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Not Traveling Because of COVID-19? These 7 Low-FODMAP Dinners Will Take You on a Worldwide Trek

Woman eating dinner in restaurant on the tropical beach at sunset.

Getty/Marija Jovovic

Try these seven low-FODMAP recipes from, literally, all over the map. What they have in common besides their high yum factor is that they will make you feel like you’re in a different country even when you’re stuck at home because of the spreading coronavirus.

I feed bad for low-FODMAP dieters. It’s a tricky diet to follow, treats unsexy problems, and doesn’t even have a snappy-sounding name. But it wasn’t intended to make your life more Instagrammable. Eating low-FODMAP foods isn’t about your outside at all—it’s about what’s inside. Research on the gut-brain axis increasingly shows that if your gut is happy, uninflamed and functioning well, your brain will function better, too.

Because it’s harder to just find a couple of recipes that work and keep reaching for them automatically (as you can do for breakfast and even lunch), dinner is one of the trickier meals to navigate on a low-FODMAP diet. My go-to shortcut for following restrictive diets is to find a cuisine that already mostly follows it anyway. You can do this beautifully for non-dairy (most Asian cuisines don’t rely on dairy in the least) and even for gluten-free (Mexican and South American cuisines can be great—lots of starch options including corn, rice, tapioca).

But because low-FODMAP is isn’t linked to a single family of ingredients, I haven’t found that with low-FODMAP yet. So we’re going to do this the old-fashioned way: one meal at a time. Together, we’ll get there.

Here are a few low-FODMAP recipes from, literally, all over the map. What they have in common besides their high yum factor is that they will make you feel like you’re in a different country even when you’re stuck at home because of the spreading coronavirus.

BBQ Lamb Skewers with Yogurt Dressing and Smashed Potatoes

Reach for Mediterranean simplicity with these juicy, healthy, veggie-rich skewers drizzled with lemon and yogurt. If you’re still waiting for BBQ weather, make them inside on the burner. They’ll be just as quick and taste just as great.

Miso Cod Ramen

You don’t have to do without ramen on a chilly evening. Ordinary ramen noodles, made with wheat flour, are high-FODMAP—but the Japanese noodle soba, made mostly with low-FODMAP, can easily be substituted. Since soba noodles have a stronger flavor and earthier chew than regular ramen noodles, you’ll need similarly assertive flavors in your garnishes. Here’s where the miso cod comes in, with tangy, complex miso and fragrant sesame oil lending oomph to cod’s firm mildness.

Sweet Sour Chicken

Sometimes you just want takeout. And sometimes that takeout has to be sweet-sour chicken. Unfortunately, this dish can be deceptively high-FODMAP, as the chicken is frequently (but maddeningly, not always) coated in flour before frying. Here’s a low-FODMAP version you can make at home that will make you happy you doubled the recipe.

Pad Thai

Pad Thai uses rice-based noodles, which is great for when you just want a noodly, multi-textured umami bomb that’s full of a tangle of complex flavors and doesn’t make you feel like you’re giving up anything.

Here’s a bonus: Pad Thai takes easily to swapping out proteins. Feel like tofu instead? No problem. Although many soy products are high-FODMAP, the production method of firm or extra-firm tofu removes FODMAPS, and qualifies those tofu products for the “use with comparative abandon” list.

Cuban Picadillo

Part of the complicated dance that is low-FODMAP eating is the avoidance of high amounts of wheat, barley, and rye. This delicious and easy Cuban picadillo recipe from Calm Belly Kitchen makes use of low-FODMAP rice and plantains, which were found to contain only trace amounts of FODMAPs, unlike their high-FODMAP look-alike cousin, bananas. Plantains are harder to find (look in specialty markets), but once you have your source, they unlock the gateway to a whole set of plantain-based recipes you can enjoy without disturbing your brain-gut equilibrium.

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is hands-down one of my favorite Indian dishes. Except it isn’t—history says it was invented in the 1970s by a Bangladeshi chef in Glasgow who added a tomato-cream sauce to his chicken tikka, which is an Indian dish. Whatever its history, this one’s a winner, one that substitutes creamy coconut milk for the usual yogurt or cream.

Making your own fragrant curry paste is easier than it sounds, and ensures that everything you put into this delicious classic British-Indian dish is low-FODMAP.

Chili Nachos with Avocado Crema

Here’s a low-FODMAP feast you can serve to a crowd of teenagers or a game-watching afternoon. This mountain of textures, flavors, and temperatures with All the Toppings hits the jackpot. Corn tortilla chips are naturally low-FODMAP. Just be sure to use a type of cheese that’s low-FODMAP, too (like easy-to-find and melt-friendly cheddar) and you’re good to go. But wait, aren’t avocados high-FODMAP? They can be—but the key here is to keep the total amount of avocado within limits.

Want to know more about FODMAP? Read “FODMAP: A Primer.”

About the Author

Lavonne Leong

Lavonne Leong divides her time between small, yoga-centric islands in Canada and the U.S., where she writes, hikes, and raises...

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