Looking for an easy low FODMAP eggplant recipe that’ll knock your socks off? This recipe is perfect if you love low FODMAP Asian recipes because it’s my favorite low FODMAP eggplant recipe in a vegan crispy eggplant bao burger.
It’s crispy gingery eggplant with a crispy golden-brown crust and smothered in a tangy mayo sauce, a super quick and simple pickle.
In this blog post, we will guide you through making this low FODMAP eggplant bao from start to finish. We’ll also cover a few more things along the way like:
- What Are Gua Bao or Bao Burgers?
- FODMAP Notes
- Making This Low FODMAP Eggplant Recipe
- Assembling The Baos
Kick back, relax, grab a cup of tea -or any beverage of your choice- and let’s get started with our vegan low FODMAP eggplant bao bun.
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What Are Gua Bao or Bao Burgers?
What are gua bao buns you ask? Gua bao buns are made from the same dough traditional bao buns are made from but without the filling. Traditional bao buns are meat or veggie filled steamed bread.
Gua bao buns or bao burgers are flat half-moon shaped steamed bread without a filling. Like a bread taco or steamed hot dog buns; you can fill them with anything you want.
Fun fact: The ‘bao’ in bao buns originate from the word ‘baozi’ in Chinese. ‘Bao’ actually means bun. So, when we say bao buns in English, we’re actually saying bun bun.
Bao Buns, Gluten & FODMAPs
A low FODMAP diet is not a gluten-free diet but there are some sore points.
Bao buns are made from wheat flour, salt, yeast and water. Wheat has a red light indicator and is high in FODMAPs but that doesn’t mean you can’t have any bread. UPDATE 2023: Monash’s low FODMAP App lists a single serving of bread 1 slice or 35 grams as low FODMAP.
One bao bun is within that serving size. Opt for gluten free bao buns or make your own using gluten free flour with this steamed chinese bread recipe!
Monash University has not tested gua bao buns but they do state that wheat flour is low fodmap at a serving size of 1/4 cup or 30 grams. Our bao buns weighed 20 grams and are within the low FODMAP serving size.
Note: A gluten-free diet is not a low FODMAP diet but all-purpose flour is wheat-based which has a lot of fructans – making it a high FODMAP. Gluten is not a source of FODMAPs but it contains fructans and GOS which fall under the category of oligosaccharides (the O in FODMAP). When consumed at high levels, it triggers gastrointestinal symptoms in some people.
With moderation and portion control, some wheat and gluten products can still be enjoyed.
Panko FODMAPs & Substitute
UPDATE 2023: Monash University tested panko breadcrumbs and it has a low FODMAP serving of 1 ¼ cups or 75 grams.
Are panko breadcrumbs low FODMAP? Panko is a type of Japanese breadcrumbs that *insert drum roll here* has gluten. Dun dun dun… panko is low FODMAP in a single serve but you can still make this recipe if you can’t tolerate gluten:
- Buy gluten-free panko
- Make your own gluten-free breadcrumbs:
Panko makes everything extra crunchy but gluten-free panko isn’t widely available. Do you know what is though? Puffed rice cereal and corn flakes. Both of these cereals contain zero gluten and are super crispy.
Simply take your choice of cereal, add it to a ziplock bag and whack it with a rolling pin, pan, or anything to create a gluten-free and low FODMAP coating for your eggplant. If you can’t be bothered with the manual labor that goes into this, you can also blitz it up in a food processor.
Is eggplant FODMAP friendly? Eggplant is a great low FODMAP vegetable choice and has a low FODMAP serve of 1 cup or 75 grams. Moderate servings of 2 ½ cups or 182 grams and large servings of 3 ½ cups or 260 grams are high in FODMAPs.
Is ginger low FODMAP? Ginger is FODMAP free but a recommended serving size is 1 teaspoon or 5 grams.
The pickles in this recipe use cucumber, carrots and vinegar. Cucumbers have a low FODMAP serve of ½ cup or 75 grams. Carrots are FODMAP free and as far as vinegar goes, white vinegar is low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons or 42 grams.
No white vinegar? I have a low FODMAP vinegar guide that’ll tell you all about vinegars and FODMAPs.
