The chill of winter brings not only frosty mornings, but cold and flu season, too. Gut health is important year-round, but is particularly top of mind this time of year, when having a balanced gut microbiome is crucial to supporting your immune system. One easy way to support gut health is with probiotics, particularly those found in fermented foods. If you’re looking for easy ways to support your gut biome this season, here are 15 delicious ideas for adding fermented foods into your menu.
Kimchi is extremely versatile and can be added to a variety of mains and sides—even breakfast! As you’re seeking ways to eat more fermented foods, consider trying kimchi. Start with a mild variety if you’re worried about the spice level.
1. Add kimchi to grain or rice bowls.
Whether you’re making egg fried rice or a grain bowl, kimchi adds zing, color, and flavor. We love local You Betcha Fermentcha, which is completely sourced from local, organic family farms.
2. Bolster your burritos, tacos, and nachos.
If you’re running low on salsa or just want some extra fermented foods in your meal, kimchi can bring some heat and crunch to your favorite Mexican staples, like this one-pot chicken taco bowl.
3. Top your lettuce wraps.
Whether you’re making a lettuce wrap with ground chicken, turkey, or slow cooked Korean BBQ ribs, add zing and probiotics with a topping of kimchi.
4. Amp up your ramen or pho.
Eat more fermented foods by topping your favorite warming bowl of noodle soup. While the broth and vegetables are delicious as is, the kimchi adds another flavor element to the dish. You can use regular oil instead of spicy in our Spring Udon bowl recipe and top it with kimchi to bring some heat.
5. Add to scrambled eggs.
Make your scrambled eggs or egg sandwich more interesting with the addition of kimchi.
Another beloved (and versatile) fermented food to add to your dish is pickles. Whether you like pickled cucumbers, radishes, cauliflower, or other vegetables, you can enjoy a variety of pickled vegetables with meals to support a healthy gut biome.
6. Add to sandwiches and burgers.
The classic way to eat pickles almost goes without saying. Add pickles to burgers, but don’t forget about everyday sandwiches that could use some crunch, such as turkey-cheddar or roast beef.
7. Make a pickle pizza.
The pickle pizza trend isn’t just for the Minnesota State Fair. You can make it yourself, too! Start with a plain cheese pizza and add pickles and dill for a burst of flavor (you can also use a garlic pizza sauce as the base instead of a red sauce).
8. Mix into tuna salad.
Add an extra flavor element to your tuna (or egg) salad by mixing in chopped pickles.
10. Add to your grilled cheese.
If you like pickles, you’ll love that extra zing of pickle in a classic grilled cheese sandwich. It adds a flavorful twist and satisfying crunch to the sandwich. Cheeses (and cheese substitutes for those who don’t eat dairy) that go great with pickles include cheddar, a cheddar-fontina blend, and provolone.
Miso is well-known for adding umami to dishes. As a fermented food, it also has probiotics to support your immune system, so you get both benefits when you add it to your menu.
10. Elevate your ramen.
Transform a basic ramen noodle with a few additions. Add miso, julienned vegetables, and some edamame or shredded chicken to make your ramen more colorful, flavorful, and nutritious.
11. Miso for soups.
Whether you’re making a classic chicken noodle or wild rice soup, right before serving, stir a little miso paste into a bit of the hot (not boiling or you’ll kill most of the probiotics) broth until smooth, then mix back into your pot of soup.
12. Mix into marinades and sauces.
Feeling creative? You can also add miso to marinades or sauces for extra depth and richness. Teriyaki marinades, peanut sauce, maple-tamari marinades, and similar sauces are good places to start.
Sauerkraut is another fermented food that you can add to your menu to elevate the flavors and get probiotic benefits.
13. Add kraut to brats, sausages, and hot dogs.
There’s a reason sauerkraut is popular at ball parks: it complements the flavors of brats and hot dogs and amps up the flavor. The tanginess works especially well with this Sausage and Root Vegetable Sheet Pan dinner.
14. Top your burger.
If you’re someone who likes a pile of delicious additions to your burger, think about sauerkraut on top of your cheese, onions, mushrooms, and more. Look for kraut from Spirit Creek Farm, which uses locally grown, organic produce grown in northern Minnesota.
15. Serve with roasts, pork loin, or vegan mains.
Fermented food can have a flavorful impact on roasted entrees as well. A side of sauerkraut can give a zing to meals featuring beef, pork, poultry, and even plant-based roasts.
This winter, give your gut extra support by adding fermented foods to your diet! There are a number of ways to help your gut biome and your taste buds at the same time for a well-being win-win.
Watch our video on how to pickle anything.