A traditional kimchi made with all keto ingredients. This keto kimchi is also suitable for whole 30, GAPS and paleo diets.
Kimchi is a highly recommended probiotic food on the ketogenic diet, but some ingredients in the traditional kimchi recipes aren’t permitted by the keto protocol. I have got a keto-compliant homemade kimchi recipe for you. With only small adjustments, this keto kimchi tastes as amazing as the real deal.
Keto Kimchi Ingredients
See photo below for ingredients required to make keto kimchi.
- Napa Cabbage
- Daikon Radish
- Korean Red Pepper Powder (Gochugaru): Korean red pepper powder is quite mild compared to regular cayenne chili powder. If you are substituting regular cayenne or other kinds of chili powder due to the unavailability of Gochugaru, you will likely need to use less depending on the spice level you desire.
- Fish Sauce: “Red Boat” brand fish sauce is fully compliant with ketogenic protocol. If you are buying from grocery stores, be sure to check the ingredients as other brands may contain sugar or preservatives.
- Sea Salt
- Green Onion
- Asian Chives: Asian chives are quite pungent and not to be confused with regular chives. If you can’t find Asian chives, replace Asian chives with equal part of green onions.
Keto Kimchi Preparation Steps
The following images illustrate how to prepare and mix the ingredients to make Keto Kimchi.
- Make a Paste: I use a citrus zester to grate fresh ginger, and a garlic press to mince the garlic. Then mix ginger, garlic, Korean chili pepper powder and fish sauce into a paste.
- Prepare the Vegetables: Cut, salt and wring out the liquid from the Napa cabbage, peel and julienne the daikon radish, chop the green onion and Asian chives into small pieces. Place all vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the Paste to the Vegetables
- Mix All Ingredients Together
Upon completion of the above steps, the preparation of keto kimchi mixture is done. However, fermentation has not started yet at this point. You will need to transfer the mixture into a fermentation vessel next and wait while fermentation is in progress.
Kimchi Fermentation Tools, Tips & Storage
- Transfer the kimchi mixture into any sealable glass container, mason jar, glass fermentation crock or ceramic crock.
- Check progress along the way. If you are using fermentation crocks, they will allow gas produced during fermentation to escape. If you are using a regular glass jar, be sure to loosen the lid to burp the jar once in a while. Alternatively, there are fermentation lids you can purchase to fit on top of mason jars to allow gas to escape.
- Let the kimchi ferment in room temperature for about 5 days. It may take longer in the winter, and shorter in the summer. You should start tasting the kimchi after 3 days or so to determine when the desired tanginess is reached. When it does, move the fermentation vessel to cold storage to slow down fermentation.
- You can store fermented kimchi in the fridge for months to a year.
Other Kimchi Variations for Whole 30, GAPS and Paleo
If you are not concerned about being on a low-carb or keto diet, you may enjoy some varieties of vegetables and a hint of sweetness in fermented kimchi.
Some higher carb vegetables like carrots and onion are wonderful in kimchi, to add flavours, colours and nutrients. Traditionally kimchi contain rice flour to give the paste a nice consistency, and refined sugar for some sweetness. Because I prefer to make my kimchi as nutrient-dense and wholesome as possible, I love using fruits such as apple or pear instead. Fruit puree gives a saucy consistency and sweetness, while till keeping the kimchi whole 30, GAPS and paleo. This paleo apple-fermented kimchi is one of my favourite variations.
Kimchi Serving Suggestions
I enjoy eating kimchi as a side dish or appetizer. I love using kimchi to flavour other dishes even more, because kimchi has such versatility and sophisticated flavour, when added into soups, stirfries or fried rice. This stirfry kimchi & pork belly is simple and addictively delicious! And try this gluten-free ribs and kimchi noodle soup, it’s a cozy comfort food you will want to make again and again.
Related: Other Fermented Vegetables You Will Love
- Pineapple-Turmeric-Ginger Probiotic Sauerkraut
- Homemade Fermented Sauerkraut /w Caraway Seeds
- Wild Fermented Salsa
- Fermented Pickles /w Green Tea and Dill Flowers
- Sichuan Fermented Vegetables (四川泡菜)
- Fermented Hot Peppers
- Paleo Apple-Fermented Kimchi
- Fermented Cherry Tomatoes
Keto Kimchi (Low-Carb, GAPS, Paleo)
- 4 pounds napa cabbage approx. 1 large napa cabbage = 4 pounds
- 1/4 cup sea salt
- 2 cups julienned daikon radish
- 3 stalks green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped Asian chives
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 6 tablespoons Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru)
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- Cut the napa cabbage in quarters length-wise. Remove the core and discard. Cut the remaining cabbage cross-wise into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces.
- Put all the cabbage into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle salt on top and massage into the cabbage by hands.
- Let the cabbage sit for at least half an hour, until the cabbage is soften and cabbage juice is released.
- Meanwhile, peel and julienne the daikon radish. Chop the green onion and Asian chives into small pieces. Finely mince ginger and garlic.
- Mix ginger, garlic, fish sauce, Korean red pepper powder into a paste.
- Squeeze out as much of the cabbage juice as possible. The cabbage juice is salty but full of nutrients, reserve it for making soup or other dishes.
- Add cabbage, daikon radish, green onion and Asian chives into an empty mixing bowl.
- Add the spicy paste into the mixing bowl.
- Mix the paste with all ingredients in the bowl until evenly combined.
- Transfer the kimchi mixture into a 2-quart mason jar. Seal the jar and leave in room temperature for 5 days. Open occasionally to let out any air that may be produced during fermentation.
- When the kimchi reaches the desired tangy taste, move it to the fridge or cold storage to slow down fermentation. It can be stored in the fridge for months to a year.
Hannah Nom says
Just did this and it was very nice. Reduced the chilli flakes to 4 tbsp but still too spicy for me (I have low chilli tolerance). Don’t miss the sweetness from other keto kimchi recipes. This is a keeper. Glad I found this recipe. Thanks
So for a truly authentic low carb keto recipe for kimchi I need the macros I’m on 20 g or less a day off I don’t know how to make all of this to where I have my macros. This looks amazing I hate the fact that I love kimchi and I can’t eat it so I’m stuck eating sauerkraut and dill pickles
Kevin Chand says
I’ve done the math and my version I add a small jicama to this mix. It’s quite high fibre, every 100g you get 2g net carbs
I’ve only bought kimchi. I bet homemade tastes so much better. This looks amazing!
Cynthia | What A Girl Eats says
Love this authentic recipe. I’ve been trying to eat more fermented foods. Kimchi can be pretty pricey and I worry that I won’t be getting the probiotics. This is perfect!
Stacey Crawford says
I’ve never made kimchi from scratch before! This is such a great idea. Thanks for the recipe 🙂
There’s nothing better than a dish of kimchi on the table! Love how delicious this is and keto friendly too!
Love kimchi! This will be perfect in Korean Tofu Soup!
So there’s no brine in the jars when you close it up? All fermenting I’ve done before had instructed the importance of keeping the veggies submerged in brine liquid.
The key to fermenting without a brine is to press all the oxygen bubbles out before setting it aside to ferment. Their are several foods that don’t require a brine; salsa, catsup, sauerkraut and other kimchis are a few examples. They are all heavily salted and create their own “brine” as the salt leeches the water out of the veggies.
Jean Choi says
I pretty much eat kimchi everyday! Can’t wait to try your version.