Caprese Sticks with a Balsamic Glaze – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Caprese Sticks

If you’re after a quick canape/appetiser type dish that is also low FODMAP, then look no further. This classic combination needs no alterations – other than to watch out for over consumption – to be FODMAP friendly, which is awesomesauce.

This can also be turned into a tossed salad with small amounts of the Balsamic glaze drizzled on top. Just as delicious, with much less work.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Balsamic vinegar is low FODMAP in servings of 1 tbsp and contains moderate amounts of fructose in 2 tbsp. servings. As the glaze is reduced by half, so should these measurements. You don’t need much of the glaze, anyway.
  2. Cherry tomatoes are low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 a cup, so don’t consume more than four or five sticks is you are still figuring out your tolerances.
  3. Mozzarella cheese is lower in lactose, so small servings are permissible. Each stick should only have a very small amount – say, 1/2 a tsp. of cheese – so four to five sticks should still be okay.
  4. Basil is low FODMAP.
  5. Choose good toothpicks, so they don’t splinter in your mouth. Been there, done that.

Caprese Sticks with a Balsamic Glaze

Serves 16.

  • 1 large punnet of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup lightly packed sweet basil leaves
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Toothpicks

Pour the Balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring it to just below the boil, before reducing to s simmer. Watch it while it slowly reduces by a third to a half (stop at your desired consistency) and then take it off the heat immediately and pour into a ramekin.

Not much more than an hour or two before they’re required, cut the cherry toms in half, tear up the basil leaves and dice the Mozzarella cheese. Skewer them onto the toothpicks in the following order: top half of tomato, basil, cheese, bottom half of tomato.

Arrange however you’d like and refrigerate until 15 minutes before they’re served, to take the chill off.

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Warm Salmon Salad, Dressed in a Lemon, Ginger and Soy Sauce – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Warm Salmon Salad Dressed in Lemon, Ginger and Soy Sauce - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free 1

Firstly, I apologise for the dodgy photos in this post; my camera’s battery had run out and I used my phone, which isn’t great for indoor photos.

Secondly, have I mentioned how spoilt we are for salmon in the Pacific Northwest? It’s crazy good. In Melbourne, you’re lucky to get lightly ripped off when you buy Atlantic salmon, which is really just farmed salmon that’s never even sniffed the Atlantic Ocean… side note to any ichthyologists out there, can fish smell? In Seattle, Atlantic doesn’t even factor into our choice of salmon, it’s the bottom of the barrel. At your local supermarket you can get whole Chinook, Coho and Sockeye (my personal fav) when they’re in season for about a third of what we pay for Atlantic back home; when they’re out of season, they’re still only about half the price. There are more varieties, of course, if you go to specialty fish markets.

Guess what July is? The middle of Sockeye salmon season.

Notes:

  1. The green tips of leek are low FODMAP.
  2. Zucchini is low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup.
  3. Cherry tomatoes are low FODMAP in servings of 1/2 cup.
  4. Mushrooms contain mannitol, so if you malabsorb mannitol then swap them out for more zucchini.
  5. Spinach is low FODMAP in servings of 1 cup.
  6. Lemon, ginger and soy sauce are all low FODMAP. Use gluten free soy sauce if you are a coeliac/sensitive to gluten.

Warm Salmon Salad

Sauce

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 cm of ginger root, minced finely
  • Juice of half a lemon, plus a little from the other half

Salad

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic infused olive oil
  • 225 g/8 oz salmon fillet – I like sockeye
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup green leek tips, finely sliced
  • 1 large zucchini, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 button mushrooms, finely sliced

Seal your pan with the olive oil and pan fry the salmon fillets over a med-high heat; it should take about 4 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second, though this will depend on the thickness of the fillets. Once for each side, drizzle with the “little bit” of lemon juice from the second half of the lemon.

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Meanwhile, lay out washed baby spinach on a serving dish. Saute the leek tips, zucchini, cherry toms and button mushrooms in the garlic infused olive oil until tender (not over cooked) and remove from the heat.

By this time, the salmon should almost be done. Turn down the heat to low and cut the salmon into bite-sized chunks and stir through the sauce ingredients. Once the sizzling has stopped, stir through the sauteed veggies.

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Layer the warm salmon and veggies over a bed of fresh baby spinach (you could wilt the spinach if you like but I prefer it fresh) and serve with white rice. The white rice takes 30 minutes to cook (without a rice cooker, I couldn’t tell you how long it would take with one), so make sure you get it going before you start cooking the salmon and veggies, as they only take 10 minutes once they’re on the heat.

Oh and the most important part – enjoy!

