These are some of the most unique Kimchi Recipes on the internet, featuring vegetables and fruits in all different seasons.
From fennel and bok choy to watermelon and apple, these recipes offer a range of flavors and textures.
What is Kimchi?
Kimchi is one of the most well-known fermented foods in the world and the most culturally significant food in Korea. It's eaten at almost every meal in Korea and is commonly served with Kimbap for lunch.
What is it made of?
It's made from vegetables and/or fruit mixed with gochugaru (red pepper powder or Korean chili flakes) and other seasonings. Typically, aromatics like ginger, garlic, and scallions are added to give additional flavor and depth.
Many kimchi recipes call for glutinous rice flour (or sweet rice flour) to help thicken the kimchi paste, which helps the spices adhere to the vegetables better. You can also use pureed fruit to do the same.
The fermentation process typically lasts 1-7 days, depending on the ambient temperature and the type of ingredients used.
Different Types of Kimchi
There are over 100 officially recognized kimchi variations. Kimchi offers a diverse range of tastes and textures influenced by tradition and regional influences, from traditional Napa cabbage to unique versions like cauliflower, watermelon, and more.
Watermelon kimchi is my absolute favorite kimchi in the world. It has a delicious crunch and a complex fruity, salty, and savory flavor.
When you think about it, the rinds of watermelon are perfect vehicles for the flavors of kimchi. They're mild in flavor and absorb the flavors around them.
Next time you're eating some watermelon, think twice before throwing out the rinds; you might have a delicious side dish on your hands!
This is one of the easiest recipes to make! It features summer cucumbers mixed with gochugaru, fish sauce, and salted shrimp. It's spicy, sour, salty, and has a nice crunch.
Use Korean cucumbers, if possible, to give a more authentic flavor. If not, regular cucumbers will do just fine.
This recipe is made with Ponytail radish, a radish named after its appearance, which resembles a ponytail. It uses dried shredded pollock, anchovy sauce, and salted shrimp to give it a deeply savory flavor.
It retains its crunchiness after a long fermentation but should be consumed within one month for the best texture. It has a stunning appearance, which will wow your guests!
If you're like me, you're always on the hunt for delicious kimchi recipes. This quick and simple recipe doesn't even require fermentation, and it's full of flavor!
It's a quick and spicy side dish you can whip up anytime. And the best part? It's vegan-friendly!
Serve this with a bowl of steaming hot rice and furikake for a delicious vegan meal.
This is one of the more straightforward recipes to make. It uses fewer ingredients than traditional napa cabbage kimchi and has a much more intense flavor!
It omits garlic, ginger, radish, and chives and instead uses both the white and green parts of green onions to create a bold, spicy, and crispy side dish.
For this recipe, choose the thickest green onions you can find.
This recipe is perfect for the summer when tomatoes are fresh and ripe! It has a flavorful base consisting of garlic, onion, chives, and gochugaru.
The unique ingredient is maesilaek, a Korean green plum extract. Maesailaek can be purchased online or at a Korean grocery store.
You can use cherry or grape tomatoes if you don't have tomatoes. I recommend cutting them in half and spinning them in a salad spinner to drain them of their liquid.
This isn't your typical kimchi, but it's just as tasty! It's crispy, spicy, and delicious. This recipe calls for Chinese mustard greens, a mustard plant with a slightly peppery flavor.
Chinese mustard greens are a collection of leafy green mustards in various colors and sizes. They are typically salted, pickled, and otherwise preserved in Chinese cuisine.
Choose the Large-Petiole variety with broad succulent stems that hold onto their crunch better.
8. Onion Kimchi
A simple recipe made with sweet onions! Don't worry - the flavor of the onion mellows out as the onions ferment. In fact, it gets sweeter as it ages!
While any onion can be used to make this recipe, sweet yellow onions are the best, as the flavor balances well with the savory and salty notes.
This recipe goes perfectly with various Korean BBQ dishes, especially plainly-flavored grilled meats, which serve as a vehicle for the spicy onion flavors.
If you can't find authentic Korean or napa cabbage, this recipe is for you! This recipe is made from green cabbage (the same kind used to make American coleslaw) and is a good substitute for traditional kimchi.
It can be eaten immediately or fermented for two days. It's highly customizable. Add extra fish sauce, garlic, and other seasonings to boost the flavor.
10. Jicama Kimchi
Jicama, cucumber, and carrot are used in this unique recipe. It's not traditional in any sense, but this recipe is delicious!
