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Probiotic Salad

A probiotic salad of sauerkraut, dill pickles, and a yogurt dressing.

The recipes I share here on Food With Legs vary along a spectrum that runs from Old Favourites straight to What the Hell Experiments. This one happens to fall much closer to the latter end than the former. I was having friends over for dinner, had plans for rich and meaty pasta and main courses and wanted to start with a salad. I figured I could lay down an acid base and get everyone salivating for what was up next. And that’s how the “probiotic salad” that combines both my wild-fermented dill pickles and spicy Sichuan sauerkraut was conceived.

I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek by using that word “probiotic” in the title. Yogurt companies have adopted it–along with belly-dancing models and stomach-shapes lines–to make a back-handed claim about their products’ health benefits. The connection between live bacteria in food and the digestive health of those who eat hasn’t been definitely established, but I’m willing place a tentative bet that it will pan out–especially when the probiotic food is cultured with more than just a yogurt companies patented strains of lactobacilli.

The complex and funky flavour is what really interests me. The dollop of honey in the dressing and handful of raisins give a bit of sweet balance to all that sour. With both pickles and sauerkraut in one bowl it’s also possible to really compare the textural contrast between two different vegetables, that are fermented with the two main methods.

Probiotic Salad

An all probiotic salad that balances a hefty dose of acid against a honey-sweetened yogurt dressing.

Yield: Enough to serve at least 12 as a side dish, with leftovers.

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups spicy Sichuan sauerkraut (or any good-quality, fermented sauerkraut
  • 2 kosher-style dill pickles, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1/2 cup natural (or “with live culture”) yogurt
  • 2 TB honey
  • small pinch kosher salt
  • Drain the sauerkraut of any brine. In a serving combine the drained sauerkraut, dill pickles, raisins, and pumpkin seeds. Stir the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad.

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Posted in: Entertaining, Fermenting, Vegetables.

2 Comments

  1. Sofia says:

    Thanks. Now I’m craving sauerkraut in a pretty fierce way! Seriously, though…looks delicious and really good, especially given that I feel like I’ve been overindulging lately.

  2. David Ort says:

    I do what I can. And thanks, Sofia, for raising the topic of balancing indulgence. I’m skeptical of whether the in-fad cleanses (especially the extreme ones) have any long-term benefits. I’d rather give my digestive system a tune-up with helpful microbes than flush it with maple-syrup-sweetened lemon water.

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