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Kimchi x Three

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Kimchi x ThreeLast month I delved into the health benefits of prebiotic foods, highlighting in-season asparagus as one delicious example. So this month I’m featuring one of my favourite probiotic foods, kimchi. I’m calling this recipe collection Kimchi x Three because I’m serving it up three ways:

  1. Kimchi & Cheddar Omelette
  2. Kimchi Peanut Noodles
  3. Chicken & Kimchi with Quinoa

Sign up to my newsletter today to receive Kimchi x Three. And read on for more on:

  • what it is,
  • why it’s good for your gut health and
  • how to make your own at home.

Never tried it? That’s all the more reason to add it to your shopping list! Because when it comes to keeping your gut microbiome happy, eating a diverse array of plant foods is the name of the game. And eating fermented plant foods is like winning bonus points.

What is kimchi?

Kimchi is a traditional Korean side dish and there are more than 200 officially recognized variations! To make it, you ferment cabbage and other veggies, such as radishes and carrots, with garlic and spices. If spice isn’t your thing, there is a version without spices, known as baek-kimchi, or white kimchi.

If you prefer sauerkraut, feel free to substitute it in recipes 1 and 3. As sauerkraut is also fermented cabbage, it will provide the same probiotic boost, just with a different flavour profile. Sauerkraut pairs nicely with dill in both the omelette and the chicken dish. Although, if you use sauerkraut for the chicken dish, I’d recommend olive oil in place of the sesame oil and apple cider vinegar in place of the tamari (and you could omit the sesame seeds too). Stick with kimchi for the Kimchi Peanut Noodles, however.

Kimchi is good for your gut, which is good for the rest of you

While prebiotic foods act as food for your own gut bacteria, probiotic foods, like kimchi (and other fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt and more) contribute beneficial bacteria to your gut.  Consuming probiotic foods, therefore, improves the diversity of your gut microbiome, which benefits your health. They may also support your immune system, lower inflammation and help keep your blood sugar and cholesterol within a healthy range.

Buy it or DIY it

Alchemy Pickle Company Seasonal KimchiIf you plan to buy your kimchi (or sauerkraut), always seek out high quality and look for products that must be refrigerated. Refrigeration indicates that there are live bacterial cultures present and halts further fermentation. Any product that has been pasteurized after fermentation has killed off any live bacteria it may have contained, which defeats the purpose. And the high heat required in canning may also destroy more fragile strains.

One of my favourites is this one from Alchemy Pickle Company, pictured here. They make wonderful sauerkrauts too. I also like Karthein’s sauerkraut and kimchi. Both are made in Canada.

If you want to save money (especially as cabbage is inexpensive), consider making your own. Here are some DIY recipes:

  • Kimchi – this is my simplified recipe but for a more traditional Korean recipe, you could try this one by Maangchi which includes Korean fish sauce and fermented salted shrimp (for extra umami) and, if you are a keen YouTube DIYer, a video showing how it’s done. Maangchi also links to other, simpler, versions.  She even includes an express version she calls Emergency Kimchi.
  • Sauerkraut – there are also many versions of sauerkraut (though perhaps not 200) – I’ve had good results making this one.

More ways to enjoy it

  • tuck into sandwiches or wraps for extra crunch
  • delicious added to salads and/or grain bowls
  • top any stir fry with them
  • serve alongside eggs of any kind
  • use them to garnish soups
  • blend kimchi with cream cheese and yogurt for a spicy, creamy dip
  • serve sausages or pork chops over a bed of sauerkraut
  • add to any meal as a condiment or small side dish!


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