I have fond memories ranging from when I was a kid to quite recently of my parents hosting amazing dinner parties. They are both great cooks and have tons of great recipes. One of my mom’s best is her Caesar vinaigrette. She has a beautiful wooden bowl and matching salad spoons, and every time she pulls them out I get so excited for her Caesar salad. But when I started the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, I thought it meant no more garlic. I’m posting this recipe for anyone out there on the low FODMAP diet who is missing a garlic-y Caesar salad. This Low FODMAP Caesar Salad Dressing has all the flavour without any of the fructans.
If you are looking for a copycat dressing of the thick creamy Caesar dressing often found at restaurants and bottled in the stores, this isn’t it. But don’t leave the page just yet! I truly think this is so much better and more flavourful. You’ve got to try it. I know you will love it too!
You may be looking at the title and feeling confused. How is it possible to have a garlic-y dressing that is also low FODMAP?! The key is garlic infused oil.
Garlic infused oils are full of amazing garlic flavour, but don’t contain any of the fructans. Fructans are water soluble.1 This means that they will leach out into water during cooking, but not oil. If you cook garlic in oil without any water or water containing foods (e.g., other vegetables) the fructans will stay in the garlic.1 When you remove the garlic, you will remove the fructans but leave the flavour.1 You can do the same thing with onion.1
Many infused oils are available for purchase in stores in varying flavours (garlic, onion, lemon, herb, and more). Beware, flavoured oils are not the same as infused oils, and may still have pieces of garlic in them. When you look at garlic or onion infused oils in stores check to see if there are any pieces/sediment in the oil. If it looks clear, then it should be safe to try! I recently reviewed some FODMAP Friendly certified foods including Cobram Estate’s garlic infused oil, which was great. It is easily available in Australia, but we can’t get that specific oil easily here in Canada yet sadly.
You don’t necessarily need to buy a garlic infused oil. It is super convenient to have in your cupboard to use in cooking or drizzling on vegetables. However, it’s cheaper to make your own!
It’s important to note that you need to keep homemade garlic infused oil in your fridge, not your cupboard, and it only lasts a few days. After 4 days throw out the leftovers because otherwise there is a serious risk of food poisoning.2
Making garlic infused oil is pretty simple. Grab a frying pan, a few cloves of garlic and your favourite oil. I recommend using extra virgin olive oil as it is great for heart health (also, next week I’m posting a health healthy recipe for Valentines Day!) Use as much oil as you think you will use in the next few days. I find that 5 cloves of garlic to 1 cup of oil gives the oil a strong flavour. Wash and dry the garlic cloves. Gently crush the cloves of the garlic (you can use the flat side of a large chef’s knife) and the peels will slide off. Pour the oil in the pan and heat on medium-low. When the oil is hot toss in the peeled garlic. Stir and let simmer for a couple minutes until fragrant. Then turn off the heat and remove all of the garlic pieces (look out for any small bits left in the oil). Voila! You made your own infused oil. Let the oil cool before you use it in the Caesar dressing recipe or on another salad.
For the Caesar vinaigrette, you can choose how garlic-y you want it to be. I really like garlic, but I don’t LOVE it like some people do. I used Cobram Estate’s oil which is very strong. I used 2 parts infused oil and 1 part normal olive oil, and there was enough garlic flavour for me. If you made your own and don’t think it is that strongly flavoured, or if you love love love garlic, then use all garlic infused oil.
You may notice that my pictures don’t include any croutons or bacon bits. This is simply because my family and I don’t enjoy them in our salad. We add in lots of fresh parmesan cheese instead! You are welcome to add in whatever you prefer! Alana has a recipe for low FODMAP croutons on her blog you could try out.
I really want to take a moment to emphasize the importance of the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet. The elimination phase is not meant to be life long. Starting the low FODMAP diet doesn’t mean you won’t ever be able to eat garlic again. Many people can tolerate moderate or even large amounts of certain FODMAPs. Every person is unique, and you won’t know which FODMAPs you react to until you systematically test them. A FODMAP dietitian like me can help you with this LINK. Many people are scared to reintroduce foods because they are so happy being symptom-free, and I truly understand. But you are not going to start off with eating multiple cloves of garlic! You will start with small amount, and slowly work your way up. If you react to a small amount, you don’t need to try a large amount.
Reintroduction was one of the best things I have ever done. Personally, I found out that I can tolerate a small amount of garlic and onion (fructans) and be okay. For example, I buy regular marinara sauce with small amounts of garlic and onion and am fine. However, I can’t eat a salsa that has big chunks of onion. The original version of this recipe contains whole garlic cloves which is a bit too strong for me. Other foods I have been able to reintroduce include ice cream, small amounts of wheat, and milk chocolate. I still have to be careful about what I eat, but my diet has a lot more variety now.
I think everyone with IBS has moments where they look at a favourite high FODMAP food and think “Maybe this time it will be fine”. A few months ago I had that exact moment staring at my mom’s salad. I decided to try just a small amount, and of course ended up eating a big plateful. It happens to dietitians too! My tummy was not happy with me the next day. So I’m happy I was able to make this delicious low FODMAP version of the Caesar dressing!
Are you looking for support with managing digestive symptoms and/or the low FODMAP diet? My nutrition counselling and coaching services are available across Canada (via video messaging or phone). I am a registered dietitian with a Master’s of Public Health in Nutrition who specializes in digestion and practical healthy eating tips. Learn more about my services by clicking here.
Like many people, I love this Low FODMAP Ceasar Salad alongside some pasta and chicken to make a delicious balanced meal. Joanna also has a recipe for yummy garlic bread if you prefer that over pasta.
Are you one of the big garlic lovers who put it in everything? Or do you just enjoy it in moderate amounts like me?
- Monash University, 2015. http://fodmapmonash.blogspot.ca/2015/06/cooking-with-onion-and-garlic-myths-and.html
- Kate Scarlata, RD, 2012. http://blog.katescarlata.com/2012/01/21/garlic-infused-oil/