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Substitutes for Garlic and Onion Family

I'm allergic to garlic and onions as well as the onion family. I also cook for my dog and avoid these spices as they can be fatal to dogs.

When a recipe calls for garlic, I substitute radishes or ginger. When a recipe calls for onions or something from the onion family, I substitute celery.

Do you have any other substitution suggestions? Most of your recipes use garlic and onion family spices.

Comments

  • Hi Pat - You're making the right choices by substituting radish for a similar bite, although probably best in raw applications. Radish is a member of the Brassicaceae family, not an allium. To mimic texture, celery and bell pepper are options. According to FODMAP diet followers (which requires the elimination of alliums due to Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Asafoetida, also called Hing, would be something interesting to try. Asafoetida is a pungent spice used in cooking that is native to Central Asia, particularly Iran and India. Asafoetida comes from a very unusual source. According to food scientist Harold McGee, it’s made by scraping the sap from the exposed root of a plant in the carrot family. The sap is dried and crushed, giving us a tan-colored powder to sprinkle into our dishes. 

    McGee also says that the sap contains many of the same sulfur compounds found in onions. It has a very strong odor when dry, which many sources say is reminiscent of washed rind cheeses or body odor. Not to worry – when the spice is added during cooking, it mellows out into a gentle flavor. Asafoetida is used in savory dishes, often to add a more full flavor by mimicking the taste of onions, garlic, egg, and even meat. It’s a staple ingredient in Indian cooking, commonly used along with turmeric in lentil dishes like dal, and a variety of vegetable dishes.

    Unless you have a really excellent health food store or Indian grocery near you, it’s probably best to look for asafoetida online. You can buy it here or here.

    I'm sure it's very frustrating since onions and garlic are in so many dishes. Maybe asafoetida can help! Best, Lynn C.

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