Low-carb brunch ideas please!
May 6, 2011 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Mother's Day brunch: I need some low-carb brunch food ideas. Bonus points if they can be cooked on the grill.

I'm hosting Mother's Day brunch this year. Several guests (including the guest of honor, hi Mom!) are on a low-carb diet, so things like waffles and cinnamon rolls need to not be on the menu.

My go-to menu in this situation would be a lot of fresh fruit, some sort of baked egg thing, bacon and sausage, and maybe some sugar-free Jello dessert. But I feel like this is not as creative or special a menu as I would like. It's Mother's day, my mom is awesome, and I want to show support for her healthy diet choices and cook up some extra-nice food.

One more complication: the weather here is finally getting nice, and my husband is itching to fire up the grill. I don't want to serve up burgers and brats for brunch, though; I want something more elegant, more brunch-like. So what else could we grill?

I like to mess around in the kitchen but I'm not used to the low-carb thing - I feel like I'm missing some obvious ideas. Specific recipes or general menu advice would help. Help me hive mind!
posted by beandip to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Shrimp can be grilled, and can fit into a brunch fairly well.
posted by demiurge at 7:50 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

is it too early to grill a peach? i am dying to grill a peach.
posted by sestaaak at 7:52 AM on May 6, 2011

A friend of mine brought halloumi cheese to grill at a cookout, and it was delicious.

Asparagus is also a good choice. You can dress it with a vinaigrette or honey-mustard dressing.

Don't forget the possibilities of stuffed portobello mushrooms!
posted by amtho at 8:00 AM on May 6, 2011

How about vegetable and fruit kebobs?
posted by bq at 8:03 AM on May 6, 2011

Low carb eaters generally do not eat fruit other than some types of berries.

What about fish? I have a friend who does tilapia in foil packets on the grill with various types of seasoning, and it's amazing.

I've heard grilled romaine hearts and grilled cauliflower are both fantastic, but have not tried them myself.
posted by gnomeloaf at 8:04 AM on May 6, 2011

I don't usually use recipes as much as just "throw things together," but here are some ideas...

Eggs, cheese, meats are all low carb; if you have a cast iron skillet there are tons of things you could cook on the grill - I've done omelettes and scrambles and it's all been good. Now that you've got me thinking about it, I'll probably try a frittata soon, but I'd try it over indirect heat. Scrambled eggs with cream cheese and smoked salmon would be great too and a little extra smokey flavor from cooking it on the grill would only add to it. Cooking bacon directly on the grill makes a mess but I love it. (I use charcoal though, it might not be worth the trouble on a gas grill.)

Also, if you happened to be cooking something the night before, you can smoke hard boiled eggs on the grill alongside and use them in egg salad. It makes the egg salad taste like it's got bacon in it, especially if you use hickory. (If you use a gas grill, just do the soaked-chunks in a tinfoil satchel thing, still works great.) If you've never done it before, it seems to work best if you smoke the eggs in a paper egg carton so they don't dry out as much. My wife doesn't prefer egg salad or tuna salad while she's on low carb diets because she wants them on sandwiches, but some people are fine eating them with salad greens.

Living in the southwest, I wouldn't hesitate to do fajitas for a brunch; leave out the onions to keep it low carb and mostly stick with grilled peppers alongside. Just marinate a flank steak or skirt steak overnight and then grill it to medium along with some sliced peppers. (The peppers are great marinated in honey/lime/olive oil for a half hour beforehand. Honey's not low carb, but I don't feel like you eat enough of it for it to be a bad thing). Stuffed peppers on the grill are great, too, we're probably weird but I'd serve those for a brunch without hesistation. Normal ground beef/cheese would be fine, I enjoy a Mexican style filling that uses ground beef, walnuts, raisons, heavy cream, cinnamon and/or nutmeg, and a little sweetener. (It's savory; probably not for everyone, but it's been a hit when I've served it.)

I'm actually cooking a low carb mother's day breakfast for my wife on Sunday and I also love grilling; I'll probably do a low carb cheese souffle indoors and grill/smoke some salmon outside at the same time.
posted by mullicious at 8:14 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seems like low-carb is coming up a lot on here lately .. . let me show you Kalyn's Kitchen. Kalyn is a low-carb goddess.

Specifically Phase One Breakfast. If you are unsure about what "phase" or kind of lowcarb diet she is going for, phase one should be safe.

I love this one and this one.

She is super nice and is on twitter, too, and might offer some tips if you ask nicely. :)
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:21 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

Oh, and not to hog the floor, but a nice spinach salad with vinaigrette and walnuts would be great, on the grill you could cook goat cheese "croutons" to go on top.

You make the goat cheese into 2 or 3" flat patties and then roll them in slivered/chopped almonds and then grill them quickly on a very hot skillet in butter, it's fantastic. (Honestly, broiling them in the oven until they're a little browned is probably easier and a bit more reliable, but I'll try cooking almost anything on the grill at least once. On the grill and in a skillet, the trick is not to do it quickly over high heat or they melt and fall apart.) A salad like that is great with egg dishes, too.
posted by mullicious at 8:26 AM on May 6, 2011

(D'oh - the trick IS to do it quickly)
posted by mullicious at 8:27 AM on May 6, 2011

Fritattas and crustless quiches are probably the best way to go. Add prosciutto freely.

