This easy vegan kimchi recipe will become your next back-pocket recipe addition. Not only is this vegan kimchi easy to make, it also tastes just as good as the real thing, but with out fish sauce and saeujeot.
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1headnapa cabbage, outer leaves removed (average 5 lb or 2000g)
¾cupcoarse salt, or as needed for salting (about 180g)
For the vegan kimchi marinade:
½largeapple, cored and large diced (fuji, honey crisp, or gala; about 80g)
½mediumyellow onion, peeled and large diced (about 85g)
20clovesgarlic cloves(about 100g)
1inchknob of ginger, peeled and sliced (about 28g)
1cupgochugaru, or more if your prefer your kimchi spicer (aka Korean red pepper flakes)
¼cupcooked white rice(refer to post for alternative)
1¼cuphot water, or vegetable stock
1mediumcarrot, peeled and julienned
⅓smallradish, peeled and julienned
1bunchgreen onion, only the green part cut into 1 inch pieces (you can substitute green onions for buchu/ Asian chives as well)
For the napa cabbage:
Cut the napa cabbage into quarters, lengthwise. Trim off half of the root but making sure to keep the leaves intact. Rinse the cabbage with cold water to remove any dirt, especially the outer few leaves. Generously salt each leaf of the cabbage.
Place the salted cabbage in a bowl and let it rest for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, flip the cabbage and let it salt for another 20 to 30 minutes. Take a piece of the salted cabbage. Rinse and firmly squeeze to remove excess salt and water. Taste for desirable saltiness. *We prefer well seasoned cabbage. After rinsing and squeezing excess water out of the cabbage, the cabbage should taste fresh with hints of sweetness while being nicely "seasoned."*
Once the napa cabbage is salted to your preference, rinse the cabbage in cold water 2-3 times to remove excess salt. On the final rinse, firmly squeeze the cabbage to remove excess water. This will prevent your kimchi from becoming too watery.*If the cabbage is not salted enough, flip the cabbage once more and let it salt for another 10 to 30 minutes. Repeat tasting process.*
For the vegan kimchi marinade:
Combine everything in a blender and blend until no more big chunks of ingredients are visible. Pause the blender and scrape the sides as necessary. Pour the marinade into a large mixing bowl.*Depending on the water content in the apple and onion, more water or vegetable stock may be needed to help blend the marinade. Add a little at a time until the marinade is well blended. The marinade does not have to be super smooth.*
(If using) Add the julienned carrots, radish, and green onion to the marinade and mix until everything is evenly coated.
Working with one quarter of a napa cabbage at a time, slather the marinade with the veggies in between each leaf of the cabbage. Wrap the cabbage around itself and pack into desired storage container. Repeat with remaining napa cabbage.*Keep about ½ inch space between the top of the kimchi and the lid to allow room for expansion during fermentation.*
Cut and enjoy the kimchi immediately for fresher flavors or let the kimchi ferment at room temperature for 1 to 2 days then refrigerate for 1 week for the classic tangy, funky flavors.
This homemade vegan kimchi is medium in spiciness. If you prefer milder heat, start with ½ cup of gochugaru and work your way up to your desired spiciness. Feel free to taste the marinade as you make it to adjust the saltiness to your preference as well.
Refer to the post above for tips, substitution, and FAQs.