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Homemade Vegan Kimchi

2 days, 2 hr + 30 min


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!


(¼ cup per serving)


2 days, 2 hr + 30 min


30 min


2 hr


2 days


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Free from

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tree nut

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  • 1
    napa cabbage, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • ¼ cup (72 g)
    coarse sea salt (must be iodine free)
  • 1 cup (240 mL)



  • 5.3 oz (150 g)
    daikon radishes, cut into match sticks
  • 5
    stalks green onion, sliced lengthwise, cut in 2 cm pieces
  • 1
    carrot, cut into match sticks
  • 2.8 oz (80 g)
    fresh garlic chives, roughly chopped (optional)


  1. Add the cabbage and salt to a large bowl. Massage the salted cabbage for 3 - 5 minutes to soften them.
  2. Pour the water overtop and let the cabbage rest on the counter for 2 hours, tossing the cabbage every 30 minutes.
  3. Add the water and rice flour to a saucepan. Whisk until the rice flour is dissolved. Then add the kombu and cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, for 8 - 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat, remove the kombu, and stir in the sugar. Let it cool off slightly.
  5. Transfer the cooled rice slurry to a food processor along with all the other ingredients for the paste*. Blend until smooth.
  6. Transfer the paste to a large bowl along with the radish, green onion, carrot, and garlic chives.
  7. After the cabbage has rested, rinse it under cold water to wash the salt off, and then squeeze out any excess water with your hands.
  8. Transfer the drained cabbage back to the large bowl. Mix everything together with your hands to thoroughly coat every piece.
  9. Transfer to a mason jar and press it down firmly with a spoon. Leave an inch (2 cm) of "breathing room" at the top of each jar for the gas that's produced during fermentation.
  10. Close tightly with a lid. Leave the kimchi on the counter overnight, away from direct sunlight or any heat sources.
  11. Open the lid the next day for gas to escape and taste for mild sourness. For a tangier taste, let it sit on the counter for 1 - 2 more days, burping twice a day**.
  12. The kimchi is ready to enjoy after the first 1 - 2 days. For more complex and delicious flavours, close the lid of the jar, and place the kimchi in the fridge for 1 - 2 weeks to continue to ferment and set. Enjoy!


  • The salt must be iodine-free, otherwise the salt may inhibit the fermentation process.
  • Gochugaru is made from Korean dried red chili peppers, also known as taeyang-cho. To get the authentic flavour, red chili flakes are not advised for this recipe.
  • Garlic chives have a chives like appearance and a strong garlic flavour. It can be found in your local Asian supermarket.
  • * Use less gochugaru for a milder version of our spicy kimchi recipe.
  • ** I often ferment for 1 day during warm summer months and 2 days during colder winter months.


  • The kimchi can be stored in a mason jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 months.
  • Always use clean utensils when removing some of the kimchi from the jar to keep it from spoiling.

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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Kasia - Feb. 19, 2024, 7:57 p.m.

Hi, I was wondering if could I use nori sheet instead of kombu? If so, would be 1 enough?
Tia xx

PUL Team - Feb. 19, 2024, 10:03 p.m.

Hi Kasia, the kombu is mainly used to impart flavour, but it's very subtle so you can opt to leave it out entirely. We can't say with confidence if nori would be a suitable alternative as it's not something we've tried yet. Do let us know if you experiment with it though!

JJ - Jan. 25, 2024, 4:49 p.m.

Hi! Any alternative/substitute for rice flour?

PUL Team - Jan. 26, 2024, 4:52 a.m.

Hey there, JJ, we haven't tested it out but we imagine that tapioca flour or cornstarch could work 🤗

Martunia - Jan. 22, 2024, 8:49 p.m.

Excellent recipe! I made 3 jars of this and let it ferment fully. It's fantastic in Korean-style soups.

PUL Team - Jan. 23, 2024, 5:33 a.m.

Mmm using the kimchi is soup sounds incredible! Thanks, Martunia 😊

April Parekh - Jan. 7, 2024, 6:52 p.m.

This was good but on the spicy side for my family so I may decrease the red chilli pepper next time. Trying to decide if I should separately ferment some more cabbage to add or if just mixing small quantities into rice will be sufficient for us to enjoy it.

Piotr Łukaszczy - Dec. 17, 2023, 9:55 p.m.


Nicola - Nov. 2, 2023, 3:05 p.m.

Hi PUL folks!

I'm a little confused... I want to delve into this recipe but when shopping for kelp or kombu it boasts about being high in iodine. In the first stage of this recipe Sadia states to use iodine free salt as it will prevent the fermentation process which has got me all in a pickle (see what i did there?!)

Can anyone explain as I want to get all the benefits of the fermentation process!

Thank you :)

PUL Team - Nov. 2, 2023, 3:17 p.m.

Hey Nicola, great question, and I love the food pun 😂! Using iodized kelp or kombu is perfectly fine. Many online sources state iodine *may* interfere with the fermentation, though one recent study published in the Journal of Food Microbiology states "The use of iodized salt did not statistically significantly influence microbial populations in the fermentation." We opted for iodine-free salt just to be on the safe side (and because we don't love the slightly metallic taste that iodine can impart), but iodized ingredients can be used without altering the fermentation process. I hope this helps!

