Easy Vegetarian Kimchi Recipe

This article presents a simple and straightforward recipe for making vegetarian or vegan kimchi. By using a vegetarian stock instead of fish sauce or fermented shrimp, this recipe offers an alternative for those who prefer not to consume animal products. The recipe requires only one head of napa cabbage and can be easily adjusted for larger or smaller quantities. Step-by-step instructions are provided for salting the cabbage, making the kimchi paste, washing the salted cabbage, and mixing it all together. Whether served immediately or fermented for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, this kimchi is a flavorful addition to any meal. Furthermore, the kimchi can be stored in the refrigerator, allowing it to ferment and develop a more tangy flavor over time. Finally, the article concludes with valuable tips and comments from individuals who have tried the recipe, ensuring a successful and enjoyable kimchi-making experience.

Vegetarian Kimchi Recipe: A Delicious Twist on a Traditional Korean Dish

Easy Vegetarian Kimchi Recipe

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To make vegetarian kimchi, you will need the following ingredients:

Napa cabbage

Napa cabbage is the main ingredient in kimchi. Make sure to choose a fresh and crisp head of cabbage for the best results.

Vegetarian stock

To replace the savory flavor usually provided by fish sauce or fermented shrimp, this recipe calls for vegetarian stock. You can easily find vegetarian stock at your local grocery store or make your own at home.


Garlic adds a pungent and aromatic flavor to the kimchi. Use freshly minced garlic for the best taste.


Ginger adds a subtle heat and earthy flavor to the kimchi. Peel and finely grate the ginger before using it in the recipe.

Green onions

Green onions, also known as scallions, add a fresh and mild onion flavor to the kimchi. Make sure to chop them finely.


Carrots add a touch of sweetness and vibrant color to the kimchi. Peel and finely chop the carrot before adding it to the mix.


Radish adds a crunchy texture and a mildly spicy flavor to the kimchi. Peel and finely slice the radish before using it in the recipe.

Red chili flakes

Red chili flakes are key to giving kimchi its signature spice. Adjust the amount of chili flakes according to your preferred spice level.


Sugar helps balance the flavors in the kimchi and adds a hint of sweetness. You can adjust the amount of sugar based on your taste preferences.


Salt is used to draw out moisture from the cabbage and season the kimchi. It’s important to use salt without any additives, such as iodine or anti-caking agents.

Salting the Cabbage

To prepare the cabbage for kimchi, follow these steps:

Prepare the cabbage

Remove any outer leaves that may be damaged or wilted. Cut the cabbage in half lengthwise, and then cut each half into quarters. Rinse the cabbage under cold water to remove any dirt or impurities. Make sure each cabbage piece is intact and free of any bruises or blemishes.

Salt the cabbage

Sprinkle salt evenly over each cabbage leaf, paying special attention to the core of the cabbage. Rub the salt into the leaves gently to ensure even distribution. The salt helps draw out moisture from the cabbage, which will result in a crispy texture.

Let it sit

Place the salted cabbage in a large bowl or a non-reactive container. Let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours, or until the cabbage has wilted and released some liquid. This process helps tenderize the cabbage and prepare it for the next steps.

Making the Kimchi Paste

Once the cabbage has wilted, it’s time to make the kimchi paste. Follow these steps:

Blend the garlic, ginger, and green onions

In a blender or food processor, combine the minced garlic, grated ginger, and finely chopped green onions. Blend them together until you have a smooth and paste-like consistency.

Mix in the vegetarian stock

Add the vegetarian stock to the blended garlic, ginger, and green onion mixture. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. The vegetarian stock will provide a rich and savory flavor to the kimchi.

Add the red chili flakes

Carefully add the red chili flakes to the mixture. The amount of chili flakes can vary depending on your spice preference. Start with a small amount and gradually increase until you achieve the desired level of spiciness.

Add sugar and salt

Finally, add the sugar and salt to the kimchi paste mixture. Stir well to dissolve the sugar and evenly distribute the salt. Taste the paste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. The sugar helps balance the flavors, while the salt enhances the taste of the other ingredients.

