Cooking for the Sensitive Gut

Christmas stuffing with a veggie option

Some parts of preparing a traditional Christmas meal are tricky if you have a sensitive gut. The easy part is the turkey. Slowly roasted turkey is low in fat and does not contain anything thing that will upset you unless you simply eat too much of it.

A small, crispy, crunchy roast potato or two should suit most people so long as it is not dripping with fat. A portion of parsnips is fine (I always go for the skinny ones)  but you may find that mashing them with a little milk of your choice rather than roasting them with more fat or oil may be preferred. Remember fat can upset the gut as well as excessive fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS).

Brussels spouts are more problematic. There is no doubt they are good for you because they contain fibre, vitamin C and a groups of bioactive compounds known as glucosinolates which are found in cruciferous vegetables like sprouts and which have been shown to have a beneficial effect on some tumour cells. A small portion of two Brussels sprouts can be tolerated by most people. Larger portions (More than 2) contain amounts of fructans and polyols that can trigger symptoms. Our advice is to eat a couple and see how you get on. We love that sprouts are seasonal and have a refreshing mustardy slightly bitter flavour. Sprouts are also great stir fried with a little bacon and some chestnuts.

Another important part of a Christmas meal is the stuffing. I have always loved home made stuffing bigged up with herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Adding lemon and orange rind also makes stuffing taste really special. We like both a vegetarian stuffing and one with a little meat.

Stuffing is easy to make with breadcrumbs made with a small amount of  leftover bread such as spelt or sourdough. If you make it yourself you will know what is in it and it will be less likely to upset you.

So here are two recipes for Christmas stuffing we hope you will enjoy. One has meat the other doesn’t. Both are delicious.

Makes 18 Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • green leaves from 3 baby leeks, finely sliced
  • 200 g / 7 oz cooked, peeled and ready to use chestnuts 50g/2oz walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 25 g /1 oz breadcrumbs, spelt or sourdough
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 10 sage leaves, finely shredded
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
  • zest from one orange
  • zest from one lemon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 g / 7 oz minced pork
  • 80 g / 3oz prosciutto or serrano ham


Preheat the oven to 200C / Fan 180C / gas 6. Lightly oil the hollows of two bun trays.

Trickle a little olive oil into a pan and sweat the leek leaves until soft. Roughly chop the chestnuts and place them in a large bowl with the leeks, walnuts, breadcrumbs, herbs and zest from the lemon and orange. Season the mixture with a pinch of salt and a grind of pepper. Mix in the beaten eggs and stir well.

Vegetarian option

Fill the hollows of the bun tray with the stuffing mixture. Top each with a sage leaf and brush with a little oil. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until the top begins to brown.

Xmas stuffing veggie version

Meat option

Mix the minced pork into the stuffing mixture. Separate the slices of wafer thin ham and cut each in half. Line the hollows of the bun trays with a piece of ham, fill each hollow with the stuffing mixture and top with a sage leaf. Brush with a little oil. Place the trays of stuffing in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the top begins to brown and the ham looks crisp.

Xmas stuffing_


  • This stuffing recipe is low in FODMAPS.
  • Chestnuts are low in FODMAPS
  • A small amount of breadcrumbs can be tolerated by most people
  • Green parts of leeks can be tolerated by most people
  • Use less minced pork if you are sensitive to fat

If you would like further information about how to manage your Sensitive Gut follow this link to the IBS Network

IBSLogowithstrap March 2011

This entry was written by Joan Ransley and published on December 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm. It’s filed under Christmas, Dinner, Side dish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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