Jicama is a brown-skinned root vegetable. It's white on the inside and tastes similar to an apple but not as sweet. It's similar to a potato but contains far fewer carbohydrates.
Choose firm, fresh jicamas free of cracks, bruises, and blemishes. Smaller ones are generally sweeter and less fibrous.
11. Apple Kimchi
This recipe featuring wedges apples is a delicious twist on the classic! It's the perfect way to preserve autumn apples.
I enjoy homemade kimchi recipes with fruit because of the balanced savory, salty, sour, and sweet flavors.
To achieve the best flavor, allow it to ferment for at least three days to ensure all flavors develop fully.
12. Chive Kimchi
This recipe is super easy and only uses seven ingredients!
Korean chives or regular chives can be used, but opt for Korean chives if you want the most authentic flavor.
Ready in under 45 minutes, its intense flavor goes perfectly with Korean barbeque and fresh steamed rice. Serve it fresh, or let it ferment for up to seven days.
Homemade kimchi can be made with many seasonal vegetables, including butternut squash! Allow the butternut squash to ferment for at least two to three days.
Choose butternut squash that is firm and feels heavy for its size. Look for dull and beige rather than shiny ones, as shiny ones are usually underripe.
I love the colors of this side dish: vibrant yellow and red. Serve it at your next Asian-themed meal to wow everyone at the table.
This recipe has marinated perilla leaves in fish sauce and Korean red pepper flakes. It's spicy, garlicky, and super fragrant!
Perilla leaves, also known as Shiso leaves, have a slightly peppery flavor that pairs well with the flavors of kimchi. They're available at more Asian grocery stores and also can be found at local farmer's markets.
Eat it fresh or let it ferment overnight.
15. Pear Kimchi
This recipe includes pears and crunchy root vegetables and is an excellent place to start if you've never made kimchi before. It's sweet, sour, salty, and oh-so-delicious!
This recipe is meant to be consumed immediately, so no fermentation is required! Try it on top of ramen noodles, in lettuce wraps, or alongside grilled meats with steamed rice and sautéed greens.
16. Zucchini Kimchi
Another great recipe for summer vegetables! After a brief fermentation, the zucchini gets a soft and tender texture that differs from many other recipes.
This dish tastes best after a short fermentation but can be eaten immediately if you prefer a "fresher" flavor. Sprinkle on sesame seeds before serving to give it nuttyness and extra texture.
Choose zucchini with fewer seeds, as the firmer parts are preferable.
This is the traditional one served at restaurants and sold at most Korean grocery stores. If you've never made kimchi before, I highly recommend you start with this recipe, as it'll teach you what the traditional version should taste like.
Serve it fresh or let it ferment for up to seven days at room temperature.
One of my favorite dishes to make with the traditional version is kimchi fried rice. Check out my Cheese Kimbap for a recipe.
18. Fennel Kimchi
I'm a sucker for Fennel, so I'm always waiting for autumn to roll around. This recipe mixes freshly sliced fennel bulbs with gochugaru, fish sauce, and other aromatics.
Its slight anise flavor pairs wonderfully with spicy and toasted sesame oil.
If you're looking for a fun variation, add a small amount of apple puree to give it a fruitier note and serve with grilled pork for a dish that marries many complementary flavors.
19. Fresh Kimchi
Fresh Kimchi, a non-fermented variation, boasts all the spicy, salty, and fragrant flavors of traditional kimchi without the characteristic sourness and funkiness that fermentation brings. Some people prefer this flavor!
This recipe uses a secret ingredient of apricot preserves to give sweetness and texture. It must be consumed immediately or within two days in the refrigerator because it doesn't have lactic acid, which preserves it.
20. White Kimchi
White Kimchi is a mild and refreshing variation, perfect for kids and those who prefer non-spicy options.
Instead of the usual gochugaru, this version uses a brine made with salt and fruit purees.
Even though it's not spicy, it offers a complex and delightful flavor. This recipe tastes best after fermenting for 24 to 48 hours.
21. Carrot Kimchi
Carrot is the star of this quick and fiery kimchi recipe, a vibrant twist on the more common napa cabbage version.
It's full of probiotics and goes great with rice and other grains.
You can also use baby carrots if you don't want to use regular carrots! Cut extra-thick carrots in half. Serve alongside your favorite Asian or Korean dishes.
22. Vegan Kimchi
More often than not, kimchi is flavored with some fermented seafood product like brined shrimp or fish sauce. But this recipe uses vegetable stock and extra salt instead of animal products.
