How to Cook Without Onions and Garlic

fallon & byrne onionsYesterday I got an interesting question about cooking without onions and garlic from Dorothy in Canberra…

“My husband is allergic to onions and garlic so it is difficult to buy anything ready-made. Many friends have said to me: “How can you cook without onions and garlic?” My reply is that I just leave them out of the recipe. I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to what I could use in their place.”

Great question!

I’ve actually found since writing my last two books, I hardly cook with onions these days. Mainly because it takes too much time when I’m trying to get things cooked in 15 minutes.

And like you, I’ve found that I rarely miss them.

So my first answer would be to keep on doing what you’re doing and leave them out!

But if you’re looking for alternatives to onions…

Chives are the first thing I reach for when I’m looking for an oniony flavour in a hurry. Although not sure whether they would be an option for you from an allergy perspective.

The other option would be to try the other aromatic vegetables, especially celery but carrot also. They will add some of the aromatics you get from sweating onions.

Alternatives to garlic…

Try fresh ginger… different flavour profile but will give your dish a little kick or boost. Same with chilli.

And last thought…

I’ve found by adding butter to my tomato based sauces instead of onion the butter softens the aciditiy and adds a lovely complexity to the sauce in a similar way to onions.

Hope that helps you!

With love,
Jules x

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Max April 25, 2014 at 9:33 am

I might also note that this might be useful or helpful for those attempting to pursue a “satvik” (or “saatvic”) diet, as called for in the Indian tradition of Vaishnavism and some others, which discourage or disallow the use of onions and garlic.
In the Indian tradition there have been many who believe onions and garlic to be excessively “rajasic” (stirring up the passions), and so also try to avoid eating them too much.

Thanks very much, this was a helpful little piece on alternatives, never thought of the carrots etc.!


Oyette February 3, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Thanks for the tips! This is also good for people who have IBS and are on the low FODMAPs diet. Thank you for your help!


jules February 10, 2015 at 7:44 am

You’re welcome Oyette!


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