Low FODMAP Meat Sauce is here to save the day. To remind you that all is still good in the world, even on the Low FODMAP Diet. Even without onions or garlic.
$20 says that if you ask any good chef what the start of any good dish is, they’ll probably tell you… *drumroll, please* onions and garlic. Well, duh. I’m sure I don’t need to convince any person who’s ever smelled that killer combo that I’m right. But what do you do when the sole person you cook for (aka the boyfriend) not only starts talkin’ Low FODMAPS but is doctor instructed to partake in the Low FODMAP Diet?! And therefore, you can no longer cook with onions OR garlic?! Go hide in a hole and vow to never cook again? Trust me, that was my first response, too. But now, over a week and several FODMAP friendly dishes later and I’m really starting to think that life in the kitchen is actually doable sans my two go-to dish starters.
This Low FODMAP Meat Sauce is perfect for any pasta dish (especially a lasagna of some sort), amazing on bread and to eat by the spoonful! Anything you would normally use Tomato Sauce in can be substituted with this all purpose Meat Sauce! Turns out a good meat and tomato sauce doesn’t need onions or garlic afterall!!!
WHAT IS THE LOW FODMAP DIET?
Up until a few weeks ago, I had no idea there was a way I could tame Bae’s digestive issues. Why didn’t someone tell me this 4.5 years ago when I started dating the guy?!! All jokes aside, Vin, like many others, has Ulcerative Colitis. He mainly struggles with bloating, unusual stomach pressure and pain, majjjjjor heartburn, general discomfort and IBS symptoms that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Even only speaking to the years I’ve personally known him (and not being someone who suffers from this myself), I never understood (as I generally cook pretty clean and healthy) why he was feeling the way he was. Turns out, high FODMAP foods can be a real bitch for someone like Vin.
I ain’t gonna get too scientific on y’all over here. But I do want to give you a general idea of what exactly I’m going on about. Each letter in the word alone stands for something specific, which I’m not going to get into because they’re long-ish words that are useless to just say without meaning and a simple google search will get ya in the know. But I can break it down simply from what I’ve understood it in the last few weeks to mean.
The simplest way to describe FODMAPs is a group of fermentable carbs that really don’t sit well in people with IBS or similar type gut disorders. FODMAPs are found in a whole whack of different foods. The main triggers to look for are things like fructose, lactose, wheat (although not a gluten free diet). You really just gotta research and see which foods are high and Low FODMAP.
I’ve always hated doing things like this because literally every list on the internet is different from the next. Some swearing against something while the other is vowing to it. We’ve opted to use the Monash University FODMAP App as basic guidance on whether or not Vin’s ‘allowed’ to have something. The app outlines low FODMAP certified products from major food brands. It uses a traffic light system to rate high or low FODMAP foods which is helpful to beginners like the boyfriend and I. However, I’ve already run into a few common food curiosities which have not come up on the app. Nothing a quick google search can’t fix, though.
SO, IS THE LOW FODMAP DIET REALLY A DIET?
What I like about this whole FODMAP thing is that it really isn’t a ‘diet’ per se. A way of eating, yes. But it’s also not meant to be forever. You start out with eliminating every high FODMAP food from your diet for 2-6 weeks. So far, we’re just over 1 solid week in. I think a minimum of 4 is what we’re aiming for here. So, for us, some high FODMAP foods we’ve found it hard to part with are things like onions and garlic (obv) as I’ve already mentioned, cauliflower, honey, fresh mushrooms, chickpeas and lentils. Thankfully we’re already label-readers when it comes to packaged goods but there’s some high FODMAP ingredients that you would never even think would be in simple things like bread (i.e. fruit juice concentrate or chicory root extract) that you really need to be careful of.
The weird part of ‘the diet’ is that certain foods become high or low FODMAP depending on the portion size. Moderation is really key and knowing what those initial limits are is super important. After the 2-6 weeks, you may start to re-introduce high FODMAP foods back into your diet individually and see if they trigger any IBS symptoms. If so, forever avoid and if not, have a party and cook/eat as much of said food as ya want!
Obviously, basically being the sole chef in this household, I’m generally in charge of all the meal planning, prepping, cooking, etc. so I’m on this low FODMAP thang just as much as the boyfriend even though I don’t have to be (I know…best girlfriend award goes to….). It’s been interesting because originally I thought I might make two variations of dinner each night… one with all of the onions and the garlic and the other without. Wrong. A) I’m waaaay too lazy for that and B) who needs it when you can have all the garlic or onion infused oils you want!!! Aka something I QUICKLY came to realize is a low FODMAP diet STAPLE! Now we are talkin’…
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE MEAT SAUCE WITHOUT ONIONS OR GARLIC
A few simple ingredients is all you’re going to need to whip up this deliciously hearty Low FODMAP Meat Sauce. Just don’t tell Nonna there’s no onions or garlic! Although, I really doubt anyone is going to be able to tell the difference anyway 😉 Of course, skip any ingredients you know don’t agree with you or your tummy.
Let’s discuss the ingredients in a little bit more detail down below:
- Ground Beef: Makes this Low FODMAP Tomato Sauce hearty and delicious and resemble that of a bolognese. For a different variation and flavour combo, try using ground pork, chicken, turkey, veal or lamb instead.
- Crushed Tomatoes: The body and bulk of our Low FODMAP Meat Sauce. You can find crushed tomatoes in the canned vegetable section of any grocery store. Think of it as a tomato sauce or purée without any flavouring.
