's firm to the bite. This helps prevent the pasta from becoming mushy when mixed with the sauce. Be sure to stir the pasta occasionally so it cooks evenly.
Adjust the thickness of the sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, let it simmer for a bit longer to reduce and concentrate the flavors. Conversely, if you want a lighter sauce, you can add a splash of water or broth to thin it out.
Taste and adjust: Throughout the cooking process, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings as needed. Gochujang brands can vary in heat and flavor, so it's important to adjust according to your preference.
Can I Make This Recipe Vegan?
Yes, it is very easy to make this a vegan gochujang pasta. The only substitute you need to make is swapping the parmesan cheese for nutritional yeast. All the other ingredients are already vegan friendly.
Gochujang Shrimp Pasta: Add cooked shrimp to your gochujang pasta for a flavorful seafood twist. Sauté the shrimp separately with garlic and toss them into the finished pasta for added protein and texture.
Vegetarian Gochujang Pasta: Skip the meat and add a variety of vegetables to your gochujang pasta. Sauté colorful bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or spinach, and toss them in with the sauce and pasta for a delicious vegetarian option.
Gochujang Chicken Pasta: If you're a fan of chicken, consider adding cooked, diced chicken breast to your gochujang pasta. You can marinate the chicken in a gochujang-based sauce before cooking to infuse it with the flavors.
Gochujang Peanut Noodles: Create an Asian-inspired noodle dish by replacing traditional pasta with Asian noodles like udon or soba. Add a little bit of peanut butter to the sauce to create a gochujang-peanut sauce. Add some shredded carrots, cucumber, and chopped peanuts for added crunch.
Gochujang Pasta Salad: Serve gochujang pasta chilled as a refreshing pasta salad. Toss cooked and cooled pasta with a gochujang-based dressing, along with fresh vegetables like cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and thinly sliced red onion. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and chopped herbs for extra flavor and texture.
Storing and Reheating
To store let the gochujang cool down. Then transfer any leftovers to an airtight container. Place in the refrigerator and store for up to 3-4 days.
Below are a couple ways to reheat the pasta:
Stovetop: Reheat the pasta in a non-stick skillet or saucepan over low heat. Add a splash of water or vegetable broth to prevent it from drying out, and gently stir until the pasta is warmed through.
Microwave: Place a portion of the gochujang pasta in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the dish with a damp paper towel to retain moisture. Reheat in short intervals, stirring occasionally, until it reaches the desired temperature.
Tip: If the reheated gochujang pasta seems dry, you can add a small amount of water, broth while reheating to help restore moisture and prevent it from becoming too sticky. Once your pasta is reheated, consider adding some extra cheese over the top for added flavor.
More Pasta Recipes You'll Love
Easy One Pot Gochujang Pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lb pasta
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 lime squeezed
- 5 tablespoons gochujang
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Green onion sliced
- Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large pot or dutch oven. Once heated add the garlic and cook until fragrant. About 1-2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable stock, pasta, and coconut milk. Stir until all the ingredients are well distributed.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook with the lid partially covered for about 8-12 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed. The cook time will vary based on the pasta you're using. Feel free to add more vegetable stock if needed. Stir every few minutes to prevent the noodles from sticking.
- Once done set aside and stir in the juice from 1 lime and parmesan cheese. Place the cover over the pot and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Serve immediately.