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.

IMG_6303 IMG_6309

Advertisements

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms - Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free and Vegetarian

It’s funny how your taste buds change as you get older – if someone had told my ten year old self that I would eventually love mushrooms and asparagus more than my beloved cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise sandwiches, I’d have laughed in their face – but it’s true, the impossible has happened. It’s not just me, even my sister, who used to hate mushrooms so much that she once hid them up her nose to avoid eating them, eats mushrooms happily. Side note – Lis was three, it was hilarious; Mum and Dad had left the room and told her all the mushrooms had to be gone when they got back or she wouldn’t get dessert and returned to her sneezing up mushrooms.

Mushrooms are an hearty, healthy vegetarian steak that can be prepared in just about any way you could imagine. Nutritionally, they are high in dietary fibre, iron, magnesium, certain B group vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, selenium and zinc, and they have a moderate amount of protein (3.3 g per 100 g serve); mushies are also low in fat, cholesterol and sodium, for those who need to watch those components of food.

Notes:

  1. Mushrooms contain high levels of the polyol mannitol in 1 cup servings; one or two of these mushrooms is about 1/2 a cup of mushrooms. Eat what you can tolerate.
  2. Feta and Parmesan are lower FODMAP cheeses, being lower in lactose than soft cheeses.
  3. Use any bread you like for the bread crumbs – spelt, sourdough, gluten free, or grain free are fine.
  4. To make these vegetarian, use a sharp cheddar or vegetarian hard style cheese to top instead of the Parmesan, which contains rennet.

Feta and Pesto Stuffed Mushrooms

Makes 16, serves 8 as an entree/canape.

  • 16 large button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of a fructose friendly basil pesto
  • 4 slices of the bread of your choice (approx. 1 cup bread crumbs)
  • 150 g Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese or vegetarian hard cheese, freshly grated

The day before you are making the filling, get out the bread and roughly chop it. Let it sit, uncovered, to go stale overnight. Alternatively, if you forget this step, toast the sliced bread before roughly chopping them and blitzing them in your food processor to create bread crumbs.

Wash the mushrooms, then carefully de-stalk them and use a teaspoon to dig out the fuzz, so that you just have empty shells. Line a baking tray and evenly space the mushroom tops, upside down.

WP_20140823_15_01_19_Pro

Finely grate the stalks and then saute them in the garlic infused olive oil for 3 minutes, before adding in the pesto, bread crumbs and crumbled Feta cheese. Mix thoroughly and then let it cool completely before filling the mushroom shells. Fill the mushrooms so that the mixture rises above the top by about 5 mm or so, not too much or the Parmesan cheese will fall right off later on. Depending on the size of the hollows in the mushrooms, you could use anywhere from 2-4 tsp. of the filling. You will most likely have some filling left but don’t worry, it makes for a great sandwich spread. Sprinkle the mushrooms with finely grated Parmesan cheese (or vegetarian option) and store in the fridge until you want to bake them.

WP_20140823_15_01_07_Pro IMG_5850

When you are ready to bake (half an hour before serving), have the oven pre-heated to 180 C/350 F and bake the mushrooms for 20 minutes, until al dente. Remove them from the oven and let them sit for 5 minutes, to let the excess juices drain, before plating and serving them.

IMG_5870

Grilled Tofu Salad – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

Grilled Tofu Salad

I love warm salads. They are the perfect spring or autumn meal; not too heavy to weigh you down but just warm and hearty enough for the season.

They are also very quick and easy to make for a weeknight dinner. Thirty minutes or less? Yes, please!

Notes:

  1. Balsamic vinegar has been listed as both safe and unsafe, depending where you look. Monash University lists 1 tbsp. as safe and 2 tbsp. as containing moderate levels of fructose. Most balsamic vinegars are actually flavoured wine vinegars, so it’s hard to tell whether the authentic balsamic vinegar or the imitations are being referred to. At any rate most people aren’t buying the real deal, they’d be much too expensive to cook with except on very special occasions. I can tolerate 2 tbsp. of the imitation balsamic vinegar that I buy.
  2. Butter is very low lactose, as during production the water-soluble sugar was removed along with the buttermilk.
  3. Cherry tomatoes are considered low FODMAP in half cup servings, according to Monash University.
  4. Mushrooms are considered by Monash University to be high in mannitol and have moderate FOS in one cup servings. Different mushroom varieties have different levels of FODMAPs and I can tolerate the less than half cup serving of button mushrooms in this dish, as polyols do not affect me and the FOS has been reduced enough for my tolerance levels.
  5. Green chives are low in FODMAPs, just make sure you don’t use the white root portion.

Grilled Tofu Salad

Serves 2.

  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach, de-stemmed
  • 225 g/8 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1 cup cherry or vine-ripened tomatoes, diced
  • 3/4 cup button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. minced green chives
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or whole
  • 2 tbsp. fresh rosemary
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 + 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. butter or dairy free equivalent (vegan option such as coconut butter or Nuttelex etc)
  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp. each of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Slice the tofu so that it is approx. 2 cm thick and wrap it in paper towel, then sandwich it between two chopping boards and place something on top to lightly press it down. This will squeeze much of the fluid out of the tofu. Leave it like that for 20 minutes; in the meantime, prepare the vegetables.

Seal the surface of your a fry pan, then unwrap and fry the tofu for about 4 minutes on each side, until crisp and golden brown. Divide the spinach leaves between two plates or pasta bowls and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the oil and your choice of normal or vegan butter over a medium-high heat and then put in the garlic; let it simmer for a couple of minutes, until fragrant. Next, lower the heat to medium and saute the mushrooms until they have softened considerably and begun to release liquid, then throw in the rosemary and first 2 tbsp. of chives. After a minute, add in the tomatoes, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and stir until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

IMG_5149 IMG_5148

The vegetables should be done at about the same time as the tofu, so divide the vegetables between the two servings (place on top of the spinach) and then take the tofu off the heat and  slice it into strips. Place the tofu on top of the vegetables and sprinkle with remaining chives and flax seeds (optional but I like the crunch). The flax seeds aren’t pictured below.

Serve immediately, so that the vegetables and tofu are still warmed through.

IMG_5150