“Clean the Garden” Kimchi (Easy, Probiotic, Vegan)

kimchi in mason jar

This easy kimchi recipe turns common garden veggies into a spicy probiotic ferment that’s loaded with good bacteria and health benefits.


Units Scale
  • Sea salt and water
  • 1 pound Chinese cabbage (napa or bok choi preferred, but other cabbage will do)
  • 1 daikon radish or a few red radishes
  • 1 to 2 carrots
  • Other vegetables (optional)
  • Minimum 1 to 2 onions (or shallots, leeks, etc)
  • Minimum 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
  • Hot red chilies to taste (3 to 4 is standard – dried is fine, but don’t use anything with preservatives)
  • Minimum 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh grated ginger root


  1. Prepare brine in a non-reactive container, such as a glass bowl or large measuring cup. Mix 4 cups (1 liter) of water and 4 tablespoons (60 milliliters) of salt. Stir thoroughly to dissolve salt.
  2. Cut up the first batch of vegetables – cabbage, radishes, carrots, and any other vegetables you’d like to throw in.
  3. Mix your vegetables together and move them into your fermentation vessel. Cover them with brine.
  4. Use a fermentation weight or plate with heavy object to weigh the vegetables down and keep them below the brine. (Mix more brine if needed to make sure vegetables are completely submerged.)
  5. Put a cloth over your fermentation vessel and wait for the vegetables to soften –  for a few hours or overnight.
  6. Prepare the remaining ingredients. Chop the onions and garlic; remove seeds from your chilies (if present) and chop, or throw them in whole; and grate your ginger.
  7. Drain the brine from the vegetables, reserving it. Give the vegetables a taste. You want them to taste salty, but not too salty. Sprinkle on some additional salt and mix the vegetables together if they are not salty enough; rinse if they are too salty.
  8. Mix the spicy ingredients into the drained vegetables and blend well. Pack the vegetable mix into your fermentation vessel. Use your fermentation weight or plate to press it down until the brine covers the kimchi-in-progress. Add a little brine back, if needed, to make sure the vegetables are completely covered.
  9. Cover the fermentation vessel with a cloth, and leave it out on the counter for about a week. Taste test to check the fermentation. if you’re happy with the flavor, then your kimchi is done. Store it in the refrigerator in a glass container to stop the fermentation.

Keywords: kimchi, vegan, probiotic, live culture foods