Balsamic Rosemary Chicken Risotto – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly and Gluten Free

Balsamic Rosemary Chicken Risotto - low FODMAP, fructose friendly, gluten free and lactose free

As always, my predictable stomach began to crave warm, hearty meals right about the time the weather started to cool down. Instead of light salads, it seems to be nagging for all the proteins and fats and carbs. Thanks stomach, I wasn’t planning on going up a size this winter but you seem to have other ideas. Of course, you shouldn’t always give in to cravings but occasionally it’s alright – say, for instance, after you had been sick for a week and could finally stay out of the bathroom for long enough to cook a meal (this gluten challenge is almost over, my immune system can see the light!).

After said week, I couldn’t stomach much but I could manage chicken and rice… but how appetising (or nutritious, really) is boiled chicken and rice? This risotto is pretty basic, so it’s easy on the stomach; you don’t need much to fill you up and it packs in more nutrients than its plain cousin thanks to the homemade stock and vegetables it contains. Oh and it’s pure comfort food. Ready. Set. Nom.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Balsamic vinegar is low FODMAP in 1 tbsp. servings. The 1/3 cup in this recipe will give 3/4 tbsp. per serving if divided between six people, less if shared among eight. Make sure you have real Balsamic vinegar, as the cheaper imitations might not all be FODMAP friendly – check the labels and use what you can tolerate.
  2. Rosemary is a low FODMAP herb.
  3. Chicken is of course low FODMAP – just be careful you don’t buy pre-seasoned chicken, which might have high FODMAP spices added.
  4. Zucchini is a FODMAP friendly vegetable.
  5. Mushrooms contain large amounts of the polyol mannitol in 1 cup servings. The 6 crimini mushrooms called for in this recipe would be just under 1/4 cup in size each, so you would be ingesting at most 1/4 cup of mushrooms if you divided this recipe among six people, less among eight. Of course, if you are sensitive to mannitol in any amount, substitute it with more zucchini, or even some cherry tomatoes.
  6. One serving of a dry white wine is considered low FODMAP.
  7. Arborio rice is a low FODMAP and gluten free grain.
  8. Butter is low in lactose, as FODMAPs are water soluble and butter is mostly fat. However, if you cannot tolerate any butter, either add in your favourite butter replacement or simply omit. For a less creamy version (i.e. when you’re recovering from a stomach bug and can’t tolerate rich foods) omit the butter. It’s what I did for my recovering stomach but any other time I would add it in.

Balsamic Rosemary Chicken Risotto

Serves 6-8

  • 5 cups/1.25 L of fructose friendly chicken stock
  • 700 g chicken, diced into 2 cm chunks
  • 1/6 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil to seal pan
  • 2 cloves of garlic – to be removed before cooking the rice
  • 1 cup diced green leek tips
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 6 medium crimini mushrooms, diced (see FODMAP notes)
  • 300 g arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml dry white wine
  • 1/6 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fresh minced rosemary
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (optional, see FODMAP notes)

Prepare the chicken and vegetables, wash the rice and set everything aside. If you have time/thought ahead, marinate the chicken in the 1/6 cup of Balsamic vinegar overnight, otherwise, just add them together while cooking. Obviously, in this case you would prep the chicken the day before all the other ingredients.

In a small saucepan, bring the chicken stock to a simmer and reduce to low. Put the lid on and leave until required.

Fry the chicken pieces in a large fry/saute pan and add the Balsamic vinegar (if it wasn’t added earlier for marination – time constraints and all that). Cook over a high heat until the chicken pieces are all fully sealed and then remove the meat and juices from the pan into a clean bowl.

Next, add in a little more olive oil and add in the leek tips and garlic cloves. Fry over a medium/high heat until the garlic becomes fragrant, then remove and discard the garlic cloves. Add the diced zucchini and mushrooms and cook over a medium heat until the vegetables are mostly cooked.

Push the vegetables to the side and tip in the rice; fry the rice to coat it in the oil/pan juices and then pour in the white wine and last 1/6 cup of Balsamic vinegar. Cook over a medium heat until most of the liquid has evaporated and then begin adding the warmed chicken stock, one ladle at a time.

