Are you someone who starts chopping an onion or clove of garlic as soon as you walk into the kitchen? Well the good news is, it’s possible to cook without garlic, onions and tomato.
And still make incredibly flavoursome food.
As I shared with one of my students recently…
My wife recently went to a diet for medical reasons that limits foods that are acidic.
Tomatoes, onion, and garlic are no longer acceptable.
Along with lots of other items.
I am a bit past staring at the pan with olive oil and not knowing what to add to build flavor.
Yes, I do more than 1/2 the cooking and yes I now understand that I started most things with onion or garlic or both. Tomatoes are everywhere.
I could use some suggestions.
Can you point me to anything here to quicken my search as i need to change not only my ‘usual’ stuff but the base flavor building also.
The positive is that the red wine is all mine!
Glad to hear you’re happy to help with the red wine consumption!
I too am avoiding onion and garlic for my Irishman’s low FODMAP experiment.
Mostly I just leave them out of whatever I’m cooking and it’s fine.
How to Cook Without Tomato, Garlic & Onions
1. Focus on what you can eat.
Especially things that add lots of flavour like anchovies, olives, capers, cheese (especially parmesan), chilli, spices, ginger, miso paste, fresh herbs. You get the idea.
2. Try seeing it as an experiment to expand your repertoire.
And know it’s totally possible to make delicious food without tomato, onion and garlic. I promise.
3. Use salt
Salt is the best flavour enhancer. So make sure you’re generous with your seasoning!
If you need help with seasoning see this beginners guide to the art of seasoning.
4. Choose simple recipes
I rarely use onion in my recipes. If I do use garlic, mostly you can leave it out. So have a browse through the recipes on Stonesoup and pick a few that sound good to you.
It’s won’t take long to build a repertoire of new favourites that work for you.
5. My Favourite Onion Substitutes
Chopped chives – added at the end of a dish are amazing for giving a little oniony flavour kick.
Green Onion Tops – (pictured below) the green parts are fine for low FODMAPs. The flavour is stronger than chives so they’re my go-to when I want a bigger oniony boost.
6. My Favourite Garlic Substitutes
Garlic oil – you can buy commercial garlic oils, but I just marinate a few crushed cloves of garlic in olive oil for as long as I’ve got. Sometimes 10 minutes sometimes overnight. Then discard the garlic and use the beautifully flavoured oil.
IMPORTANT NOTE: For people with specific allergies to alliums (not just FODMAP problems) garlic oil can still be problematic so best to avoid. Same with chives and green onion tops.
7. My Favourite Tomato Substitutes
To be honest, I haven’t had to avoid tomato so this list is more from where I would start, rather than actual experience.
Tomatoes provide sweetness and also umami (or savouriness) to a dish. So think about how you can add both of these elements.
Other sources of umami include miso paste, soy sauce, olives, mushrooms (not FODMAP friendly!), parmesan cheese and bone broths or stocks.
Other sources of sweetness include cooked beets, carrots, cooked apples or other fresh or dried fruit. Although if you’re also on the Low Carb path, like me, go easy with the sweetness.
Don’t make this mistake!
If you’re avoiding garlic and onions from a low FODMAP perspective, don’t think you can just fish out the garlic / onions at the end of cooking.
FODMAPS are carbohydrates so are highly water soluble.
This means if you cook a curry or something in liquid the FODMAPS will pass into the cooking water. So even if you remove the solid parts, you can still have problems.
Soaking in oil is fine because the FODMAPS aren’t soluble in oil and don’t pass into it.
And avoid garlic and onion powders – these are a concentrated form of FODMAPS!
What about you?
Do you have any special dietary requirements you need help with? Share in the comments below so we can explore some possibilities.
More Special Diets
- Gut Problems? How to Eat Low FODMAP
- 3 Reasons I LOVE Eating Low Carb
- 12 Clever Ideas for Eating Dairy-Free
- 16 Clever Substitutes for Going Gluten-Free
- Three Biggest Lessons from ‘Gluten Week’
- My 3 Biggest Lessons from Paleo Month
- How I Deal With Fussy Eaters (of all ages)
- My Month of ‘Quitting’ Sugar…
And don’t forget to have fun in the kitchen!