I’ve taken one of the most decadent, creamy pasta dishes, Penne alla Vodka, and made the classic pasta sauce low FODMAP and dairy-free. Tomatoes and carrots get roasted together and pureed to create a luscious orange sauce that doesn’t require cream. It’s perfect on any gluten-free pasta!
Though I make this low FODMAP pasta sauce all the time, if I’m being honest, it reminds me of an ex-boyfriend who ate mostly white and pink foods off the kids’ menu, for whom penne alla vodka might as well have been a major food group.
He had other wonderful qualities, but being my co-pilot in taste was not one of them. So in a sense, this lightened up low FODMAP vodka sauce does remind me of my current love and how grateful I am to be with a fellow adventurous eater.
Sure, there may have been a time when my husband would have vastly preferred the dose of heavy cream, and was more than willing to pay the consequences at the end of the night. But he also continuously surprises me with his love of green things.
When I’m feeling lazy and don’t have time to come up with new low FODMAP dinner ideas, I’ll reach for this low FODMAP pasta sauce and some gluten-free noodles.
You might not be able to tell from the photos but this dairy-free vodka sauce has absolutely no milk, cream or thickener—not even of the nut or coco variety! It also has far less tomatoes than usual, which makes it a great option for those sensitive to acid or nightshades. What gives the sauce that gorgeous reddish-orange hue and a hint of sweetness are roasted carrots and a low FODMAP quantity of fennel.
You throw this trio on a sheet pan and let them caramelize in the oven, then transfer them to a blender along with some veggie stock or water. The resulting sauce is thick, velvety and totally luscious. If you’re not making Low FODMAP pasta sauce, you can add a little garlic or shallot to the roasting process, but I love the simplicity of this recipe and how many nutrients are packed into the dairy-free vodka sauce.
Is tomato sauce low FODMAP?
Most store bought pasta sauces have garlic and onion in them, which are two big high FODMAP foods. Vodka sauce, in addition, will have heavy cream, which is not dairy or lactose-free.
There are a few brands that make low FODMAP pasta sauce – this is one of my favorites. But otherwise, it’s super easy to make it yourself at home, and even more delicious in the case of this vodka sauce.
To replace the dairy, I’m using carrots to lighten the color and texture. And to replace some of the alliums, I’m using a low FODMAP portion of fennel. Fennel is one of those tricky “medium” FODMAP ingredients. You can get away with 1/5 of a bulb per serving, which seems like a weird measurement. To make the math easy, I’ve used half a medium bulb in this recipe, which will put you below your threshold if you stick with only using 1/3 of the sauce in one sitting.
How to make low FODMAP pasta
To serve this low FODMAP pasta sauce, you’ll simply want to make the gluten-free noodles of your choosing. Remember that only gluten-free grains are low FODMAP. Luckily, there are plenty of great pasta brands out there now. I am especially fond of brown rice spaghetti or penne for this low FODMAP vodka sauce.
The sauce should be ideally tossed with 12 ounces of gluten-free pasta, which will serve 4 people with a side salad. If you’re new to this diet, check out this helpful guide to how to cook gluten-free pasta.
I’d like to say that this low FODMAP tomato sauce is so good, my ex would never even know it’s not his usual penne alla vodka. But we both know that is probably untrue, and the exact reason why I’ve happily traded up in both the pasta and love department.
More delicious low FODMAP pasta recipes:
- Low FODMAP Spagehtti and Meatballs
- Eggplant-Kale Vegetarian Low FODMAP Lasagna
- Low FODMAP Pasta Salad
Read on for the recipe for this healthy low FODMAP pasta sauce, and don’t forget to check out these other low FODMAP vegetarian recipes.
With health and hedonism,
Low FODMAP Vodka Pasta Sauce
- 1 pound carrots about 3 large, unpeeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1.5 pound vine tomatoes about 4 medium, quartered
- 1/2 fennel bulb sliced into thin wedges
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 1 cup vegetable stock or water
- 12 ounces gluten-free penne optional, for serving
- 1/3 cup basil leaves optional, for garnish
- Garlic-infused oil optional, for garnish
- Red pepper flakes optional, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Arrange the tomatoes, carrots and fennel on the sheet pan and season with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Drizzle the vegetables generously with olive oil, arrange in an even layer cut-side down so each piece touches the pan, and transfer to the oven.
- Roast until the tomatoes are shriveled and have released their juices and the carrots are tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven.
- Transfer the vegetables to a high-powered blender, along with the vegetable stock or water, and puree until smooth, adding more broth as necessary. Store the sauce for later in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or proceed and make pasta.
- To make pasta: bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of starchy pasta water, then drain in a colander. Return the pasta to the pan along with 1 cup vodka sauce, adding some of the pasta water to loosen it up if it seems too thick. Add more sauce as necessary and save the remainder for another use.
- Divide the penne alla vodka between bowls and garnish with basil, red pepper flakes and a dash of garlic infused oil, if using.