One of the most important skills for a successful low FODMAP diet is being able to adjust recipes to make them low FODMAP. Of course you can use recipes that have already been designed to be low FODMAP, such as my low FODMAP recipes, but if you want to make some of your own favourite recipes, you’ll need to know how to change ingredients. To help you out, here are 4 tips, plus some examples, so that you can make your favourite recipes low FODMAP.

4 tips for making your favourite recipes low FODMAP | A Less Irritable Life


Tip 1: Make sure you know the key low FODMAP swaps

Before you can change a recipe from a high FODMAP version to a low FODMAP version, you have to know which ingredients need to be removed and which low FODMAP swaps can be used in their place. This involves two steps:

  1. Make sure you have accurate food lists so that you know which high FODMAP ingredients to remove.
  2. Get to know the 7 key low FODMAP swaps so that you understand how a swap will affect texture, flavour and even colour of the final dish. These include garlic, onion and leek, sauces, grains, breads, dairy, and honey.

Once you know your swaps, and have the necessary low FODMAP ingredients available, you can get on with adjusting your favourite recipes.

Note: I won’t be mentioning all of the swaps in this article, so make sure you do check out my other article on key low FODMAP swaps for all the information.


Tip 2: Practice making changes with ‘easy’ dishes first

As with any new skill, it’s best to start slowly and get some easy wins on the board. So I suggest starting out by changing some easier recipes so that you can gain a better understanding of how the swaps work, without having to make too many changes in order to get a final product that resembles the recipe (or meal) that you’re used to making. Then, once you’re confident of your skills, you can start adjusting more complex recipes.

Here’s 3 examples of some of easy recipes that can be adjusted to make low FODMAP versions.


Example #1: Pasta Dish

Let’s start with a pasta dish. I’ve chosen pasta because it’s a common family favourite and something that most people want to be able to continue eating on a low FODMAP diet. Also because pasta is quite easy to cook and within the average home cook’s skill set.

The ingredients that you’ll most likely to need to change are:

  • Pasta. Since regular pasta is made from wheat, this needs switching out. Instead you can use a gluten-free pasta made from rice, corn and/or quinoa.
  • Onion. Onion is a very common ingredient of pasta sauce, so you’ll need to use one of the onion alternatives. These include the green tops of spring onions or leeks, chives, onion-infused olive oil, or Asafoetida powder.
  • Garlic. If your pasta recipe contains garlic, you can instead use garlic-infused olive oil.

Some additional ingredients that may need changing are:

  • Veggies. Many of the vegetables commonly used in pasta dishes are low FODMAP, but the one to really watch out for is mushrooms. You can use canned mushrooms instead, but the texture and flavour is very different and may not suit your recipe.
  • Dairy products. If you’re wanting to make a creamy pasta sauce, you can use lactose-free cream. But if you’re just wanting to add cheese, choose a hard cheese that’s naturally low in lactose such as parmesan, feta or mozzarella.

Here’s a recipe for a simple low FODMAP tomato sauce for pasta.


Example #2: Soup

The next recipe we’ll change is soup. I’ve chosen soup because it’s a winter favourite and it’s getting quite cold in Australia now. Also because soups are easy to make… put it all in a pot, cook, blend (if appropriate), and you’re done.

The ingredients that you’ll most likely to need to change are:

  • Stock. Since stocks are made with onion, you can’t use regular stock. Instead, you have three choices: (i) make your own stock without onion; (ii) use water (although this may limit the flavour of the soup); or (iii) buy a premade low FODMAP stock.
  • Onion. See the options listed above for pasta. Note: if you don’t want to add green colour to your soups, I recommend using onion-infused olive oil.
  • Garlic. See the options listed above for pasta.
  • Toast. If you like to eat toast with your soup, you’ll need to use a low FODMAP bread. Check out the article on low FODMAP swaps for more information because choosing a low FODMAP bread is a little bit complicated.

Some additional ingredients that may need changing are:

  • Veggies. While there are some high FODMAP vegetables to avoid, you can still make soups with most root vegetables, pumpkin and tomatoes, as well as many other low FODMAP veggies.
  • Legumes. Most legumes are high FODMAP, but you can eat small amounts of canned (and well rinsed) chickpeas and brown lentils on a low FODMAP diet.
  • Dairy products. If you’re wanting to make a creamy soup, you can add lactose-free cream.


Example #3: Lunchbox

The last example is the humble lunchbox. Whether you’re going to work or packing a lunchbox for your child for school, it’s important to have low FODMAP options as you go about your day. While lunchboxes are easy to assemble, they’ll be quite different from person to person, so here are some general tips…

The ingredients that you’ll most likely to need to change are:

  • Bread. Assuming you have a sandwich, wrap or roll in your lunchbox, you’ll need to change the bread component of it. See the info about toast for soups.
  • Juice. Fruit juice is high in FODMAPs, particularly in the amounts that would normally be included in a lunchbox. Unfortunately, there aren’t any obvious low FODMAP swaps for juice that give you an almost equivalent product, so water is the best option.

Some additional ingredients that may need changing are:

  • Fruit. Quite a number of fruits are high in FODMAPs, so you need to choose fruit very carefully. But you can include fruits such as grapes, kiwifruit and oranges, all of which pack well into a lunch box.
  • Dairy products. If you like to add milk or yoghurt to your lunchbox, you can choose lactose-free options. And if you like cheese, choose one of the hard cheeses, such as cheddar or Swiss.
  • Snacks. While you can buy some snacks that are naturally low FODMAP, they’re hard to find and require some pretty handy label reading skills. An alternative is to buy one of the increasing number of certified low FODMAP snacks available for purchase, including muesli bars and crackers. Or you can make your own snacks at home.

Here’s some recipes for low FODMAP snacks. You should also check out the Low FODMAP Snack Builder for more simple snack ideas.


Tip 3: Consider whether it’s better for you to use pre-made low FODMAP products or make your own

While there are an increasing number of low FODMAP products available on the market that you can use in your recipes, including stocks, infused oils, breads, pasta sauces and snacks, many of these products are more expensive than ‘regular’ equivalents that are high in FODMAPs. For some people, this price difference is irrelevant and they choose to buy them regardless. For other people, this increased cost is more than their budget can handle.

Only you know which is more important to you… the cost factor or the convenience.

Because I quite like to cook and am happy to make big batches of things and freeze them for later, I don’t buy a lot of premade products. But, I was already like that with my grocery shopping and cooking before I began a low FODMAP diet. That said, I do like to keep a few convenience items on hand so that if I’m too tired to cook (or simply can’t be bothered), I can make a low FODMAP meal very quickly. For me, this is a crucial strategy for making a low FODMAP diet easier to follow. It also helps to keep the budget in check while having access to convenience at crucial times.


Tip 4: Apply your new skills to some of your favourite recipes

Once you’re confident changing some easy recipes, you can start changing your favourite recipes using the same strategies. Admittedly there will be some recipes that simply can’t be made low FODMAP… French onion soup being a good example. But you’ll find that with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to make good approximations of most of your favourite recipes, to the point where your family and friends won’t even realise that they’re eating a low FODMAP recipe.

When you can do this, you’ll find that you’re happier with your meal choices. Changing at least a few of your favourite recipes is something I highly recommend to make a low FODMAP diet feel less restricted. So please do give this a try.

But, if you’re not confident with your recipe changing skills, you can use recipes that are already low FODMAP. One option is to use low FODMAP cookbooks such as The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen or The Low-FODMAP Cookbook. Or you can use the low FODMAP recipes on A Less Irritable Life.


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