Easy Vegan Kimchi and Beansprout Salad or Kongnamul (Korean Banchan)

Updated: Jun 24

IT’S HERE! Finally sharing the recipe for this Easy Vegan Kimchi, along with 2 other banchan (korean side dishes) that you can make!

See my kimchi and banchan recipe video here:

I received a lot of messages about how I make my vegan kimchi, and I’m so happy to finally share the recipe with you, along with tips on preparation, fermentation, and storage!

This Vegan Kimchi is packed full of flavour and also of course, good gut bacteria from the fermentation process.

Here's how I love to enjoy kimchi (tap on the titles for the recipe links!)

Kimchi Pancakes (Kimchi-Jeon)

Korean Mixed Rice (Bibimbap)

Kimchi Fried Rice

And of course, you can enjoy kimchi as is or as some sides to your meal!

The two other banchan, or Korean side dishes, I made are (1) beansprout salad (kongnamul) and (2) spinach salad (sigumchinamul).

I really love kongnamul and go through a huge container of this so fast. I can eat it as is or with some rice. love making a big batch so I can store it in the fridge for 2 to 3 days and just get a small batch to enjoy for each meal.

I’ll share all recipes below! This is a pretty lengthy blogpost, so really hope it helps!

I made kimchi using both gochugaru or korean chili pepper powder, which is what's used in traditional kimchi and gochujang or chili pepper paste, which might be more accessible for other people!

I get big packs of gochugaru because I go through them so fast, especially when I'm making kimchi or some soup. Here's what the powder looks like:

It's a bright red colour that really gives the kimchi that distinct bright red hue. Get gochugaru here.

As for gochujang, I get mine in tubs like this below. It lasts months refrigerated!

It's a very thick paste and most brands are already salted. Get gochujang here.

The most noticeable difference between using powder and paste, is definitely the colour.

(Left) Kimchi made with gochugaru, (right) kimchi made with gochujang

I'll share more tips and tricks on kimchi-making and fermentation below!

Are you looking for more delicious, vegan recipes? Check out my latest Vegan Kitchen eBook, that has over 95 recipes (and a whole section for Asian recipes!) that are packed with flavour and made with simple and easily accessible ingredients! Also, two trees (instead of 1!) will be planted for every download of my eBook through non-profit organisation One Tree Planted.🌲

Find out more about my reforestation initiatives here.



Easy Vegan Kimchi

Fills 2 16oz/1 pint bottles 

Note: You can double this recipe if you have a larger head of cabbage!

Ingredients 1 700g head wombok or napa cabbage

1/4 cup salt (I used coarse salt)

1/2 cup room temp. water

Kimchi Paste

1/2 cup water (see notes 2 if using gochujang)*

4 tsp (13g) glutinous rice flour or all-purpose flour (see notes 3)*

1 tbsp (15g) cane sugar

5 cloves garlic

1 small knob ginger (3g)

1/3 cup (33g) gochugaru (korean chili powder) or gochujang (see notes 1)*

1 (80g) white onion, quartered

For Mixing Kimchi

1 cup (50g) thinly sliced green onion or leeks

1/2 medium carrot (50g), thinly julienned

1-2 tsp salt, optional to taste* (see notes 4 and 6)


Preparing the Cabbage

  1. Slice the napa cabbage into halves, and then quarters. Slice out the tough cores. Slice into 2-inch thick strips. Place the sliced cabbage into a large bowl.

  2. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup salt and pour 1/2 cup water. Mix the cabbage to evenly coat with the salt mixture.

  3. Leave the cabbage to sit for at least 1.5 hours, mixing every 30 minutes, to evenly coat in the salt mix.

  4. After leaving to sit in the salt mixture, run the cabbage through running water the remove excess salt any any dirt. Wash 2 to 3 times. Drain and then squeeze out the liquid. Note that if you want lots of juice in your kimchi after fermentation, squeeze out to drain the liquid out but not too much! See more fermentation tips below.

  5. Place the cabbage back in the large bowl.

Preparing the Chili Paste

  1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium low heat. Add in the water and then mix in the flour. Increase to medium heat.

  2. Stir continuously until it has turned into a very thick paste. Turn off heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.

  3. Place the paste, sugar, garlic, ginger, chili powder, and onion in a blender or food processor. Blend or process until well incorporated.

Mixing the Kimchi 

  1. Place the carrots and sliced leeks with the drained cabbage. Pour the chili paste into the vegetables and mix until well incorporated. Add in salt, or to taste, if needed. Mix well.

