Garlic and onion are two of the most abundant ingredients in cooking and are prominent in almost every cuisine across the globe(1). These staple ingredients can add a distinct aroma, taste, texture and flavour profile to a meal, sauce, appetiser or condiment. I’m sure we all know too well the fragrant smell of onion and garlic frying off in some olive oil in the kitchen. As you are starting out on a low FODMAP diet you are probably thinking ‘just about every recipe contains onion and garlic... what am I going to cook for dinner?’ This is a common concern of people following a low FODMAP diet.
Why can we not consume garlic and onion on a low FODMAP diet?
Both onion and garlic are high in the FODMAP subgroup ‘fructans’ (one of the oligosaccharides). Although onion and garlic are packed full of wonderful nutrients and prebiotic fibre(2) some people with IBS and FODMAP sensitivities react poorly to these fructans. This can lead to uncomfortable digestive symptoms of bloating, cramping, flatulence or diarrhoea. When you are following a low FODMAP diet, it is essential to reduce the amount of all FODMAP sub-groups that you eat, including these fructans. This is with the aim to re-introduce and test each group one by one to determine your own personal triggers.
What about garlic and onion infused oils?
The great news is... there are ways you can still add that wonderful garlic and onion flavour to your meals without the FODMAPs. Replacing onion and garlic in your cooking with oils infused with garlic and onion can be a wonderful way to still get the aroma and flavour we all love! The reason these oils are low FODMAP is because fructans are water soluble but not fat soluble. This means that when surrounded by water the fructans will leech out into the liquid, however, this is not the case with oil. This allows for the essence of garlic, onion and other fructan containing foods to be infused into extra virgin olive oil and we can use that oil for cooking. We still get the distinct flavour compounds and aroma molecules without the extra FODMAPS... this will keep our taste buds and our gut happy! If a commercial oil displays the Monash University Low FODMAP CertifiedTM logo, you can be sure that this has been lab tested to ensure the levels of FODMAPs in the product are lower than the set cut off points.
Cobram Estate have a range of infused extra virgin olive oils that have received the Monash University tick of approval and are suitable for the Low FODMAP diet. If you are in Australia, Cobram Estate Infusions are available in major supermarkets and selected independent supermarkets, or you can find these online at cobramestate.com.au. Our favourite is the onion and garlic infused olive oil. Check out our flavour filled Garlic Infused Roast Vegetable and Grain Salad recipe packed full of low FODMAP fibre and goodness!
(1) Iacovou, M. et al. (2015) The Low FODMAP Diet and Its Application in East and Southeast Asia. Journal of neurogastroenterology and motility. [Online] 21 (4), 459–470.
(2) Sunu, P. et al. (2019) Prebiotic activity of garlic ( Allium sativum ) extract on Lactobacillus acidophilus. Veterinary World. [Online] 12 (12), 2046–2051.
Serves: 6, Prep time: 15 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes
¼ head of Jap or Kent pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 2cm cubes (250-300g)
1 medium zucchini, sliced (195g)
1 medium carrot, chopped into 2cm chunks (120g)
1 cup broccoli, florets (95g)
1 tablespoon of Garlic & Onion infused extra virgin olive oil (20g)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (20g)
2/3 cup dry quinoa (118g)
100g baby spinach leaves
¼ cup lemon juice (65mL)
1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard (5g)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (3g)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons crushed walnuts, pepitas, almonds
60g feta cheese