Flavor Without FODMAPs: Garlic Substitutes

Garlic is one of the most frequently used seasonings throughout the world. It is flavorful and boasts many health benefits. However, if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you might have a more complicated relationship with this beloved spice.

Garlic, and its cousin onions, are among the most common triggers for IBS symptoms. This is due to the FODMAP content. Just one clove is high in the FODMAP fructans.

But don’t worry about being stuck with bland food on a low FODMAP diet. There are many low-FODMAP substitutes for garlic. So, pick a few from the list below and get cooking!

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Low FODMAP Garlic Substitutes

Garlic Chives

Garlic chives are low FODMAP in a portion of 1 cup. Larger amounts (nearly 3 cups) contain large amounts of fructose, but it’s unlikely that most people would consume a portion that large anyway.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are a wonderful substitute for garlic. And they come from the garlic plant! Garlic scapes are the green shoots that grow from the garlic bulb of cold climate (hardneck) varieties of garlic.

On the Monash app they are referred to as garlic shoots and are low FODMAP in a serving of 6 Tablespoons, raw.

The entire shoot is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The flavor is sweeter and more mild than garlic. And it mellows out even more with cooking. Chop them fine or leave them in longer pieces to add a little texture to your dish.

Garlic scapes are generally seasonal and can be difficult to find. Look for them at your local farmers market in the spring. We have received them in our CSA box.

Garlic-Infused Olive Oil

Decorative image: garlic infused olive oil drizzled on a salad

Garlic-infused olive oil gives you the flavor you crave without the fructans in garlic cloves. You can use it to replace other types of oil in your recipe. Or add a small amount to the finished product for a pop of flavor.

If find that in uncooked foods, the flavor of garlic-infused oil can be a little overpowering, so use sparingly or combine with regular olive oil. For example, in a salad dressing recipe that calls for ¼ cup olive oil, consider using 2 Tablespoons of garlic-infused olive oil + 2 Tablespoons of regular EVOO.

Be cautious when choosing your infused oil – avoid products with visible pieces of garlic sitting in the bottle. It may be wise to choose a brand that is certified low FODMAP, like Colavita or FODY Foods.

Low FODMAP garlic substitutes: Garlic scapes, garlic chives, garlic infused olive oil, asafoetida, and specialty products.

Garlic Powder Substitutes

Asafoetida or Hing

Also an alternative to onions, this pungent yellow powder is frequently used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. It has a flavor similar to that of both onions and garlic. It is very potent. You only need a small pinch to add flavor (I personally stick to a few granules).

Some people dislike the flavor (and smell), hence it’s nickname “devil’s dung”. But if you miss the flavor of onion and garlic, it’s worth a try! Asafoetida is best used in cooked dishes.

Just a word of caution… pregnant women should avoid large amounts of asafoetida as it has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage.

Garlic Chive Powder

Like regular chives, garlic chives are available in powdered form and work great as a garlic powder substitutes. Gourmend Foods carries a certified low FODMAP product.

Garlic Scape Powder

This is another great and easy-to-use alternative to garlic powder from the green shoots of garlic. It is available from Gourmend Foods. Use Code CASSIEMADSEN at checkout for 15% off (I do not receive a commission for this).

FreeFOD Garlic Replacer

One teaspoon of this powder replaces a clove of garlic. You can purchase FreeFOD products through Amazon.

FAQ on Garlic and The Low FODMAP Diet

Is garlic bad for me if I have IBS?

No! Garlic has many health benefits, even for gut health. But it may trigger symptoms such as bloating, flatulence, pain, diarrhea, or constipation in someone with IBS. This does not mean garlic is bad. It just may make you feel uncomfortable.

Is there a low FDOMAP serving of garlic?

There is no established low FODMAP serving of garlic. A single clove of garlic, about 3 grams, is considered high FODMAP. That said, it is likely that very small amounts of garlic can be tolerated by most people with IBS.

Generally speaking, if garlic is found on the ingredient list of a product, it is less likely to be a problem than if it is found at the beginning of the list. You may choose to avoid products containing garlic during your elimination phase unless the product is certified low FODMAP.

As you progress through the FODMAP elimination process, you may discover that fructans are not a big problem for you. In this case, feel free to add garlic back into your diet slowly.

And even if you had some intolerance, you may find that you have a threshold for tolerance. For example, I often add 1 clove of garlic to a recipe that serves 4-6. Then I use a little garlic-infused olive oil to bring up the garlic flavor more if needed.

Does it matter if the garlic is eaten cooked or raw?

Sorry, but no. Cooking doesn’t significantly change the FODMAP content of garlic. However, if you have reflux you may find that cooked garlic is better tolerated than raw. But this has nothing to do with FODMAPs.

Is garlic powder low FODMAP?

No. In fact, garlic powder may be worse than using fresh garlic because the powdered form is more concentrated. Like garlic, there is no established low FODMAP serve of garlic powder. If you are in the elimination phase of your diet, stick with the low FODMAP garlic substitutes above.

In Conclusion

Garlic adds great flavor to many foods. But it may come at the cost of bothersome symptoms if you have IBS. Fortunately, there are some great low-FODMAP garlic substitutes that you can use.

Plus, you may just find that you can tolerate very small amounts of garlic in your food. While there is no established low FODMAP serve of garlic, most people can tolerate small amounts. A dietitian can help you find that threshold for tolerance to garlic and other high FODMAP foods.

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If you have tried some of the above garlic substitutes, I would love to hear from you – which ones were your favorites? And if you have any questions, drop them in the comments below!

And if you found this article helpful, be sure to check out part one of this three-part series on Flavor Without FODMAPS: Onion Substitutes and part two on Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings .

Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here.

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