Cooking for the Sensitive Gut

Recipes cooked at the Allergy & Free From Show, Liverpool Exhibition Centre, Nov 7th 2015

Thanks to all those who came along to visit us and view our talk and demonstration at the Allergy & Free From Show yesterday at the Liverpool Exhibition Centre. It was great to meet you all and to receive such a positive reception. We ran a bit short of recipes so here they are for you to enjoy. Keep in touch and make sure you order a copy of our book Cooking for the Sensitive Gut for more ideas on what you can eat if you have a sensitive gut or IBS.

Chia and fruit puree 4 x 5

Chia seeds with raspberry sauce and cocoa nibs


  • 100 g/3 ½  oz chia seeds, either dark or light
  • 400 ml/ ¾ pint unsweetened lactose free milk of your choice i.e. soya, rice, almond

For the fresh raspberry sauce

  • 200 g/7oz raspberries
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

To serve

  • 2 tsp cocoa nibs
  • Mint cut into shreds to decorate


Place the chia seeds in a bowl and add the lactose free milk. Whisk the seeds and milk together and leave to soak for a couple of hours or overnight if possible.

To make the raspberry sauce. Place the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and heat gently for about five minutes or until the raspberries are soft. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the raspberries to cool a little before liquidising. Serve with the soaked chia seeds and scatter with cocoa nibs and chopped mint. The cocoa nibs have a lovely crunch and a delicious chocolate aftertaste.

Free from credentials

This recipe is:

  • Low in FODMAPS
  • Dairy free
  • Lactose free

Notes on the recipe

Chia seed 

Chia is a traditional food eaten in Central and Southern America. The plant grows to about 1 metre/ 3 ft tall and bears tiny purple or white flowers which produce very small white and dark brown seeds.

A two-tablespoonful serving of chia seeds should be tolerated by most people with IBS.

Both black and white chia seeds are good to eat if mixed with other ingredients but on their own don’t have much taste.  Their magic is revealed when they are soaked for a few hours.  The seeds plump up and, like linseeds, develop a slippery coating.  The outer coating of the seeds contains a long chain poly saccharide that absorbed water to form a mucilage.

They slide down easily and are the kindest thing for a troubled, grumbling gut.

Chia seeds do not need any added sugar if you soak them in plant milk and serve them with fruit or a fresh fruit sauce.

Which plant milk?

Plant milk is lactose free. Almond, coconut and hemp are all low in FODMAPS. Almond has the best flavour and suits chia well. But what about soya? In the UK soya milk is made with the bean and can be high in FODMAPs. In Australia soya milk is made from soya protein which is low in FODMAPs.

Which fruits can you eat with a sensitive gut? 

A portion of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are good for most people. The general advice is to eat no more than a portion (80g) at a time. Other fruit that would be great with chia are rhubarb, gooseberries. You could also add a few nuts such as walnuts or hazelnuts. See a full list of the fruits you can eat here.

Blueberry lime and hazelnut yogurt cake 4 x 5

Blueberry and hazelnut cake with lemon and poppy seeds

Makes 8 – 10 slices


  • 125 g / 4 oz soft unsalted butter/sunflower margarine, at room temperature
  • 125 g / 4 oz caster sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten and at room temperature
  • 50 g / 2 oz buckwheat flour
  • 50 g / 2 oz rice flour
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 50 g / 2oz ground almonds
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • grated zest of a lemon
  • 150 g / 5 oz blueberries
  • 50 g / 2 oz crushed hazel nuts
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Butter and line a 20 – 22cm cake tin with silicone baking paper (you can use two smaller tins if you would like to make two cakes).

Beat the butter/sunflower margarine and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg – beating it into the mixture until well incorporated.

Sieve the flour and the baking powder together and fold these into the butter, sugar and egg mixture together with the ground almonds. Add the vanilla essence, to the Greek yogurt and gradually fold this into the cake mixture together with the poppy seeds and lemon zest. Finally stir in about a third of the blueberries to the cake mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin/s and arrange the blueberries and crushed hazel nuts around the top of the cake. Bake the cake/s in the oven for 40 – 50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool on a rack. Serve slices of cake with a dribble of maple syrup and some more blueberries if you like.

Free from credentials

A slice of this cake is:

  • Low in FODMAPs
  • Gluten free if gluten free baking powder is used.

Notes on the recipe

Buckwheat flour, rice flour and ground almonds are all gluten free. They are low in low in FODMAPS in the amounts used in this cake. Cakes generally contain a high proportion of fat. This cake contain about 15 g per slice so should be fine for most people. It also contains some nutritious ingredients such as almonds, poppy seeds, blueberries and lemon. The cake does contain yogurt. 2 tablespoons of yogurt can be tolerated by most people even if they are lactase deficient. The amount of yogurt in this cake is very small per serving.

