Easy Kale Kimchi From Scratch

March 2022

Recipes by Chef Casey Pesce of D’Jeet and Apple Street Kitchen


So what can you make with a surplus of kale from the garden? Chef Casey Pesce makes a kale kimchi condiment with the batches that have already reached their prime. Chef Pesce, owner of Apple Street Kitchen and d’jeet?, cares deeply about sustainability and how he sources his ingredients (Chef Casey’s Seed-to-Plate Journey). He doesn’t throw anything out and utilizes both the leaves and stems of the kale to make his kimchi.

With the first signs of spring already on the horizon, many of us will start to think about our spring gardens. Cruciferous vegetables, or brassicas as they are often referred to, tend to be a hearty, cold-weather resistant crop. They can be started indoors, and by early spring, young brassica plants can be set out in the garden 4 to 6 weeks before the last spring frost date.

Plants in the brassica family are nutrient dense and may be high in cancer-fighting compounds. Kale lends itself to brining and pickling, and kale kimchi is just as versatile and has the same umami punch as the traditional cabbage kimchi. Add it to almost anything, including sandwiches and salads, rice and noodle bowls, braises and stews, eggs, or any plant-based protein.



Kale Kimchi


  • 1 – 1 ½ pounds Organic Kale (curly or flat), thick stems removed
  • 1 cup Carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch Scallions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  • 5 Garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Gochujang chile paste
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Fish sauce*
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce or Tamari

*fish sauce may be swapped out for an equal amount of soy sauce, Tamari or liquid aminos; or 1 tablespoon of red miso


  1. Rough chop the kale leaves and stems.
  2. Place the kale, grated carrot, sliced scallions, and salt in a large bowl. Submerge in cold water for one hour.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well to form a paste.
  4. Gently lift the soaking veggies out of the water, taking care to leave behind any residual dirt. Strain in a colander or salad spinner and then dry. If the leaves are stiff, set the veggie mixture out for several hours on a tray in a sunny spot to wilt.
  5. Incorporate the paste into the kale mixture until the leaves are well coated..
  6. Tightly pack the kale kimchi mixture in an airtight glass or plastic container, pressing down with a long spoon or chopstick to pack the mixture in as tightly as possible.
  7. Cover with any remaining juices and seal tightly with a lidd.
  8. Refrigerate for 3-5 days. Check the kimchi every day and ‘burp’ by opening the lid and releasing any excess gasses that have built up.
  9. Taste the Kimchi, if it’s too crunchy, and allow it to ferment for 1-3 days longer or until desired consistency.
  10. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Will keep up to one month (refrigerated) after opening.

Notes: Stir the mixture every other day to keep paste dispersed.