Getting diagnosed with SIBO as a vegetarian can feel extra challenging.

Because I get asked about this often, I’ve created this page to collect what information I have found to date. I am NOT a nutritionist or specialist. These are simply the coping strategies I’ve used to provide healthy vegetarian meals for those with SIBO.

Dr. Siebecker’s “green/safe” list of vegetables is fairly extensive, and offers a variety of SIBO-friendly options. The challenge for a vegetarian diagnosed with SIBO is obtaining adequate amounts of protein, since most sources of vegetarian protein are not in the green/safe zone (assuming you are following Dr. Siebeckers SIBO ingredient guide, as we do):

  • 🚫 Tofu and tempeh contain soy
  • 🚫 Seitan contains gluten
  • 🚫 Only a minimal amount of peas (and pea-based proteins) are tolerated
  • 🚫 Standard pasta is made from wheat, gluten-free pastas can contain chickpeas or cauliflower
  • 🚫 Most legumes (black beans, pinto beans, chickpeas, etc.) aren’t safe
  • 🚫 Quinoa and Chia have higher fiber and macromolecules that SIBO bacteria like to eat
  • 🚫 The “beyond” and “impossible” meat substitutes contain soy, pea protein, potatoes, wheat, or yeast

SIBO safe protein options for vegetarians:

  • ✅ Eggs
  • ✅ Up to 1/2 cup of brown lentils per meal
  • ✅ Aged cheese (like aged Gouda or Parmesan),
  • ✅ Peanuts (other nuts are ok in lower quantities; peanuts offer the highest quantity in the safe zone).
  • ✅ Coconut and olive oils are also safe and could contribute to your protein sources a bit

If your body is able to tolerate white rice (not everyone with SIBO can), plain white rice and white rice noodles are another option. Noodles made from brown rice tend to give SIBO people more trouble, but test a small amount to see how your body does.

What about Jackfruit?

From everything I’ve researched, canned green jackfruit is fine for most SIBO people. However ripe jackfruit is NOT SIBO-friendly due to the high sugar content (even worse if it’s canned in syrup).

Canned green jackfruit offers an acceptable “meaty vegetable” substitution in many recipes (I see it used most often for vegetarian and vegan pulled pork / carnitas / barbecue). It’s not super high in protein, but it’s a convenient addition to a vegetarian diet. See the ingredient label >

Again, I always recommend trying a small portion to see how your body reacts before you use it in a meal.

5 Getting Started Tips for Vegetarians with SIBO

  • Make a batch of brown lentils and store in the fridge, so you can scoop out and add as needed to soups or salads for a quick boost of protein in your meal
  • Stock up on eggs—boil a bunch to have on hand for breakfast, to crumble over meals as a garnish, to slice and add to salads—all in an effort to add more protein to the dish
  • Add aged cheese to as many meals as possible (as a topping or incorporated into the recipe)
  • Experiment with savory nut sauces (like our swimming rama with peanuts, or velvety walnut sauce with chicken or jackfruit)
  • Substitute “meaty” vegetables like rutabaga, eggplant, bell peppers (stuffed is my favorite!), or canned green jackfruit in place of meat in standard recipes

SIBO-Safe Recipes for Vegetarians

Any of these recipes are either easy to adjust by substituting the meat with rutabagas, eggplant, or jackfruit, -or- some are already vegetarian.