Pork and Fennel Meatballs

So probably you are thinking at this stage, meatballs mmmm yes. Low FODMAP, what the hell is that. Is it some other weird trend/ diet that we are all gonna have to get on board with… well not exactly

Low FODMAP is the shorthand for a selection of foods known as ‘fermentable carbohydrates’ basically foods that breakdown in the small intestine and often cause IBS symptoms. Since I found out, from research for my second cookbook, that over 40% of the UK have digestive ailments (not surprisingly) I really wanted to put this list of downright bizarre foods on your radar.

It was eating primarily low FODMAP foods that was a big part of my healing several years ago, when my IBS was at its peak, and it is a way I come back to when I am feeling crampy. You can find more information about it and the full ingredient list here 

LOW FODMAP Pork and Fennel Meatballs

Over the last few months I have certainly been suffering more then usual with digestive discomfort. I could put it down to time of year, stress, life shizz, but in reality I have just been eating pretty poorly and generally doing what a busy chef does. Odd mealtimes, testing lots of foods, not being mindful around meals, too many chips and dips, possibly a little too much booze… Its summer, so temptation for debauchery is rife, which certainly doesn’t help. Anyway I decided this past week to take things down a notch and invest in a bit of tummy loving Tess time (alliteration not intended) and came up with a few classics reinvented, to help get my digestion back on track.

You might know from last cookbook that I am a bit of a sucker for a juicy meatball. So my first dish had to be a crackingly tasty, yet superb simple, IBS free meatball recipe with a crack-a-laking tomato sauce. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as me and my crew of top tasters did.

LOW FODMAP Pork and Fennel Meatballs , tess ward, meatballs, easy, recipe

LOW FODMAP Pork and Fennel Meatballs

One thing that is important is to check is the ingredients in the sausage you buy, to ensure they are low FODMAP and contain none of the ingredients that are known to cause cramps. I served mine with pearled spelt and 1/2 head of thinly sliced cabbage, quickly pan fried in garlic oil, lemon and salt.

Serves 8

  • 750kg good quality sausages, squeezed out of their casing
  • 2 small free-range eggs
  • 75g gluten free breadcrumbs
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 10g fennel seeds, lightly toasted and ground in a pestle and mortar
  • 20g parmesan, grated
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 750ml tomato sauce (see below)
  • To serve : 400g cooked pearled spelt or rice, sautéed greens, 50g toasted flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 8.

Put the pork, eggs, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes, ground fennel seeds, parmesan, salt and pepper into a large mixing bowl and massage thoroughly. Roll into balls the size of ping pong balls and place them on a greased baking tray and roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, turning once, until they are starting to brown.

Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer in a frying pan on the stove. Add the meatballs in a saucepan with the tomato sauce for 10 minutes.

Serve a few balls per person over your cooked grains, or rice – Celeriac mash cooked and blended in chicken stock is another great option – and finish with some greens and toasted almonds (for cheffy pretentiousness)

Tomato Sauce

Its a bit of faff to make a great tomato sauce, but my is it worth it. I certainly recommend making double batches and freezing it, so it is ready when you need it.

Makes 750ml
  • 50ml garlic infused olive oil
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • small pinch chilli flakes
  • 400g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbs fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, or mixed herbs
Heat half the oil in a large saucepan and sweat the spring onion, garlic, salt, pepper and chilli on a medium heat for about 15 minutes. After 2-3 mins, add the tomato puree and continue cooking. Then add the fresh tomatoes and the rest of the oil and cook on a low-medium heat for 15 minutes.
Add the tinned tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer. Leave to bubble on the lowest heat for about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and add the heat and add the oregano and basil. Taste and see if it needs any seasoning. When you’re pleased with the taste blend the sauce together with a hand blender or in a food blender.
If you want a perfectly smooth sauce, press the sauce through a sieve, to remove the tomato skins, before blending.



  1. Congratulations for your post, Tess! Happy to see a food blogger raising awareness about a diet we actually learn about in Medicine faculties. You being also a chef, ensures that the final result won’t just “look nice in picture”. It will taste damn good, as always 😉

    1. Hey, haha thanks.
      I don’t believe in demonising foods but following this was so big for me in getting my digestion back on track after getting ill in India!
      Viva la FODMAP – shame its so bloody restricting tho

  2. The nicest tomato sauce I ever made was with oven roasted cherry tomatoes but the sauce took literally ages to make, worth it though.

  3. Hi! Thanks so much for including low FODMAP recipes; I’m a Coeliac with IBS so flare ups can be a nightmare to navigate. I was wondering if this recipe is freezable, and if so what your recommendation for reheating?

    And please keep up the GF/Low FODMAP recipes!



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