Low-FODMAP Spanish Tapas Menu

Low-FODMAP Spanish Tapas Menu

Click through for recipes for Smoked Paprika Chicken Skewers with Romesco Sauce, Lemon-Garlic Shrimp, Marinated Olives, Sourdough Toasts and more! If you're a foodie who loves eating with friends, you don't have to give up the fun or the flavor on the low fodmap diet. This low FODMAP Spanish Tapas Menu is perfect even in the elimination and reintroduction phase.

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Whenever a vacation is coming up and I’m looking for good restaurants to try, I will always scout out the best tapas bars. I don’t care if we’re hitting up Boston, Madrid or Wilmington, North Carolina. If I’m going to be eating out, any restaurant with a great meat and cheese plate is my #1 choice.

 

That’s exactly how it was on my last trip...People like to say London isn’t a great foodie destination, but that must be because they’re eating actual English food in England. I can point you to a very tasty tapas place, as well as a legit pintxos bar just off the beaten path. I ate at both of them twice. In 7 days.

 

Tapas Without FODMAPs

It’s very do-able to go out for tapas and keep the FODMAPs in check (the aforementioned charcuterie plate is great way to go). However. I passionately believe that eating is one of the best things we get to do as humans, and every meal should be a tiny celebration of that. 

 

So let’s bring the tapas directly to your kitchen where you get to choose the ingredients and keep those FODMAPs low, low, low. This menu is what life can look like on the FODMAP diet--even in the elimination and reintroduction phases.

 

Forget the notion that low-FODMAP cooking equals a depressing plate of steamed rice, plain grilled chicken and 12 green beans. When you do the FODMAP diet, there’s a very good chance you’ll have to change the way you cook and eat. But it doesn’t need to be a change for the worse! 

 

This is at the core of how I coach clients through the FODMAP diet>>>No giving up great meals OR missing out on the soul-nourishing social aspects of eating.

 

The Menu

This menu would please even the most jaded judge on Top Chef (okay, maybe not Padma; is she ever in a good mood?), but more importantly YOU won’t feel deprived even though there isn’t a garlic clove in sight.

 

The best part about tapas is that you don’t have to cook every last thing. I’ve got 4 simple recipes (plus sourdough toasts), AND 2 no-cook tapas to fill out your menu.

 

Are you a tapas junkie like me, or is this type of meal new to you? Either way, invite some friends over to try out these recipes--they will never think you’re on a restricted diet.

 

Low FODMAP lemon-garlic shrimp for a Spanish tapas menu.


Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

This classic dish is on nearly every tapas menu, and all it takes is some lovely garlic-infused oil! And since most restaurants don’t bother adding finely grated, fresh lemon zest, yours might just be superior.

Serves 4 to 6

1 large lemon, rinsed well and dried
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil or cooking spray
2 tsp garlic-infused oil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Thyme sprigs for garnish

1. With a vegetable peeler, peel off one (3-inch) strip of the skin (the “zest”) and reserve for garnish. Zest the rest of the lemon with a microplane grater and set aside. Squeeze about 2 tbsp juice from the lemon and set aside.

2. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium-high, or mist skillet with cooking spray. 

3. Add shrimp and cook without moving until bottom sides are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes (Cook shrimp in 2 batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan and get better browning). Turn and repeat on opposite side until shrimp are opaque in the thickest part, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.

4. To the bowl, add garlic oil, parsley, lemon zest, and lemon juice; stir gently to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with lemon strip and thyme, and enjoy.

 

Olives marinated with orange zest, dried chiles and herbs. 


Marinated Olives

These look so pretty on the table--like you paid too much for them at a fancy deli. I’m giving you two options here, depending on the time you want to spend. Both work, but you will get more flavor with the heat method.

Serves 4 to 6

1 naval orange
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 small dried red chiles
2 dried bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus additional for garnish
⅔ cup large green olives, pitted
⅔ cup kalamata olives, pitted

1. With a vegetable peeler, peel the skin (the “zest”) off the orange in 3 to 4-inch strips. Juice the orange until you have about 2 tbsp juice. Refrigerate juice until step 3.

2. Shortcut method: To a shallow bowl or baking dish, add the orange zest strips and remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate overnight (it’s okay if you only have a few hours to do this, but longer is better).

Heat method: Add 1 cup oil to a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low. When oil is shimmering and viscous (do not let it get steamy or start smoking; lower the heat if needed), add the orange zest strips, dried chiles, bay leaves, and 4 thyme sprigs. Reduce heat to low and wait 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Set aside until cool.

Add olives to a shallow bowl or baking dish and add the oil mixture. Cover and marinate at room temp for up to 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.

3. Whatever method you used, bring olives to room temp if chilled. With a slotted spoon transfer to a serving bowl; add a few tablespoons of the oil to bowl, but not all of it. Add reserved 2 tbsp orange juice and stir gently to combine. Garnish with additional fresh thyme and serve. 

NOTE: You can use the remaining oil marinade for dipping, or anywhere you would use olive oil. It will keep in the refrigerator (do not leave at room temp or bacteria can grow) up to 1 week. 

