Dammit, I freaking need to start cooking some stupid low carb recipes.
February 14, 2013 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Doctor's orders, sadly. Does anyone know of any low carb cookbooks or websites (or just individual recipes) that would take the sting out of giving up my precious carbs? If there was a Cook's Illustrated low carb cookbook that would be perfect, but there isn't.
posted by malhouse to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 97 users marked this as a favorite
I have been finding some great recipes on Paleo websites, even though I don't eat Paleo at all (because I love my beans and my rice).
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:51 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Many of my low carb friends really like Dana Carpenter's books. I've tried a couple of her recipes and I liked them too.
posted by bunderful at 1:51 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

We like mushrooms + steak. Very easy to cook:

1. buy mushrooms at grocery store. slice. sautee with butter or an oil until they are soft, add a bit of salt.
2. pan sear a steak and finish in the oven.

Also hummus with veggies (slice up zucchini, carrots, snow peas, serve with hummus); black bean chili.

Are you considering quinoa as low carb? If so, there are lots of fabulous recipes for that out there. 101 Cookbooks has some great ones.
posted by lyra4 at 1:53 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

This Chowhound thread has some good suggestions, as does this About.com list. The Low Carb Gourmet by Karen Burnaby is excellent if you like seafood. KalynsKitchen.com is a good website for low carb recipes.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:57 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dana Carpender is a lovely lady, and I have bought a couple of her books but don't use them anymore because she relies heavily on artificial sweeteners and other food substitutes that don't work for me. One of the things I really like about KalynsKitchen.com is that she is more whole-foods focused than a lot of the Atkins cookbooks and other early low-carb cookbooks. Not to take anything away from Dana Carpender's work, because I think it has been a great resource for lots of people, but.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2013

Google Primal Blueprint Recipes and you'll get a ton of results.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Seconding Dana Carpender. (I don't eat low-carb as a rule, but she's a friend and I've enjoyed her cooking.)
posted by asperity at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2013

One of the best low carb cookbooks I own is Saving Dinner the Low Carb Way.

What kind of things/dinners do you eat on a regular basis? I find that modifying my favorite meals is fairly easy. For instance, I love tacos and fajitas. If I want to go light on the carbs, I just make a fajita or taco salad and omit the tortillas and side of rice.
posted by Fairchild at 2:04 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

Dinner we had the other night was kale salad with smoked trout and pine nuts. We do a lot of variations on kale salad because it's easy and tasty.

Buy kale - we're loving dino kale at the moment, and two bunches is good for two or three people for dinner with a little left over.

Strip the ribs out of the kale

Chop or tear into small pieces

Wash it and dry it

Put it in a bowl


- A lot of lemon juice (maybe half a cup)

- Less olive oil (maybe a third of a cup)

- some finely grated Parmesan

- Salt and pepper

- You can also mash up half an avocado and whisk it into the dressing

Toast your pine nuts

Toss everything together. We home-smoked the trout, but you can buy it, or you can add grilled or poached or roasted chicken, or salmon, or whatever moves you.

I've pulled some good recipes from Mark's Daily Apple - he's paleo rather than low-carb but damn if I know the difference.
posted by rtha at 2:06 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

I love the South Beach cookbooks, and I don't even have to do low-carb for any health/weight reasons. (Caveat: I rarely cook the Phase 1 recipes, which are super-super-super carb restricted, and instead concentrate on Phase 2 and 3 recipes.)
posted by scody at 2:06 PM on February 14, 2013

EatingWell's recipes are great.
posted by kelseyq at 2:07 PM on February 14, 2013

I'm not low-carb myself, but I love Kalyn's Kitchen, which is written by a woman who is on the South Beach Diet. Simply Recipes is not strictly low-carb, but she tends to emphasize dishes with lots of veggies and lean proteins. I've made about a half-dozen of her recipes and they've all come out great.
posted by lunasol at 2:07 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Can you be more precise about what you mean by low carb? Less than 10 grams per meal? 30?
posted by chinston at 2:09 PM on February 14, 2013

You could go to Emeals and subscribe to their low carb or paleo options. You get a weekly menu of meals with directions on how to prepare, and a shopping list. Not gourmet meals, but takes the decision making out of it. And its cheap!
posted by SyraCarol at 2:10 PM on February 14, 2013

Yeah, can you give us some examples of how you normally eat, and also - if you're willing - what grounds the advice comes from? I ask the latter because dealing with a pre-diabetic situation is a little different from straight weight loss, which is different from gastric troubles, etc etc.

