By Lora O’Brien

You know what they say; there’s power in the sour, and this is definitely the case when it comes to fermented food.

I know the word fermented doesn’t exactly make us all salivate, nor does the notion that fermentation is essentially just the growth of bacteria. But just remember: it’s how grape juice is turned into wine, and wine is pretty awesome!

Fermentation used to be as common in cooking, as, say, sautéing or boiling food is now. In the United States, the fermentation flow mainly stopped when a new wave of TV dinners and fast foods surpassed recipes from the homeland. It’s a shame, because our culturally connected ancestors were really onto something with the buckets of sauerkraut in the basement. The mind-body benefits of this ancient practice far surpass the judgy looks from your roommates when they smell your first successful batch!

In a perfect world, the helpful bacteria from local food and earthy surroundings would make their way into the optimum part of the digestive tract and help us live our best lives. Sadly, that isn’t the case for most of us – chemical fertilisers used by farmers kill off all the ‘good’ bacteria that used to live in the soil.

But luckily, all of the good stuff we need for a thriving gut can easily be included into a vegan lifestyle with the help of fermented foods. We asked Celeste Thomas, (RN, BSN) of the True Spoon to tell us a bit more about the benefits of fermented foods, and to share some of her favourite fermented recipes, below.

Fermented foods help gut flora

“Ingesting these happy microbes creates an ecosystem of supportive microbiota in your GI system. These friendly bacteria live primarily in our large intestine and help overpower illness-causing microbial invaders,” says Celeste.

Fermented foods aid digestion

The acidic by-products of live ferments assist in the breakdown of the micronutrients and macronutrients in our diets, especially the difficult-to-digest lactose. The good news? “This happy digestive aid can drastically reduce belly bloat and other GI distress,” states Celeste.

Fermented foods help with nutrient absorption

Celeste explains: “With the help of ferments, your digested nutrients are transformed into their most bioavailable form. Bioavailable nutrients are quickly and easily used by the body for all of its many functions. Calcium bioavailability is greatly enhanced with the presence of acid from the lactobassilic bacteria found in ferments, a hugely important micronutrient for young women to maintain healthy bone density.”

Want more info? Celeste has written an ebook about fermented foods, which you can see here – or, just look below for some great recipe ideas, and more from Celeste.

1. DIY Probiotic Coconut Yogurt

Celeste from True Spoon highly recommends eating fermented yogurt. “This process of vegan yogurt fermentation synthesizes beauty boosting nutrients including vitamin B12, folic acid and biotin for shiny hair and glowy skin. Try probiotic coconut yogurt on smoothie bowls, waffles, fruit, or simply by the spoonful,” she states.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

2. Ginger Turmeric Kefir Water

Kefir is traditionally a beverage made with fermented milk, but this vegan and dairy-free alternative is made using water kefir, which is rich in amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Having a small cup of it each day is not only damn tasty, but a fabulous way to boost gut health.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

3. Strawberry Basil Kombucha

Kombucha is a fizzy fermented tea that everyone’s drinking – even celebrities! You can make it sweet or savoury. It can cost a pretty penny in health stores, so why not have some fun and save some cash making your own at home?

Celeste says: “Because I love fruit and herbs together, I included basil in on the action. This is a winning flavor combination and makes for a fizzy, tasty treat!”

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

4. Banana Split Kefir Smoothie

Whilst kefir is typically sold as a drink, it can have more of a yogurt-like consistency, so it works well in this smoothie recipe. The whipped cream may feel a little indulgent, so you could also serve this up as a gut-healing dessert, too!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

5. Orange Ginger Carrot Kvass

In the words of True Spoon, this is the healthiest drink you’ve never heard of! “Fermented drinks like Kavas refresh the good bacteria in your colon; as Hippocrates said, all diseases begin in the gut, so we should take good care of these colonies,” says Celeste.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

6. Peanut Butter & Chocolate Fermented Oatmeal

Breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day, so kick-start it off with a bowl of fermented oatmeal. Unlike ready-made packet oatmeal that is often laden with refined sugar, keep it super simple with this homemade recipe. Super yummy, and nutritious and will satisfy even those with a sweet tooth.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

7. Vegan Fermented Pancakes

It’s not just your veggies getting fermented: your morning stack of pancakes are, too! You’ll need to make these the night before as the flour and water needs to be mixed and left to sit overnight. The outcome? Wonderfully light and fluffy pancakes that you can top as you please.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

8. Fermented Chia Plum Jam

Who doesn’t love jam? And now you can make one that not only tastes yum, but it also super good for your gut health, too. Celeste swears that fermenting plums is easy – and tasty as heck. “The idea of fermented chia plum jam came up after having a lot of success fermenting fresh plums. This recipe is even better!”

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

9. Fermented Probiotic Vegan Apple Butter

This probiotic vegan apple butter recipe is super easy to make, healthy and rich with healthy probiotics. The good bacteria in this apple butter digest the sugars in the butter, making it less sweet and with a yogurt-like tanginess. This is a great recipe to make if you have apples going bad.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

10. Fermented Vegan Walnut Thyme Cheese

This dairy-free cheese takes just minutes to prep before you can sit back and allow it to ferment away! Once it’s ready, the cheesy possibilities are endless. Enjoy on tops of crackers, in a sandwich or chopped into a salad.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

11. Fermented Cilantro-Lime Jalapeños

Fermented veggies are a great way to liven up a bland dish, and these jalapeño peppers will add a delicious tangy crunch. These probiotic peppers are totally raw and vegan and are fab in tacos, nachos and fajitas.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

12. Vegan Kimchi

In case you’re not familiar with it yet, kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish from Korea, and is a great way to liven up a meal. This recipe uses sweet and juicy Asian pears, but you could also use a sweet variety of apples.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

13. Vegan Sauerkraut

One of the most popular fermented recipes is for sure sauerkraut! And as Celeste says: “Making sauerkraut is one of the cheapest and easiest fermented foods you can make and it’s versatile. Sauerkraut goes well with many foods. It’s not just for bratwurst or hot dogs. I add it to burgers, sandwiches, eggs, avocado toast, eat it with chips, pile it on baked potatoes, salads and serve it as a side to every meal I eat.

