23 Essential Fermented Foods for Better Gut Health

23 Essential Fermented Foods for Better Gut Health

If you haven't jumped on the fermented foods bandwagon yet, consider this your call to action. Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha have been in the limelight recently for their role in supporting healthy bacteria in your gut.

We couldn't be happier about this fermented resurgence — especially since there's something for everyone. After all, sourdough, beer, and yogurt are all fermented foods as well. Start working your way through this list for a super-healthy microbiome.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

1. How To Make Milk Kefir

Kefir is like a tangy drinkable yogurt, and all you need to make your own version at home is whole milk and kefir grains, which are easily found online. The best part is that as long as they stay healthy, you can use kefir grains over and over again pretty much indefinitely.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

2. How To Make Kombucha Tea at Home

With all the delicious kombucha flavors out there, it's sometimes easy to forget that it's actually made from sweetened tea. As soon as you're ready to try making your own, follow this step-by-step tutorial.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

3. Lact0-Fermented Mixed Pickles

No, these pickles don't have milk in them. Instead the lacto refers to lactic acid. If you've mostly made vinegar-based pickles, consider this your next lesson in home pickling. It takes a bit longer than making quick pickles, but the results are definitely worth it.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

4. How To Make Beet Kvass

If you've never tried kvass before, you're in for a treat. Similar to shrubs or drinking vinegars, kvass is a fermented beverage that has the earthy flavor of beets and bit of fizziness. It has so many uses, including cocktails and vinaigrettes, and can even be enjoyed on its own as a tonic.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

5. How To Make Easy Kimchi at Home

One of the most-recognized and well-loved fermented foods is kimchi. There are centuries of tradition around this dish, but it's also easy to make in a modern kitchen. We love the accessibility of a simple Mason jar recipe.

(Image credit: Kimberley Hasselbrink)

6. Fermented Carrots with Galangal and Lime

These lacto-fermented carrots bring balance to the sweetness of this root veggie, with the addition of galangal or ginger and lime zest. They make for a delightfully unexpected snack.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

7. How To Make Sourdough Bread

If you've been baking for a while, but haven't ever attempted making your own sourdough, now is the time to give it a try. Whether you make your own starter (a prime example of fermentation!) or you get one from a friend, there are few things more satisfying than a freshly baked loaf of homemade sourdough.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

8. Easy Homemade Ginger Ale

Once you try this ginger ale recipe made with fresh ginger and fermented with champagne yeast, you'll think twice about buying any of the overly sweet varieties you find at the grocery store. Your next Dark and Stormy cocktail is about to get a serious upgrade.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

9. Cucumber Kimchi Bites

Once you've made your own homemade kimchi, it's time to come up with ways to serve it. We love this appetizer even more when you use fermented cucumbers to make it.

(Image credit: Melissa Ryan)

10. Home-Brewed Beer

If you missed last year's Beer School, don't worry — you can still find all the step-by-step lessons for completing your first batch of home-brewed beer. There's no time like the present to start. We guarantee it will make this summer infinitely better.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

11. How To Make Preserved Lemons

A staple in many Middle Eastern recipes, preserved lemons are one of our favorite fermented foods. All you need are lemons, salt, and maybe a little extra lemon juice. It's the perfect way to use up an abundance of the citrus fruit.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

12. Ginger Kombucha

Think of this like the perfect combination of kombucha and ginger ale. It's spicy, fizzy, and healthy in all the right ways.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

13. How To Make Homemade Sauerkraut in a Mason Jar

Making your own sauerkraut might seem intimidating, but all it really takes is some chopping, a Mason jar, and a little bit of time. The results are 10 times better than what you can buy. Once your kraut is finished, it's time to start making Reubens.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

14. How To Make Yogurt at Home

If you've been entertaining the idea of making your own yogurt at home, let us be the ones to convince you. Not only does it save money, but it gives you the control of the flavor and consistency. Just like most fermented foods, all it takes is a little time.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

15. How To Make Sparkling Cider with Just 2 Ingredients

Homemade sparkling cider, made with champagne yeast, has a bit more of a bite to it than the version you might have grown up drinking. All you need is your favorite fresh-pressed cider and yeast to make this sweet and fizzy beverage.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

16. Kimchi Pancakes

It only takes a few ingredients to whip up these tasty kimchi pancakes. Simply mix the kimchi juice with flour, then add in chopped kimchi and scallions before frying up a batch. They make a great appetizer or snack.

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

17. Tempeh Deli Salad

While you aren't actually doing any fermenting in this recipe, you are making use of tempeh, which is a fermented food made from soybeans. This deli salad is a great vegetarian or vegan substitute for chicken or tuna salad. Time to switch up your lunch routine!

(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

18. Lacto-Fermented Oatmeal

If you're used to soaking your oats overnight, this won't be a big change to your routine, but it will make your breakfast taste much better. Instead of soaking just in water, add a little yogurt to lacto-ferment the oats. You'll end up with a much more complex flavor.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

19. Miso Soup with Rice & Poached Egg

Miso is one of the easiest fermented foods to add to your diet, and this simple miso soup — made with tofu, scallions, and leftover rice — is a no-brainer. If you want to make it even better, put a poached egg on top.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

20. Fresh Peach Soda

While you could just make a peach syrup and add sparkling water to make a simple soda, this naturally fermented version uses champagne or baker's yeast to naturally carbonate the drink.

(Image credit: Dana Velden)

21. Cherry Vinegar

This is a bit more of an infusion than a fermentation, but we're counting it here since vinegar is already a fermented food. This recipe makes a great gift to take salad dressings to a whole new level.

(Image credit: Emily Han)

22. Tahini Miso Dressing

We think it's a good idea to keep a batch of this simple, three-ingredient dressing on hand at all times. From topping grain bowls to drizzling over a simple salad, it's a great go-to recipe.

(Image credit: Maria Siriano)

23. Tempeh Parmesan Sandwich

Tempeh is a great stand-in for meat in vegetarian sandwiches, and this tempeh Parmesan sandwich is one of our favorites. It's hot and melty, and the tempeh holds up to the sauce in a way that tofu can't.

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