Several years ago my husband gifted me the River Cottage Veg Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I immediately fell in love with the interesting recipes and was excited to be introduced to new dishes such as Vegeree.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a British writer and chef most well known for his series of River Cottage Cookbooks and TV shows. He is committed to sustainability and seasonal food, a cause close to my heart.
Lately I haven’t been using the cookbook because, although the recipes are delicious and healthy, many contain high-FODMAP ingredients and I was too lazy to make the adjustments. This week I dusted off the cookbook and have commitment to making over my most beloved recipes and guess what, it is much easier than you would think.
Here are my recommendations for making any recipe into a gut friendly one:
- If a recipe calls for garlic, either eliminate it all together, use store bought garlic infused olive oil or make your own by sautéing on low 2-3 garlic cloves in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Once it starts to bubble slightly turn off the heat and allow it to sit for a few more minutes before removing the garlic. If you are not using immediately, store in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. If you really miss the taste of garlic compensate with extra herbs, such as parsley, rosemary, oregano, or chives.
- Some people recommend replacing garlic with asefetida but I think it imparts an unfavorable aftertaste. Some brands also contain wheat flour, meaning if may not be gluten free if you need to avoid it.
- Replace onions with fresh or dried chives and the greens of scallions or leeks. To bulk up the recipe, which may be needed if the recipe calls for more than 1/4 cup, add extra low-FODMAP vegetables such as red peppers, zucchini or carrots.
- For more depth of flavor use 1/4 tsp of fish sauce or 1-2 tsp. of miso or lemon juice. If using miso you will need to dissolve it in liquid first, and decrease the salt. Miso is best used in fluid recipes such as sauces, dressings or soup. If possible do not boil miso to keep as the healthy probiotics alive.
- Use eggplant, tofu or peeled white potato in place of mushrooms or artichokes. Adjust seasoning as necessary, possibly adding a bit of smoked paprika and salt since the low-FODMAP vegetables aren’t as earthy.
- Swap sandwich bread and wraps for seaweed sheets, blanched collard leaves (gently strip the thick middle vein before blanching), butter lettuce, radicchio or Belgian endive leaves, slices of grilled polenta or brown rice tortillas.
- Use mashed steamed carrots or kabocha squash to replace sweet potatoes (up to 1/2 cup of sweet potato is considered low-FODMAP).
- Use cucumbers, zucchini rounds and carrot sticks in place of wheat crackers or celery.
- Use ground up Mary’s Gone Cracker’s Original in place of bread crumbs.
- Use macadamia nut butter for cashew butter. You can also use peanut or sunflower butter but the taste will be stronger.
- Replace high-FODMAP dried fruit with up to 1 Tbs. of raisins or dried cranberries per serving.
- Use mashed bananas, mashed steamed carrots, pineapple puree, or lactose free yogurt in the place apple sauce in baked goods. If you need only a small amount, or in a hurry use baby food jars of carrots or sweet potato.
- Although eggs are low-FODMAP they are considered a top food allergen. If you suspect you are sensitive, replace eggs (in baked goods) with a chia or flax eggs. Stir 1 Tbs. of ground flax or ground chia into 3 Tbs. of water, let set for 15 minutes before using.
- Replace wheat or durum semolina pasta with baked spaghetti squash, gluten free brown rice or quinoa pasta
- Use quinoa in place of couscous.
- Use gluten free oat flour (I grind my own) or buckwheat flour in place of wheat flour in baked goods such as pancakes, cookies and muffins. I especially love using buckwheat flour to make crepes.
- Use maple syrup, organic brown rice syrup or a bit of stevia in place of honey and agave.
As an example of how easy it is to low-FODMAP-ify a recipe, I made the River Cottage Veg Red Cabbage, Parsnip, Orange and Dates Salad recipe. All I had to do was switch out the high FODMAP dates for 2 Tbs. of soaked raisins.
I also made the Tahini-Dressed Zucchini and Green Bean Salad from the same cookbook. Only a few more tweaks were necessary. For example, I used garlic infused olive oil for the crushed garlic and plain olive oil and I used 1/2 tsp of maple syrup for the honey-Done! The recipe was delicious and so simple.
Obviously, these recipes were almost low-FODMAP to begin with, which is where I recommend starting if you are new to making over recipes and trying swaps.