What are your favorite low carb snacks and meals without tons of cheese and nuts?
August 9, 2011 6:28 AM   Subscribe

I need recipes that rely mainly on meats, non-starchy veggies, eggs and seasoning. No rice, gluten, wheat, fruit or sugars of any kind, though I can substitute sugar with liquid Splenda if necessary. Cheeses and nuts are only sparingly accepted. What should I make?

I made this pulled pork recipe which, after many more hours in the oven than I'd anticipated, was amazing. I eat a ton of rotisserie chicken, though I buy them already roasted at the store. There's also tuna or chicken on spinach salad with low-carb dressing, a LOT of roasted broccoli from this recipe, kale chips, egg salads, and bunless burgers.

But I'm getting bored. I seek recipes! What are your favorite low carb snacks and meals?
posted by slightly sissy tea hound to Food & Drink (27 answers total) 85 users marked this as a favorite
I have been slow carving it, and I make a lot of frittatas.
posted by padraigin at 6:30 AM on August 9, 2011

When I tried gluten-free I discovered quinoa. It's a grain that you can use pretty much whenever you'd use rice - and it's super healthy. Really really easy to cook (rinse in a strainer, combine with one part quinoa to two parts water, bring to boil and boil covered for 15 mins).

I like to combine quinoa, beans (I like black beans) and corn to make a pseudo-Mexican bowl. For extra flavor I usually add a little lime juice. A little bit of shredded cheese also helps. You can also add grilled steak or chicken.
posted by radioamy at 6:36 AM on August 9, 2011

Your guidelines sound somewhat similar to South Beach Phase One, and Kalyn's Kitchen is a food blog that has a good compendium of Phase One recipes. Might be worth checking out.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:40 AM on August 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

I like doing stir fry recipies that are designed for noodles (like Pad Thai) with cabbage instead. Obviously, cabbage doesn't taste anything like noodles so it's not a direct substitute; but to my taste the same seasonings and ingredients usually complement the cabbage well.
posted by XMLicious at 6:49 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chipotle chicken salad tacos. I eat them in a bowl instead of in a tortilla and go light on the cheese.

Same idea with Korean tacos
posted by missanissa at 6:54 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chili Verde.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:55 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

there are a lot of great primal/paleo food blogs--check them out! I am currently also enjoying brokeassgourmet.com which has some great ideas for meals without any gluten/starch etc--
posted by chaoscutie at 7:13 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend chicken curry stew and white bean chicken chili from the aforementioned Kalyn's Kitchen.
posted by neushoorn at 7:13 AM on August 9, 2011

Beer marinated chicken tacos. I eat these with grilled peppers and onions.

Sriracha burgers eaten over a salad instead of on a bun.

Coconut chicken soup

Salmon with bacon, cabbage and dill.

Chili with extra veggies and no beans, topped with diced tomato and avocado.

Spaghetti sauce served over roasted veggies topped with Parmesan cheese and chopped olives.

Sardines mashed with avocado, fresh lemon juice, and sea salt is a good snack.
posted by missanissa at 7:34 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your guidelines sound amazingly similar to mine - I eat this way due to food intolerances. One suggestion would be to take that broccoli recipe and substitute cauliflower or brussels sprouts - both are excellent when roasted.
posted by chez shoes at 7:53 AM on August 9, 2011

Best answer: Best Egg Salad Ever!
2 hard boiled eggs
1/2 avocado
(note: adjust the above proportions as you like)
chop in a stalk or two of celery, some cucumber or pickle, whatever crunchy veggies you want
mustard (yellow or dijon, and however much you want)

You might find a lot of good stuff by looking at Paleo Diet recipes and blogs (although Paleo does use nuts pretty freely, because once you start eating very low-carb, your body can begin using fats for energy, so you need more of them than you might think)... I have liked Whole 9 recipes, The Clothes Make the Girl recipes, Whole Life Eating, Everyday Paleo, and a lot of people also really like Mark's Daily Apple.
posted by so_gracefully at 8:13 AM on August 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

You're doing low-carb, though with less cheese than maintenance plans of most low-carb diets use. Many low-carb cookbooks and online forums will have lots of recipes for you.

Also learn from the wizardry of Mark Bittman: 101 Simple Salads for the Season. Despite use of the word "salad" very few of these recipes call for greens. A section of this article is dedicated to vegan dishes.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 8:13 AM on August 9, 2011

We've been doing low carb for a couple of years now. A few substitutes for starches that work.. Cauliflower is versatile; you can chop it finely in a food processor for a rice equivalent, or you can puree it for a mashed potatoes equivalent. There are also a variety of odd Asian noodles that have essentially no carbohydrates but still taste like noodles, as folks say above check the paleo and low carb blogs for ideas. Consider stevia as a replacement sweetener instead of Splenda.
posted by Nelson at 8:26 AM on August 9, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you're not counting quinoa as a grain (it's gluten-free), I'd put it in everything. It's delicious, and can substitute for rice in most dishes, and can even sub for pasta in many others. As a bonus, it's high in protein.