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Grilled Tofu Salad – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

Grilled Tofu Salad

I love warm salads. They are the perfect spring or autumn meal; not too heavy to weigh you down but just warm and hearty enough for the season.

They are also very quick and easy to make for a weeknight dinner. Thirty minutes or less? Yes, please!

Notes:

  1. Balsamic vinegar has been listed as both safe and unsafe, depending where you look. Monash University lists 1 tbsp. as safe and 2 tbsp. as containing moderate levels of fructose. Most balsamic vinegars are actually flavoured wine vinegars, so it’s hard to tell whether the authentic balsamic vinegar or the imitations are being referred to. At any rate most people aren’t buying the real deal, they’d be much too expensive to cook with except on very special occasions. I can tolerate 2 tbsp. of the imitation balsamic vinegar that I buy.
  2. Butter is very low lactose, as during production the water-soluble sugar was removed along with the buttermilk.
  3. Cherry tomatoes are considered low FODMAP in half cup servings, according to Monash University.
  4. Mushrooms are considered by Monash University to be high in mannitol and have moderate FOS in one cup servings. Different mushroom varieties have different levels of FODMAPs and I can tolerate the less than half cup serving of button mushrooms in this dish, as polyols do not affect me and the FOS has been reduced enough for my tolerance levels.
  5. Green chives are low in FODMAPs, just make sure you don’t use the white root portion.

Grilled Tofu Salad

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach, de-stemmed
  • 225 g/8 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup cherry or vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. minced green chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or whole
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 + 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter or dairy free equivalent (vegan option such as coconut butter or Nuttelex etc)
  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. each of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Slice the tofu so that it is approx. 2 cm thick and wrap it in paper towel, then sandwich it between two chopping boards and place something on top to lightly press it down. This will squeeze much of the fluid out of the tofu. Leave it like that for 20 minutes; in the meantime, prepare the vegetables.

Seal the surface of your a fry pan, then unwrap and fry the tofu for about 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Divide the spinach leaves between two plates or pasta bowls and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the oil and your choice of normal or vegan butter over a medium-high heat and then put in the garlic; let it simmer for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Next, lower the heat to medium and saute the mushrooms until they have softened considerably and begun to release liquid, then throw in the rosemary and first 2 tbsp. of chives. After a minute, add in the tomatoes, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and stir until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

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The vegetables should be done at about the same time as the tofu, so divide the vegetables between the two servings (place on top of the spinach) and then take the tofu off the heat and  slice it into strips. Place the tofu on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with remaining chives and flax seeds (optional but I like the crunch). The flax seeds aren’t pictured below.

Serve immediately, so that the vegetables and tofu are still warmed through.

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Cranberry and Toasted Almond Salad – Low Fructose & Gluten Free

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This is such a simple salad to throw together for a lunch that is healthier than most other quick options.

I have listed the ingredients in the proportions in which I like them – feel free to change whatever you’d like, obviously.

Single serving:

  • 1 cup baby spinach/rocket (arugula) mix
  • 7 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup diced cucumber
  • 1/4 cup almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries with no added “fruit juice”
  • Drizzle of a cranberry vinegar, to taste.

Toss ingredients together and enjoy your colourful lunch that is healthy, to boot.

Can’t beat that!

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Strawberry Salad with a Maple Lemon Vinaigrette – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

I apologise for the strawberry theme that’s going on at the moment but they are in season and I am making the most of it! Don’t hate.

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I suppose I should apologise further to those in Australia/the Southern Hemisphere who are going into winter and don’t have the luxury of in season strawberries or the warm weather we’re having. *Insert evil laugh.* I should say, though, that this is the third spring we’ve spent in Seattle and it is so much warmer than the last two. When I was walking the dogs earlier this week it was still 30 C/85 F at 5pm! That’s not far below the maximum summer temperature that we had last August!

But anyway, back to the salad! I was taking this to a lunch with the girls and wanted something a little more interesting than what I usually make for my own lunches. And I also wanted to try and recreate a lemon viniagrette that I had on a salad a couple of weeks ago… I snuck a look at the ingredients; a few tweaks were required (such as getting rid of the honey) but I got it right eventually.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Strawberries, cucumber and spinach are all low FODMAP in the servings given, as are the nuts and seeds.
  2. Maple syrup is sucrose-based, thus is FODMAP friendly, however, feel free to use dextrose if you’d like.
  3. White wine vinegar is fructose friendly, as it has been double fermented.
  4. Olive oil is low FODMAP, assuming that no high FODMAP ingredients have been added.

