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Low-sodium kimchi in a mason jar surrounded by kimchi ingredients

Paleo Low-Sodium Kimchi

Kimchi is a Korean side dish of seasoned and fermented cabbage. The high levels of Lactobacillus probiotics found in kimchi can help soothe diarrhea, calm irritable bowel syndrome, and strengthen the lining of the intestines, among other health benefits. Traditional kimchi recipes are prepared in a salt brine in order to kill harmful bacteria, which leads to high sodium content. See how, in today’s kitchen, you can enjoy low-sodium kimchi without so much concern about contamination.

So while loading up on kimchi at your favorite Korean restaurant may not adhere to The Paleo Diet guidelines, you can always make your own healthy, Paleo-friendly kimchi at home and use as a topping for many dishes. This recipe uses a small amount of salt, but we also have a salt-free version if you want to stay TRUEPALEO.


  • The cabbage will become more acidic over time, while the spicy flavors will lessen.

For hundreds of pure Paleo recipes be sure to check out The Real Paleo Diet Cookbook and The Real Paleo Diet Fast and Easy.


  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lb napa cabbage, coarsely chopped into large pieces, about 2x1 inches

  • 1 1/2 tbsp Himalayan salt crystals

  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, minced

  • 1-inch fresh ginger, grated

  • 2 tsp coconut sugar

  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch slices

  • 1/4 red onion, very thinly sliced

  • 1/4 apple cider or rice vinegar

  • 2 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper

  • 1/3 lemon juice


  1. Sanitize a wide-mouth mason jar by submerging it in water in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil, let boil for 10 minutes, then remove with tongs and set aside to cool.

  2. Place the cabbage in a large bowl, add salt, and toss. Set aside to wilt for 45-60 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so.

  3. Thoroughly rinse the cabbage under cold running water, then set aside in a colander to drain for 30 minutes, saving the water as it drains.

  4. In the meantime, combine garlic, ginger, and coconut sugar to make a uniform paste. Set the mixture aside for 15 minutes.

  5. Transfer the cabbage back into the large bowl, and add garlic-ginger blend, scallions, cayenne pepper, and onion, and combine well.

  6. Pack the mixture tightly into a 1-quart lidded glass jar, leaving about an inch of space at the top.

  7. Use the reserved water to lightly “rinse” the bowl to capture any remaining seasoning. Add the apple cider or rice vinegar and lemon juice to the bowl, then pour this liquid into the jar.

  8. Screw on the jar lid, and let stand at room temperature (65-70°F) for 2 days. Refrigerate when finished.

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