Spicy Vegan Kimchi for Dummies

This recipe makes four 12 oz. jars.


1 napa cabbage

2 cups cold water

1/4 cup salt

Sauce Ingredients:

6 cloves fresh garlic

1/2 small yellow onion.

2 small red chili peppers (optional)

1/2 cup gochujang

1 tablespoon gochugaru

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon ginger paste


Mason jars

Kitchen gloves


1. Peel off any brown or wilted pieces on your napa cabbage. Cut the cabbage into four long quarters, cut off the stems, then cut into four inch pieces.

2. Put cabbage into a very large bowl, a quarter at a time, sprinkling salt over each layer. When all the cabbage and salt are in the bowl, sprinkle the water on top and agitate all the cabbage with your hands, massaging the salt into the cabbage.

3. Let the cabbage sit out uncovered for three hours, moving the cabbage around every hour.

4. When the cabbage is done resting, it should look slightly wilted. Rinse the cabbage with cold water four times, or until most of the salt is rinsed off.

5. Squeeze handfuls of the cabbage to remove water, then add to a strainer, until all the cabbage is sitting in the strainer. Let the cabbage rest in the strainer (in the sink) for one hour to remove an excess water.

6. While the cabbage is resting, make the sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a blender and blending until smooth. Store it in the fridge until the cabbage is done resting.

7. When the cabbage is done resting, give it one more push into the strainer, then transfer the cabbage to a large bowl.

8. Add 1/4 cup of the sauce to the cabbage at a time, massaging the sauce into the cabbage (with gloves!), until all of the sauce is incorporated.

9. Add cabbage to Mason jars, pushing down, until the jars are full with little to no air, leaving an inch at the top.

10. Place lids upside down on jars, and twist the rings on loosely. You need oxygen to get in for fermentation.

11. Leave jars out in a cool place for 24 hours.

12. After 24 hours, push down on kimchi, flip lids normally and tightly close. Leave out for another 24 hours.

13. After 48 hours, slowly open jars over a sink. (They should bubble and fizz, which can get messy!)

14. Taste the kimchi, and if you like the flavor, go ahead and store the jars in your fridge for three to six months.

Tip: If you’re using larger jars, push the kimchi down again after 48 hours, and leave out for an extra 24 hours.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed making my first kimchi. I also have a weak stomach, and I was nervous to try something I fermented myself. I’m happy to say that I had zero tummy troubles. Seeing the kimchi bubble was so satisfying because that’s the key to knowing you did it right. For my last parting words, if you have any trouble finding gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) or gochujang, I bought both on Amazon.

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