As a long-time veteran, it's hard for me to remember how hard it was at first to figure out what to eat. Everything has a pretty good substitute, with the exception of bread, and making those substitutions is second nature to me now.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:11 PM on February 14, 2013

What plan are you following? Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, 4 Hour Body, something else?

Are you OK with sugar substitutes like Splenda and Truvia or are you going to be using honey and agave only? Is fruit OK or forbidden? What about beans, peas, carrots, squash, corn, sweet potatoes?

Dependent upon what plan you follow, you might need to adapt some recipes for your preferences and restrictions.

For example, Paleo recipes may contain fruit while Atkins recipes won't. Paleo folks are cool with certain starchy vegetables that Atkins folks avoid. Paleo recipes typically don't contain artificial sweeteners, many Atkins recipes do. Atkins-followers also will buy speciality low carb ingredients online.

That said...

The Nom Nom Paleo iPad App is well-done. Lots of great photographs, too. The author keeps an active blog.

Sugar Free Sheila and Linda's Low Carb Menus and Recipes are popular with the Atkins crowd. Some of the recipes use sugar substitutes like Truvia, Splenda, etc.

Kalyn's Kitchen is good but South Beach focused. If you choose not to eat beans, lentils, and certain starchy vegetables, you might find her recipes too limiting after a while. She also does the excellent Slow Cooker from Scratch.

EatingWell is decent but a lot of their recipes are bland. I've also learned to avoid anything on EatingWell that's supposedly Asian, it usually turns out terrible with all of the substitutions they make.

Just keep in mind that you're never going to fully be able to replace certain foods: bread, pizza, pastries, cake, doughnuts, rice, or potatoes. Anything that relies on gluten for texture is going to be tough. Dumplings, bagels, noodles, to name a few. But you can have decent pancakes, cakes, muffins using almond flour and/or coconut flour. But a chewy texture is tough to recreate sans carbs.
posted by kathryn at 2:13 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

Seconding Paleo as a general search term. I have had particularly good luck with The Clothes Make the Girl and have heard great things about (and eaten great stuff from) her cookbook. Kathryn is correct that not all paleo stuff is low-carb, but it is usually pretty easy to detect non-low-carb stuff because it'll have either fruit or sweet potatoes in it. (Of course it depends on your personal definition of "low-carb," too.)
posted by restless_nomad at 2:15 PM on February 14, 2013

Check out the "Low Carbing Among Friends" cookbooks (available on Amazon) and this website, mariahealth.blogspot.com
posted by hdfische at 2:45 PM on February 14, 2013

I breathe... I'm hungry..... became my lifeline last month when I was put on a low-carb diet for PCOS management. I also rely pretty heavily on the "low carb" tag on Skinnytaste.

I know you aren't asking for the following information, but as someone who started rather recently, I have a bit of hindsight to share:It gets better! The first few weeks will be hell, but you will crave carbs less in the end. Make sure you are getting fiber, and drinking enough water, cause your poops are gonna change. And I know this is common sense, but I found out the hard way: DO NOT eat nothing but cheese and meat. It won't end well.
posted by Syllables at 2:50 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Reddit can help. Their keto subreddit has information and links a plenty. I like Dana Carpender's books but I don't do any baking so her reliance on stevia and the like don't bother me. I breathe...I'm hungry is awesome as is the caveman keto blog. The only thing that bums me out about eating low carb is the inability to throw a sandwich together but there are work arounds.
posted by karlos at 3:10 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

we love mini chicken loafs at my house. they are super easy and are good cold, so I make a little extra for lunches the next day or two. I am a believer in modifing recipies based on my own likes and dislikes and this is actually really difficult to screw up- so have at it.

Mini chicken loaf!

preheat oven to 350.

1 pound ground chicken
one egg
1 stalk celery finely chopped
1/2 a carrot finely chopped
5 button mushrooms finely chopped
1 half an onion finely chopped
1 tbs mustard powder
2 tbs minced garlic (love it, so i tend to go for a lot more)
2 tbs italian spices (or any combination of thyme, parsley and rosemary)
2 tbs steak sauce
1 tsp salt

Mix it all together and plop into sprayed muffin tins. bake for about 30 to 45 min (untill internal temp is at least 165.
posted by Blisterlips at 3:17 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]

And yeah- if you are a big bread person- do yourself a big favor and keep track of the fiber you eat and like, double it with tons of water.
posted by Blisterlips at 3:19 PM on February 14, 2013

tim ferris, who wrote four-hour body just put out a book called the 4 hour chef and I think every recipe in it is appropriate for the 4 hour body diet, which is low or slow carb.
posted by euphoria066 at 4:58 PM on February 14, 2013

660 Curries is the best low-carb cookbook I've ever used, in terms of having the greatest number of delicious low-carb recipes (it's also got a lot of high-carb ones.) Most of the meat, paneer and low-starch vegetable recipes are quite low-carb.