- Carrots, Red Pepper, Jalapeño: Adds extra layers of flavour and heartiness to this meat and tomato sauce making it extra satisfying and delicious.
- Basil: Adds brightness and a delicious herby freshness to the sauce. Fresh is best in this recipe.
- Oregano: Adds flavour and gives this Low FODMAP Meat Sauce an irresistible Italian flair!
- Green Onions: A go (aka life saver) on the Low FODMAP diet (hallelujah!). Gets us as close to that classic onion flavour you look for in a good tomato sauce as we can get without actually using any proper onion. If following a Low FODMAP Diet, make sure to only use the green parts and not the white parts.
- Salt/Pepper: Rounds out the flavours of the rest of the ingredients. Makes sure that this tomato and meat sauce is anything but bland.
- Olive Oil: For sautéeing, adds flavour. You can use a different kind of oil, such as avocado oil, instead if you prefer.
HOW TO MAKE TOMATO SAUCE WITH NO GARLIC OR ONIONS (KEY TIPS)
- Cut the veggies into small pieces. They’re meant to “beef up” the sauce, not overpower it. A nice dice is what we’re going for here.
- Cook/sautée the veggies first. This will allow them to soften up and release their maximum flavour before being simmered in the sauce with the rest of the ingredients.
- Brown the ground beef before adding the crushed tomatoes and simmering the sauce. You want it to be fully cooked/completely browned for maximum flavour. EXTRA TIP: If you notice a lot of excess grease after browning the beef, drain it out before moving on to the next step.
- Allow this Low FODMAP Meat Sauce to simmer on the stove for at least an hour so the flavours can mingle and develop. At first, the sauce might seem a bit thick but as it simmers, it’ll thin out. The key in this hour of simmering is to keep it on low and stir it a few times throughout. This will prevent burning or scorching of the bottom of the pot.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Any leftover meat sauce should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. Use it within a week or freeze for up to 4 months (see instructions below).
Yes! To freeze Low FODMAP Meat Sauce simply portion it out (I like using these freezer safe deli containers) leaving a bit of room at the top for the sauce to expand in the freezer. It’ll be good for up to 4 months. When ready to use, simply thaw in the fridge overnight then reheat in a pot on the stove and use in all your favourite recipes. RECIPE NOTE: If the sauce appears too thick after it thaws, add some more crushed tomatoes or a few splashes of water while heating until you reach your desired consistency.
Low FODMAP Meat Sauce is good on so many things! The obvious answer is anything pasta related, especially lasagnas. For Low FODMAP, stick to gluten/wheat free varieties or use spiralized veggies instead.
Try it on spaghetti squash, in these lasagna stuffed eggplant boats, on these baked mini zucchini pizzas, as the filling for these cheesy eggplant rollatini, in this chicken and bocconcini skillet, on these Low FODMAP eggplant parmesan rounds or in this cream cheese pasta bake. Or simply top a delicious plate of your favourite pasta with a few spoonfuls for a hearty and delicious meal any time of day!
This Low FODMAP Meat Sauce can pretty much stand in for any dish you’d normally use regular tomato sauce for!
MEAT SAUCE WITHOUT GARLIC OR ONIONS
A good tomato and meat sauce doesn't have to have onions and garlic afterall!
- 2 28 oz cans Peeled and Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 pound Ground Beef*
- 1 Red Pepper, diced
- 1 bunch Green Onion (green parts only), chopped
- 2 large Carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 Jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 4 sprigs Fresh Basil, stems removed, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Garlic Infused or Regular Olive Oil
- 1 tbsp Dried Oregano
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- In a large stock pot over medium high heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the carrots and cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add the red pepper and jalepeno and stir for another 2-3 minutes, until the veggies start softening. Add half of the green onion and stir for an additional minute.
- Move the veggies over to one side of the pot. Add a splash more oil to the now empty side of the pot and then add the ground beef. Let it sit for a minute or so, untouched and then begin to break it up with a spatula and mix the meat with the veggies. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until completely browned and no pink pieces of meat remain. At this point, quickly drain any excess fats from the meat before moving on to the next step, if necessary. (These work perfect for this job!)
- Add the canned tomatoes, oregano, the rest of the green onions, salt and pepper and give it a good stir. Reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer, covered, for about an hour, stirring occasionally to prevent burning or scorching of the bottom of the pot.
- In the final few minutes of cooking, stir in the basil leaves. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Use to top your fav pastas, lasagnas or in any dish you'd normally use tomato sauce!
For a different variation and flavour combo, try using ground pork, chicken, turkey, veal or lamb instead.
The sauce may seem a little thick at first but it'll thin out as it cooks. Keep stirring it on occasion as it simmers on the stove.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 191Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 462mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 20g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
IF YOU LOVE TOMATO SAUCE AND YOU’RE NOT STRICTLY LOW FODMAP, YOU’LL LOVE THIS MUSHROOM RAGU RECIPE! OR FOR A FRESHER, MORE SUMMERY VIBE, TRY MY PESTO ROSSO AKA HOMEMADE SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO INSTEAD!
MORE DELICIOUS LOW FODMAP RECIPES
EASY CHINESE STYLE BEEF AND BROCCOLI
INDIAN STYLE CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA WITH GLUTEN FREE NAAN
CRISPY OVEN BAKED POTATO WEDGES