While it’s been unseasonably (and wonderfully) warm here in Chicago, we know frigid winter nights are on their way and are going to stick around. Add that to extremely early sunsets (we’re talking 4:30 p.m., folks) and the soon-to-be-absence of holiday cheer, we’re definitely going to need some easy, healthy comfort food to keep us feeling our best.
We already know there’s a strong relationship between food and mood, and that probiotic-rich foods, including kefir, and may help keep your emotions on the positive side. What better way to keep the winter blues away than by adding a probiotic punch to our favorite, family-friendly dishes? Make them quick and easy to make, of course!
Below are four of our favorite kefir-ized pasta dishes that we turn to whenever we’re in a time (or daylight) crunch. They’re endlessly customizable (re: use whatever veggies you have on hand) and make great leftovers. Serve them with your favorite seasonal vegetables or a giant salad for a colorful, nourishing, vitamin-rich meal that everyone will love!
4 Probiotic Pastas Dishes for Cold Winter Nights
Ok, so while spring is a bit far off (but never far from our minds), this dish is a delightful mix of creamy and crisp and we can’t get enough of it. It can be difficult to find yellow squash during the winter months, so feel free to use yellow pepper or any additional vegetable of your choice. This dish is pretty hearty as it is, thanks to the pasta and the chicken, so be sure to watch your portion size. The more veggies you add, the better off you are!
Also known as “kitchen sink pasta,” this dish utilizes whatever vegetables we have in the fridge and never tastes the same twice (which is a good thing, if you ask us!). Be sure to add the kefir at the end, shortly before serving (you can have it waiting at room temperature, if you’d like) so that the cultures stay live and active. We love serving this dish with a large spinach salad that’s topped with our Farmer Cheese and our favorite Kefir Ranch Dressing.
This dish is a little more labor intensive (so we suggest prepping it on a weekend so you don’t feel rushed), but once you have everything ready, it comes together in a flash! We love it so much that we make double, even triple batches of the ravioli and keep them in the freezer for a quick and delicious meal when we’re pressed for time. It’s delicious with a side of asparagus or a nice kale salad.
This spectacular dish is one of the custom kefir dishes created by Chef Rocky Maselli for the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America®: “Local Flavor from Coast to Coast” Tour in 2015. It uses both our plain whole milk kefir and our Farmer Cheese for a creamy and decandent dish we can’t get enough of. Add more protein, if you’d like, with cubed tofu or grilled chicken, or add roasted broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus for a lighter dish.