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Ask the Expert Archive

I can’t eat onions, garlic or dairy. Do you have any recipes without those items?

Q. Do you have any good vegetable recipes without onion, garlic or dairy? I can’t eat any of those foods, and so many recipes contain onion and garlic.


A. Onions and garlic are two of the most commonly used alliums, a group of closely related plants in the lily family. However, leeks, scallions, and shallots are other alliums with culinary uses. These make great substitutes for garlic and onions. Can you just leave the garlic and onions out of a recipe? Sometimes. You’ll usually get acceptable results—but sometimes can make the recipe bland. No unrelated vegetable has quite the same taste as onions or garlic. If your recipe is too bland after excluding the onions and garlic, there these alternatives:

Fennel: has a licorice-like taste but onion-like texture.
Green peppers combined with celery are a good base for rice dishes or savory stews
Celeriac (celery root): Peeled and diced, it can be used as an aromatic in sauces or stews

Try these onion and garlic free recipes too:

  Spinach potato pancakes

Carrot raisin salad

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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