The sauce for these eggplant bao buns is made from ketchup and mayo. Mayo is Mayonnaise is low FODMAP at 2 tablespoons.
Ketchup is low FODMAP at ½ serves which is about 1 sachet or 13 grams. There are low FODMAP ketchups like Fody’s low FODMAP ketchup which has a slightly higher serving size of 1 tablespoon or 17 grams.
Condiments can be a little tricky because of vague ingredients like ‘natural seasonings’ that include garlic or onion powder. Which is why I wrote a whole article about mustard and 9 other low FODMAP condiments.
Let’s move on to making this recipe.
Making This Low FODMAP Eggplant Recipe
This vegan low FODMAP dinner comes together fairly quickly and is super easy to make. There are four components that make up this low FODMAP eggplant recipe or eggplant buns:
- Eggplant: Baked, battered, and fried
Without further adieu, let’s start putting together this vegan bao bun.
The baos are the easiest part of this recipe if you’re buying them frozen. All you have to do is steam them for about 10-12 minutes or as directed on the package. If you’re thinking of making them yourself, we have a mantao bun recipe you could use as a base.
Don’t be threatened by the prep time. We often make bao buns from scratch and the dough comes together in minutes. Most of it is really leavening time.
Eggplant: Baked, Battered, and Fried
The eggplant in this vegan low FODMAP recipe requires a two-step process but it is worth it. Our eggplant is melt-in-your-mouth tender and seasoned with a low FODMAP rub made from cumin and ginger paste.
To make this vegan bao bun filling, cut your eggplants into 1-inch slices. You can leave them circular or cut them in half.
Add salt, olive oil, ground ginger, and cumin to the eggplant slices and ensure they’re coated in the marinade.
Add some water to the dish and cover with aluminum. This will create steam and allow the eggplants to soften. Bake for 30 minutes and that’s step one done. Once the eggplants are cooked and cool, start assembling your dredging station.
Battering Your Eggplants
Start by adding flour of your choice to a plate (we used rice flour), make the batter by adding flour and any plant-based milk, and another plate with panko crumbs. Place the eggplant in the plate of flour and coat on both sides. Shake it to remove excess flour. Don’t skip this step because doing this allows the batter to stick onto the eggplant.
Coat the eggplant slices in the batter
Finally, toss it in the panko crumbs
Repeat this step until all your eggplants are covered and then move on to shallow frying them in a pan filled with oil:
Fry eggplant on both sides until golden brown:
Place eggplant fritters on a paper towel to absorb excess oil
For this vegan low FODMAP recipe, we used our favorite vegan mayo. The sauce adds a rich and creamy element to this low fodmap eggplant recipe. It is made by combining 200 grams of vegan mayo and 13 grams of ketchup to give it a zing and sweetness.
Now, on to the final component of this low FODMAP vegan dinner: the pickles! Start by using a potato peeler or vegetable peeler to create thin ribbons. You can also just slice your vegetables thinly.
Leave the core of the cucumber as it is not as crunchy, use it to flavor water or save it later for a snack.
Make your pickling liquid by adding warm water, sugar, and vinegar into a bowl. Mix everything until dissolved and add your vegetables. Let the veggies sit in the pickling liquid for a minimum of 10 minutes or make ahead of time and leave it for as long as you’d like.
Tip: When assembling the baos, make sure to drain the pickles on a paper towel to remove excess pickling liquid. The pickling liquid will turn the crispy exterior of the eggplant soggy.
With all of the components done and dusted, you can move on to assembling your baos.
Assembling The Baos
You can make these baos to serve or set up your ingredients, form a line, and let everyone make their own baos. Now, that sounds like a conga line I want to be a part of.
Once you’ve steamed your baos, start assembling the crispy eggplant bao bun by spooning on the sauce, close your bao to make sure both the top and bottom of your bun is sauced. Nestle fried eggplant in between the appropriately sauced buns and top it up with pickles.
Is Panko Low FODMAP?
Panko is low FODMAP at 1 ¼ cups or 75 grams. Moderate serves of 1 ¾ cups or 105 grams and large serves of 2 cups or 125 grams are high in FODMAPs.
Can You Eat Eggplant On Low FODMAP?
