Homemade Vegan Kimchi

Easy Vegan Kimchi made with fresh Napa cabbage and homemade vegan fish sauce. One of the many Korean dishes I simply cannot live without.

Traditionally, people made Kimchi (fermented cabbage) with ingredients such as fish sauce, shrimp paste, and anchovies, making the seemingly-vegan dish actually non-vegan. Let me show you how to make a super simple, equally flavorful vegan kimchi using homemade vegan fish sauce!

Homemade Vegan Kimchi

4 from 45 votes
Recipe by George L. Course: SidesCuisine: KoreanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



Easy Vegan Kimchi made with fresh Napa cabbage and homemade vegan fish sauce. One of the many Korean dishes I simply cannot live without.


  • Vegan Fish Sauce
  • 750 grams room temperature water

  • 15 grams dried shiitake mushrooms

  • 15 grams kombu (dried kelp)

  • 1.5 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon MSG (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon light brown miso

  • 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce

  • Vegetables
  • 1 head (650-700 g) fresh Napa cabbage

  • 1/2 (70 g) carrot, thinly sliced

  • 7 scallions, segmented

  • 1.5 cups (200 g) korean radish (or daikon radish), thinly sliced

  • 1 cup room temperature water, for brining

  • 5 tablespoons coarse kosher salt

  • Spicy Paste
  • 2 tablespoons (20 g) rice flour

  • 1 cup (240 g) water

  • 1/4 cup vegan fish sauce

  • 2 tablespoon sugar (or maple syrup)

  • 1/2 cup (50-65 g) gochugaru (Korean red chili flakes), adjust to preference

  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 inch ginger, peeled

  • 1/2 (200 g) yellow onion, quartered

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  • Prepare the Napa Cabbage. Slice of the root of the cabbage and tear leaves off whole one by one. Check the middle of the cabbage for any discolored/gray leaves — if there are any, discard them. Transfer the cabbage leaves into a large bowl, and add the water and coarse kosher salt. Rub the salt into the cabbage well, and let marinate for at least 2 hours.
  • Make Vegan Fish Sauce. In a medium-sized pot, add kombu (dried kelp), dried shiitake mushrooms, and room temperature water. Bring the water to a boil, lower to a simmer, and let simmer for 15 minutes. Once 15 minutes is up, strain the broth into a large bowl and whisk in sea salt, MSG, light brown miso, and tamari soy sauce. Whisk until thoroughly combined and taste to adjust seasoning. Note: add more MSG to increase umami flavor; add more soy sauce/sea salt to increase depth of flavor and saltiness. While still warm, transfer to a clean mason jar and seal tight. Refrigerate to keep up to 1 month.
  • Make Spicy Paste. While the cabbage is marinating, start preparing the spicy paste. In a pot, combine water & rice flour and heat on medium heat while stirring. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes gluey. Set aside to let cool. Once cooled, finish the spicy paste by blending onions, ginger, and garlic, sugar, vegan fish sauce (or more water), salt, and the porridge. Blend until smooth. Transfer the blended mixture into a bowl and stir in the gochugaru (red pepper powder).
  • Prepare Other Vegetables. Slice the scallions into segments, julienne (thinly slice) the carrots and radish. Combine them in a bowl and set aside.
  • Finish Making the Kimchi. Rinse the cabbage under running water at lest three times to get rid of the excess salt. Note: if you don’t do this step well, your kimchi will be very salty. Dry the cabbage well after the last rinse and combine with the prepared vegetables (scallions, carrots, radish). Add in the spicy paste and massage it well. Pack the kimchi into a clean, airtight container. Press down while packing to remove all the air bubbles. Ferment the kimchi inside a refrigerator for at least 1 1/2 weeks. To speed up the process, you can leave the kimchi out on a room temperature counter for 2-3 days.


  • Cleanliness. Make sure to use a very clean (ideally just washed), airtight container for the kimchi. This is a rule of thumb for any fermentation!

Recipes using Vegan Kimchi:

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2 years ago

Hi Chez Jorge, may I know which brand gochugaru you used for making kimchi?