Main image of Homemade Vegan Kimchi

Homemade Vegan Kimchi

14 days, 2 hr + 30 min

Side

Condiment/sauce

Make-ahead

10 ingredients or less

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish made from fermented cabbage and has a unique combination of tasting slightly sour, vinegary, spicy, and umami, all in one. Honestly, there isn't anything that tastes like it, and we're obsessed with it. Store-bought kimchi can sometimes be expensive, so we much prefer to make it ourselves, varying the veggies added in each time. Below is our take on the delicious Korean side dish, and we hope you enjoy it!

Servings

(¼ cup per serving)

Total

14 days, 2 hr + 30 min

Prep

30 min

Soak

2 hr

Ferment

14 days

Contains

Soy symbol

soy

Swap out

Gluten symbol

gluten

Free from

Peanut symbol

peanut

Treenut symbol

tree nut

Sesame symbol

sesame

Ingredients

  • 1
    napa cabbage, cut into 1 inch (2 cm), bite-sized pieces
  • ¼ cup (58 g)
    coarse sea salt (must be iodine free*)
  • ½ cup (120 mL)
    cold water
  • 6
    cloves garlic
  • ¼ cup (32 g)
    gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes/powder)
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL)
  • 3
    medium shallots
  • ½ Tbsp (3 g)
    freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp (9 g)
    granulated sugar
  • 4
    stalks green onion, sliced lengthwise, and cut into 1 inch (2 cm) strips
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Directions

  1. To a large bowl, add the cabbage and sea salt. Massage the salted cabbage for a few minutes, as the salt helps to draw water out of the cabbage and softens it.
  2. Pour the water overtop the cabbage and let the cabbage rest on the counter for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours; you'll notice the cabbage will continue to shrink in volume in that time.
  3. In the meantime, to a food processor, add the garlic, gochugaru, soy sauce, shallot, ginger, and sugar. Blend until a smooth consistency is reached.
  4. After the cabbage has rested, run it under cold water to wash the salt off, and then squeeze out any excess water with your hands. Transfer the drained cabbage back to the large bowl.
  5. Add the blended chili mixture to the cabbage, along with the green onions, and give it a mix until everything is evenly coated.
  6. To a mason jar or airtight container, add the cabbage and press it down firmly with a spoon. We want the cabbage to be submerged below a thin layer of the brine/liquid. Any bits that poke up above the brine may lead to the development of mould. Try to not fill the jar to the top, as the kimchi needs some "breathing room" for the gas and bubbles that form as a result of fermentation. Close tightly with a lid.
  7. Leave the kimchi on the counter overnight, away from direct sunlight or any heat sources. The next day, open the lid which will allow some trapped gas to escape. Give it a taste test; the kimchi should taste mildly sour, and some bubbles should be visible in the jar. If you like more sour-tasting and tangy kimchi, leave it to sit on the counter for an additional 1 - 2 days. If you choose to let it sit longer, leave the lid open this time to allow the gasses to escape, but cover the lid with a cheesecloth to prevent anything from getting inside. I personally let it ferment on the counter for one day in the warmer summer months when fermentation takes place more quickly, and 2 days in the winter months when fermentation is slower.
  8. Then close the lid of the jar, and place the kimchi in the fridge for 1 - 2 weeks to continue to ferment and set. Every 3 - 4 days, open the lid to allow the trapped gasses to escape and push down the mixture to submerge it under the liquid when necessary. The longer you let it sit, the more complex and delicious the flavours as the kimchi continues to slowly ferment in the fridge. Enjoy!

Notes

  • * The salt must be iodine-free, otherwise the salt may inhibit the fermentation process.
  • Variations: add more veggies to the mix, such as daikon radish, or thinly sliced carrots.

Storage

  • The kimchi can be stored in a mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months. Make sure to use clean utensils each time you remove some of the kimchi from the jar, to keep it lasting longer.

Let us know what you think

Nutrition info

We believe that focusing on numbers can harm our relationship with food. Instead, our philosophy is to Nourish the Cells & the Soul. If you require specific nutrition information due to a medical condition, please consult with a dietitian or physician. The nutritional information provided is composed with the utmost care. However, we cannot guarantee the correctness of the displayed values, see also our disclaimer.

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Discussion & Rating

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Griet - Jan. 31, 2022, 8:17 a.m.

Hi there, is there a specific reason for why you’re using coarse sea salt in this recipe? I guess fine sea salt works too?

PUL Team - Jan. 31, 2022, 7:35 p.m.

Hey Griet, we prefer coarse sea salt as it tends to take longer to dissolve to help develop the flavour. Fine sea salt should work, although you'll likely want to use less (such as a 3/4 or 1/2 the total amount) to avoid the kimchi being overly salty. Also be sure it isn't iodized as this might impact the fermentation 😊

Griet - Feb. 11, 2022, 2:51 p.m.

