9 Recipes Featuring Both Prebiotic and Probiotic Ingredients for a Happy Gut Microbiome
A balanced gut microbiome requires plenty of healthy, happy bacteria. They live within you every day, working hard to keep your body balanced. But it’s easy for things to get out of whack: Taking antibiotics, or eating a diet high in sugar can all wreak havoc on your gut biome. Luckily, it’s not too hard to get your microbiome back on track — or make it even healthier than before — by consuming foods, drinks, and supplements high in probiotics and prebiotics.
Probiotics are beneficial, live bacteria found in certain foods and drinks. Yogurt is a well-known probiotic, but other fermented foods are also full of them including sauerkraut, unpasteurized pickles, kombucha, kefir, and kimchi.
On the other hand, prebiotics are foods that serve as fuel for that beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics mostly come from certain carbs and fibers that we eat like garlic, onions, oats, legumes, beans, peas, asparagus, berries, and Jerusalem artichokes.
As you can imagine, it’s best to eat both probiotics and prebiotics to create a healthy gut. And while you don’t have to eat them both at the same time, there are plenty of ways to enjoy them together. Here are some of our favorites:
Combine the powerful probiotic boost from kefir with prebiotic, fiber-filled oats for a breakfast that will make your microbiome love you. Use plain kefir so you can customize a new overnight oat every morning with your favorite add-ins. Chia seeds, nuts, cacao nibs, and honey can add extra sweetness, texture, and variety. Overnight oats can be stored in the fridge for a few days, making this a great option for anyone who has more energy (and time!) in the evenings for meal prep.
These little fiber bombs aren’t as well-known as other starches, but Jerusalem artichokes are full of insulin-resistant starch and fiber. They’re a great prebiotic, meaning probiotics love to eat them! And for those who don’t love the idea of a bean-filled chili, Jerusalem artichokes make for a new and unusual twist. Up the health benefits of this tasty chili by topping it with pickled jalapeños or plain Greek yogurt, both of which will add probiotics.
This kimchi breakfast bowl is a one-two punch of prebiotics and probiotics. The kimchi acts as the probiotic (and offers tangy, fermented flavor) while the asparagus provides a big dose of prebiotic fiber. Try adding other fiber-rich veggies too, like peas, garlic, and onions for extra prebiotic power. And don’t feel like this bowl is only limited to breakfast — you can also enjoy it for lunch or dinner!
Salads are always a healthy option, but to make them even better for you, you can add in lots of fiber-rich toppings to give a prebiotic boost. Blueberries, cranberries, cashews ,and edamame are all prebiotics that will feed the probiotics in your system. Pair this kale salad with a complementary kefir or kombucha (or by subbing out the original dressing with a Greek yogurt-based dressing) to get those probiotics in, too. We love how this superfood-heavy salad can be customized to appeal to anyone’s taste.
Recipes made with miso should be treated carefully to retain the powerhouse probiotic hit in this ingredient. The nutritional benefits can be damaged if they are exposed to too high heat, which is why this vegan miso ramen recipe is perfect. The miso is stirred into the finished dish right at the end, so it contributes a big burst of salty, funky flavor, while retaining its probiotic value. Add your favorite fiber-rich prebiotic vegetables like garlic and onion to make this ramen way more nutritious.
Vegetable + protein sheet pan meals are a great way to pack in a variety of ingredients to increase nutritional value — and they can easily be brought together with a tasty sauce. Pair tempeh, which is a nutty-tasting, fermented soy product full of probiotics with some prebiotic-rich sweet asparagus for a dish your immune system will love just as much as your tastebuds do. A naturally-sweetened orange sauce brightens up the final dish, while red miso paste lends an additional source of probiotics. One of the best parts about this dish: Sheet pan meals = super-easy cleanup.
As a fermented food, yogurt is naturally high in probiotics; however, the flavored versions you buy at the store can also be really high in sugar. When you still want some flavor in your yogurt without the inflated sugar numbers, try this simple, two-ingredient coconut yogurt for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Coconut milk needs time to ferment, so this is a plan-ahead recipe — but we think it’s worth it, as it’s a great plant-based alternative to traditional yogurt. Top your coconut yogurt with a handful of berries for a healthy serving of prebiotics so you’re getting a double-dose of gut health goodness.
Shake together miso, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and a few seasonings to make a highly flavorful vinaigrette. It’s great on salads, grilled meats, or atop prebiotic-filled vegetables like onions and leeks. If you’re adding the sesame miso vinaigrette to grilled foods, make sure to add it after they are finished grilling so you can retain the nutritional benefits of the miso. You can also substitute yellow or red miso instead of the white miso the recipe calls for if you’re seeking a deeper flavor (and a higher probiotic value). The darker the miso, the stronger the flavor and the more fermented it is — which means more probiotics.
If you thought guacamole couldn’t be improved upon, well… you were almost right. To make guacamole even more perfect, consider the benefits of fermenting it, which does two important things: It makes the dip retain its vibrant green without that yucky brown oxidizing that happens when the tender avocado flesh is exposed to air, and it fills it with probiotics thanks to the addition of live cultures and a little time. Plan out this dip a few days in advance, since it needs up to four days to properly ferment and then chill in the fridge for optimal benefits and taste. It can be kept out and still retain its signature color, so this is a great choice for parties. Dress it up with prebiotic-rich spring onions or pickled red onions prior to serving. Bring out some flaxseed tortilla chips to introduce extra prebiotics and turn guac-and-chips night into a seriously healthful meal.
April Blake is a travel and food writer who lives in South Carolina and enjoys trying new beverages, vinyasa yoga, and petting her dogs. Find her at theaprilblake.com.
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