CB - Oct. 12, 2023, 1:19 a.m.

Hiya! I've made this recipe a few times with some large napa cabbage and it's never as "saucy" as what you have pictured. It still tastes great, but I'm curious about the size/weight of the cabbage you usually use? Thanks so much!

PUL Team - Oct. 12, 2023, 6:03 p.m.

Hey CB, thanks for the question! Our napa cabbage heads tend to be around 850 grams (give or take 100g). As the kimchi ferments, the cabbage and other ingredients will release more liquid, contributing to the sauce so giving it more time can help the sauce develop 😊

Nastacia - June 27, 2023, 9:58 a.m.

Hello! I plan to make this recipe soon! First of all, thank you for creating a vegan recipe. From the few that I’ve read, yours seems to be the best!

If I already have the gochugaru paste can I sub that in? Will I then need to skip the slurry and chili powder?

PUL Team - June 27, 2023, 9:24 p.m.

Hey there, Nastacia! While gochugaru paste and gochujang are both made from Korean red chili peppers, they have distinct differences in terms of texture, flavour, and ingredients. Gochugaru is a coarse chili pepper powder, while gochujang is a fermented chili paste. Therefore, using gochugaru paste as a direct substitute for gochujang in kimchi might alter the flavour and texture of it. With that said, we're all about experimenting! It might not taste as authentic, but I'm sure it'll still taste good! Do let us know how it goes if you test it out 🤗

Stephen L - April 7, 2023, 5:38 p.m.

Hi Sadia - I'm making this tomorrow! One question I have is do I still have to "burp" the kimchi during the two weeks it needs to stay in the fridge? I suspect the chilling will slow (but not entirely halt) the fermentation process. Is it okay to just leave the sealed jar in the fridge for two weeks, and then open it? Or, am I inviting a kimchi shower, and redecorating of my kitchen if I only take the lid off after the suggested two weeks? Thank you! Rgds from West Kelowna, BC.

PUL Team - April 7, 2023, 11:25 p.m.

Hey Stephen, it's a great question and can depend on how active the fermentation is. In general, fermentation slows down significantly in the fridge as you said. If in doubt, burping once or twice in the 2 weeks should be enough to release any pent-up gas. In my experience, the burp isn't so intense, so I think we can say your kitchen will be safe 😜 We hope you enjoy the recipe and sending lots of love to West Kelowna 😃

Anjali - Feb. 3, 2023, 2:20 p.m.

In my local farmer's market, the common cabbage that I find is green/white cabbage; it is round and the size of a baseball, it's green on the outside and white on the inside. Can I use that one instead to make this kimchi?

PUL Team - Feb. 4, 2023, 4:03 a.m.

Hey Anjali, that sounds like a small green cabbage. We've only ever tried kimchi with napa cabbage, but we've made sauerkraut with green cabbage successfully. We imagine you could make kimchi with other types of cabbage, though the result will likely differ, and the taste and fermentation time may vary. We'd love to hear how it goes if you try any modifications 😃

Jordi - Jan. 21, 2023, 9:47 p.m.

My first try I didn’t completely remove the salt on the cabbage and it ended up being too salty. The second try I pressed the cabbage better and it ended up perfect, better and much cheaper than store bought!

PUL Team - Jan. 22, 2023, 12:17 a.m.

So glad it was enjoyed, Jordi, thank you!

Monica Brz - Nov. 10, 2022, 10:35 a.m.

Hi, I don't seem to find Napa cabbage where I live so can I replace it with sweetheart cabbage or Savoy?

PUL Team - Nov. 10, 2022, 6:09 p.m.

Hey Monica! We've only ever tried kimchi with napa cabbage, but we've made sauerkraut with green and purple cabbage successfully (…). If you do try the kimchi with other types of cabbage, the result will likely differ, and the taste and fermentation time may vary. We'd love to hear how it goes if you try any modifications 😊

Monica Brz - Nov. 14, 2022, 4:46 p.m.

In the end I went to the Asian supermarket, and I found napa cabbage. The gentleman at the till told me that kimchi can be made with any vegetable as long as the spices are right. I thought to share, maybe helps someone.

Alex - Feb. 25, 2024, 1:17 a.m.

Very late but I wanted to name a few examples that I've seen for anyone curious. There's cucumber kimchi, Baek or white kimchi that has no spice at all, and daikon kimchi. There's so many varieties out there not just the traditional napa cabbage one. Hope this helps (:

Mary-Anne - Sept. 9, 2022, 12:54 p.m.

I'm so obsessed with kimchi and it's very expensive where i live. So i decided to try this recipe and it did not disappoint. So flavorful!! I will be making it again for sure!

PUL Team - Sept. 10, 2022, 6:34 a.m.

Woohoo! Thank you, Mary-Anne 🤗

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.


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

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:…. 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 😊