The other day, I had a crazy craving for some bibimbap, a Korean rice and veggie dish. The problem I ran into was that I couldn’t seem to find a commercial gochujang sauce that wasn’t loaded with sugar – and I mean 8-9g of sugar per tablespoon levels of sugariness. This obviously was not going to fly, so I scoured the internet for homemade versions. After some trial and error with a few recipes for a quick gochujang, I arrived at this vegan easy homemade keto gochujang that is sugar-free, guten-free, soy-free and low-carb.
Is this recipe traditional? Goodness, no. For starters, real gochujang ferments for months at a time. Secondly, we’re using some different ingredients here. The end result, though, is an easy pepper paste that is quick to make, much lower in carbohydrates and can be used is a lot of recipes. Traditional gochuchang recipes call for the following ingredients:
- Korean hot pepper powder, called gochugaru
- barley malt powder
- sweet rice flour, also called glutinous rice flour
- fermented soy flour
- rice syrup
A lot of these items are pretty carby and sugar-heavy, so our keto-friendly low carb gochujang by contrast, includes the following ingredients:
- Korean hot pepper powder
- miso paste
- rice wine vinegar (not “seasoned”)
- sugar-free maple syrup
So, while the first three are pretty similar…things get a little wild after that. This recipe cheats a few things in order to get that fermented quality that gochujang has. So, instead of using barley malt powder, rice flour and fermented soy flour…and then further fermenting that, we’re just using miso. Miso is basically fermented bean paste with a few other ingredients involved. Typically, miso is made with soy, koji, salt and sometimes rice flour. The miso I always use is soy-free from a company called Miso Master, and is the chickpea miso.
The rice wine vinegar also plays a role in giving that tangy, pungent fermented flavor. Be sure to buy regular rice wine vinegar, and not “seasoned” rice wine vinegar, as the seasoned variety contains a TON of sugar!
Instead of rice syrup, we’re using sugar-free “maple” syrup. The brand of sugar-free maple syrup I use is Lakanto. I like it because not only does it actually taste like maple, but it doesn’t upset my stomach. You can get 20% off at Lakanto using the code MeatFreeKeto!
Notes on Making Easy Homemade Keto Gochujang (sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free)
- Use chickpea miso to make sure this is soy-free! I like the one from Miso Master.
- Soy-based miso will also work fine here, and is actually fewer carbs, so you could use that if carb-content is more of a concern, and you can tolerate soy.
- I ordered the gochujaru (pepper powder) on Amazon, but if that’s not an option and you can’t find it in stores, cayenne or your preferred chile powder will work as well.
- Be sure to subtract the grams of sugar alcohol from the total carbs as well as the fiber to arrive at the net carbs!
- While I strive to provide accurate nutritional information, different ingredients have differing nutrient profiles, so your calculations may vary.
This keto variation on Korean gochujang pepper paste is a flavorful and low-carb way to add a spicy kick to bibimbap and other dishes.
- 1/4 cup (68g) miso (use chickpea miso for a soy-free gochujang)
- 1/4 cup (20g) Korean red pepper flakes (gochugaru)
- 2-3 tbsp sugar-free syrup, depending on taste preference
- 2 tsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup (80ml) water
- In a small saucepan on low heat, whisk together all ingredients. Continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until everything is combined and the sauce thickens - about five minutes.