The last time I cooked a dish without garlic or onion was…never.
Okay, it might have been a few weeks ago, when I made this Ayurvedic dish.
But like any good girl who earned her cooking stripes in Italy, alliums make my culinary world go round.
Giving them up was the scariest prospect of starting my low FODMAP diet this month, and the reason why so many SIBO warriors before me have had to learn to subsist entirely off their own creations.
Unless you’re ordering sushi or plain salads, or loading up at the steamed vegetable hot plate station at Whole Foods, it’s pretty difficult to find options that don’t have garlic and onion. Even the pantry items I carefully sourced without added sugar were off the table. Store bought sauces, dressings, broths and soups—even rotisserie chicken uses garlic or garlic powder as a rub I realized this week, to my intense dismay.
So even though the first thing I did when I returned home from Hawaii was throw out my neck, the second thing I did was get in the kitchen and start batch cooking some low FODMAP food.
There’s now homemade plain chicken stock and carrot marinara in the fridge, a creamy parsnip soup, and garlic oil to drizzle on it. Since FODMAPS aren’t fat soluble, you can get away with infusing oils with these alliums to partially get their flavor in your meals.
This sesame sheet pan salmon was the total winner of last week’s haul. It got me to break out of my regular veggie comfort zone and turn to baby turnips and bok choy—two Japanese staples that go underused in my kitchen.
The trick for sheet pan meals is making sure that whatever ingredients you choose have a similar cook time. With chicken, I lean towards sturdier pantry or root vegetables since it takes 45 minutes or so for the skin to render and thick legs to cook through. But fish is lightning fast (8 minutes) and needs tender veggies to match.
I had never roasted bok choy before going over to a friend’s house in LA for Jewish Christmas Eve. She very adorably bought all the ingredients for this chicken dish (another one-pan wonder) and made the bok choy to go on the side. It cooked up super quick, the thicker bulb becoming its usual tender core with a slight bite, but the leaves getting crispy. The best of both worlds.
For this sheet pan salmon recipe, I get the turnips in first so that they caramelize slightly, before adding the boy choy, sesame-ginger marinade, and the salmon. Once they braise in the last 8 minutes of cooking and soak up the sauce, they get tangy and slightly pickled.
Ginger is central to my low FODMAP strategy going forward, as it adds so much wonderful flavor. But in general making the most out of “primary condiments”–gluten-free soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and the like–helps keep you from feeling like you’re just shoveling plain grub in your mouth for the sake of eating.
I’ll have more low FODMAP recipes coming your way in the weeks to come, and my goal is that those of you who have the joy of eating alliums, don’t even notice. I promise that you won’t in this sheet pan dinner.
With health and hedonism,
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Sesame Sheet Pan Salmon with Roasted Bok Choy and Baby Turnips
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 10 baby turnips with their greens, if possible
- 4 baby bok choy sliced 1-2 inch thick (see note)
- Four 6-ounce salmon fillets skin-on
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, tamari, sesame oil, ginger, sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and cayenne (if using).
- Remove the turnip greens and toss any dried out or gnarly ones. Roughly chop the rest. Quarter the baby turnips (you want 1/2-inch thickness for the wedges).
- On a baking sheet, toss the turnips with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season lightly with salt. Roast in the oven until tender and beginning to shrivel, 7 minutes. Remove the pan and add the bok choy, turnip greens with half the marinade. Toss until combined and arrange in an even layer. Nestle the salmon fillets (skin-side down) into the vegetables, making sure each piece is making contact with the pan. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the salmon and use your spoon to make sure they’re fully coated.
- Place the sheet pan in the oven and roast until the greens are beginning to crisp and the salmon is tender, about 7 minutes for medium-rare.
- Serve the salmon immediately over rice.
If you can’t find baby turnips, simply cut a regular turnip into 1/2 inch cubes. Similar to leeks, bok choy can be gritty. If you notice any dirt that’s snuck between the base of the leaves, add the whole lot of sliced choy to a bowl of water. Agitate with your hands so that any dirt falls to the bottom. Then lift the greens out with your hands (don’t drain through a colander!) and pat dry with a dish towel.