With some high FODMAP ingredients, you might be wondering if it’s possible to enjoy low FODMAP salsa?
Well, the answer is with a few substitutions, and in the right portion size, it can be.
This article will explore if salsa is low FODMAP, some high FODMAP ingredients to look out for and some ways to make your own low FODMAP salsa.
What is salsa?
So, what is usually in salsa or traditional pica de gallo?
Salsa translates literally to ‘sauce’ – popularised by Mexican restaurants the main ingredients usually consist of fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, chillies and coriander.
It is served cold for dipping or can be used to top a number of dishes such as tacos and nachos.
Is salsa low FODMAP?
Two main ingredients of salsa, onions and garlic, are high FODMAP. Tomatoes too can be considered high FODMAP in certain quantities depending on the type (1).
A portion of store bought salsa has been tested by monash and is considered safe in quantities of two tablespoons.
All the brands tested contained tomatoes and traces of onions and garlic, so any more than this could contain high amounts of Oligos-fructans.
Tomatoes give salsa that tang, however they have recently been reviewed by MONASH and portion sizes have changed, so it is important to regularly check levels, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms.
You can read more about Are tomatoes low FODMAP? here.
High FODMAP salsa ingredients
Traditionally, salsa can contain some high FODMAP ingredients. Here are some ingredients to look out for:
Red onions are a star ingredient in salsa, but onions are known triggers for IBS due to containing fructans which can cause pain, bloating and diarrhoea for some people.
We talk more about that here in our Onion intolerance – are onions triggering your IBS? blog.
However, using the tips of green onion (spring onion) can give recipes that same onion flavour without worrying about symptoms, as these are allowed up to servings of 75g.
Garlic is high in FODMAPs due to its fructan content.
However, garlic infused is safe to consume on the low FODMAP diet to give you that garlic flavour. This is because FODMAPs are water soluble, so in oil, you’re good to go.
These are available at all supermarkets and have a good shelf life so are great for keeping in for cooking. Substitute garlic in your salsa recipe for a splash of garlic-infused oil for that garlic-like taste.
Click here to read all about onion, garlic and infused oils on the low FODMAP diet.
Other ingredients for a low-FODMAP salsa
The good news is that a lot of tasty ingredients you would normally find in salsa such as coriander, lime and cumin are low in FODMAPs in the quantities one person would usually consume in a portion of salsa.
Other ingredients such as green bell peppers, jalapenos and chilli can also be included.
Please note capsaicin, found in chilli and peppers can irritate the gut, and this effect on digestion can be more prevalent for IBS sufferers so only add in as much or a little as suits you (2).
Homemade Low FODMAP salsa
If you are craving a little salsa hit but are worried about the FODMAPs in a shop bought salsa, here are some tips on making your own homemade salsa.
- Using tinned tomatoes over fresh tomatoes will give you more sauce and more dipping! You can use a tin of chopped tomatoes to make a dip and consume ¼ of the dip safely.
- Swap red onion for the green tips of a spring onion instead
- Use garlic infused oil instead of fresh garlic
- Add authentic flavours such as green peppers, jalapenos, cumin, coriander, lime and chilli to your own taste (just remember chillies can irritate the gut)
- Blitzing down chunkier ingredients such as fresh tomato and pepper can give more of a dipping consistency
Shop bought low FODMAP salsa options
If you’re short on time, Fody Foods have their ‘No onion, no garlic’ Low FODMAP Medium Salsa available to buy if you are based in the US or Canada .
For shipping in the UK, Bays Kitchen have a Low FODMAP Spicy Tomato Salsa which is gluten and dairy free.
Low FODMAP salsa recipes
Below are some low FODMAP recipes that you could try at home:
- Low FODMAP Fresh Salsa
- Sassy low FODMAP Salsa Recipe
- Low FODMAP Salsa Recipe
- Low FODMAP pico de gallo
Despite some of the main ingredients in salsa being high in FODMAPs, the flavours of salsa are not off the menu. You can still enjoy a flavoursome low FODMAP salsa dip with just a few tweaks.
Salsa does contain some high FODMAP ingredients such as tomatoes, onion and garlic. Being aware of the safe quantities is important and also how to navigate round them with substitutions.
With the suggestions above you can make a alternative or if time is against you, there are purchasing options available online now too.
Article written by Kate Southan, Student Dietitian, reviewed by Kirsten Jackson, Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Serena is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian. She graduated from Coventry University in 2021 with an upper second class in Dietetics and Human Nutrition.
Serena has previously worked as an Acute Dietitian supporting inpatients with both oral nutrition support and enteral tube feeding. She is now currently working as a Specialist Weight Management Dietitian. Alongside this, Serena has worked for The Food Treatment Clinic since 2022 and has created our low FODMAP, histamine intolerance and SIBO ebooks.
Serena has a keen interest in IBS and gut health, most specifically the low FODMAP diet. She is dedicated to helping those with gut conditions to improve their overall quality of life.
Last updated on August 30th, 2023 at 10:43 pm