Allergic to onions and garlic! Sad news for someone who loves to cook and experiment with new recipes. Ideas for substitutions?

Shallots and scallions are out too. I love ginger, but not always a good match. Indian recipes have worked well with so many other flavors, I don't miss the onions and garlic. Looking for a way to add body to sauces and pastes...

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lelialeary March 25, 2011
I'm grateful for all the input. I've experimented with asafetida and couldn't get used to the smell. Maybe used too much? Will try celery roots, parsnips, carrots (all alliums are out)...
Chilis, yum!
Jean |. March 24, 2011
I, too, am allergic to garlic--indeed a terribly difficult allergy for anyone seriously into food! I can eat onions only if they are cooked thoroughly. No problem with leeks or shallots. Can't think why that would be! Nothing is truly a substitute for garlic, but I've found that putting a lot of flavor into a dish with careful browning (as with the caramelized fennel mentioned above) and seasoning makes it so good that the garlic isn't missed.
Panfusine March 24, 2011
Agree with nutcakes... check out Jain cuisine on the web, the Jain community in India does not touch garlic or onion..
nutcakes March 24, 2011 and have onion allergy specific forums you might check out. Also there is a branch of Indian cookery that uses no onion or garlic and those recipes might be good to seek out.
traveling.ania March 24, 2011
Hummusit is right about the celery root. I'd also recommend parsnips. Very underrated! Check out the latest recipe at
Panfusine March 24, 2011
Incidentally, Asafetida is a resin obtained from a plant in the fennel family..
SKK March 24, 2011
Agree with littleknitter about fennel both carmelized and roasted. I am addicted to the taste. Can you have chili peppers? If so, experiment with them. I add diced serrano or jalapeno to a number of things - sautee them first and go with a light hand.
They have more kick with the seeds than without. They add wonderful flavor.
Love the picture of your family!
littleknitter March 24, 2011
I've had good success with caramelizing fennel in a pan - the flavor ends up being similar to caramelized onions.

Are all alliums off limits, or are you able to eat leeks and shallots? If you are, those are definitely worth trying as a substitute too.
Panfusine March 24, 2011
A pinch of asafetida, thats what centuries of hindus who were discouraged from eating garlic & onions have been doing... Just a pinch of the powder when Sauteeing in hot oil, If you opt for the big blocks, then pop the entire brick for 30 S in a microwave. It softens & you can cut off small bits (They have the consistency of taffy, which will harden as they cool), when you need, just microwave the small pieces for ~ 40s, it puffs up into a crunchy ball, just grate off what you need & store the rest for later, one pack goes a LOOONG way. I use it daily & one container lasts me for ~ 6 months.. Its packaged under the brand name 'LG' ('hing', being the hindi name) comes in a white & blue plastic container. Any Indian store will have it. Just make sure you dont have any lumps in your final dish... its a HORRIBLE thing to taste uncooked
susan G. March 24, 2011
Look into asafetida.
Hummusit March 24, 2011
Tough one! You can use celery root and carrots to add body, and of course flour for thickness. For texture you might try fennel.
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