Updated: Oct 16
Well, well, well, you've all probably realized by now how often I offer you recipes for a healthy gut. Can you guess how often my family eats foods that are packed with good bacteria?
You're right. We eat it every single day.
I truly believe this old-fashioned way of eating and preserving food has been around for thousands of years for a reason. “All disease begins in the gut.” This famous quote was supposedly said by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates about 2500 years ago. And it’s so true. Traditional medical systems acknowledge the primacy of the gut.
Eating probiotic-rich foods on a daily basis doesn’t have to be a difficult thing; you don’t necessarily have to be a kimchi or sauerkraut lover. There are hundreds of ways to boost your immune system with these invisible friends called good bacteria, and this way of eating is becoming more and more popular. In regular supermarkets, I see more and more products popping up on the shelves with "probiotic" on the label.
In my family we welcome these invisible little friends all of time. They not only help us digest the food we eat, but probiotic-rich foods themselves are also packed full of vitamins and minerals. For example, the amount of vitamin C in cabbage can increase up to 10 times after it's been fermented.
We love, love, love to pick our own vegetables. When summer arrives in the South, it means many trips to the beach and vegetable farms. The boys enjoy competing with each other to see who can pick veggies faster. After our first trip to the farm we got a bunch of pickling cucumbers that I was planning to ferment. I turned the rest into a delicious salad. It was so yummy and so easy to make that I decided to share with you today, my friends. This recipe is an excellent combination of probiotics and prebiotics. It is full of good fats, has that satisfying crunch, and will delight your senses with aromatic herbs. I love this salad on its own, but it's an excellent summer side dish to any meal you serve. Before we jump into the recipe, I want to talk a little more about fermented red onions.
Fermented Red Onions
Even though this is a cucumber salad and the main ingredient is cucumbers, the true star of the dish (what makes your gut thankful) are the fermented red onions. They are an excellent addition to any salad, sandwich, or wrap. This is my favorite way to eat more onions, and my little Johnny actually loves them on their own. They're super easy to make and can stay in your refrigerator for up to 9 months. Keep it in mind that fermented onion juice is also a perfect addition to any of your salad dressings!
Fermented onions don’t have that onion strong bite.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Fermenting Time: 1 to 10 days
Total Time: 1 to 10 days
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Fermented Red Onions Ingredients
2 large red onions, sliced
1 tablespoon Celtic salt
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh whey (optional)
12 ounces filtered water
Kombucha or apple cider vinegar with "mother" (enough to fill the Mason jar if following the shortcut version)
Fermented Red Onions Directions
1. Place sliced onions in a Mason jar. Add herbs if you wish to use any.
2. Dissolve salt in 12 ounces of filtered water and (optional) add whey.
3. Pour brine over onions and leave 1 inch between the lid of the jar and onions. Make sure the onions are covered in brine. It's very important to have a water layer on top to prevent bad bacteria getting in.
4. Cover the jar and let it sit at room temperature anywhere from 3 to 10 days. Check it once in a while by opening the lid and smelling it. When the sour smell and taste are to your liking, it means the onions are ready to eat and can be stored in the fridge for up to 9 months.
Fermentation Shortcut Variation
While the lacto-fermented red onions are the real deal, you don't have to spend 3 days waiting. You can easily make probiotic-rich onions within 24 hours, which is exactly what I did for this salad.
1. Slice the onions and place them in a jar.
2. Pour overly fermented plain kombucha (also called "kombucha vinegar") over the top until the onions are covered. Or, if you're not making kombucha in your home, simply use apple cider vinegar with the "mother," like this one.
3. Cover the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Then move to the fridge for storage. That's it! Easy, and the way to use fermented onions are endless!
Now, onto the salad...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Cucumber Avocado Salad Ingredients
4-5 pickling cucumbers
1 jalapeño pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice plus zest of one lemon
1 lime, zest only
2-3 tablespoons sliced fermented red onions
2 tablespoons fermented onion juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon pink salt
½ cup chopped herbs (parsley, mint, green onions)
Cucumber Avocado Salad Directions
1. Peel cucumbers and slice into cubes. Place them in a bowl.
2. Peel avocados and cut into cubes. Zest the lemon and lime. Add to bowl.
3. Squeeze lemon juice and pour it on the avocados to prevent them from browning.
4. Chop jalapeño pepper with seeds or without (if you don’t want a spicy salad) and add to bowl.
5. Add sliced fermented onions, giving them little bit of a chop before you put them in.
6. Add chopped parsley, mint, and green onions. You can choose your own combination of herbs.
7. Add salt and mix the salad.
8. Dress your salad with onion juice and olive oil.
This salad is best eaten right away. It's not as good the next day because the avocados will turn brown.