Yes! Eggplants are low FODMAP at 75 grams. Eggplants are a great low FODMAP vegetable choice and are the star of the show when it comes to low FODMAP vegetarian recipes.
Is Eggplant Okay for IBS?
Eggplants are an ideal choice for the IBS low FODMAP diet because they have a generous serving, most people with IBS have zero issues with eggplants and they’re also low in calories and nutritious.
Where Is Eggplant on The FODMAP Diet?
Eggplant falls under the fructans category. Eggplant is FODMAP friendly in the recommended serving size but moderate to large serves do mean high amounts of FODMAPs.
Look at that, a vegetarian gua bao low FODMAP eggplant recipe that promises big bold flavors without the unnecessary pain caused by high fodmaps. Delicious crispy flavorful goodness sandwiched in a soft fluffy bun.
If you’re looking for more low FODMAP eggplant recipes, check out our other low FODMAP eggplant recipe that features an incredibly soft Asian-fusion braised eggplant.
Not a fan of eggplant? Try out vegetarian tofu bao buns!
Not sure about vinegar FODMAPs? Click here to read all about low FODMAP vinegar.
Curious about ginger and FODMAPs? Click here to read, “Is ginger low FODMAP?“
Check out our collection of low FODMAP Asian recipes with over 22+ Asian low FODMAP recipes and a guide to eating out!
Vegan Low FODMAP Eggplant Bao
Spiced eggplant encased in a crispy golden-brown crust, smothered in a rich creamy sauce, a super quick and simple pickle all sandwiched between fluffy steamed gua bao.
- 1 large eggplant
- Panko crumbs for coating (For gluten-free and low fodmap alternatives, use puffed rice cereal or crushed cornflakes. Check out the blog post for more info)
- 20g ginger pounded
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp water
- 200 g vegan mayo
- 13 g tomato ketchup
- 1 large carrot
- 1 cucumber
- 150 ml white vinegar
- 100 ml water
- 50g sugar
- 100 ml plant milk
- 40 g flour (we used rice flour)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- *extra flour for dredging
Pre-heat your oven to 170c or 338f. Line a baking dish with aluminum foil.
Pound or grate the ginger into a smooth paste.
Slice eggplants into 1-inch discs and marinate with ginger, ground cumin, and coriander. Coat in olive oil and add the eggplant into a lined baking dish.
Add 1 tbsp of water into the dish; this will allow the eggplant to steam. Cover with aluminum foil and make sure to seal tightly. Pop it in the oven for 30 minutes or until eggplants are tender.
For the sauce, simply mix the mayo and ketchup together.
While the eggplant is in the oven, it's time to make the pickles. You can make this in advance and store it for later use.
Add vinegar, warm water, and sugar into a bowl and mix until the sugar dissolves.
Use a vegetable peeler to make ribbons from the cucumber and carrots. If you don't have a peeler, slice your veggies thinly.
Add the vegetable ribbons to the vinegar mixture. Set aside and let the pickling liquid work its magic.
Mix flour, ground cumin, and salt in a bowl. Slowly add in flour and mix until combined. Don't worry about lumps.
Add oil into a pan and wait until it comes to temperature. Add batter into the pan to test: if it sizzles immediately, it's ready.
Get your station ready: Add flour into one plate, batter in a bowl, and panko crumbs on a plate.
When the eggplant is out of the oven and cooled, place it on the plate of flour. Shake it to remove the excess flour. Don't skip this step as it allows the batter to stick to the eggplant.
Next, dip the eggplant into the batter, and then coat in panko crumbs.
Cook crusted eggplant on both sides in oil until golden brown. Repeat this step until all the eggplants are cooked.
In a pot, boil water. Once boiled, line a steam basket with paper and add your bao buns. Steam according to directions on the package. Ours took 10 minutes.
Add pickles to a plate with a kitchen towel and dab slightly to remove excess liquid.
Start with a tablespoon of sauce.
Close your bao buns to make sure the top and bottom of the bun are coated in sauce.
Add your crispy eggplant, and top with pickles.
- Dry pickles before serving: Add pickles to a plate with a kitchen towel and dab slightly to remove excess liquid.
- If you can't find gluten-free panko crumbs, use crushed puffed rice cereal or corn flakes as a low fodmap substitute.