I also use spring onions (strictly green parts only!) in lots of recipes, as well as garlic oil. The green part of spring onions contains very little FODMAPs, so it’s a wonderful substitute for any onion-y ingredient, raw or otherwise. I chop them into salads, into hummus (on days when I can tolerate chickpeas!, again assess your tolerance), into soups and casseroles… But always leaving out the FODMAP-rich white part. If you find that even this contains too much FODMAP for your individual tolerance, simply leave it out. I’ll always make sure to include lots of recommendations for herbs and spices so you’re never short on deliciousness.
The FODMAPs in garlic and onions are water-soluble, not oil-soluble. What this means is that, if you really can’t do without it, you can fry off some onion and garlic in a little oil when you start cooking, then simply remove the pieces before continuing. That way, you have the flavour without the pain because no FODMAPs will dissolve into the oil.
However, you can’t do the same with a water-based sauce - and once you think about adding something like tinned tomatoes, or even high-water content vegetables to the pan, or deglazing with wine etc, you need to get rid of the onion and garlic pieces first, otherwise the FODMAPs will leach out into the water. I take the safer and easier option: I stick with the green of the spring onions, and I keep a bottle of garlic oil next to the stove at all times!
But onion and garlic are the base for most recipes, how can you not include them, it’ll be tasteless?!
Trust me, this doesn’t need to be a problem. If you can’t tolerate any onion or garlic at all, then it’s time for the fun of experimenting with herbs and spices to begin. I have two spice racks full of jars in almost constant use, as well as a big box hidden in a cupboard with things I use less frequently (I probably still dip into this on a weekly basis).
Coriander is really versatile, and you’ll see me using it a lot - it’s as at home in a fiery rogan josh as it is in a very light thai- or vietnamese-inspired noodle soup. Here, use plenty of finely chopped fresh lemongrass and ginger and (even if you don’t like a lot of heat) use one little bird’s eye chilli to make sure that you have the warmth you’d expect from fried onions and garlic. Don’t forget to use buckwheat or rice noodles instead of wheat noodles!
Making a rich, Indian curry? Add a few fennel seeds with the rest of the spices at the start of cooking for a really mellow flavour, and nigella seeds for a pinch of sweetness. Cumin and coriander are brilliant here, as well. You can either use ground or whole seeds, and you can even add freshly chopped coriander at the end if you like coriander as much as I do!
Mix chopped fresh coriander (or lemon thyme, or thai basil - you don’t have to love coriander!), ginger, lemongrass and chilli with peanut butter, a little GF soy sauce and a splash of nam pla (fish sauce) for a FODMAP-free satay dip or marinade - you won’t even notice the lack of onions and garlic in this one, because you’ve got the crunchy texture and sweetness from the lemongrass and ginger. Even more so if you use crunchy peanut butter.
I will often point out specifically “fresh” herbs and spices - not always crucial, but if you want the best flavour (and even texture, especially in cases like ginger and lemongrass) then it really is the way to do it. Once you’re used to low-FODMAP living, you’ll find that you get through the fresh stuff quickly enough that it is never sitting around moulding in the fridge anyway! Soon, you won’t even miss garlic and onion.