low-fodmap meatballs

low-fodmap meatballs are comforting, delicious and safe for friends with IBS
Low-fodmap meatballs are comforting, delicious and safe for friends with IBS

One of my dearest friends is following the low-FODMAP diet to combat IBS, and it can be a little challenging to stick with the ‘no wheat, onion and garlic’ rule when you’re eating out. It’s not impossible, but I’ve seen the struggle – poring over menus, referencing the extensive list of prohibited foods and interrogating waiters as to the contents of a dish while your dining companions wait to order. A menu becomes a minefield and what should be a lovely, free and happy choice based purely on what you feel like eating becomes stressful, difficult and a little isolating.

Serve with rice or rice pasta for a FODMAP-friendly meal
Serve with rice or rice pasta for a FODMAP-friendly meal

So sometimes we eat in, and whenever I have her around I like to make something she can eat safely and share with everyone else. It’s maybe a little complicated, but with a bit of creativity and an understanding of good substitutions, everyone can tuck into the same dish.

The simple act of sharing – good food, a cheeky glass of wine and lots of laughter with friends – is a powerfully healing experience. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend!

Low-FODMAP meatballs (makes 60)
For the meatballs:
500g beef mince
500g pork mince
2 bunches spring onions (green part only), finely diced
5 sprigs of parsley, finely diced
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp garlic oil
4 tbsp parmesan
4 eggs
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
2 tsp baking soda
3-4 tbsp cornstarch

For the tomato sauce:
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
2 x 500g passata
1 bunch spring onions (green part only), finely diced
3 bay leaves
3 mozzarella balls, to bake

Put it in the oven to bake and go and join your friends for a chat.
Put it in the oven to bake and go and join your friends for a chat.

Mix all the ingredients except the cornstarch together with a fork.

The cornstarch is there to regulate the wetness of the mix, so start with 2 tablespoons, mix thoroughly and see how wet it is. You want it to be moist, but easy to handle.

Roll into small balls.

From here, there are a few ways to go about cooking the dish. The easiest is to place them directly into the sauce, top with mozzarella and bake the whole thing for 90 minutes in a 200 degree oven.

Alternatively, you can bake your meatballs separately for 30 minutes so they brown nicely, then place them into the sauce and bake for 30 minutes. This is also a good method if you like to drain the fat from your mince.

Finally, if you don’t have an oven, you can simmer them in the sauce. Don’t stir them at the start as they’ll break up – wait until the egg has cooked and will hold them together. Total cooking time is about 30 minutes, starting with a fast simmer for the first 15 minutes and coming back down to a low simmer.

Serve with brown rice or mashed potatoes.

FODMAP notes: I’ve included parmesan in the recipe, because even though lactose is a no-go, parmesan has very little lactose. I’m not quite sure what it is about the ageing process, but hard cheeses have far less lactose than soft cheeses and milk.

Having just said that, mozzarella is also on the safe list for FODMAP. Nevertheless, some people are super-sensitive to lactose, so leave it out if you have to.

6 thoughts on “low-fodmap meatballs

    1. I’m sure you could! You could have all-beef meatballs, or lamb would work nicely (ooh, maybe minus the Parmesan and with some harissa in the sauce – delish!) 🙂

      EDIT: Oops, it only just occurred to me that you might be asking for a FODMAP-friendly substitution – in which case, harissa is out, since it has garlic. You could try sumac and urfa peppers kneaded into the meatball mixture instead. Rosemary and a dash of garlic-infused oil would also be lovely.

  1. As a recent convert to low Fodmap – Wonderful recipe. I was curious to find out how such a recipe would work without onion and garlic but the green part of the spring onion is just delicious. I also like how you can plonk it all in one dish and cook it in the oven. Thank you.

    1. Hi Nedina! So glad you had success with the recipe, and I hope low-FODMAP is working out for you. I put baking soda into the meat to give it a springy, sausage-like texture. Basically baking soda acts as a tenderiser, and helps the meat to hold onto moisture so the meatballs stay soft and juicy. Hope this helps!

      1. Hullo Kahmen. Thank you for answering my query – that is so interesting, I will add it as am making another batch today. Low-Fodmap has been miraculous for me – thank you.

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