Classic Spaghetti Bolognese – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free

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Napoli Sauce – Fructose Friendly


Napoli sauce is a tomato-based, vegetarian sauce that is useful for pastas, parmigianas and many other meals. It is a mix of tomatoes and other vegetables and herbs that are slowly cooked to release the flavours and thicken nicely. Delicious.

I’ve had a few misunderstandings, since moving to Seattle – for some reason, in America, apart from calling it “red sauce” or “spaghetti sauce,” they also call it “marinara.” This makes absolutely no sense to me; back home in Australia, “marinara” sauce refers to a seafood pasta sauce, either cream- or tomato-based. Marine life = seafood, right? I’ll just have to live with it, I suppose… but if any American out there can enlighten me as to why Napoli sauce is called marinara in the States I’d love to know why. Maybe there is a logical reason? Or maybe it was all just a big misunderstanding πŸ˜›


  1. Many can tolerate garlic infused olive oil, as FODMAPs are water soluble, so don’t seep into the oil.
  2. Tomatoes can be tricky for those with FM; while many are not affected at all, some can be. The paste is the worst offender because it is in such a concentrated form – even though tomatoes aren’t on the unfavourable list, they still increase the fructose load of a meal (Figure 2,Β Shepherd & Gibson, 2006). Diced tomatoes, on the other hand, are just cooked diced tomatoes that are preserved in jars/cans, the method of which you can read here and try for yourself at home. It is very similar to the canning process I use for jams. But essentially, they are not in the concentrated form of tomato pastes, so most of us would need to eat a lot for a reaction to occur – this can of course differ between individuals. You do need to be careful of what is added to the diced tomatoes, though. Onion is often added, so make sure you check the ingredients if they elicit your reactions.
  3. One stalk of celery is considered high in mannitol, so depending on your sensitivity, you may need to sub in another vegetable, such as celeriac. As the single stalk called for in this recipe is spread over 4-5 servings, you may be able to tolerate the reduced polyol load.

Napoli Sauce

  • Lug of olive oil (or garlic infused oil) to seal your pot
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole or minced (if not using garlic oil above)
  • 1 cup green leek tips, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 1 zucchini, finely diced
  • 2 small carrots, finely diced
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 large (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 cup red wine*
  • 1 tbsp. gluten free Balsamic vinegar
  • A few sprigs of herbs of your choice, finely diced. I used thyme; basil, rosemary or parsley would also give this sauce their own zing.
  • Salt and pepper to taste

*Make sure your wine is cheap enough to cook with but good enough that you don’t mind drinking what is left of the bottle!

Seal your pan, then lower heat. Add garlic and leek tipsΒ and fry until fragrant; remove the whole garlic cloves if you cannot tolerate the flesh, or leave in the minced garlic if you can. Add the rest of the vegetables and the bay leaves and continue cooking until they release their juices (flavours!) and soften considerably, about 10 minutes.

Next, add the diced tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper, red wine and balsamic vinegar.

Bring the sauce to the boil for a minute then let it reduce to a simmer. Simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes, then with the lid off for another 30 minutes to let it reduce. You can alter lid-off time depending on how runny/thick you like your sauce.


You could also reserve some of the herbs, if they are fresh, to garnish at the end if you are serving this over pasta. Wheat-free pasta, of course.

Also, if you like a very smooth sauce, you can either grate all the veggies to begin with or put the sauce in a food processor once it is cooked. It’s up to you!