Reduce the heat to a low/medium setting and stir occasionally, letting the stock gradually absorb into the rice. Add a fresh ladle of stock when the previous batch has almost dried out and keep going until the rice is fully cooked (soft) or the stock runs out. The chicken and its juices should be added back into the pan when the pot of stock is about half-used, so it can finish cooking with the rice. Season with the rosemary, salt and pepper when you add in the chicken and then tinker with a little more if required at the end. Finally, add in the optional butter and stir through, for a rich and creamy dish. For pictures of not-quite-cooked vs. cooked risotto, see here.

Serving suggestions: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, minced chives (green parts only) or a sprig of rosemary or parsley. Don’t forget the wine.

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Roasted Capsicum and Leek Risotto – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Risotto 4

Risotto is a delicious meal in itself but is also a great substitute for pasta for those who can’t eat wheat or wheat derivatives. And the bonus? It’s really not as hard as you think it is to make. I’m not kidding. It’s time consuming and you have to be patient but it’s easy peasy.

I make risotto each night before I do my long run for the week. It is filling and full of carbohydrates that I’ll need the next morning for my run. This also makes it quite high in calories so be careful how much you eat! Adding vegetables will also up its nutrition value to more than carbs and fat. So, Monday’s are risotto night. And this Friday night, too, because I’m doing the Lake Sammamish Half Marathon on Saturday morning… EEK!

FODMAP Notes:

  1. The green parts of leeks and spring onions are lower in fructans than the white part, so are safer for FMers. Please note that some people are extra sensitive and even this reduced amount will cause them to react. Follow what works for you. Asafoetida (hing) is a spice that replicates the flavours of onion and garlic once cooked, so that could be substituted instead.
  2. Fructose friendly vegetable stock is that which has been cooked sans onions/garlic, as the FODMAPs will leech out into the water. Either make your own or find a brand that is safe.
  3. FODMAPs are water soluble, so infusing your oil with garlic before any water based ingredients are added is the safest way to impart the garlic’s flavour without the fructans.
  4. Capsicums are low FODMAP in servings of 1 cup.

The following is a basic risotto recipe that you can flavour however you’d like – some flavour variations are listed below.

Basic Risotto:

  • 5 cups/1.25 L FF vegetable stock
  • Olive oil to seal your pan
  • 2 cups green leek tips, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed – to be removed before cooking the rice
  • 300 g/10 oz arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup/125 ml dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 cups roasted capsicum, sliced into 1 cm cubes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (or a vegetarian hard cheese) to serve.

Wash your rice.

Heat the veggie stock in a separate pot until it is simmering. Leave it there to use later on.

Seal your pan with olive oil by placing it on a high heat until the oil is smoking. Let it smoke for about 15-20 seconds and then remove it from the heat and tip your pan so that the oil covers the entire bottom surface.

Meanwhile, reduce your stove to a medium/high heat to saute the garlic. This step is optional – some people are too sensitive to fructans for even garlic infused oil – but should take only a few minutes and will give the dish some garlic flavour without a huge load of fructans. Remove the garlic before adding in the green leek tips, then saute until softened before adding in the rice.

Next, reduce the heat to medium, then add rice and wine and stir until the wine has evaporated – about 1 minute.

Now for the time consuming part. Add the stock to the rice one ladle at a time, stirring occasionally. Each time the stock has almost disappeared, add another ladle. Keep the heat to no more than just above medium because we don’t want too much of the liquid to evaporate; the rice needs to absorb it to cook. Keep doing this until the stock has gone; the rice should be tender and creamy but not “sloppy.” When you are halfway through the stock, add in the roasted capsicums and stir through.

Risotto 1

The stock isn’t fully absorbed here, and the rice will retain a little crunch

Risotto 3

Here the stock is fully absorbed and the rice is soft and tender. The risotto also keeps its shape as it is pushed around. It’s ready.

Add the butter, then season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle your serving with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Risotto 5