Allergic Girl Recipe: Vegan Kimchi

I’ve been planning, thinking and scheming about how to make vegan kimchi for several months. Why did I wait so long? It’s delicious and easy!

I read a bunch of recipes and techniques online before I started and found the Serious Eats 
recipe to be the most straightforward, with my allergic girl adjustments.

I made a top 8 allergen free version. 

It’s vegan. 

It’s spicy and smoky and a little sweet and sour with garlic and ginger notes.

This first version is a keeper. When I make it again, I might add some more ginger. But it’s fairly perfect as is.

I did not use typical Korean red pepper, gochugaru, because every version I found was written in Korean and as I can’t read Korean, I was concerned about fish cross contact or “may contain” or the facilities and there really wasn’t any additional information in English to be found. Upshot: As I’m seafood allergic, I simply didn’t want to risk it. However, I saw that many other recipe creators and bloggers had made versions with red pepper flakes, the kind Americans typically use on pizza, and were happy with their results so I thought I’d try that as I know I have no issue there.

Kimchi ingredients can be very simple and items you will have in your pantry (plus maybe a quick trip to the store for cabbage and scallions). I love that kind of recipe. 

And I now love kimchi!

Vegan Kimchi
Adapted from Serious Eats

1 large head Napa cabbage, cored and separated into individual leaves, and cut into large pieces
1 bunch scallions (green onions), washed, greens roughly chopped, whites reserved separately
2 Tablespoons Diamond Kosher salt  
6 cloves garlic, cut into chunks
One 2-inch knob ginger, peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon sugar in the raw
1 teaspoon smoky paprika 

Place cabbage and scallion greens in a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons kosher salt. Toss to combine, cover with saran wrap, then let sit at room temperature until cabbage is wilted, at least 2 hours. Turn it every half hour. Cabbage should release about 1/4 to 1/2 cups liquid.

Meanwhile, combine scallion whites, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, paprika and sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Process until rough paste is formed, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides as necessary. 

Once cabbage is wilted, after at least 2 hours, add chili mixture to the cabbage and turn to coat. You can turn with gloved hands or with spoons, just make sure thoroughly combined.  Add 1 cup water to mixture. Taste liquid and add more salt as necessary (it should have the saltiness of sea water). 

Pack kimchi into containers with lids, pressing down firmly to pack tightly and using a chopstick or butter knife to release any air bubbles trapped in the bottom of the jar. Cover the kimchi with its liquid.

Seal the jars tightly, place them on a plate in case they bubble up and spillover, which is what you want! But not the mess on the counter.  

Allow them to sit at a cool room temperature for 24 hours.

At 24 hours taste. If it tastes like it needs more time, leave it out for another 12-24 hours and then taste again. 

Place kimchi in the refrigerator once you’re happy with the flavor. After moving to the fridge, it’s best used within a month.


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