Back when I was dating somebody who was on Paleo, we made lots of stir-fry and kale dishes. My latest preferred stir fry ingredient has been Baby Bok Choi.

Oh, and eat more fish. This is general life advice not specific to your question. Mahi Mahi is delicious, cheap, and very good for you.

Go easy on the meat. People on these diets invariably seem to end up eating waaaay more meat than can possibly be healthy (The last "Paleo cookout" I attended had a number of very tasty dishes alongside some things that could not possibly have been healthier than a slice of bread. The phrase "bacon explosion" could have described at least four of the dishes being served. Try to avoid that.)
posted by schmod at 8:35 AM on August 9, 2011

Best answer: Go easy on the meat. People on these diets invariably seem to end up eating waaaay more meat than can possibly be healthy (The last "Paleo cookout" I attended had a number of very tasty dishes alongside some things that could not possibly have been healthier than a slice of bread. The phrase "bacon explosion" could have described at least four of the dishes being served. Try to avoid that.)

Science says you're wrong: http://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Get-Fat-About/dp/0307272702/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312906384&sr=8-1
posted by BenS at 9:13 AM on August 9, 2011 [6 favorites]

posted by BenS at 9:13 AM on August 9, 2011

Similar to missanissa, my homemade spaghetti sauce on a pile of steamed spinach tossed with garlic and some salt is my go to when craving pasta. I do tend to load up too much on the parmesan, but it makes me love it more.

Super easy super delish pasta sauce:
Saute on chopped medium onion til just about translucent in olive oil. Add about 3 cloves chopped garlic, stir for about a minute or two, but don't let garlic brown. Add one fat can of whole peeled tomatoes, shredded or cut up. Simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes.

Very basic, very easy, very fresh tasting chunky pasta sauce. Add a bunch of loosely chopped basil at the end if you feel like going that route.
posted by newpotato at 9:53 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wow, these are awesome!

And yes, I know I'm doing low-carb. I've lost a solid 30lbs on the diet and am well within the healthy weight range at this point, but want to lose a final 10lbs for aesthetic reasons. I can absolutely maintain my weight eating meat, eggs, vegetables (everything except potatoes of any stripe), low sugar fruits and nuts and cheeses, but my wedding nears and I'd like to drop those straggling pounds for purely vain reasons.

Just to stave off any calories in, calories out/"bread is fine" people: what works for you doesn't work for everyone. I know plenty of people who lost weight eating Lean Cuisine chicken and linguine frozen meals, but carbs make me balloon. Nuts and cheese are generally okay for me, but I love them too much right now to eat them in any moderation that Atkins recommends, so I'm staying away from them entirely to avoid temptation. Otherwise I eat spoonfuls of almond butter all day.

So yeah, no quinoa! And as for Paleo dieting, I like it except for its psuedo science about dairy and its aversion to animal fats. I like animal fats, and they like me. I've lost a lot of weight on them. My diet is like a hybrid between Primal and Atkins, not that there's much difference between the two when compared to the average American diet.

My tagalong question is: I eat a LOT of veggies like broccoli and spinach each day, enough to go over the recommended 20 carbs of the Atkins induction phase. I doubt this would actually cause me to gain weight, but.... would it?
posted by slightly sissy tea hound at 10:22 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I love spice crusts so I suggest seeking out spice-crusted anything (if they call for panko in the crust just leave it out.. I do). Spice crusted salmon (yum). Tuna works realllly well with spice crusts. Those silly white fishes need the spices badly since they lack in flavor (except swordfish, which I love marinated in white wine w/ salt+pepper). You could even marinate the fish in lemon or lime juice and then put your crust on before searing it in the pan or on the grill (it's grilling season so why not!). Also spice crusts work well on any meat...

Apart from that, investigate beer can chicken! Takes awhile (since you use a whole chicken) but it's moist and delicious. We've also experimented with using an empty can and filling it with wine to the same end.

