Fermented Vegetable Recipes

After about 200 years of home canning with heat, fermenting is enjoying a comeback. You may not realize it, but fermented food and beverages have long been a part of our diet. Many of our everyday foods are fermented, like sauerkraut, sourdough, beer, kombucha, yogurt, some cheeses, and kimchi. And all kinds of sauces are fermented—soy sauce, fish sauce, hot sauces, and miso all contain fermented ingredients.

Fermenting is easy, too. You can often use makeshift weights, lids, and jars, and there are many specialized fermenting utensils, lids, and weights that make the process even easier. Most ferments take just minutes to prepare, and then it's just a matter of waiting for the beneficial bacteria to do their job.

Serve fermented vegetables on a cheese plate or meat and cheese board or serve as a side dish alongside meat, poultry, or seafood. Most fermented foods last for several days or weeks in the refrigerator, and you can even freeze them for more extended storage.

  • 01 of 14

    Fermented Beets

    fermented beets

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Fermented beets are crunchy and delicious, and you can easily add your own twist to the basic recipe with other herbs or spices. Use fermented beets in salads or serve them alongside a roast, such as baked ham, corned beef, or pork. They make an excellent appetizer or snack sprinkled with goat cheese or feta cheese.

  • 02 of 14

    Fermented Hot Sauce

    fermented hot sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Rattray

    Making your own homemade fermented hot sauce is easy and rewarding, and you can easily temper the heat level by adding sweet peppers and other ingredients. This version uses fresh red Fresno peppers, carrots, some garlic, and vinegar. Use the homemade hot sauce in barbecue or chili, or add a few drops to mayonnaise for a deliciously spicy sandwich or burger spread. The refrigerated hot sauce lasts for several months, and it may be frozen for longer storage.

  • 03 of 14

    Sriracha Kimchi

    sriracha kimchi

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

    If you enjoy spicy foods, you'll love this Sriracha kimchi. The Sriracha adds dimension to the kimchi with its spicy, sweet, and tangy flavors, and it's entirely customizable. Add more for more bite or tone it down for milder heat. Kimchi makes a delicious tangy side dish and can liven up other dishes. Try adding it to fried rice (bokumbap) or make Korean kimchi pancakes.

  • 04 of 14

    Red Sauerkraut

    fermented red cabbage sauerkraut

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

    Sauerkraut is one of our favorite fermentations, and this red cabbage sauerkraut is amazing. It's a bright and delicious dish to serve alongside a pork roast, chops, or corned beef. Or pile some red cabbage sauerkraut on your pulled pork or Reuben sandwich.

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  • 05 of 14

    German Sauerkraut

    Homemade German sauerkraut recipe

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

    The combination of juniper berries, caraway seeds, and mustard seeds, gives this fermented German sauerkraut a fantastic flavor. Serve this delicious sauerkraut on sandwiches or burgers or serve it alongside roast pork or corned beef. It's a great way to bring flavor to avocado toast, too!

  • 06 of 14

    Fermented Garlic

    Lacto-fermented Garlic
    Amber Shehan

    Fermented garlic is an excellent way to enjoy garlic. Raw garlic is often too sharp and pungent to add to foods without cooking, but fermenting the garlic mellows and softens it slightly. It is mellow enough to add directly to salad dressings, pesto, marinades, and other foods that don't require cooking.

  • 07 of 14

    Lacto-Fermented Green Beans

    Lacto-Fermented Green Beans

    The Spruce / Julia Estrada

    This ferment is a novel way to enjoy fresh green beans. If you like pickled green beans, these fermented green beans are bound to become a favorite—you need to give them a week or so to ferment, but the wait is worth it. Serve them with barbecue, baked ham, beans, or add them to a charcuterie board.

  • 08 of 14

    Lacto-Fermented Carrots

    Lacto-Fermented Carrots

    The Spruce / Bahareh Niati

    You won't need special equipment for these tasty fermented carrots. All you need is salt and water and a week or two, but feel free to add a few slices of onion, a clove of garlic, a hot pepper, or fresh herbs. Enjoy the fermented carrot sticks as a snack with ranch dressing for dipping, or chop them and add them to a salad or coleslaw.

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  • 09 of 14

    Fermented Radishes

    fermented radish
    TOHRU MINOWA/a.collectionRF/Getty Images

    Radishes are frequently found in kimchi, but they are an excellent vegetable to marinate on their own. Use watermelon radishes in the recipe or another type of sliced or julienned radish. This radish ferment includes onion, garlic, and an optional dash of hot pepper flakes.

  • 10 of 14

    Radish Kimchi

    fermented radish

    RunPhoto/Photodisc/Getty Images

    This radish kimchi includes cabbage, onions, and garlic, but the star of the ferment is the radish. Fresh ginger and red pepper flakes add flavor and spice to the kimchi. This is excellent kimchi to use in stew or add to fried rice. Or use kimchi to brighten up a milder food, such as tofu, shrimp, eggs, or braised chicken.

  • 11 of 14

    Korean White Radish Kimchi (Dongchimi)

    Korean White Radish Kimchi (Dongchimi)

    The Spruce / Madhumita Sathishkumar

    This is another delicious radish kimchi made with a simple combination of sliced daikon radishes, garlic, and green onions. It's a quick ferment, but make sure to keep ingredients submerged as they ferment. Serve radish kimchi with a Korean-style stew, potstickers, or fried rice.

  • 12 of 14

    Preserved Lemons Recipe

    Moroccan preserved salted lemons in glass jar on white wooden table
    Lena_Zajchikova / Getty Images

    Preserved lemons are found in many Moroccan dishes, such as tagines, salads, and meat recipes. Make your own preserved lemons at home with this easy recipe. The process takes about 4 weeks, and they last for up to 6 months in the fridge.

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  • 13 of 14

    Fermented Turnip (Sauerruben) Recipe

    fermented turnip
    Getty Images / dulezidar

    These German-style fermented turnips are easy to prepare, with julienned or sliced turnips, brine, and optional jalapeno pepper. It couldn't be easier! Serve fermented turnips with shawarma or add them to your pulled pork or bbq beef sandwiches.

  • 14 of 14

    Fermented Swiss Chard Stems

    organic rainbow chard on cutting board
    TC Morgan Photography/oment/Getty Images

    Fermenting Swiss chard stems is an excellent way to preserve them. You can sometimes use them in a recipe along with the leaves, but that isn't always possible. The fermented chard stems make a delicious addition to a salad, soup, or casserole. Colorful rainbow chard stems, in particular, make an attractive ferment.