Lately I’ve been getting lots of requests to post more dinner-y recipes, and it made me realise that I never share my favourite dinner meals. Why not, you might ask? Why wouldn’t I share some of the recipes I eat most often? The answer is pathetic, really: I’ve either been eating the meal for so long that the prospect of writing about it bores me to tears, or it’s dark at dinner time in mid-year Australia and ain’t nobody got the skills to photograph food under artificial lighting. Or at least I don’t…
But it recently occurred to me that you guys couldn’t care less whether I post a recipe that I’ve been cooking for 2 years or 2 days. It’s going to be a new recipe for you regardless, right? Sometimes people just need REAL life food – hearty home style meals that can be whipped up for one, or for two, or for a whole family to enjoy.
You guys need dishes that are just as nutrish and delish as they are easy and cheap to make.
I’m also aware that my wonderful FM readers (love you) are desperately seeking fructose friendly and low FODMAP meals that don’t solely consist of steamed veg and a slab of meat. BOOO-RING. So from now on I plan to bombard you with options.
Here’s the first one: Turkey Spag Bowl.
It’s no secret that the ole spag bowl gets a bad nutritional rap.
Especially when served at restaurants, the classic Italian recipe is heavy on the not-so healthy stuff like beef mince (often very fatty), oil and/or butter, salt, cheese, refined carbs (from pasta), and sometimes even cream. And aside from the tomatoes, it’s very light on veggies.
What’s more, if you’ve got fructose malabsorption, it’s completely out of bounds because a) it’s full of onion and garlic and b) you can’t eat wheat, so there goes the pasta.
I know it’s a staple for millions of people around the world, but I’ve never actually been a huge fan of traditional spaghetti bolognese. Truth be told, I’ve always found it a little boring. The flavours and textures are just too same-same for me. But, like most normal people, my parents and siblings love their spag bowl. Unfortunately for them, Mum stopped cooking it –along with many other family favourites– for a while when I first developed FM.
Being the ever-accommodating and eager to please woman that she is, my fabulous mama came up with a spag bowl rendition that ticks all the boxes of Lincoln Dinner Criteria: it’s wholesome, nutritionally balanced, fructose free, FODMAP friendly, fills the boys up, and tastes GREAT! It has to be said that she’s becoming an expert at de-fructosing recipes, and her Turkey Spag Bowl is a testimony to this. On that note, I can’t wait to share her Sri Lankan Chicken Curry recipe with you soon!
No, this recipe doesn’t retain much of the traditional spaghetti bolognese’s integrity (hello turkey, veggies and brown rice spaghetti), and yes, a true Italian chef would probably spit it back out at me. But I don’t care. My aim in posting this recipe is to share with you a homestyle recipe that’s wholesome, hearty, cheap, easy, and fructose-friendly.
Just please don’t serve it to Nonna.
Low FODMAP Turkey Spag Bowl
- 1kg turkey mince
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 large eggplant, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 cup semi sun-dried tomatoes*, cut into halves or quarters
- 1 red capsicum, diced
- 1 green capsicum, diced
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes (no added sugar or preservatives)
- 3/4 cup salt reduced tomato paste* (see notes for fructose info.)
- 1.5 tbs dried oregano
- 1 3/4 cups chicken stock
- 1 large handful fresh basil, leaves torn
- 8 spring onions, chopped (green part only for low FODMAP)
- Oil of choice (I use garlic-infused for flavour, but coconut is one of the more stable oils)
- Himalayan sea salt & cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1 packet brown rice noodles for gluten free, or spelt spaghetti (optional – see notes)
- To serve: fresh basil leaves, shaved parmesan (optional, omit for dairy free/paleo)
- Heat a generous splash of garlic-infused olive oil (or other chosen oil) in a large saucepan or pot over medium-high heat.
- Sautee all the fresh veggies and sun-dried tomatoes, stirring for around 7 minutes or until the veggies have softened. Remove veggies from pot and transfer to a heat-safe bowl.
- Heat another splash of oil and add the turkey mince to the pot. Cook the mince until browned (around 8 minutes) and use a wooden spoon to break it up.
- Add the veggies to the pot along with the tomato paste, stock, basil and dried oregano. Season with Himalayan salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, for a minimum of 40 minutes. If I have time, I leave it for an hour or longer. The longer you leave it (within reason – you don’t to overcook the meat!), the richer and thicker it will get and the deeper the flavour will be.
- Serve with one ladle’s worth of brown rice noodles or spelt spaghetti if using, and garnish with extra torn basil and shaved parmesan. For a paleo or lower carb version, use the bolognese to stuff into roasted eggplants (see recipe below).
- You will notice this recipe uses quite a lot of tomato paste, which is where the dish gets a lot of its flavour. According to Dr. Sue Shepherd’s low FODMAP diet guidelines, people on a strict low FODMAP diet shouldn’t exceed 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste in one sitting because although fresh tomatoes are safe, paste is concentrated. I’ve never had an issue with tomato paste, but some people might. Use less if you’re unsure of your tolerance, and add more fresh and dried herbs for flavour.
Turkey Bolognese Stuffed Eggplants
- 4 large eggplants to serve 8 people, or 1/2 eggplant per person.
- Turkey Bolognese recipe (above)
- Fresh basil leaves, to serve
- Shaved parmean, so serve (optional, omit for dairy free/paleo)
- Oil of choice (I use coconut)
- Himalayan sea salt
- Preheat oven to 200’C and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Use a fork to prick the eggplant/s several times. Place on prepared tray and lightly spray all over with oil. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until tender.
- If you made the bolognese in advance, reheat however much of it you’re using (about 1-1.5 cups per person would be a suitable portion).
- Cut the eggplant/s in half length-ways. Use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh from each half, leaving a 1cm boarder. Chop the scooped out flesh. Sprinkle a little Himalayan sea salt over the eggplant halves.
- Mix the chopped eggplant through the heated Turkey Bolognese. Spoon mixture into eggplant halves and sprinkle shaved parmesan over the top, if using. Return eggplants to the oven for 10 minutes, or until all heated through. Serve with fresh basil leaves, as pictured below.