Strawberry Salad with a Maple Lemon Vinaigrette

Salad

To serve as a side salad, you will need the following per person (double to serve alone):

  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup diced cucumber (Lebanese, English or Continental)
  • 3 medium/2 large strawberries, diced
  • 1 tbsp. toasted almonds/pecans/walnuts, chopped roughly or slivered

Roughly shred the baby spinach leaves (if you want to) and dice the strawberries and cucumber. Roughly chop your almonds (or other nuts) if you didn’t buy then slivered and toast them in the oven at 300 F/150 C for 5-10 minutes, until they give off an almondy smell. Take them out and let them cool completely or they will make the spinach leaves wilt.

When the almonds have cooled, toss all the ingredients together and put in the fridge until ready to serve. I would suggest not preparing it any further than half a day in advance.

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Maple Lemon Vinaigrette

The below amount will provide generous servings of dressing for 8 people.

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (or 1.5 tbsp glucose/dextrose powder)
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Combine the liquid ingredients in a jar. I prefer the maple syrup over glucose powder for the extra flavour and the fact that it doesn’t need to dissolve.

Over a med heat, toast sesame seeds on a dry pan. They will begin to look a little oily/shiny before they give off an aroma and brown slightly. As soon as they are just a golden brown, remove them from the pan and let them cool for a few minutes before adding them to the dressing. I didn’t do this and the first few popped back out at me. Whoops.

Shake the jar well before serving.

You could toss the dressing through the salad just before serving; however I prefer to serve it separately so people can dictate how much they get.

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Enjoy!

Warm Chicken Caesar Salad – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

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Chicken Caesar Salads are a good protein fix with minimal carbohydrates (if that’s important for you), if you pick out or omit the croutons. You don’t need much of the dressing at all – a little goes a long way, unless you like a soppy salad – so it’s relatively healthy, too, if you make it at home and know what’s in it.

The other thing I love about Caesar salads is that they make it easy to cater for differing dietary requirements, considering all I have to do is make two bowls, one with gluten free croutons and the other with wheat and the sauce can be shared among them. Easy peasy!

For other delicious low FODMAP recipes and science-based resources, simply sign up in the top right corner to receive an email whenever something is published – no spam ever.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Garlic infused oil is low FODMAP if there are no flecks of garlic flesh in the bottle. I currently use Nicer Food’s garlic infused oil and previously used the Cobram Estate garlic infused olive oil (when I lived in Australia).
  2. Fish sauce can be safe – make sure it’s basic and contains only water, anchovy (fish) extract, salt and sugar.
  3. Mustard seeds/powder is safe in 1 tsp. serves.
  4. Make sure you use real mayonnaise – both for the superior flavour and because it’s low FODMAP. Many sweetened mayo’s might contain high FODMAP ingredients, so check the nutritional panel to see what’s in it.
  5. Worcestershire sauce is safe in 2 tbsp. serves, use a gluten free variety if required. Make sure the ingredients don’t include fruit juice concentrates.
  6. Parmesan cheese is a low in lactose (as are most other dry/aged cheeses), so is safe on the low FODMAP diet.

Warm Chicken Caesar Salad

Serves 6 as a side dish.

Caesar Salad Dressing

  • 1 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tspn. fish sauce
  • Juice from half a lemon, or approx. 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tspn. pure mustard powder
  • 1 cup real mayonnaise
  • 1 tspn. Worcestershire sauce, gluten free if required
  • 1/2 tspn. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients. Simple as that and infinitely more tasty than store-bought Caesar salad dressing.

Chicken Caesar Salad

  • 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
  • Water to cover chicken breasts
  • 3 slices GF bread, toasted
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Caesar dressing (from above)

Brine the chicken breasts for 30 minutes to an hour. Simply cover them in the water with 1 tbsp. sea salt and 1 tbsp. ground black pepper dissolved in it. This helps to keep your chicken moist while it cooks later on; you can really taste the difference.

Slice your chicken breasts in two along the middle/horizontal plane, to ensure even and quicker cooking.

Pan sear the chicken to give them a slightly crisp texture, and so that they are cooked through. Cooked chicken should “bleed” clear fluids when sliced, and not look at all pink on the inside.

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Meanwhile, wash and shred the lettuce and grate the Parmesan cheese. I never used to grate my own Parmesan cheese but I am now a convert. Who knew Parmesan cheese didn’t have to be rock hard and almost tasteless?!

Toast the GF bread (if you want to include croutons) and dice them into 1 cm cubes.

Mix the dry ingredients together and then slowly dollop the dressing through and combine. You may or may not need the entire 1/3 cup, or you might need more, depending on how much dressing you like on your salad. Alternatively, serve the dressing on the side so people can add to their own taste.

Makes enough to serve 4 adults.

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