Cauliflower Kimchi

jar of cauliflower kimchi

Cauliflower takes well to kimchi! Bite size and firm, yet it is pleasantly softened by the fermentation process.

I leave it to pre-soak longer than other vegetables (8 hours or overnight would be fine, too) because it’s firmer than most veggies and needs a little more time to soften.

If you have make-ahead kimchi paste on hand, this goes even faster!

Fish sauce is optional, but adds a unique traditional umami flavor!


Cauliflower Kimchi

Prep Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Fermentation Time 14 days
Course Fermented vegetable
Cuisine Korean
Makes 1 quart/1 liter


  • 1.5 lbs. (700g) cauliflower
  • 1.5 quarts /liters filtered water
  • 5 Tablespoons 75ml or 75g fine sea salt
  • 4 oz (120ml) "Make-ahead" kimchi paste or remaining paste ingredients below see separate recipe for paste

Paste Ingredients

  • 2 scallions green onions
  • 15 g garlic peeled
  • 10 g ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) by volume /1 ounce by weight 15g red pepper powder
  • 2 tsp. (10ml) soy sauce or tamari gluten free soy sauce


  • 1 tsp. fish sauce


Mix Brine & Pre-Soak

  • Dissolve sea salt into water, making a 5% by weight brine.
  • Rinse cauliflower of any visible dirt.
  • Cut florets into about 1 inch/2cm size chunks. Slice the base into smaller pieces than florets, because they are denser.
  • Add pieces to a container large enough to hold brine. Add a weight on top. Slowly pour brine until it covers veggies. Soak in brine for 8 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Make Paste

  • Peel garlic and clean any dirt off ginger. Chop both roughly.
  • Cut stems off scallions, and slice them (white and green parts) into 1/2 inch (1 cm) pieces.
  • Add ginger, garlic, and scallions to work bowl of a food processor, along with red pepper powder and tamari.
  • Start the food processor, and mix together until a thick paste forms and it "rolls" together when the machine is running. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice. You may adjust with a splash of tamari or soaking brine to get the right texture.

Pack and Ferment

  • Drain cauliflower from brine, reserving 1/2 cup (200 ml) of brine.
  • Wearing gloves to protect hands from being burned by hot pepper, coat the pieces with paste.
  • Pack pieces into a wide-mouth quart-sized or larger glass jar or crock, leaving at least an inch or so from the top rim of the jar.
  • Add remaining paste to jar/crock.
  • There should be enough brine to completely cover the contents when weighed down.
  • Apply small-batch fermentation tools (add weight and secure jar with airlock).
  • If not using fermentation tools, add a weight on top of the veggies which will keep the contents beneath the brine.The goal is to keep veggies submerged under brine during fermentation.
  • Cover container with a swatch of cloth (not cheesecloth), a dish towel or tea towel to keep flies and dust out. Secure with a twist tie, elastic strap or rubber band. If using mason jar, you can secure the cloth with the metal ring.
  • Initially, there may not be enough brine to cover entire contents. Check after 1 day. Add reserved brine as needed to completely cover the contents.
  • Ferment for 14 days.
  • Remove weight and lids and transfer to a jar with a tightly closing lid. Store in refrigerator. Enjoy within 1-2 months.

2 thoughts on “Cauliflower Kimchi

  1. maxthibo Reply

    What is the best place to leave this ferment? is it 14 days room temperature? In the fridge?

    • Austin Post authorReply

      Great question. Ferment at room temperature! Vegetable fermentation happens best at room temperature, anywhere from 55F to 80F (above that temp, it will work but there’s a risk of it molding more quickly). When it’s finished and to your liking, then move it to the refrigerator!

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