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Kimchi Substitute – Here’s Vegan and Non-Vegan Ideas!

Kimchi Substitutes

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Kimchi is a strong savory condiment usually served with Korean cuisines. Its complex, sharp flavor makes every bite of the meal delicious and refreshing. It seems that Korean food recipes are incomplete without this classic savory staple. So, if you’re out of this spicy hot sauce, you can use another similar kimchi substitute to serve any Korean dish.

Kimchi is a kind of pickled sauce that pairs well with savory food dishes, especially Korean cuisines. Its classic recipe calls for cabbage, salt, chili peppers, and other seasonings.

The whole kimchi recipe gets its characteristic flavor from a long fermentation period. Thereby, it becomes a major downside of this delicious spicy sauce. Rather you have other alternatives for kimchi that are quick and flavorful.

Kimchi Substitute

Are you craving for an extra oomph of acidic kimchi but don’t have it on hand at the moment of serving a meal?

Sometimes, this delicious side dish is not available at all, and most often, you’ve not enough time to let it long for fermentation.

In both situations, you need some quick recipes that can mimic kimchi in terms of sour flavor but don’t involve the hassle of fermentation.

Here, we’ve got a great compilation of quick replacements for kimchi that you can try to make your meal even tastier.

However, the added seafood is often a real reason behind looking for kimchi substitutions. Thereby, we’ll also tell you some vegan ideas that you can try instead of kimchi.

1. Mak Kimchi

Mak Kimchi

Mak kimchi is the best alternative for classic or traditional kimchi when one needs to prepare it for immediate serving. It is quite easy to make and flavorful too. This is because it involves chopped cabbage.

Another plus point of this substitution is that you can manipulate its ingredient profile. Add the same seasonings and spices as traditional kimchi. You can even add salted shrimp or any seafood to make it more realistic and flavorful.

2. Sauerkraut

HomeMade Sauerkraut

Sauerkraut is also a great savory side dish, just like kimchi. It resembles classic kimchi in having almost the same ingredients and a sour complex flavor profile.

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Sauerkraut is actually a German side dish containing cabbage and other seasonings like kimchi. But it’s also a fermented sauce, yet you can also serve it quickly after preparation.

Serve your meat dishes like roasted pork and poultry with sauerkraut instead of kimchi.

3. Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

Are you wondering about something savory and sour to serve as a side dish instead of kimchi? Try savory pickled jalapenos. They will save your time and effort and give you the same aesthetic savory flavor as kimchi.

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Preparing savory jalapenos isn’t a big deal. Firstly, prepare brine using apple cider vinegar, water, and coarse salt. Cut the peppers into rings or slice them. Transfer them to a sterilized jar and pour the brine into the jar.

Your recipe is ready for serving. It is a great substitution for classic kimchi when you have no time to set the dish for so long fermentation.

4. Green Cabbage Kimchi

Green Cabbage Kimchi

Green cabbage kimchi is another quick kimchi version that is easy to make and refreshing. You can also try it when napa cabbage is not on hand or simply out of season.

Its ingredient profile has a remarkable similarity with your substituting recipe. As the real savory and salty crunch of the cabbage is the soul of the dish, so it is meant to be served without fermentation. And thereby, it also saves your time.

5. Vegan Substitute for Kimchi

Vegan Kimchi

If the added seafood or shrimp is a reason for looking for kimchi alternatives, you can make your own vegan kimchi. Yes, you can manipulate the recipe ingredients according to your diet preferences.

Switch the fish sauce with vegan fish sauce or prepare your own spicy sauce by mixing soy sauce, lime juice, and white vinegar.

Skip seafood or shrimp paste in the vegan version of kimchi. Instead, you can add pickled jalapenos and cayenne peppers in kimchi or use them separately.

There are a lot more ways to replace ingredients in your recipe. Just look ahead on your available alternative ingredients and prepare your own substitutes rather than skipping them from a recipe.

If you’ve got other curiosities related to food alternatives and helpful guides, be sure to explore the related articles. We are always trying to add various food substitutes for your recipe ingredients to make your cooking smooth and easier.


Hey, I’m Ayesha Khalid, the main writer of Substitutesfor.com. I love to write about food ingredients, cooking guides, and helping tips and tricks to upgrade your cooking experience. The aim of writing is to provide you with a collection of substitutions and novel ideas to try so that you can find all the needed information at once. Here, you can get ideas according to your diet restrictions, taste preferences, and health conditions.

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