Kombucha vinaigrette, may seem like an unusual take on the classic combination of olive oil and balsamic or red wine vinegar, but, when complemented by the unique flavors of clove and allspice it can become a nourishing, if unique, dressing for any salad. I find it pairs particularly well with the sweetness of beets, apples, pears and nuts. Reminiscent of apple cider vinegar in combination with club soda, kombucha offers a unique flavor that is growing in popularity as more and more natural foods enthusiasts learn to cherish the beverage – a sweetened tea that undergoes a unique fermentation process through the use of a mother or symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.
Brewing kombucha is easy and, in many ways, effortless as it requires little else but a brewing container, tea, sugar and a mother which you can find affordably online (see sources). Though its origins are largely clouded in mystery, kombucha, like many of our favorite fermented foods, enjoys a rich heritage in Russia and central Asia where it’s hailed as a health tonic. Simply combine three quarts brewed tea with one cup sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved and the sweetened tea has cooled to room temperature. Mix the sweetened tea with about one-quarter cup brewed kombucha tea and a kombucha mother in a clean container, cover and allow it to ferment for about a week when the kombucha mother splits and produces a second, thinner scoby. Bottle the kombucha and ferment it again, if desired. Ensure that the tea, mother and baby are free from mold and other signs of potential contamination.
Kombucha tea and kombucha tea vinegar, like all fermented foods, are rich sources of B vitamins as well as beneficial bacteria. For this reason it is an excellent dairy-free probiotic. It is also a potent source of glucuronic acid, a substance which is thought to aid in detoxing1. Indeed, research on rats indicates that kombucha’s detoxing effects may help to mitigate the effects of environmental pollutants2 is a strong anti-oxidant with immune-modulating effects3 and may support the liver4; however, it’s important to note that comprehensive analysis of kombucha’s effects on human health are largely unstudied and most of the evidence linked to kombucha as a health food is based on traditional wisdom and anecdote.
Kombucha is widely available in health food stores, both those that are locally owned and those that are part of national chains; moreover, kombucha brewing is popping up as a sort of cottage industry and you might find a local brewer through your farmers market, newspaper or CSA. Customarily large bottles, approximately 12- to 16-ounces, of kombucha are available in the coolers at health food stores, but kombucha is a beverage with potently medicinal qualities and strict care should be taken to ensure it’s not consumed in excess – particularly when first beginning to drink it as kombucha has been linked to toxicity in some individuals5,6. If you wish to add kombucha to your kitchen, start with 2 to 4 ounces instead of 16-ounce bottles, or use it sparingly as in this recipe for kombucha vinaigrette.
By April 22, 2010Published:
- Yield: About 1 cup
- Prep: about five min
Consider serving kombucha vinaigrette, with its sweet and sour flavors enhanced by a touch of clove and allspice over fresh, richly flavored greens; alternatively, it pairs well with nuts, steamed beets, apples and pears. One of my favorite ways to serve this unique vinaigrette is over a composed salad of arugula, apples and toasted walnuts. For a variation of this recipe, consider substituting part or all of the unrefined extra virgin olive oil with walnut or hazelnut oil.
- 1/4 cup kombucha tea or kombucha tea vinegar
- 1 shallot (minced)
- pinch ground cloves
- pinch ground allspice
- dash unrefined sea salt
- 3/4 cup unrefined extra virgin olive oil
- Steam the beets until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Combine kombucha tea or kombucha tea vinegar, minced shallot, allspice, clove, unrefined sea salt in the basin of a food processor or blender.
- Blend to combine while slowly drizzling unrefined extra virgin olive oil into the mixture until the dressing is well-emulsified and uniform.
- Serve over the fruit, vegetable or greens of your choice.