Make Your Own Pink Kimchi – Vegan, Naturally Sweetened

Kimchi is a Korean staple of fermented vegetable, flavoured with garlic, ginger and chili. Fermented foods have lots of health benefits including improving digestive health by being probiotic, and it will give your immune system a boost just in time for flu season. It’s easy to make and is a tasty accompaniment to a healthy meal.

Kimchi has as many variations as there are Korean families. Many include fish sauce or anchovies, but this version is vegan and not as spicy as traditional kimchi.

pink kimchi

This kimchi is pink because it has beets in it. I like beets and I like fermentation, so fermented beets = Yum!

chopped napa cabbage

^ Chop the cabbage into bite-size pieces. They can be fairly big bites because this will shrink down. Dissolve 1/4 c of salt in warm non-chlorinated water. For the bacteria to flourish, you need to use non-iodized salt, so pickling salt or sea salt, but not regular table salt. If you want to use tap water, let it sit in an open, wide-mouthed container overnight so the chlorine can evaporate. Chlorine is anti-microbial so it will hinder the fermentation process. Pour the salt water over the cabbage and toss. Then wait about 4 hours. You can prepare the other ingredients while you’re waiting.

rinsed napa cabbage for pink kimchi

^ Then rinse and drain the cabbage. If you miss this step, your kimchi will be way too salty, so rinse it well.

apple puree for pink kimchi
^ Make some apple puree to add a bit of sweetness. Blend the apple in the blender. Most kimchi recipes just use sugar, but apples do the trick. I got this idea from Dr. Ben Kim’s Kimchi Recipe

pink kimchi ingredients
^ Then grate 2 small beets, 2 small carrots, and mince some ginger and garlic. I ground 1/8 cup of chili flakes in a coffee grinder, because that’s what I had on hand, but you can just use chili powder.

mixed pink kimchi
^ Mix it all up. Stuff it in jars and close the lids tightly for 24 hours. Taste regularly and refrigerate when it tastes right to you. This will probably be 1 to 3 days.

Pink Kimchi


  • 2 napa cabbage
  • 1/4 cup sea salt
  • 2 small beets, grated
  • 2 small carrots, grated
  • 1 - 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 - 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 apple
  • 1/8th cup chili flakes, ground (I would have just used chili powder if I had it, but I didn't so I can't tell you an exact amount for that)


  1. Chop cabbage into bite-size pieces. They'll shrink a bit so they don't have to be too small. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Dissolve salt in a small bowl (about the size of a soup bowl) of warm water. Pour over chopped cabbage and toss. Let sit around 4 hours. After about 3 1/2 hours, you can start preparing the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mince the garlic and ginger. Grate the carrots and beets. Peel and core the apple and puree it with a blender.
  4. Rinse and drain the cabbage. Add other ingredients and toss.
  5. Stuff into jars and screw the lids on tight. Wait 24 hours before opening. After 24 hours, taste daily or twice daily and refrigerate when you're happy with it.

pink kimchi jar

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