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Quick Vegetarian Napa Cabbage Kim Chi (Kimchee) Recipe

by Jeanette on June 27, 2011 · 32 Comments
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Napa Cabbage Kimchi
Quick Vegetarian Kim Chi Made With Napa Cabbage And Scallions From My CSA Box.

My latest CSA box included a large head of Napa Cabbage or Chinese Cabbage, and a nice bunch of scallions, perfect for trying out a quick version of kim chi using a recipe from Jenny Kwak’s Dok Suni, Recipes from My Mother’s Korean Kitchen.

Chinese Napa Cabbage from my CSA Box.

Kim Chi (or Kimchee) is a staple in Korean homes, accompanying every meal, all year round. Kim chi can be made with almost any vegetable – it is simply a vegetable, pickled with salt,then spiced with Korean hot pepper powder, garlic and other seasonings (sometimes anchovy sauce is used). Napa Cabbage Kimchi is one of the most popular kim chi served.

There are two ways of preparing Napa Cabbage Kimchi. One way is to stuff the Napa Cabbage with the spicy seasonings and let the kim chi sit at room temperature for 48 hours.  The second method of preparing Napa Cabbage Kim Chi is to cut the cabbage into pieces and massage the kim chi seasonings into the cabbage pieces. Using this method, Napa Cabbage Kim Chi can be enjoyed in 24 hours.

Chinese Napa Cabbage, Pickled With Salt, After 6 Hours

I opted for a quick vegetarian version of Napa Cabbage Kimchi. I made half the recipe as I am the only kim chi lover in my house. The original recipe calls for adding more salt (in addition to the salt that is used to pickle the Napa Cabbage). As we are trying to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet (high sodium intakeis associated with high blood pressure), I left the added salt out, and also reduced the amount of salt used in preserving the cabbage. 

Quick Vegetarian Napa Cabbage Kimchi (Kimchee)

Adapted from Jenny Kwak’s Dok Suni, Recipes from My Mother’s Korean Kitchen. I used a blender to make the garlic and onion juice. Although some recipes include anchovy sauce, this recipe is vegetarian.
Printable Recipe

Kim Chi Pickling Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds Napa Cabbage
  • 1/3 cup coarse salt

Kim Chi Seasoning:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper powder
  • 1 tablespoon organic sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic juice 
  • 1/2 cup onion juice
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths


  1. Cut cabbage up into 1-inch pieces. Place in a container. Dissolve salt in 1 cup of water and pour over cabbage. Use your hands to mix it in evenly. Cover and let cabbage pickle for 3 hours. Toss and turn over and pickle for 3 more hours. Strain the cabbage and discard the salt water.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the seasoning, except the scallions. Add the scallions and mix again. Let seasonings stand for 10 minutes. Distribute seasoning all over the cabbage, blending in with your hands.
  3. Tightly pack cabbage in a jar. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and press down to get rid of air pockets.
  4. Store at room temperature (around 70 degrees) for 24 hours to ferment. Chill before serving.
This recipe has been submitted to “Get Grillin’ with Family Fresh Cooking and Cookin’ Canuck, sponsored by Ile de France CheeseRösleEmile HenryRouxbe and ManPans.

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  1. Jeanette this was such a great way to use the cabbage from your CSA box.
    It is vegetarian week at Get Grillin' we would love if you submitted up to any 3 recipes (they don't have to be grilled) to our link up. This one would be perfect!
    This week we have a ManPans giveaway. http://su.pr/3GCtXU

  2. A 2 Z Vegetarian Cuisine says:

    Wonderful full of flavor's, I have a napa cabbage sitting in my fridge…How long can you store this?

  3. Pretend Chef says:

    I have never had kimchi before but would love to try it sometime. It looks good. Love seeing all of these yummy CSA recipes.