Berries in cream.

Salads, (like avocado/heart of pal/cherry tomato salad, or crab/avocado salad.)
posted by np312 at 8:36 AM on May 6, 2011

It is possible to make pancakes and crepes out of almond meal instead of flour. The crepes actually come out very well. But I would go with omelets or a big frittata.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:03 AM on May 6, 2011

Here's directions for a fancy low-carb breakfast item ("directions" because I've never bothered to write this down exactly, I just wing it).
Take about 8 eggs, a box of frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained), and about a cup of low-fat shredded cheese. Mix together, and pour in a greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 until done, take it out and cool. Once it's cool, spread with softened low-fat cream cheese. Put a layer of smoked salmon on top. Now comes the tricky part. Starting at one edge roll this to make a spiral (just like a jelly roll). Wrap in parchment and stick in the fridge. Before serving unwrap and slice across the roll.
What you end up with is a spiral spinach/cheese/salmon omelet.
posted by Runes at 9:16 AM on May 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

If I was making brunch for myself and the grill was involved, I'd do a mixed grill of skirt steak, boneless chicken thighs, some nice sausages (chicken and spinach, for example) and marinated mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini. (Eggplant does not kebab very well, but the other two do. Because they don't cook at the same rate, make single-item skewers (and use 2 skewers to keep the mushrooms from just rotating around when you try to turn them over) and then de-skew onto a platter.)

That with an egg casserole or crustless quiche, avocados, a spinach salad, and a little lime sour cream on the side would be a wonderful brunch. It doesn't seem brunchy or breakfasty if your normal mode of operation is bread and sweets, but grilled vegetables are awesome anytime. For the bread-eaters, you can toss some good fresh flour or corn tortillas onto the grill real quick to heat them up.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:42 AM on May 6, 2011

When I read "brunch," "low-carb" and "grill" my first thought was salmon.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:06 AM on May 6, 2011

For dessert : chunks of pineapple and peaches (fresh, not canned) drizzled with a little honey and dusted with plenty of cinnamon, threaded on skewers and grilled. Serve with yoghurt or crème fraîche.
posted by essexjan at 10:15 AM on May 6, 2011

The concept of grilled peaches is just blowing my mind, I am definitely going to go home and try that one tonight if I can get ahold of fresh peaches.

Thanks everybody! This is amazing and I'm excited to try out a bunch of these ideas.
posted by beandip at 10:20 AM on May 6, 2011

Three ideas:

Asparagus is fresh and in season right now (well, most places, at least). I love it grilled (with salt/pepper/olive oil) and served with bacon and a poached egg. And a little bit of truffle salt on the broken egg yolk...mmm... but also good without the truffle salt. If you have the will, breakfast-style potatoes (I like them with rosemary, garlic and thyme) go nicely too. Other than the eggs, it can all be prepped in advance and kept warm in the oven/BBQ.

A few people mentioned goat cheese...I love it in a salad (spring greens) with a mustard vinaigrette (Tbs. mustard mixed with Tbs. white wine vinegar, shaken until combined, then veg/canola/neutral oil added and shaken/whisked gradually...usually about double the vinegar. Then a squeeze of lemon and some salt/pepper and you're there!). You can bread and fry the goat cheese if you want - that adds some nice texture to the dish. And breakfast potatoes go well in salads too!

And I absolutely adore rhubarb crumble (also in season)...if you make it with oats it's totally ok to eat at brunch, right?...however, I would not recommend adding breakfast potatoes. :-)

Good luck!
posted by guster4lovers at 11:25 AM on May 6, 2011

Make Hollandaise sauce. It's one of those sauces that make people say "oooh, fancy!" and it's really easy to make. You can serve it with grilled veggies or make Eggs Benedict without the English muffins.

I've also made "crepes" that are actually just really thin omelets. Just cook scrambled eggs like crepes- about 1/4 cup of scrambled egg, swirled around in a nonstick pan until cooked. Then fill with whatever you'd fill a crepe with. Seafood is really good in these.

Although if you can get a hold of some peaches to grill, that might possibly be all you need. People won't eat anything else once they've tried one.
posted by dogmom at 3:44 PM on May 6, 2011

Low carb stuff we've been grilling lately: salmon, asparagus, small zucchinis, halloumi cheese, onions.

Grilled peaches are excellent. I haven't done a low carb version and usually use brown sugar on them, but butter and cinnamon and ginger should be plenty tasty. Especially if you serve with whipped cream or creme fraiche. Peaches aren't the lowest carb of fruits, but aren't the worst either. Cut in half, take out the pit, brush with melted butter and spices, grill flat side down, then turn over, brush the top again with butter and spices, grill some more, and serve, with the full-fat dairy product of your choice. Now I want some.

A nice fritatta or crustless quiche dish would be easy and elegant. We were just talking about making one with smoked salmon and spinach for dinner.
posted by gingerbeer at 12:08 PM on May 7, 2011

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