Sour Power! 20+ Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

Make any one of these vegan fermented food recipes and your gut will thank you!

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.

The Benefits Of Eating Vegan Fermented Food

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.”

Take it easy, though

Yes, you can get too much of a good thing! Starting out small is the best way to introduce fermented foods into your diet. Every human microbiome is different, and each person’s reaction to ferments can vary. Eating too much fermented food in one sitting can wreak havoc on your digestive system. It’s best to start with a tablespoon or two every day for about a week and build up from there.

Want more info? Celeste has written an ebook about fermented foods, which you can see here. 

How To Ferment Foods

1. Find a good bacterial starter

Having a great starter culture is vital, as it needs to contain strong, good bacterial strains that will fight off dangerous bacteria like E. coli. If you can find a friend with a good starter, yay! But you can also buy a powdered starter online or at a health food store.

2. Grab some jars

Mason jars are perfect for fermenting foods. Celeste says: “In my opinion, specialised “fermentation jars” are overpriced and unnecessary. Just be sure to wash your jars well with water and soap and set them aside to air dry.”

3. Fill them up

Fill the jars up with your food, appropriate seasonings, and your bacterial starter. Then, cover it all up with a bit of filtered water.

4. Wait

The process of fermenting takes about a week or two, depending on how intense you want the flavour to be. “I suggest storing ferments in a dark, cool place to prevent the bacteria from working overtime and causing a bubbly explosion.” says Celeste. After you achieve your desired taste, move your ferments into the fridge, where they will last about eight months.

20+ Fermented Food Ideas For Vegans

Now it’s time to get cooking! If these fermented vegan recipes look complex, don’t worry. Celeste has 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. But honestly? It’s easier than you think!

1. DIY Probiotic Coconut Yogurt

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

Get the recipe here.

DIY Probiotic Coconut Yogurt

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 hella tasty, but a fabulous way to boost gut health.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

3. Strawberry Basil Kombucha

Kombucha is one of those basic fermented vegan recipes that everyone should learn. It’s a fizzy fermented tea that everyone’s drinking – even celebrities! It can cost a pretty penny in health stores, so why not have some fun and save some cash making your own at home?

Get the recipe here.

strawberry kombucha

4. 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.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

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. And as Hippocrates said, all diseases begin in the gut, so we should take good care of these colonies,” says Celeste.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

6. Peanut Butter & Chocolate Fermented Oatmeal

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

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

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. This is one of my favourite fermented vegan recipes for many reasons: they’re easy to make, kids love them, and you can even freeze these and heat in the toaster later.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

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.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

9. Fermented Probiotic Vegan Apple Butter

This probiotic 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.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

10. Probiotic Vegan Walnut Thyme Cheese

This dairy-free cheese is one of my favourite fermented vegan recipes. It 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.

vegan cheese recipe

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.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

12. Vegan Kimchi

In case you’re not familiar with it yet, kimchi is a staple fermented vegetable dish from Korea. It’s a great way to liven up any meal! Add it to stir fries, salads, and even vegan mac and cheese! PS: This recipe uses sweet and juicy Asian pears, but you could also use a sweet variety of apples.

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Kimchi

13. Basic Sauerkraut

One of the most vital fermented vegan recipes is for sure a good sauerkraut! And as Celeste says: “Making sauerkraut is one of the cheapest and easiest fermented foods you can make. And 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.”

Get the recipe here.


14. Fermented Garlic Paste

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

Get the recipe here.

fermented vegan recipes

15. 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! And the best part? You can actually experiment with this by just adding a touch of kombucha for the ferment!

Get the recipe here.

16. Jota (Vegan Sauerkraut & Bean Stew)

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

Get the recipe here.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

17. Homemade Fermented Pickles

Fermented vegan recipes don’t get easier than these pickles! Use them in sandwiches, vegan burgers or salads to add a mouth-watering kick.

Get the recipe here.

fermented vegan recipes

18. 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 example? The flavour is completely different from store bought tempeh.  It’s both nutty and creamy at the same time. Throw yours on a salad, in a sandwich, or a stir fry.

Get the recipe here.

tempeh recipe

19. Fermented Hot Sauce

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

20. Fermented Vegan Cheesecake

Yes, fermented vegan recipes can include desserts, too! This 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.

Vegan Fermented Food Recipes

21. Sourdough Donuts

Light, airy and fried to perfection, these sourdough donuts prove that vegan fermented food recipes can be far more delicious than you’d expect!

Get the recipe here.

sourdough donuts

Lora O'Brien

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