 

A plate of tapas with Smoked Paprika Chicken Skewers and Romesco Sauce. All the recipes are low FODMAP!


Romesco Sauce

This thick sauce, build around roasted vegetables and nuts, usually includes garlic, as well as stale bread as a thickener. My version is lighter and brighter thanks to plenty of veg, which means more room for Manchego.

Serves 4 to 6 (makes about 1 ½ cups)

1 dried ancho chile pepper or 1 ½ tsp ancho chile powder
⅓ cup (generous) walnuts (about 45 grams)
Cooking spray
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 3 to 4 pieces
2 medium tomatoes, halved
5 scallion tops
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garlic oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. If using dried ancho chile, place in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak 15 minutes or until soft. Pat dry with paper towels. Cut open the chile and remove the stem and as many seeds as you like (anchos aren’t very spicy). Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 325F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until fragrant and lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes, tossing nuts around the baking sheet about halfway through. Set aside and cool completely (maybe done up to several days ahead). When cool, roughly chop walnuts and reserve 1 tbsp for garnish.

3. Raise oven temp to 425F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil (optional, to minimize clean up) and mist with cooking spray. Add bell pepper, tomatoes and scallions; mist with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast each veggie until browned and very tender, removing from oven as needed: about 12 minutes for the scallions; about 32 minutes for the tomatoes; about 38 minutes for the peppers. When peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard.

4. To the bowl of a food processor, add all but 1 tbsp walnuts and pulse until roughly chopped. Add the ancho chile if using, the roasted veggies, and the remaining ingredients (if using chile powder add it now). Blitz until you have a slightly chunky puree. Romesco sauce should be thick but easy to dollop off a spoon (not quite as thick as hummus). Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to thin as needed (I used 2 to 3 tbsp).

5. Transfer sauce to a serving bowl and garnish with reserved walnuts. Serve with chicken skewers. May be made up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Serve at room temp.

 


Smoked Paprika Chicken Skewers

Smoked paprika is a major flavor in Spanish cooking, and it doesn’t resemble the common red stuff you’re probably familiar with. It’s incredibly smoky, earthy, and almost pungent (and it’s readily available in most supermarkets). Soaking the skewers is an extra safety measure to keep them from catching fire.

Serves 4 to 6

12 small bamboo/wooden skewers (6-inch), soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 ⅓ lbs)
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Cooking spray

1. Cut each chicken thigh into 4 strips, trimming off any large bits of excess fat as you go. Thread chicken onto skewers, using 2 strips per skewer. In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin, oregano and salt and pepper.

2. Preheat broiler to high and position rack in upper third of oven. Alternatively, you can cook the chicken on an outdoor grill. Coat a large, rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan with foil and mist with cooking spray. Place chicken skewers on the baking sheet and coat both sides with cooking spray. Sprinkle spice blend all over chicken and use your hands to rub into the meat.

3. Broil or grill until chicken is opaque in the thickest part, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving dish and serve with Romesco sauce.


Crispy Sourdough Toasts

Traditionally made, slow-rise sourdough is low-FODMAP (the sugars are consumed by yeast during the fermentation process)! If prefer, gluten-free bread or crackers, those would be fabulous too. Baking the toasts until they are completely crisp allows you to make them ahead of time if needed. 

1 sourdough baguette, sliced
Olive oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray. Add bread in a single layer and mist both sides with cooking spray. Bake until deep golden brown on both sides, and very crisp, 12 to 14 minutes, turning about halfway through. Serve immediately or cool and store in an airtight container up to 6 hours (toasts will stay crisp like crackers).

 

No-Cook Tapas

Fill out your menu with these delicious options--just shop and assemble!

 

Manchego cheese with cured ham and quince paste is the perfect no-cook tapa.

Cheese and Charcuterie Plate 

The classic options are Manchego (an aged sheep’s milk cheese) and jamon serrano. When I went shopping, there was no serrano, so what you see in the picture is actually speck, or smoked prosciutto. Regular prosciutto is great too. If you’re feeling very fancy, you can splurge on jamon iberico.

The pink jelly squares are quince paste, a classic accompaniment, which has actually been tested for FODMAP content by Monash (½ tbsp or 13 grams is green light, and 1 tbsp is yellow)! It’s very sweet, like jam, so you only need a little to pair with the meat and cheese for amazing salty/sweet contrast.

 

Boquerones, Spanish anchovies marinated in vinegar oil, skewered on toothpicks with piquillo peppers. An amazing no-cook tapa!

Boquerones Skewers

The little fish on toothpicks are Spanish-style marinated anchovies, or boquerones. These are amazing, and taste nothing like the super-salty anchovies typically used for Caesar salad. They can be hard to find (I got them at Whole Foods), but Spanish-style tuna would be the perfect alternative (pretty much any canned or processed seafood from Spain is insanely good). If the tuna isn’t firm enough to stay on the toothpicks, stuff it inside the peppers.

The little red peppers are piquillos, which are both sweet and a little spicy. If you can’t find them (try Trader Joe’s or the olive bar at a nice supermarket), substitute roasted red bell peppers. To serve, I drizzled garlic oil over the boquerones skewers and sprinkled on some parsley.