Happy Tuesday gang! We’re moving forward with Crohn’s & Colitis Awareness Week but I thought today we’d take a break from some of the heavy, emotional stuff related to Crohn’s. 😛 Instead, today I’m sharing 8 of my favorite, on-repeat recipes that are Crohn’s friendly that the whole family will love!
I think sometimes when I tell people that I have a restricted diet or I talk about Crohn’s friendly recipes that they’re automatically like “oh, well I can’t eat that then.” But that is absolutely not true! While these recipes are suited to meet the dietary needs/restrictions of those that require a low-fiber diet, there is absolutely no reason why someone with a normal diet can’t eat them. 🙂 In fact, Charlie eats and loves all but 2 of these (and those are just a personal preference for him)! That’s why they’re on repeat… they meet my needs and satisfy Charlie’s tastebuds. 🙂
Before I dive into the recipes, I thought I would give you a really quick rundown on what a Crohn’s diet is like. Those of us with Crohn’s Disease, Colitis, or other IBDs typically eat a low-fiber diet. The diet should be extremely strict when we are in a flare but is up to our discretion when we are in remission. When we’re in remission, we pretty much just need to know what foods trigger issues for us (food triggers will vary from patient to patient) and eat accordingly.
Low-fiber diets are limited in whole grains, raw fruits and veggies (mainly those with seeds or skins), nuts, beans, red meat, etc. These are all foods that are high in fiber and aid in the activity of your gut. There are a couple reasons why it’s important for a Crohn’s patient to limit the amount of fiber in their diet. First, and quite bluntly, fibrous foods like I mentioned above make you go and Crohn’s patients need to do less of that, especially when they’re flaring. Second, those foods are extremely difficult to digest when your intestines are inflamed. Think about the seeds on a strawberry getting stuck in raw wound – that’s exactly what happens in our gut when we’re in a flare.
Low-fiber diets can be tricky because most foods that are good for you are fibrous. So when you limit those foods, it can be difficult to get the nutrition that you need. A few tricks to cooking low-fiber meals that still have nutritional value are to cook your vegetables so that they’re soft, peel your fruits and veggies before eating them (especially if raw), juice your fruits and veggies and eat proteins like chicken and turkey.
Now that you know a little more about what a low-fiber diet actually is, hopefully you see why it’s perfectly okay for you to eat Crohn’s friendly recipes too! With that in mind, here are 8 of my all time favorite Crohn’s friendly recipes that the whole family will love… some more nutritional than others but none that are absolutely awful for you. 😉
8 Crohn’s Friendly Recipes that the Whole Family will Love
Ground Turkey Spaghetti Sauce
I’ve shared this recipe a couple of times but it’s a staple in our house. It’s also one of the few recipes that is truly my own and, not to toot my own horn, but it’s bangin’. Charlie loves this spaghetti sauces and we always keep some in the freezer for when we’re in a pinch!
- 2 lbs of ground turkey
- 1 medium yellow onion (chopped)
- 8 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes (no salt added)
- 1 28oz can of tomato sauce (no salt added)
- 1 15oz can of tomato paste
- 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp of dried basil
- 2 tbsp of Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp of sugar
- Salt and pepper to taste (go light on salt)
- Heat a large pot or dutch oven to medium heat and add olive oil and onions. Cook onions until tender.
- Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Add ground turkey and cook through.
- Reduce heat and stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, Italian seasoning, and sugar. Simmer uncovered for at least 1 hour.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide into servings of 4 cups to freeze. (each serving should make 3-4 meals)
Buffalo Chicken Baked Ziti
I’m an absolute buffalo fiend so I love getting in my buffalo fix in a slightly healthier and more diet friendly way with this recipe. It also makes great leftovers so it’s perfect to cook on Sunday and eat throughout the week. I made a few slight adjustments to this recipe, but you can find the original recipe on Recipe Diaries.
Photo by Recipe Diaries
- 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons of light butter
- 6 oz of fat free cream cheese
- 1/2 cup of your favorite buffalo wing sauce
- 1 tablespoon of ranch seasoning
- 2 chicken breasts
- 5 cups of ziti noodles (or penne)
- 2 cups of fat free milk
- green onions for garnish
- 1 cup of low fat colby jack cheese
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 2 chicken breasts. Boil until cooked through.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the water and pull the chicken. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente. Drain and return to pot.