  2. Divide the kimchi into jars or air-tight containers. Tightly pack the kimchi by pressing down with a spoon. Ensure that you do not fill the bottles to the brim, as kimchi will expand as it ferments. Best would be to only fill bottles 3/4 full.

Fermentation Process

  1. Leave to ferment in room temperature for at least a day. Don’t open your bottle of kimchi for the first 24 hours. Note that fermentation time will vary depending on your room temperature. This may take a little over 2 days in colder climates. Fermentation is faster in warmer temperatures. Alternatively, you can slowly ferment the kimchi in the refrigerator. See more fermentation FAQ below.

  2. Fermentation gives kimchi the sour taste. As it continues to ferment, the sour taste and smell strengthens, so does the flavour of the kimchi.

Notes and FAQ

  1. Gochugaru vs. Gochujang - using gochugaru or Korean hot pepper powder is the best and is what is used to make traditional kimchi. I used gochujang, which is the hot pepper powder in paste form and it did not yield the exact same flavours and also had a more orange and slightly brown-ish colour.

  2. Water - if using gochujang (paste), lessen water to 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup.

  3. Flour - glutinous rice flour is what’s traditionally used. If you don’t have access to it, feel free to use all-purpose flour or regular rice flour, for a gluten-free alternative.

  4. Salt - seasoning with salt is sometimes unnecessary since the cabbage is soaked in salt water and absorbs the salt over time. It would be best to taste the kimchi first before seasoning with salt. You can always add the salt even a few days after, when flavours start to infuse and strengthen.

  5. Fermentation and Storage - Fermentation gives kimchi the sour taste. As it continues to ferment, the sour taste and smell strengthens, so does the flavour of the kimchi.

  6. Too Salty? - if your kimchi becomes too salty after fermenting, you can add more vegetables like sliced carrots, leeks, radish to ‘absorb’ the saltiness. Leave it to sit in the refrigerator and try it again after a few days.

More Fermentation Tips

  1. Placing in containers - do not fill your bottles or containers to the brim when kimchi is not yet fermented because they’ll expand! Best to fill at most 3/4 of the container.

  2. Bubbles and Air Pockets - you’ll notice that the kimchi will expand and form bubbles during fermentation. This is a good sign!

  3. After fermentation - after the kimchi has fermented and you’re happy with how sour it is, place it in the refrigerator to prevent it from going bad. Make sure to mix the kimchi well in its juices so they’re all coated. Compress the kimchi again and pack it tight before sealing the container!

  4. Kimchi juice - okay so kimchi juice is perfect to use in certain recipes like fried rice and kimchi pancake, because it definitely adds to the colour and the taste. But what if your kimchi doesn’t have too much liquid? I find that squeezing the cabbage too much during the preparation process takes out a lot of its liquid so even after fermentation, it no longer releases so much water to create a lot of juice. So if you want juicy kimchi, you can just wash the cabbage well to remove the salt and not squeeze them too dry before mixing in the paste.

  5. Storing kimchi - the longest I’ve kept my kimchi in the fridge is 6 weeks. The flavours do get stronger as it sits in the juices longer, so it’s important to take note of that, especially if your kimchi is a bit salty at the start.

If you have any more questions or clarifications, feel free to email me at foodietakesflight@gmail.com or send me a message on my Instagram! :)

Beansprout Salad (Kongnamul)

Fills 1 container, around 1 pint

Note: I also used this same recipe for the spinach salad. But of course, instead of beansprouts, I used spinach!


Cooking the Sprouts

500g mung bean sprouts

1 tsp salt

5 cups water

Making the Seasoning

2 tbsp chopped spring onions or leeks

2 tbsp sesame oil 1 tsp minced garlic 2 tsp sesame seeds 3/4 to 1 tsp salt, adjust according to taste 2 tsp sugar, optional 1/4 tsp ground black pepper


  1. Wash beansprouts in running water. Remove the bad sprouts that float. Drain water then set aside.

  2. Heat a pot with 5 cups water. Add in the salt. Once it boils, place the beansprouts and leave to cook for 6-7 minutes. Turn off heat. Strain the water from the beansprouts. Run beansprouts through some water. Squeeze out any excess liquid.

  3. While beansprouts are cooking, mix the sesame oil, minced garlic, sesame seeds, salt, leeks, and pepper in a large bowl. Feel free to add some sugar,for a hint of sweetness, if you’d like! 

  4. Place cooked beansprouts in the sesame oil mix. Mix well and adjust seasoning based on desired taste. This can be refrigerated and enjoyed for up to 3 days.

#asian #asianfood #kimchi #koreanfood #beansprouts #vegan #veganrecipe #easyrecipe  #plantbased #plantbasedrecipe #easyveganrecipe #easyrecipe 

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