Cooking for the Sensitive Gut

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

This salmon and mixed grain salad is one of my favourite recipes from our book “Cooking for the Sensitive Gut” Pavilion 2016. It contains flakes of nutritious hot smoked salmon, crisp golden potatoes – which always makes a dish appetising – some colourful salad leaves and a scattering of delicious Puy lentils and quinoa. Oh and a tasty blueberry and maple syrup dressing to finish it off.

Many people with IBS think lentils and other pulses are “off the menu” but the truth is they can be a small, regular and  very important part of a healthy diet even for people with a sensitive gut.

Pulses include all types of beans and peas. The health benefits of eating pulses are well known. They are low in saturated fat, slowly absorbed – so keep you feeling fuller for longer, an excellent source of dietary fibre and contain a variety of natural plant chemicals with health promoting effects. Pulses are very important in maintaining the mix of healthy bacteria in the gut. Eating pulses two to three times a week is recommended for maximum health benefits.

However for those following a low FODMAP diet, pulses can be a troublesome food because they are naturally high in oligosacharides; including galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and fructans. Both GOS and fructans are classified as FODMAPs.

The good news is that legumes do not need to be strictly avoided by people following a low FODMAP diet.

Oligosaccharides dissolve in water during cooking and processing methods, such as canning, can affect the FODMAP content of pulses. For example, canned legumes or those that have been boiled and drained tend to be lower in FODMAPs as some oligosaccharides ‘leach’ out into the canning/cooking water and are removed when they are drained and rinsed.

Here is a list of the pulses you can try in the portion size which is low in FODMAPs.

  • Boiled chana dahl  46g
  • Canned chickpeas 42g
  • Canned lentils 46g
  • Boiled lentils 23g

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

If you like the look of this salad we would really encourage you to give it a try. You do not have to use all the ingredients we have listed for it to taste fabulous.

The bare bones of this recipe are salmon, salad leaves, crunchy crushed potatoes, a sprinkling of quinoa and a wonderful dressing. You can add more ingredients if you fancy.  Otherwise keep it simple.

We included some hazelnuts we found in this recipe. Hazelnuts add essential fatty acids, proteins and energy to your meals and can be eaten in moderation by people with a sensitive gut.

Serves 4

  • 200 g new potatoes, rinsed
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g hot smoked salmon (or smoked salmon)

For the dressing

  • 100 g blueberries
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 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 quinoa, cooked
  • 4 tbsp 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 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.

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 lemon juice and 1 tbsp maple syrup. Season the dressing with a little salt and pepper and mix well.

Place the watercress, rocket leaves, red chicory leaves, sliced salad onion leaves and sliced cucumber on a serving dish. Cut the salmon into ribbons and lay over the salad leaves.

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

Try this

You can vary this salad by:

  • Using poached, flaked salmon or smoked trout.
This entry was written by Joan Ransley and published on February 19, 2017 at 1:46 pm. It’s filed under Dinner, Lunch and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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