Delicious Vegan Kimchi in a wooden bowl on a dark background
Sides, Dips and Everything in Between

Delicious Vegan Kimchi

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You guys absolutely adore my Korean-inspired Quince Tea (MoGua) and so I thought I would team up with my friend once more and bring you another classic Korean dish – this Delicious Vegan Kimchi. This recipe took soooo much work to come up with the right consistency, and flavor combination. I wanted to ensure that it is not too spicy, not too sour, not too anything but just perfectly balanced 🤩.

Delicious Vegan Kimchi in a wooden bowl on a dark background photographed from above

I am going to be the first one to hold up my hand and say: “I did not know that Kimchi was not vegan 🤷🏼‍♀️”. Indeed, it is not. Kimchi is originally made with fish sauce and that is made of anchovies. I then googled how to best replace fish sauce and one of the options was to mix both dark and light soy sauce. That might work for some, but soy sauce is not gluten-free, and hence not suitable for this blog. Then I googled how to make a vegan fish sauce, but truthfully I could not be bothered to make a lengthy sauce “just” to make this Delicious Vegan Kimchi. You know me – quick and easy is my jam 😉. Besides, if I am already finding it to be a hassle… how can I ask any of you to follow into those steps/shoes?!

Delicious Vegan Kimchi in a wooden bowl photographed from a three-quarter angle

So, I went into the kitchen to experiment, and low and behold – I found the perfect combination. It is a mixture of tamari and the liquid in a caper glass. I know – sounds weird. But trust me – the difference to fish sauce is almost non-existent (confirmed by my husband when he had to test the flavor combinations at 6:15 am in the morning 🤣). This Kimchi can be eaten straight away and does not need any fermenting. But you could also put it into a jar, or a glass container, in the fridge in order for it to ferment a little bit.

Delicious Vegan Kimchi in a wooden bowl on a dark background

Why is this Delicious Vegan Kimchi good for you?

Kimchi

Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish. There are literally hundreds of different types of recipes out there. Usually, it is made with some form of Chinese cabbage, garlic, Korean red chili powder, a little bit of ginger, and fish sauce. You can then also add in other flavors, such as scallions, grated carrot, or similar. Kimchi is oftentimes fermented (as mentioned, this recipe can also be eaten without fermentation). This fermentation and pickling process allowed for vegetables to be preserved through the winter months. I have written more about the benefits of fermentation, especially on our gut health, in my Homemade Sauerkraut post.

Delicious Vegan Kimchi photographed up close

Kimchi can be a side dish on its own. But it also makes a great base for other recipes – hint hint – there may be one in the works of that kind for you as well 😉. The flavor of any Kimchi is obviously largely dependent on its final list of ingredients but it is meant to have a spicy taste, that mixes with sour, and umami flavors.

In Korea, Kimchi is served at almost every meal. And why not? It adds a ton of flavor and is so beneficial for your overall gut health. And this is even before you add the “bonus” of fermentation on top. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable, which has an amazing health profile. They are stock-full of nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. The antioxidants in cabbages both help to lower inflammation, as well as potentially protect against cancer. Cruciferous vegetables are also fiber superstars, which further promote gut health. As we discussed many times on this blog, garlic is a powerhouse in terms of its nutritional value. It has antibacterial, antiviral, and has antibiotic properties. It also acts as an antioxidant in our bodies and is amazing for our heart health.

Korean Red Chili Powder in a small wooden spoon

Korean Red Chili Powder (Gochugaru)

What is Korean Red Chili Powder (also called Gochugaru)? The first time I tested this recipe, I used “normal” cayenne powder, because I thought, how much can the difference be?! WRONG! Korean Red Chili Powder first creates a very different color in the final product. With cayenne, it simply did not develop this beautiful red hue. Also, Korean Red Chili Powder has a milder spiciness than cayenne or some other peppers. The difference is significant and ensures that the flavors of this Delicious Vegan Kimchi can balance and you do not simply taste “spice”. Do ensure that you source this from a well-stocked Asian market, or search your local online store for options. My friend kindly sourced it for me from one of her friends and it truly makes or breaks the dish 🥰.

Delicious Vegan Kimchi on a fork with a bowl visible in the background

How can I adjust this Delicious Vegan Kimchi to my dietary requirements?

This recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan. If you would like to make this dish paleo, simply swap the tamari for coconut aminos, and ensure that you are using a brand with no added chemicals on the capers.

And there you have it for this week 😍. I hope you enjoy this Delicious Vegan Kimchi. Thank you so much to my dear friend, and her mother who helped out a ton on this recipe 😘. Once you are familiar with this recipe – have a bit of a play around with it! You can check how long you like to ferment it, and/or what other ingredients you could potentially add. I am providing some ideas in the notes section of the recipe. As always – let me know how you get on by commenting below and rating the recipe! Happy Kimchi-making.

Delicious Vegan Kimchi

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Ann Robejsek Course: SidesCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Soaking time

6 -8

hours

This Delicious Vegan Kimchi is super easy to make, does not need to be fermented in order to be enjoyed and is both gluten-free and vegan!

Ingredients

  • 1 Chinese cabbage (about 600 gr.)

  • 1-2 tbsp salt

  • 3 tbsp Korean Red Chilli Powder

  • 1 bunch scallions

  • 1 tbsp tamari (or coconut amoinos)

  • 1 tbsp sauce from a glass of capers

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar

  • 1 clove garlic, grated

  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated

How to

  • Prepare the cabbage
  • Start by finely chopping the Chinese Cabbage. Once done, add to a large bowl and generously add the salt and toss. Now, add water and cover until the cabbage is covered in water. At this stage, you can add some more salt on top if you want. Soak the cabbage until it becomes significantly softer than prior, mine took around 6 – 8 hours. You will notice when the cabbage almost has a sloppy feel to it. You could also do this step overnight
  • Once the cabbage has soaked, drain all the water and wash the cabbage. Gently pad dry a bit and add back to the bowl
  • To make the Delicious Vegan Kimchi
  • You may want to put on some disposable gloves for this next step, as the chili powder can stain quite badly. Add the chili powder and mix through so that everything is evenly coated
  • Wash and chop the scallions. The easiest (and prettiest) chopping is done when you keep the green parts a bit longer and cut the white parts into small rings. Add to the bowl with the cabbage along with the coconut sugar, and grated garlic and ginger. In a small bowl, mix the tamari (or coconut aminos) with the caper water. Add along to the cabbage and mix all of the ingredients well. Do a final taste test and adjust any of the flavors to your liking*
  • That is it! Serve and enjoy. Or add to a bowl or glass jar and let ferment for a few days in the fridge. You can also eat this Delicious Vegan Kimchi straight away and store the leftovers. They keep for quite a while and do not need to be tightly packed. Kimchi is meant to ferment slowly and can do so in the fridge. ENJOY!

Notes

  • * once you are familiar with the recipe, feel free to play with the flavors and add some other veggies, for example, grated carrots

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