- Make sauce: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and whisk to combine. Cook 1 minute. Add milk and whisk until combined and no clumps remain. Simmer until thickened, 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and break up with a wooden spoon until melted and combined. Add Frank’s and ranch seasoning and stir until combined.
- Add chicken and cooked ziti to skillet and stir until pasta is completely coated. Top with a layer of colby jack cheese and bake until melted and golden, 15 minutes.
- Garnish with chives and serve.
This is another recipe that we cook quite frequently here in the Hodges home. This is such a flavor packed chicken marinade that’s great for any time of year. The other great thing about this is that you can make it your own by adding whatever sides you prefer! We personally love green beans and Italian roasted potatoes with it. 🙂 I cook this recipe from Damn Delicious exactly as it calls for! The only thing I do differently is bake it instead of grill it in the winter and it’s just as delicious!
Photo by Damn Delicious
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, brown sugar, Worcestershire, garlic, thyme, oregano and rosemary; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Reserve 1/4 cup and set aside.
- In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine balsamic vinegar mixture and chicken; marinate for at least 1 hour to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade.
- Preheat grill to medium high heat. Add chicken to grill and cook, flipping once and basting with reserved 1/4 cup marinade until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes on each side.
- Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
No Bean Turkey Chili
This is another recipe that is 100% my own. I love love love chili but beans are a biiiig no no for me. So with much trial and error I’ve finally come up with a bean free chili recipe that I love!
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- Large yellow onion (diced)
- Green bell pepper (diced)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Two 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
- Two 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 7 tbsp chili powder (I know this seems extreme, but it’s necessary since you’re lacking other ingredients in a traditional chili)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Texas Pete hot sauce to taste
- Heat olive oil on medium heat in a large pot or dutch oven and sauté onions and peppers until they’re soft.
- Add ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.
- Add in diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, chili powder, salt and pepper and let simmer for at least 1 hour.
- Add Texas Pete hot sauce to taste. (I’ll often times skip this step and just add a dash to a serving before eating it).
- If your chili isn’t as thick as you’d like it, you can add a 6 oz can of tomato paste.
Upside Down Pan Pizza
Charlie absolutely loves this recipe and asks me to make it all the time. 🙂 I only made a few small changes to this recipe. The original Joy Bauer recipe calls for wholegrain pancake mix which I switch out for regular pancake mix (again – low fiber). And I nix the mushrooms because gross. 😛 Charlie loves mushrooms though so I’m sure he wishes I would leave them in for him! I’ll sure the original recipe here for you and make notes of the changes I make.
- 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
- 1 medium red onion (diced)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced)
- 2 portobello mushroom, stems removed, caps diced (trashed… jk jk! 😛 )
- One 28 oz can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
- 2 tsp dried oregano, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or to taste), plus extra for sprinkling
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (I use 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (I use an entire cup)
- 3/4 cup whole grain baking or pancake mix (I use regular pancake mix to maintain low-fiber)
- 1 1/2 cups skim milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13×9 inch baking dish with oil spray. Set aside.
- Liberally coat a large skillet with oil spray and preheat over medium heat.
- Add the ground meant, onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms to the skillet and sauté until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables have softened.
- Note: I usually cook the vegetables for a couple of minutes before adding the meat to make sure they are soft enough for low-fiber needs without having to overcook the meat.
- Drain off any liquid in the skillet. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper and stir to combine with the meat mixture.
- Spoon the tomato-meat mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread it out to form an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the baking mix, milk, whole egg, and egg whites. Pour this batter over the cheese-topped mixture. Don’t worry if the batter seems runny; it will completely cook through in the oven. Sprinkle with additional oregano and crushed red pepper to taste.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is gold brown and a knife inserted in the center of the crust comes out clean.
- Note: Charlie and I have better look with the crust if we bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes and serve.
Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas
This is easily on of my favorite recipes of all time. It’s insanely easy, it’s Crohn’s friendly and still provides me with plenty of nutrition, it’s healthy, and it’s freakin’ delicious! We make this allllll the time over here! And we follow the recipe from Number 2 Pencil exactly as it calls for! We usually skip the lime but that’s out of laziness more than anything. 😛
Photo by Number 2 Pencil
- 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 red bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 orange bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 small red onion sliced thin
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- several turns of freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoon of chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- tortillas warmed
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine onion, bell pepper, shrimp, olive oil, salt and pepper and spices.
Toss to combine.
Spray baking sheet with non stick cooking spray.
Spread shrimp, bell peppers and onions on baking sheet.
Cook at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes. Then turn oven to broil and cook for additional 2 minutes or until shrimp is cooked through.
Squeeze juice from fresh lime over fajita mixture and top with fresh cilantro.
Serve in warm tortillas.
This is a great salmon marinade if you’re like me and not the biggest fish lover in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I like a simple salmon filet, but I struggle to make it at home so this marinade is a nice distraction from overly-fishy-at-home-salmon, if ya know what I mean. It’s also another great recipe because you can choose your own sides! My favorite for this one is a sweet potato and asparagus if I’m feeling well or green beans if I’m in a flare and need something less fibrous. 🙂 I make the marinade exactly as Honeybear Lane calls for!
Photo by Honeybear Lane
- 1-3 salmon fillets, depending on size
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp salt
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅛ cup water
- 2-3 cloves minced garlic
- Purchase your salmon as fresh as you can. Put the fish in a plastic bag with all the other ingredients and seal it with as much air pushed out as possible. Marinate for at least an hour, up to three.
- When you are ready to cook, heat up your grill. Then make a little dish out of aluminum foil with sides. Slide the fish on your ‘dish’ and add a little of the marinade on top. Put the fish skin side down. Then push the whole dish onto the grill. Close the lid and grill for about 20 minutes. After that is done, flip the salmon over onto the grill to sear the top, then you can scrape off the skin (it should lift right off.) Grill for 1-2 minutes and then serve.
Stuffed Pepper Soup
This last recipe is one that I discovered a couple of months ago and another that Charlie absolutely fell in love with. It’s a great flavorful option that’s super easy to make and perfect to eat on all week long. We thought it would freeze well so we gave it a try this time and I’m excited to see it’s a good freezer recipe! In this recipe, I substitute ground turkey for ground beef. Not only is ground turkey less fibrous than ground beef, but it’s also a leaner, healthier option in general. 🙂 You can find the original recipe by Skinny Points here.
Photo by Skinny Points
- 1 lb ground turkey, browned and drained
- 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces) tomato soup
- 1 can (14 to 15 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 cups broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
- 2 bell peppers chopped (I used one green and one red)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
- 1 package (5 to 6 ounces) Spanish rice mix, uncooked
- Combine the cooked ground beef, tomato soup, diced tomatoes, broth, bell peppers, onions and Italian seasoning in your slow cooker. (I used my Ninja 3-in-1 cooker so I could brown the meat then proceed with slow cooking. A 5 or 6-Quart cooker should work.)
- Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours, until the peppers and onions are soft.
- Prepare the rice mix as the package directs. (I needed water and a 14-1/2 ounce can of diced tomatoes for mine.)
- Stir the cooked rice mix into the soup and cook on low for 30 minutes more to blend flavors.
Those are my 8 favorite Crohn’s friendly recipes that are guaranteed to be enjoyed by the whole fam, just ask Charlie! 🙂 You can find some other Crohn’s friendly recipes on my “Crohn’s Friendly Recipes” Pinterest Board. You can my favorite Pinterest recipes (not all low-fiber) on my “Favorite Recipes” Pinterest board. These are all recipes that I’ve tried and love and have made at least twice! 🙂
I hope you found today’s post helpful! Maybe now you know a bit more about low-fiber diets and what a diet is like with Crohn’s Disease. And I hope you’ll want to try some of these recipes regardless of if you have Crohn’s or another IBD! They’re all super delicious! If you try any of them be sure to let me know what you think of them! 🙂