Salmon salad 4 x 5

Salmon, quinoa and crunchy potato salad with a blueberry and maple syrup dressing

Serves 4


  • 200 g/7 oz roasting potatoes, rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g/ 10 oz fresh salmon
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 green salad onion leaves, roughly chopped

For the dressing

  • 100 g/ 3 ½ oz blueberries
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the salad

  • 4 handfuls of watercress and rocket leaves
  • 1 red chicory, leaves separated
  • ¼ cucumber, halved and sliced diagonally
  • 4 salad onions, green leaves only
  • 60 g/ 2 oz quinoa, cooked
  • 30 g/ 1 oz canned lentils, rinsed well
  • micro salad leaves like purple radish or cress
  • 1 tablespoon shelled hazelnuts


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.

Steam the potatoes until tender, cool and cut in half. Using a potato masher, or strong fingers, crush the potatoes and place in a roasting tin with 1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the potatoes and place in the oven for about 30 minutes to become crisp and golden brown.

Place the salmon in a small pan with the juice from half a lime, the spring onion leaves, cover with cold water and a lid.  Bring the water to the boil and as soon as it has come to the boil, turn the salmon over and leave for 7 minutes. Remove from the frying pan and leave to cool. Flake the salmon when cool enough to handle.

Blueberry and lime dressing 4 x 5

To make the dressing for the salad, crush half of the blueberries in a pestle and mortar and add 3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lime juice and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Season the dressing with a little salt and pepper and mix well. Taste and adjust flavour to suit.

Place the watercress, rocket leaves, red chicory leaves, sliced salad onion leaves and sliced cucumber on a serving dish.

Remove the potatoes from the oven when really crunchy and well browned and arrange on the salad leaves, together with the flaked salmon. Sprinkle the salad with the quinoa and lentils and dress with the blueberry, lime and maple syrup dressing. Scatter the remaining blueberries over the salad together with any foraged nuts and sprigs of micro herbs.

Free from credentials

This recipe is:

  • Low in FODMAPS
  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free

Notes on the recipe

Nutritionally balanced recipe: low fat but contains long chain omega three fatty acids,  contains protein, carbohydrates and a mix of micronutrients. It is easy to prepare, looks good and tastes good.

A portion of this recipe is low in FODMAPS.

Lentils and galactans. A few canned lentils (46g/1/2 cup) can be tolerated by most people with IBS. Lentils do contain galactans but they are water soluble and leach into water during the canning process. Galactans are a prebiotic are provide a substrate for gut bacteria to work on. They can cause bloating if eaten in large quantities. The trick is to include a few in your diet and increase the serving size gradually. Galactans are important for the microbiome and gut health.

Note that pre-cooked lentils in a pouch are usually cooked with onions. So avoid these if onions are identified on the label and you find them difficult to tolerate.


The white part of onions contains fructans which are fermented by gut bacteria and can cause pain in the large bowel. The green part of young leeks and salad onions are low in fructans.

Quinoa. Quinoa is a small, gluten free, grain which can grow in inhospitable climates. Traditionally quinoa was ground into flour and made into baked products. Quinoa has higher protein content than rice and it contains other useful micronutrients such as calcium.

Quinoa has the potential to help alleviate malnutrition across the world because it can grow where other grains cannot. It has also taken centre stage in the gourmet kitchens because it has an unusual nutty flavour and pretty appearance. The small white, red or black grains unfurl as they are cooked to produce a curly tail and look so attractive in vegetarian dishes. It takes 12 minutes to cook. A 50g portion is suitable for most people. Quinoa is a gluten free grain and low in FODMAPS.

Quinoa is a great ingredient to use instead of wheat based cous cous and pasta and works well with Mediterranean dishes. It is low in FODMAPs and should be tolerated by most people with a sensitive gut.

Dietary Fibre. Leave the skin on the potatoes to provide a useful source of dietary fibre. You should be aiming for an intake of between 25 and 30g even if you have IBS. Vegetable fibres are important for a healthy MICROBIOME. They consitiute a substrate on which gut bacteria can thrive.

This entry was written by Joan Ransley and published on November 8, 2015 at 1:15 pm. It’s filed under Breakfast, Cake, Dinner, Lunch, Pudding and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

One thought on “Recipes cooked at the Allergy & Free From Show, Liverpool Exhibition Centre, Nov 7th 2015

  1. All three are delicious and could be done in half an hour. Brilliant!

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