Vegan Kimchi

Simple vegan kimchi and six ways to serve this Korean condiment

4.5 from 2 reviews

Kimchi is a hot, salty, and flavorful condiment that is a staple in all Korean kitchens. This 100% vegan kimchi is simple and delicious. See the section above for 6 ways to enjoy kimchi.


Units Scale
  • 4 Tbsp non-iodized salt
  • 8 cups of water
  • 1 large head of napa cabbage
  • 1 daikon radish (6″ to 8″ in length)
  • 3 carrots
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2-inch knob of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 14 Tbsp red chili pepper flakes (using gochugaru is traditional)
  • Optional: 4 Tbsp of wakame


  1. Dissolve the salt in the water to make a brine.
  2. Roughly chop the cabbage, and submerge it in the brine for at least 5 hours, up to 24 hours. If there isn’t enough brine to cover the cabbage, wait 30 minutes for the cabbage to start softening. It should all fit under the brine.
  3. Use a weight to keep the cabbage below the surface of the brine. I soak my cabbage in a large bowl and use a dinner plate to keep it below the surface.
  4. After soaking, drain the cabbage reserving 6 cups of the brine.
  5. Dice the radish, carrots, and green onions into bite-sized sticks.
  6. Place the yellow onion, garlic, ginger, and chili pepper flakes into a food processor and chop until it becomes a paste.
  7. Mix all the vegetables and the paste in a large bowl. Wakame isn’t traditional, but it is a nice replacement for the usual fish sauce. Add it at this point, if you are using it.
  8. Pack the vegetables into several glass mason jars. This vegan kimchi recipe should make around 3 quarts depending on the size of the cabbage. 
  9. Pour the reserved brine over the vegetables, using as much as needed to keep them submerged. Cap the jars with a loose lid that will allow CO2 to escape as it ferments. Kimchi will bubble vigorously for the first few days, so make sure the jars have headroom to prevent them from overflowing.
  10. Place the jars of kimchi to ferment in a dark location for up to 3 days. It is traditional to eat kimchi while it is still in the sparkling stages of fermentation (3-7 days.)
  11. After 3 days, place the kimchi in the refrigerator to slow the fermentation.


  • If raw garlic, onions, and spices aren’t your thing, here’s my recipe for kid-friendly kimchi. It avoids the stronger flavors while keeping the delicious kimchi-ness.
  • If you can’t find napa cabbage then use savoy. You can also use a regular cannonball cabbage, but it won’t have the same texture or flavor.
  • You can find gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) in Asian grocery stores or online.

Keywords: vegetarian, vegan, no shrimp, no fish, no shellfish, gluten free, paleo, keto, probiotic, spicy, salty, pungent