Kelli Foster is the author of the forthcoming cookbook, The Probiotic Kitchen, which includes 100+ everyday recipes using probiotic foods, like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha. She is also the author of Buddha Bowls, an editor at Kitchn, and her work has appeared in Triathlete, Chicago Athlete, and Greatist.
The most important thing I want you to know about kefir is that this fermented milk drink is wildly versatile. Yes, there’s way more you can do than simply sip it or pour it over your cereal. It’s a good idea to stick with the plain, unsweetened stuff since flavored versions are often loaded with added sugar. Here are 8 easy, sweet and savory ways to eat more probiotic-rich kefir.
1. Make it a breakfast bowl.
It might not be as thick, but that’s no reason not to treat milk kefir like yogurt and turn it into a probiotic-rich breakfast bowl. Top it with a handful of fresh berries, toasted nuts and seeds, or some granola, grab your spoon and dig in.
2. Blend into probiotic-rich smoothies.
This is going to totally change your smoothie game. Swap up to half of the liquid in your smoothie for milk kefir. You’ll get an extra creamy drink packed with probiotics.
3. Don’t forget about lassis.
Swapping milk kefir for yogurt is an untraditional move when making this creamy drink, though I assure you it’s just as delicious.
4. Use it for lightened up creamy salad dressings.
The thin, pourable consistency of kefir makes it the perfect base for a creamy salad dressing. It’s my secret for super tangy, lightened up ranch dressing.
5. Make a 3-ingredient sauce.
For a quick, gut-friendly sauce you’ll want to drizzle over everything, combine some milk kefir with a spoonful of tahini, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. It’s as easy as that.
6. Mix into cucumber salad.
Just say yes to mixing up a bowl of tangy cucumber salad with milk kefir in place of yogurt or sour cream.
7. Mix into Bircher muesli.
Bircher muesli is kinda like overnight oats, though you can always expect to find a mix of apple and nuts in this wholesome classic. I also suggest swapping about half of the milk for an equal amount of milk kefir. It gives breakfast a probiotic boost and the muesli takes on a thicker texture than you’d get from milk alone.
8. Drizzle over tacos.
A drizzle of milk kefir is a welcome topping to any taco, and especially when the filling packs in some heat. You can also take it a step further by blitzing kefir with avocado and a squeeze of lime for a quick crema.
You’ll find everyday recipes for each of the ideas above in my upcoming cookbook, The Probiotic Kitchen.