When I found I had to give up garlic and onion with the low FODMAP diet, I was devastated… simply devastated. I put garlic on everything… cloves, seasoning, powder or in any form where I could add it to my food. My husband would often make jokes like “at least I know you’re not a vampire” or “would you like some chicken with that garlic?” So embarking on the low FODMAP diet was a huge lifestyle change for me (to put it mildly).
So how does a garlic and onion lover get by on the low FODMAP diet? Surprisingly, very easy. It’s a great time to welcome new spices into your life and learn how to use them. But don’t give up on garlic and onion just yet, there’s some great substitutes and replacements that will have both your taste buds and your body smiling.
Tips on Adding Flavor without the FODMAPs:
- Garlic Infused (Extra Virgin) Olive Oil – The fructans in garlic are water-soluble, not oil-soluble, so garlic infused olive oil is a great way to get the garlic into your meal without the pain. There are a few different ways to go about this:
- Make it in a slow cooker. Get some garlic cloves, peel them and throw them in a slow cooker with your desired amount of oil. Once you heat for 3-4 hours on low, remove and discard the garlic. It makes your place smell delightful! However, the oil doesn’t last that long (about 1 week) and I didn’t fee safe eating it since bits of garlic were floating around here and there.
- Make it every time you plan to use it. Simmer the oil you plan to use and add a peeled garlic clove for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Discard the garlic clove when finished. This is much easier since you don’t have excess to use, but you have to have garlic on hand at all times. I don’t like this method because it makes me sad to constantly have garlic in the house. Silly, yes, but out of sight, out of mind.
- Buy it. Easiest method in my book! It can be pricey, but I found a great option at Trader Joe’s for $3.99 and another option at my local grocery store for $5.99. Before I found it locally, I purchased it on Amazon. It keeps forever without the hassle or mess. Plus there’s no tempting garlic staring at you from the refrigerator.
- Gluten Free Asafoetida Powder (Hing) – This bright yellow powder is a great replacement for that onion or garlic taste. This Indian spice is ideal for soups, marinades, dressings, etc. A little goes a long way. I initially read about this magical substitute on every FODMAP blog and ran around town trying to find it. I encountered two problems. First, asafoetida powder is very hard to find. I went to every Indian/Asian store and came up empty handed. Finally, when I did find it, I realized most asafoetida powder is made with wheat flour, which does not work within the guidelines of the low FODMAP diet. I searched online and finally found it made with rice flour at MySpiceSage.com, but they recently changed their ingredients to contain white flour. I haven’t had to buy it more recently, but I have seen it at HerbStop and Spices, Inc.
- Green Onions/Scallions/Spring Onions (Green Part Only) – Whatever you call them, they’re a great addition to any dish to get the onion flavor. When you’re cutting them (from the green side), as soon as you feel some onion texture inside, stop and throw out the rest of the white part.
- Chives – My newest love. Chives are a great addition to anything! Fresh or dried, I can’t get enough!
- Spices – Now is a great time to discover spices you may never have used before. I never knew how to use them, so this was a great learning experience for me. Fresh or dried works, just ensure that there are no hidden ingredients (garlic, onion, wheat, “spices,” natural flavor, etc.) mixed in. Here are my most used spices:
- Cayenne Pepper
- Jalapeno Powder
- Roasted Red Pepper Flakes
- Hot Peppers – If you like a little heat, there are a number of great options here. Jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers, banana peppers, habanero peppers, green chilis, etc. can all add some great flavor to your dishes.
- Vinegars – There are a variety of types of vinegar on the market, and some will work within the guidelines of the low FODMAP diet, and some won’t. Be careful of additives like apple, fruit and honey. Red Wine Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar and Balsamic Vinegar are staples in my house and are the base of many sauces and dressings I make.
- Gluten Free Soy Sauce – Perfect for Asian-inspired dishes. Ensure you avoid any soy sauces that include wheat. I prefer Tamari Organic Soy Sauce.
After a list like this, it’s exciting to see all the new options for adding flavor to your low FODMAP dishes. I have never felt so confident in my cooking skills and I definitely don’t miss having “onion eyes.” Have anything else to add? I’d love to hear it!