As for vegetable companions have you tried roasted artichokes from the grill? Perhaps that could be a bit high in carbs. Try sauteeing chard or collared greens with garlic - simple but delicious (and more flavorful than/different from spinach)

...Eating too many veggies won't cause you to gain any other weight than water weight considering the vegetables you listed have high water contents. If you feel you've gained weight it's likely to be just water.
posted by winterisfun at 11:07 AM on August 9, 2011

You'll probably like this woman's recipes. She's pretty much paleo, but she calls it "dino-chow." I have made several of her recipes and they're all really good! She is a total foodie, and uses more vegetables than I've seen in other paleo recipes.

Do you eat cottage cheese? I mix 1/2 a cup of cottage cheese (full fat for satiety and to avoid thickeners) with 1/2 and apple and a stalk or two of celery. Sometimes I top it with chopped walnuts. You could substitute jicama for the apple, or just have all cottage cheese to avoid the fruit. It's very satisfying and low carb.
posted by apricot at 11:17 AM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fajitas are fun - steak, green peppers, onions, avocado, salso side of beans optional. Convenient for those cooking for two, just leave out the tortillas and rice for your own portion.
posted by bq at 2:17 PM on August 9, 2011

Here's the tried and true, easy recipes that I use frequently that match your criteria.

*Simple Roasted Whole Chicken. I usually double all the spices but the salt and omit the sugar. Make sure you give it plenty of time to marinate in the spices. I also never stuff it with garlic as I think the spice blend is better without.
*Spinach and Bacon Quiche. Just spray the pie tin and omit the crust. You can use less cheese and add other veggies instead. It is very versatile. My favorite is bacon, kale and mozzarella.
*Easy Butter Chicken. I swap out the vegetable oil for bacon grease and the chicken breasts with chicken thighs.
*Moroccan Pork Chops. So easy and so delicious. Make sure you only cook to the new standard of 140F so they're juicy.
*Stovetop Carnitas. Recipe is for pork, but works equally as good with a nice beef roast. Simply, this is to die for.
*Avocado Deviled Eggs. Recipe also includes bacon, but I normally make them without. Amazing.
posted by Nerro at 4:34 PM on August 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and in terms of what you classify yourself as, you sound to me like an Archevore.
posted by Nerro at 4:38 PM on August 9, 2011

Microwave flax bread. (Note that the recipe calls for ground flax, not whole flax seed. I buy the whole seeds and grind them in an electric coffee grinder that I only use for flax.)

I like to eat this warm for breakfast slathered with butter and a little sugar-free jam. It's a nice change from meat-cheese-eggs all the time.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:21 PM on August 9, 2011

Look for paleo recipes. It's a diet plan that mimics what hunter-gatherers ate. No grains, no gluten.

Here are a few sites I use...
Down & Dirty Paleo Recipes
The Functional Foodie
Mark's Daily Apple
Whole 9 Life
Robb Wolf

And from the Crossfit site, here's a very simple guide to the best foods for you.

What Should I Eat?
In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar. That's about as simple as we can get. Many have observed that keeping your grocery cart to the perimeter of the grocery store while avoiding the aisles is a great way to protect your health. Food is perishable. The stuff with long shelf life is all suspect. If you follow these simple guidelines you will benefit from nearly all that can be achieved through nutrition.

Protein and fat are very satisfying. Eat this and you won't go hungry. No cravings (after the first week or so). An advantage to eating like this is that if you go back to eating junk food, your body gives immediate feedback.
posted by JV at 6:43 PM on August 9, 2011

We try to follow a similar diet. Some things I haven't seen mentioned yet:


Sweet and sour pork chops (make the sauce out of tomato paste, vinegar, splenda and lemon juice. Put chops in casserole dish, pour sauce on top and cook in oven. Cook for a long time (an hour-ish) if you want the pork to be very tender - put foil over the dish for the last 1/2 hour to keep chops from drying out)

Jambalaya (I don't use a recipe - basically onion, celery, peppers, garlic, diced tomato, cajun spice mix + lean sausage and shrimp)

Chicken chop suey (I haven't found a recipe I like yet)

Tofu, broccoli and bok choy stir fry with store-bought black bean sauce

This recipe for kofte (lamb meatballs) is awesome and was found previously on askmefi. But I think it has to be bbq-ed to be truly good, so make it before summer's over.

Basa (a white fish) cooked in butter with cajun spice mix

Spaghetti squash is a good side if you're not sick of it like we are. We just boil it and add butter and salt.
posted by kitcat at 8:21 PM on August 9, 2011

Spaghetti squash is one I like too; sometimes I do butter and pepper and salt, but I also find that the bottled Thai curry sauces I have go well with it. (And other sauces would probably work well too... as I'm thinking about it, I bet I'd like it with some fancy mustards I've got, I'll have to try that.)
posted by XMLicious at 9:14 PM on August 9, 2011

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