  4. Jeanette says:

    Fresh Kim Chi stays crunchy in the refrigerator for a few weeks, and then turns a bit limp and sour; however, Koreans eat this "overripe" Kim Chi in different ways – they don't waste it. I've made Kim Chi Fried Rice, Kim Chi Stew, and Cold Noodles with Kim Chi (you can find these recipes on my blog).

  5. I've only had Kim Chi once, but I do remember liking it. Looks like a fun thing to try making at home!

  6. Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says:

    Sounds wonderful – great use of napa cabbage

  7. Sippity Sup says:

    love this recipe. I have made kimchi before it far easier than one might think. GREG

  8. this looks simple and beautiful as always. just looking at your picture makes me want to eat kimchi, though i don't even eat it right now and i'm korean! hahahaha. what would u replace it with if you didn't use anchovy paste?

  9. Cookin' Canuck says:

    I still haven't made kimchi, but certainly love to eat it. This recipe is being bookmarked! Thanks so much for sharing it in our Get Grillin' event.

  10. Jeanette says:

    Just had some of this lovely Kim Chi for lunch over cold soba noodles – yummy! This recipe is completely vegan – no fish or anchovy sauce in it.

  11. Feast on the Cheap says:

    Love Kim Chi but have never made at home, thx for sharing!

  12. Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says:

    I absolutely love Dok Suni, and have made many successful recipes from it. In fact, it's really been my introduction to cooking Korean food. The kim chi looks wonderful (and with soba? What a great lunch!).

  13. this looks very very good..I'm mouthwatering..:P
    first time here..love your space..
    wonderful recipe collection you have..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  14. I am really hoping for some napa cabbbage in my next CSA because I LOVE kimchi and really want an excuse to try to make it! This looks so good.

  15. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    I never knew it was so easy to make! I will have to try it myself.

  16. I adore kimchi! I made a super spicy one with a mixture of Asian cabbages from my garden and dried Thai chilies recently…love it!

  17. Jeanette says:

    I've been enjoying this Napa Cabbage Kim Chi. It was so easy to make, and perfect for a hot summer day!

  18. Kim Chi is the name of one of our very favourite Korean restaurants in Ottawa… I adore Chinese cabbage of all varieties – this looks so delicious and I can taste the ginger from here…! Thanks Jeanette.

  19. Kim-Cook It Allergy Free says:

    When I was growing up, my neighbors would make Kim Chi all of the time and bring it over. My sister and I LOVED it! I think I will give this a go. I cannot believe I have never made my own!!

  20. Jeanette says:

    Kim Chi is good all year round! Kim – hope you have a chance to try it!

  21. Anonymous says:

    how do you get the onion and/or garlic juice?


  22. Jeanette says:

    To make onion and garlic juice, I put the onion and garlic in a blender. Onions contain a lot of water, so should puree easily, along with the garlic. If you need, add a tiny bit of water.

  23. I’m so excited to make this today! I’m glad to know that it lasts for weeks. But I’m sure I’ll use it up before them. I look forward to trying out your recipes using the kimchi. Isn’t kimchi supposed to have great health effects?

  24. How do you make onion and garlic juice?

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      To make onion and garlic juice, I put the onion and garlic in a blender. Onions contain a lot of water, so should puree easily, along with the garlic. If you need, add a tiny bit of water.

  25. Melissa says:

    My step mother was Korean and she used to make me cucumber and squash kimchi. Very good! I going to try this recipe. I have always wanted to learn how to make kimchi.

  26. Spencer says:

    Sorry for another question about the onion and garlic juice but…
    Do you need to strain them and only add the juice to the kim chi? Or are you adding the pureed onion and garlic as is?
    About how many onions and cloves of garlic would you say you use?

    • Jeanette Jeanette says:

      I did not strain the onion and garlic juice – I just put the onion and garlic in a blender and added a little water (don’t use too much) just to get the blender to puree the onion and garlic smoothly. I don’t remember how many onions or garlic cloves I used, but I’d guess one large onion and maybe 4-5 cloves of garlic.

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