Let’s talk about probiotics and good bacteria: not the most appetizing topic, but it is something essential to our bodies. First and foremost, what is a probiotic? Probiotics is a catch-all name for the good bacteria that help maintain a natural balance in our intestines that protect out gut from harmful bacteria. They do this two ways: one, by replacing the lost bacteria in our immune system and second, by helping to maintain the proper balance of good bacteria. When everything is in order, this helps to prevent allergic reactions and autoimmune diseases. You might already know that probiotics are commonly found in dairy yogurt, but there are several plant-based sources we can eat to keep our gut healthy!
One way is through kombucha, an effervescent fermented black tea. Kombucha is very popular now and can be found in most grocery stores, so it’s fairly accessible — some even have their own kombucha tap (think like a bar tap). You can buy bottled kombucha or you can make your own, like this Fizzy Coconut, Lime, and Mint Kombucha Elixer. Another delicious way to add probiotics to your daily diet is through kimchi. Like kombucha, there are many commercially available kimchi varieties. Just be sure to check the label to ensure that it is plant-based or you can learn How to Make Your Own Kimchi. We can also find probiotics in pickles (as long as they are not pickled in vinegar), miso paste, sauerkraut, and tempeh.
Most of these plant-based probiotics work great as condiments, so how do you go about adding them to meals in a way that tastes good? That’s where we come in. We’ve found the best probiotic-rich vegan recipes needed to keep your gut (and your taste buds) happy!
1. Tempeh Reuben
This Tempeh Reuben has all the flavors of the original sandwich — plus, it’s oil-free, including the dressing. It’s packed with probiotics because both tempeh and sauerkraut are probiotic foods. Tempeh is marinated in a combination of apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, a drizzle of maple syrup, and liquid smoke – if you want it smoky. The creamy, tangy French dressing is made by blending cashews with tomato paste, relish, and onions. Serve on toasted rye bread (or sourdough for even more probiotics!) and enjoy each and every tangy, savory bite of this awesome sandwich.
2. Roasted Broccoli and Sauerkraut Quesadillas
These Roasted Broccoli and Sauerkraut Quesadillas are easy to make, filling, healthy, and comforting. Crispy, tangy from sauerkraut, gooey with probiotic vegan miso cheese, packed with broccoli and bell peppers, they are all-around crowd-pleasers. They may be different from your typical quesadillas, but make no mistake — you will love these.
3. Homemade Probiotic Cashew Yogurt
If you want probiotic dairy-free yogurt without all the added sugar, give this Homemade Probiotic Cashew Yogurt a try. While most homemade dairy-free yogurts use Thai young coconut meat, this recipe uses cashews which gives it a thick texture like Greek yogurt. After you blend the cashews you must use glass and wood utensils and bowls! No more metal! Metal will kill the nice friendly bacteria that are going to make the yogurt.
4. Miso-Glazed Eggplant
This Miso-Glazed Eggplant dish has a beautiful simplicity and elegance but don’t worry, it’s very filling! The eggplant is tender and the sauce, made from tahini, garlic, lemon, and rice vinegar, is fresh and flavorful. Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds for added texture and serve with rice and pickled vegetables.
5. Oven-Fried Pickles With Garlic Paprika Aioli
What’s the best thing about these Oven-Fried Pickles (other than being a delicious probiotic appetizer)? They come together in just 25 minutes, meaning you can satisfy those cravings for crunchy snack foods in less time than it takes to drive to the nearest sports bar and order a basket. Whip ’em up just about any time because they’re perfect for game day grazing, weekend snacking, and barbecues.
6. Kimchi Mushroom Burgers
Sweet brioche burger buns, crunchy crumbed mushrooms, creamy kimchi mayonnaise, spicy kimchi, and cooling cucumber. Hello! These Kimchi Mushroom Burgers are guaranteed to make your taste buds happy. The mushrooms are meaty on the inside and crispy on the outside, the kimchi provides crunch and spice. It’s the perfect blend of flavors and textures that’ll be a hit with your family, friends – pretty much everyone.
7. Wild Rice Bowl With Sweet Potato Fries, Tempeh, and Pickles
This Wild Rice Bowl With Sweet Potato Fries, Tempeh, and Pickles is packed with so many flavors and textures!It’s crunchy, sweet, savory, umami-infused, filling, and most importantly, it’s easy to make! You wouldn’t think to put these together in one dish, but when you do, it all comes together.
8. Slow-Cooker Lentil Miso Soup
Do you always order miso soup to start off your sushi outings? If so, you should definitely try this heartier Slow-Cooker Lentil Miso Soup. In addition to miso (which is a probiotic), this flavorful broth contains ginger, soy sauce, onion, and rice vinegar. Toss all the ingredients in a slow-cooker in the morning and check dinner off your list for the day!
9. Bánh Mi Bagels With Chickpea Cauliflower Patties
These Bánh Mi Bagels With Chickpea Cauliflower Patties are pretty loosely based on a traditional Vietnamese bánh mi sandwich, but it has all the right stuff in all the right places. The mixture of the crunchy pickled veggies (go for store-bought pickled veggies to get those probiotics!), tangy and creamy sauce (you have two to choose from), and hearty cauliflower and chickpea patty on a chewy bagel is a total win for your taste buds.
10. Sourdough Pretzels
Pretzels may or may not be your thing, but these Sourdough Pretzels are really something special. These are different from the hard sourdough pretzels you get in the bag — they are like those soft street pretzels only with probiotic properties due to the sourdough starter. The idea of a twisted, salty cloud of dough baked to golden perfection is enough to make just about anyone hungry.
11. Miso Kimchi Nachos With Cashew Cheese
These Miso Kimchi Nachos With Cashew Cheese are a great combination of that classic cheesy taste spiced up with some favorite fermented foods. The miso paste in the cheese sauce adds the perfect deep, salty undertone. The sour crunch of the kimchi alongside the freshness of the kale and yellow pepper is just totally awesome. You definitely want these nachos in your belly right now!
12. Sweet Potato Reuben Sandwich
The traditional Reuben consists of roasted corn beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Russian dressing. In this unique Sweet Potato Reuben Sandwich, the meat is substituted for savory, roasted sweet potato greased in coconut oil, and the rest of the toppings are the same but dairy-free. Make sure to serve this on toasted rye bread for ultra-authentic flavor.
13. Nourishing Winter Bowl
This Nourishing Winter Bowl has everything you need, regardless of season, greens, vegetables, good carbs, protein, fermented vegetables for probiotics, and healthy fats. If you’re not big on sauerkraut, you can use any fermented vegetables you like. Feel free to also make any other substitutions you might need. For example, switch chickpeas to beans, use other leafy greens instead of kale, use quinoa instead of rice, etc…
14. Sharp Cheddar Cheeze
Although this Sharp Cheddar Cheeze takes a few days to make, it’s very straightforward. Soaked cashews simply need to be blended with probiotic powder and miso and left to set overnight so that these two ingredients can envelop the softened nuts in a tangy, cheesy flavor. A bit of coconut butter is then added to give the cheese a dense and firm feel. Serve these with your favorite crackers and a glass of wine!
15. Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Many of us can remember those weeknights during our childhood where sloppy joes were on the dinner menu. These Tempeh Sloppy Joes recreate the classic with sautéed tempeh and vegetables, covered in a lightly seasoned tomato sauce. Just like the original recipe, these sloppy joes are easy to make and most importantly, amazingly satisfying!
After seeing at these recipes, you’ll be a pro at getting your plant-based probiotics.
Lead image source: Nourishing Winter Bowl