Washing the Salted Cabbage

After the cabbage has wilted and released moisture, it’s important to wash off the excess salt. Follow these steps:

Rinse the cabbage

Place the wilted cabbage under cold running water to remove the excess salt. Gently rinse each leaf to ensure all the salt is washed away. Pat the cabbage dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

Drain excess water

After rinsing, allow the cabbage to drain in a colander or strainer for a few minutes. Lightly shake the colander to remove any excess water. It’s important to remove as much moisture as possible to prevent diluting the flavors of the kimchi.

Easy Vegetarian Kimchi Recipe

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Mixing It All Together

Now that the cabbage is prepared and the kimchi paste is ready, it’s time to mix everything together. Follow these steps:

Chop the carrot and radish

Finely chop the carrot and radish into thin matchstick-like pieces. The size of the carrot and radish should be similar to the cabbage pieces for even distribution of flavors and textures.

Combine the cabbage and paste

In a large mixing bowl, combine the salted and washed cabbage with the kimchi paste. Use your hands or tongs to gently toss and coat each cabbage leaf with the paste. Make sure all the cabbage leaves are evenly coated for the best flavor.

Mix well

Continue mixing and tossing the cabbage and paste until they are well combined. The paste should evenly coat each leaf and vegetable piece. Take your time to ensure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed for a cohesive and flavorful kimchi.

Serving and Fermentation

There are different ways to enjoy vegetarian kimchi, whether you prefer it fresh or fermented. Here are some serving and fermentation options:

Serve immediately

If you can’t wait to dig into your freshly made kimchi, you can serve it immediately after mixing. The kimchi will have a vibrant and bold flavor with a prominent crunch. Serve it as a side dish or condiment to complement your favorite meals.

Ferment in the refrigerator

To achieve a deeper and more complex flavor, ferment the kimchi in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Transfer the mixed kimchi into a clean and airtight container. Place it in the refrigerator and allow the fermentation process to take place. The cold temperature slows down the fermentation and helps develop the tangy and sour flavors associated with traditional kimchi.

Ferment at room temperature

For a faster fermentation process, you can leave the mixed kimchi at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Keep the container covered to prevent any outside contaminants from entering. This method will result in a milder fermentation and a slightly different flavor profile compared to refrigerator fermentation.

Easy Vegetarian Kimchi Recipe

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Storing and Fermentation

Once you have achieved the desired level of fermentation, it’s time to store your kimchi. Here are some guidelines:

Store in the refrigerator

Store the fermented kimchi in the refrigerator to slow down the fermentation process. Place it in an airtight container to prevent any odors from seeping into the kimchi. The refrigerated kimchi will continue to develop more sourness over time, enhancing its complex flavors.

Allow further fermentation

If you prefer a stronger and more pungent flavor, you can continue fermenting the kimchi in the refrigerator for longer periods. Monitor the kimchi regularly and taste it to determine the level of fermentation. Remember to burp the container occasionally to release any built-up gas.

Tips and Comments

Here are some helpful tips and comments from people who have tried this vegetarian kimchi recipe:

Add more or less chili flakes for spice preference

If you prefer a milder kimchi, reduce the amount of red chili flakes. On the other hand, if you love the heat, feel free to increase the amount. Finding the perfect balance of spiciness is a matter of personal preference.

Adjust sugar and salt to taste

Everyone has different taste preferences, so feel free to adjust the amount of sugar and salt used in the recipe. You can gradually add more sugar for extra sweetness or increase the salt for a saltier taste. Experiment and find the combination that suits your palate.

Experiment with different vegetables

While this recipe uses the traditional cabbage base, you can get creative and experiment with other vegetables as well. Try adding sliced bell peppers, julienned cucumbers, or shredded kale for unique flavors and textures. The possibilities are endless.

Easy Vegetarian Kimchi Recipe

This image is property of www.maangchi.com.


Making vegetarian kimchi is a rewarding and delicious venture. By following this comprehensive recipe, you can create a flavorful kimchi that suits your taste preferences. Whether you enjoy it fresh or fermented, kimchi adds a burst of flavor to any meal. Give this recipe a try and savor the complex flavors of this traditional Korean dish with a vegetarian twist.

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