Vegetarian kimchi

Chaesik-kimchi 채식김치

Hello everybody!
I am so excited to show you how to make vegetarian or vegan kimchi today. It’s from my new cookbook! How long have you been waiting for this recipe? Or maybe you made your own adaptation of my traditional kimchi recipe or my easy kimchi recipe? When people asked me how to make vegetarian kimchi in comments I always suggested to use soy sauce but I wasn’t totally satisfied with my own answer because soy sauce alone couldn’t replace the deep savoriness of fish sauce or salty fermented shrimp that I use in my kimchi.

So I developed this recipe for my cookbook, the secret is in the vegetarian stock I created. It works perfectly. It gives the kimchi a delicious savoriness. Even if you are not a vegetarian you should try this for a change, you will be surprised how delicious it is. Even though I’m not a vegetarian, I love to make vegetarian kimchi because I never miss much of the taste from my traditional kimchi made with fish sauce and fermented shrimp.

It’s also a small portion of kimchi! You need only 1 head of napa cabbage (3 pounds), and then you can modify this recipe to adapt to how much you want to make. Enjoy the recipe! Let me know how your kimchi turns out!


Makes about 4 pounds


Salt the cabbage:

  1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise into quarters. Cut away the core of each quarter.kimchi making
  2. Cut the leaves crosswise into 1-to-1½ inch bite size pieces. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Toss with 6 tablespoons of the salt and 1 cup water.
  4. Let stand for 2 hours, tossing the cabbage every 30 minutes to salt evenly.

Make the kimchi paste:

  1. Combine the glutinous rice flour and 1 cup of the vegetable stock in a small saucepan and place over medium high heat.
  2. Stir until the mixture begins to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and stir until the mixture is slightly translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool thoroughly.
  3. Put the cooled porridge, the remaining ⅓ cup vegetable stock, the remaining 3 tablespoons salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar, garlic, ginger, and onion in a food processor and process to a puree.
  4. Transfer the puree to a medium bowl.
  5. Add the gochu-garu (hot pepper flakes) and mix it well. Set aside.

Wash the salted cabbage:

  1. Rinse the cabbage 3 to 4 times with cold running water to remove any dirt and excess salt. Drain well.kimchi making

Mix it all together and make kimchi:

  1. Well dry a large bowl with kitchen cloth.
  2. Add the cabbage, radish matchsticks, green onion, chives (if used), and carrot. Add the kimchi paste and mix all together by hand (wear disposable gloves if you like).vegan kimchi (vegetarian kimchi)kimchi making
  3. Transfer to an airtight container or glass jars. Press down the on the kimchi so it’s well packed and no air can get inside, then put the lid on the container.vegan kimchi (vegetarian kimchi)

Ferment the kimchi:

  1. You can serve the kimchi right away, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Or you can let the kimchi ferment. It takes about 2 weeks to ferment in the refrigerator; for faster fermenting, leave it at room temperature for 1 to 2 days, depending on the warmth of your kitchen, until the kimchi smells and tastes sour.
  2. Once the kimchi is fermented, store in the refrigerator until it runs out. After 2 weeks, the kimchi will have fermented nicely, and it will continue to ferment and become more sour as time goes one. It never goes bad and you can enjoy it at every stage.
  3. Whenever you take some kimchi out of the container, be sure to press down on the remaining kimchi with a spoon to prevent it from being exposed to air.

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  1. Beaverchild Germany joined 8/22 & has 1 comment

    Good afternoon Maangchi and y’all

    I was thinking, that when I bake rye sourdough bread I always have a starter in my fridge to give it a headstart.

    Would it also work for kimchi? I have leftovers from a very lovely fermented and well-tasting hm kimchi and today I will make a new batch.
    Would it ferment faster and more even with a leftover or would everything get spoiled?

    I love your recipe and always try to have enough Kimchi in my fridge. Only one time the fermenting went wrong and everything was spoiled or maybe just tasting awfully.

    • Maangchi New York City joined 8/08 & has 417 comments

      It’s not a good idea to mix old kimchi with freshly made new kimchi.
      If you mix fresh kimchi and old kimchi, the taste won’t be right. Kimchi tastes different at each stage from fresh kimchi to aged kimchi.
      You can add the sour taste kimchi brine to your kimchi stew, kimchi soup, or kimchi stir-fried rice.

  2. Happyy Vienna joined 8/22 & has 1 comment

    I tried making this today. It was A LOT of work, since I made the veggie soup as well. I hope it turns out well, I will see in 2 weeks! I’m very happy with the result so far tho!

    See full size image

  3. Karo Berlin joined 7/22 & has 1 comment

    Dear Maangchi ,Thank you for the recipe!!!
    It is so delicious and I was surprised how easy it is to make. I used the measurements from your classic Kimchi and ingredients for the vegetarian version plus
    I put half an apple into the onion, garlic, ginger paste. Turned out very good, will do the same next time.

    See full size image

  4. Jojo Rabit Singapore joined 7/22 & has 1 comment


    I find that my kimchi is too salty. Can I add in raw cabbage to the batch to bulk up so that it can absorb some of the salt?

  5. lwoodsum New Hampshire, USA joined 6/22 & has 1 comment

    Oh man! I am SOOO glad I found this recipe! Thank GOD for you! I am going to make this asap. I have my grocery list put together already for the ingredients. I am going to make onions a part of the veggies I eat (not just part of the puree) and I am also adding celery to the veggies I eat rather than the Korean chives.I can’t seem to find organic version of the Chinese cabbage in my area though, sad. I don’t suppose there’s a good substitute green for the Chinese cabbage?

    Thank you SOO much for sharing this with us. I can hardly wait to make it!


  6. CanadianMoose Canada joined 6/22 & has 1 comment

    Hello! I’m super excited to try this recipe.
    I have vegan fish sauce. How much of that should I use instead of the kosher salt and broth? Thank you!

  7. SchnauzerMom North Carolina joined 4/22 & has 4 comments

    Here’s a photo:

    See full size image

  8. SchnauzerMom North Carolina joined 4/22 & has 4 comments

    Hi Maangchi! I came upon your website and I just love your videos and recipes! I’m just learning how to make Korean food and I am so proud of the vegetarian kimchi I just finished making (along with the vegetarian broth) from following your videos. It’s absolutely delicious! Thank you for thinking of us vegetarians and being so creative in converting recipes into vegetarian. Since I’m not able to tolerate too much spice, I did take your advice in putting in less chili powder – I used 1/2 cup and it’s perfect for me and my family. Big hugs!

  9. khushipawar India joined 2/22 & has 1 comment

    Hey Maangchi and anybody else who can can help me is there a substitute of vegetable stock. I really wanna make this after watching so many kdrama and also i liked your recipe its too easy its just that i can’t make vegetable stock .

  10. CChao Seattle, WA, USA joined 1/22 & has 1 comment

    Thank you for the recipe! It’s easy to follow and the kimchi is so tasty!! I’ve made it several times. My family loves it! :)

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