This tangy, fermented-milk product (originally made from camel’s milk) tastes a lot like yogurt in liquid form, with a slightly alcoholic taste from yeast. Like yogurt, it contains live beneficial probiotic bacteria, making it good for digestion and better tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. You’ll find it in cartons and bottles in the yogurt section, sometimes enhanced with fruit flavors.
Use plain kefir in smoothies for a tart change of pace. Mix with equal parts orange or pomegranate juice, frozen blueberries, a dash of vanilla extract, and a pinch of stevia (or other sweetener) to taste; adjust quantities of each ingredient to reach desired consistency and flavor.
Try kefir as a substitute for buttermilk in oatmeal pancakes. Mix 1 cup plain kefir, 1/2 cup white whole-wheat flour, 3/4 cup quick-cooking oatmeal, 1 small egg, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; mix well, adding more kefir if desired for consistency. Dollop and cook in a buttered skillet until edges look dry and bubbles form; flip and cook other side. Serve with cinnamon applesauce and toasted pecans.
Blend kefir with mayonnaise, a dash of cider vinegar, minced onion, and pressed garlic to make an easy ranch dressing; toss with shredded cabbage and carrots for a light coleslaw, or drizzle it over baked potatoes or fish tacos instead of sour cream.