This recipe can be served immediately with sesame seeds on top or allowed to ferment in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
The refrigerator takes about two weeks; room temperature takes approximately one to two days.
This is another completely vegetarian recipe. It uses collard greens to create a leafy version that is sour, salty, and spicy.
Collards are green vegetables with large green leaves and tough stems that must be removed before eating. The leafy parts we eat are known as "collard greens."
Choose collard greens that are bright green without bruising or wilted leaves. Make this recipe in the winter when collard greens are in season and available at farmer's markets.
24. Kale Kimchi
This recipe uses kale leaves and stems to create a delicious Korean side dish. Normally, the fibrous steams are discarded for most dishes, but in this recipe, the fermentation makes them less fibrous and more tender.
It's a great way to cook with zero waste!
Choose kale that has fresh, plump, crisp leaves. Kale with limp or yellow leaves should be avoided. Smell the kale leaves and avoid those that have a strong odor.
Brussels sprouts are probably every kid's nightmare, but this recipe is bold, flavorful, and delicious for even the pickiest eaters.
Brussels sprouts become a delightful and healthy treat after fermenting with gochugaru, garlic, and other seasonings.
The morsels become super tender and soft the longer the Brussels sprouts ferment.
This recipe is for all you tomato gardeners out there. This is one of the most interesting kimchi recipes in this collection.
Green tomatoes are not typically sold in stores, so this recipe is exclusive to gardeners!
The hot, spicy spices mitigate the bitter taste of the unripe, raw green tomatoes. Once fermented, these green tomatoes are excellent with salad, rice, and other grilled meat dishes.
27. Chive Kimchi
This recipe is easy to make and quick to eat! It has an intense and spicy flavor filled with green onions and chives.
This recipe tastes best when eaten fresh, like a salad. No fermentation is required, but if you want it to be more sour, you can ferment it at room temperature for up to two days.
Serve with your favorite meat dishes, soup, noodles, or rice.
28. Leek Kimchi
Made from leeks and ready in one hour! This recipe is especially pungent, and I've even heard it nicknamed "dragon's breath gimchi."
Leeks are alliums, which means they are related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions. They have a sweet, oniony flavor that adds depth to this recipe.
In addition, this recipe is super customizable. Once you've mastered the base recipe, you can experiment with different add-ons like sesame seeds, seaweed flakes, fish sauce, etc.
29. Kohlrabi Kimchi
Kohlrabi is a German word that means cabbage turnip. Because traditional kimchi contains cabbage, it's no wonder kohlrabi works in this version!
This recipe uses only seven ingredients and can be made vegan or vegetarian by substituting the fish sauce with soy sauce.
Choose kohlrabi that feels heavy for their size and is free of cracks. Smaller bulbs are more tender and generally more flavorful.
Romaine lettuce makes a great replacement for napa cabbage, as it has a crisp, refreshing taste that absorbs all the flavorful "kimchi juice."
Due to its higher water content, it's best enjoyed when freshly made, as it may become softer over time. To enhance its flavor, I suggest adding a splash of lemon juice or a few drops of rice wine vinegar for some acidity and brightness.
Cauliflower is a delicious vegetable for fermenting into a tasty Korean side dish! Naturally, it has a firm texture, but lactic acid fermentation makes it softer and more tender.
Because it's firmer than most vegetables, it should be pre-soaked for at least 8 hours (usually, other vegetables only take one to two hours).
Fish sauce is optional but adds savory depth and funkiness to the recipe.
More Recipe Roundups
Did you enjoy these Kimchi recipes? Be sure to check out the other delicious recipes on this blog by checking out our Recipe Index.
Basic Kimchi Recipe
- 1 mason jar
- 1 Easy Fermenter fermenting kit (optional)
- Place the vegetables into a large bowl and toss with salt. Let it sit for 30 minutes, and then toss again, redistributing the salt. Let it sit for another 30 minutes, then brush off the salt and transfer to a clean bowl.
- Add the garlic, ginger, onion, and fish sauce to a food processor and blend until uniform.
- Add the kimchi paste, gochugaru, and scallions to the bowl of vegetables and mix until well combined. You can eat it immediately or let it ferment at room temperature for 1-3 days.To ferment: Pack the kimchi tightly into a glass container and wipe the rim with a clean, damp cloth to remove any excess kimchi paste. Cover the jar loosely with a lid and leave it to ferment at room temperature. When you're satisfied with the flavor, seal the container and place it in the refrigerator for up to a month.