Thanks for the reply! I think it might be helpful to do a video about this one though. I didn’t have any liquid either. Maybe I squeezed too much out :’). Anyways, fingers crossed it will turn out okay!

PUL Team - Feb. 11, 2022, 3:42 p.m.

Thank you for the suggestion, Griet, we've noted it down as an idea! If it's not too late, you can try to press the kimchi down more firmly in the container to see if any liquid comes out. Alternatively, you can try adding an extra cup of water with 1/4 to 1/2 a tablespoon of salt to create more of a salty brine. We hope this helps for now and the recipe turns out! Thank you for the recommendation for a video again, Griet ✨


Juna💫 - Jan. 19, 2022, 6:28 p.m.

Helluu,

I am planning in doing this recipe tomorrow, I Just have a quick question if that's alright 🤗

The guchugaru I bought, is not really spicy at all. Is it possible to add some kind of hot sauce (for example sriracha e.g.), or could that interfere with the fermentation process?

Btw. I really, love your guyses work! You always create amazing recipes!

Thank you in advance🌿

PUL Team - Jan. 21, 2022, 4:38 a.m.

Hey Juna! It could very well be that you have the correct gochugaru, as it's usually smokey, slightly sweet, and just a tad spicy. But you're right, some are milder and some spicier. We haven't tested out adding extra hot sauce, although we'd recommend a hot sauce without added salt or preservatives if possible. It looks like there have been some positive reviews online with Gochujang or sriracha. An alternative idea that might impact the flavour more is to add the hot sauce after the fermentation if desired. We hope this helps for now!

Juna💫 - March 1, 2022, 5:44 p.m.

Thank you for your help! 🌼


Zohra - Dec. 16, 2021, 8:01 p.m.

I’m making it right now but i see no “liquid” at all to be the brine. Should I add water to it to create more brine?

PUL Team - Dec. 20, 2021, 6:48 a.m.

Hi there, Zohra, thanks for the question and patience in our response! We wouldn't recommend adding just plain water alone to the kimchi brine as it needs a saltier profile to promote fermentation. We'd suggest either: 1) Press the kimchi down more firmly in the airtight container to see if any liquid comes out, or 2) add 1/4 to 1/2 a tablespoon of salt per cup of extra water to create more of a salty brine. We hope this helps for now and you enjoy the recipe if you're able to give it a try🙂


Hayley Elliott - Nov. 28, 2021, 11:46 a.m.

Hi Sadia,

We are planning on making this recipe but I haven't yet found the gochugaru red pepper flakes. We have got some regular chilli flakes. Would those work just as well?
Many thanks
Hayley

PUL Team - Nov. 28, 2021, 11:21 p.m.

Hey Hayley, thanks for the question! Red pepper flakes aren't an ideal substitute for gochugaru, especially when it comes to making kimchi. Gochugaru has a sweet and smokiness in flavour that's important in the flavour development of the kimchi. If you're able to perhaps order it online, we'd recommend it, but if you really can't find it still, you can try it with regular chili flakes. Either way, let us know how it turns out for you 😊


Cheryl - Nov. 7, 2021, 8:49 p.m.

Can I use any type of cabbage I have on hand?

PUL Team - Nov. 8, 2021, 2:25 a.m.

Hi Cheryl, thanks for the question! We've only ever tried kimchi with napa cabbage, but we have made sauerkraut with green and purple cabbage: https://www.pickuplimes.com/r…. If you do decide to try the kimchi with other types of cabbage, just keep in mind the result will likely differ, and the taste and fermentation time may vary. Let us know how it goes if you make any modifications :)


Nani - Oct. 22, 2021, 10:31 a.m.

Finally after 2 weeks my kimchi is done! It's sooo tasty, I love to use it in my kimchi fried rice (and it's way cheaper than the vegan kimchi I can find where I live). I also add a couple of tablespoons of vegan dashi, for that umami/fishy flavour. So yum!

PUL Team - Oct. 22, 2021, 4:31 p.m.

Woohoo! We're so happy it was worth the wait, Nani, and thanks for sharing your experience with it 🤗


Victoria - July 8, 2021, 7:59 p.m.

Top tip: do NOT squeeze the life out of your napa cabbage like I did. I now have very salty kimchi...jerky(?) that's been living in my fridge for over half a year now. I'll name it Bob.

PUL Team - July 13, 2021, 4:08 a.m.

Oh no! Sorry to hear, Victoria. Another idea to consider is being sure to rinse the cabbage well in step four if you give the recipe another try 😊