Home fermenting is fantastically affordable and relatively easy with a touch of patience. If these online recipes look complex, not to worry, I’ve developed a foolproof home fermentation ebook for you! It details all the steps necessary to successfully make fermented foods from the comfort of your own home. It’s easy, fun and the perfect excuse to get all your best babes together for some beneficial bonding.”

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

14. Pretty-in-Pink Fermented Radishes

Another dish the True Spoon recommends making are these super easy fermented radishes. They go really well in sandwiches, salads…and of course, you can eat them on their own as a quick, tasty, low cal snack!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

15. Ginger Miso Udon Noodles with Five-Spice Tofu

This dish is brimming with flavour! The udon noodles are served in a clear broth that is infused with umami flavour from the miso. The noodles are served with fragrant and protein-rich five-spice tofu and raw carrots. Now, just get your slurp on!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

16. Vegan Lacto Fermented Veggies

Fermented veggies are a great side to any meal! Not only are they cheap to make, buy there are SO many options, such as shredded beets, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, green beans and even kale.

“The process by which one makes ‘kraut is called “lacto-fermentation,” says Celeste. “It’s so called because sugars in the foods one uses feed bacteria that grow from the fermentation process, and that sugar is converted into lactic acid. This acid, along with added salt, preserves vegetables for extended periods of time. The process is shockingly easy, and you can use it to make a wide variety of tart, salty, and belly-friendly veggies.”

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

17. Fermented Garlic Paste

All you garlic fiends, this one’s for you! Fermented garlic paste has a sweet and caramelized flavour and is delicious added to sauces, soups and pretty much anything else you want to give a hit of garlic flavour. I personally LOVE garlic, so will be making and adding this to literally everythaaang.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

18. Fermented Hummus

If you’re already a fan of hummus, why not make this gut-loving recipe? It’s rich, it’s creamy, it’s different, and oh so good for you!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

19. Vegan Apple & Sauerkraut ‘Hot Dogs’

The apple and sauerkraut topping is the perfect accompaniment to the smoky apple and sage ‘sausages’ used in this hot dog recipe. If you’re looking for ways to incorporate sauerkraut into your dishes, start by using it in sandwiches and vegan burgers. It adds a wonderful crunch and tanginess.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

20. Fermented Ketchup

If you’re wondering why you’d want to ferment ketchup, the real question you should be asking is WHY NOT?! Fermenting foods adds a probiotic benefit to them, and good bacteria is great news for our gut health. Also, the beneficial bacteria in this fermented recipe helps it to last longer in storage, which is great news if you’re looking to make a healthy sauce that will last.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

21. Cauliflower Kimchi Mac n’ Cheese

If you love regular vegan mac and cheese, you need to try this recipe ASAP! The creamy cauliflower cheese sauce was just made to hold hands with the tangy kimchi to give this dish a new lease of life.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

22. Vegan Sauerkraut & Bean Stew

Sometimes we all need some simple recipes on hand to make when we’re in need of a hearty meal that requires minimal time to make. And this vegan jota will hit the spot! It’s hearty, smokey and it also freezes well, so hell yeah for leftovers!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

23. Korean Kimchi Fried Rice

Got leftover rice? Amp it up by adding fermented kimchi to this Korean Kimchi Fried Rice recipe! It’s a great way to use up leftovers and can be served up in under an hour. Speedy and delish!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

24. Homemade Fermented Pickles

It doesn’t get easier than this recipe that Celeste recommends. Use these fermented pickles in sandwiches or salads to add a mouth-watering kick.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

25. Homemade Tempeh

When it comes to tempeh, many of us usually go to our local health food store to buy it. But there are many perks to making your own – for one, Celeste says it tastes better: “The flavor is completely different from store bought tempeh.  It was both nutty and creamy at the same time, more like eating edamame than the dense tempeh.”

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

26. Vegan Sandwich with Probiotic Fermented Dill Pickles

This sandwich is brimming with goodness! From yellow squash, radishes, kale, cabbage and red onion to the creamy avocado chunks and cultured fermented pickles.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

27. Fermented Hot Sauce

Got leftover chillies? Follow True Spoon’s advice and turn them into a delicious spicy hot sauce!

Celeste says: “A simple way to enhance and preserve your abundance of garden chilies to use throughout the winter.  Full of healthy probiotics, this easy recipe has many health benefits. Plus it just tastes good!”

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

28. Khaman Dhokla

Dhokla is vegetarian dish that originates from India. It’s made with a fermented batter that is derived from rice and split chickpeas, and can be enjoyed as a breakfast, main, side dish or snack so it’s pretty versatile! It’s soft and spongy, and this recipe gives it a vegan makeover.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

29. Banana Split Kefir Parfaits

Not sure how to enjoy kefir? Make these delightful little parfaits. This probiotic packed breakfast treat provides you with a healthy gut and will fuel you for the rest of your day – just look above for a vegan kefir recipe, then get going!

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

30. Fermented Vegan Cheesecake

This fermented vegan cheesecake has a yummy pistachio and fig crust and is a gorgeous-to-look-at, 100% plant-based dessert that is sure to impress.

Get the recipe here.

Fermented Food Recipes for Vegans

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