As for explicitly low-carb cookbooks, I like the The Primal Blueprint Cookbook; at least it seems like it was written by someone who enjoys food.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 5:23 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]

These protein pancakes are pretty great.

Basic recipe: Equal quantity by volume of cottage cheese, egg whites and oatmeal (one serving is 1/3 cup of each) go into a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth, then cook up like you would any other pancake.

I added a bit of lemon juice and micro-planed rind to the last batch I made and then added blueberries after pouring the batter into the pan for awesome lemon-blueberry pancakes.

You could have these with nut butter if syrup would put you over your carb limit. They're good with unsweetened apple sauce too.

Since there's no sugar in the batter, you can mix in shredded veggies and season with salt/pepper/whatever for savory pancakes. I do this to use up leftovers.
posted by burntflowers at 5:46 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

Here are some of the ones I use:
Linda's low carb menus and recipes
Low carb friends
Buttoni's Low carb recipes

This cookbook is great George Stella's Livin' Low Carb , as well as Dana Carpender's 1,001 Low carb recipes

Also seconding Kathryn upthread and definitely check out Reddit as Karlos mentions, lots of nice recipes pop up there.
I use coconut flour, soy flour and Carbquik for my bread substitutes but don't expect them to do be just like wheat flour products, as they are not.
posted by Snazzy67 at 5:51 PM on February 14, 2013

My go-to healthy recipe website, Skinny Taste, has a whole low-carb section.
posted by radioamy at 9:31 PM on February 14, 2013

Not recipes, per se, but if you have any other cuisines you've been wanting to try out, this is a great time! Chinese cooking does great things with stir-fried vegetables (and meat, if you like); Indian or Thai curries are spectacular and if you go for the healthier ones (vegetable or lentil) there are a ton of recipes that don't need to be eaten over rice at all; there are wonderful Moroccan, middle-eastern and mediterranean dishes based in lentils or eggplant or sweet potatoes or squash that have delicious spices in them and can be absolutely wonderful.

If you take it as an opportunity free yourself up from thinking of 'a meal' in the way you always have ("bread, a starch, and a meat", or "meat, starch, and vegetable", for example) it could be a great chance for you to find some new foods you'll really love, or some dishes you never would have dared to try to cook yourself before.
posted by Lady Li at 9:43 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]

How low are you supposed to go? If you're just reducing carbs, then look into diabetic cookbooks; my partner and I are on a diabetic diet and often use recipes from Prevention RD with good results. She also answers questions on the site and has been pretty helpful to me with answering my questions (how often do you get to ask questions of an RD whenever you want?)

I've had mixed results with the recipes on Skinny Taste. YMMV.

I can't seem to find the recipe I've used for low-carb potato salad made with cauliflower, but there are tons of recipes for it on the web--it sounds nasty but it totally works. You can also make fake mashed potatoes with boiled cauliflower, but I'm not crazy about the texture they have, so I usually use half potatoes and half cauliflower (just boil it all together, mash, and season as usual).

If you're reducing carbs, not eliminating them, please let us know so you can get more specific advice; I know going on a diabetic diet was a bit overwhelming at first, but turned out to be totally doable. It helped us a lot to both go to a diabetes educator a couple of times (we were referred by the doc), so you might see if your doc can refer you to an RD.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 10:38 AM on February 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

One of my go-to resources for quick low or zero carb recipes lately has been the Mark's Daily Apple website. About halfway down the right hand side there's an "Eat Primal" link that feeds a random recipe selection.

For sheer ease of use, you could do worse than his blog post "5 Primal Meals in Just 35 Minutes". It's essentially a week's worth of food in one quick session.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:03 PM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

Let me introduce you to my new best friend, cabbage.

Until recently I knew him as an occasional and quiet companion - chopped into thin threads, piled up, soaked in sauce and the juice of whatever he came with, he was an important but subordinate component of the meal.

But last week I unlocked his true potential.

Pork Belly (any fatty meat should do)
Garlic (chopped how you like it)
Cabbage (by weight ~3x the meat or as much as will fit in the pan; cut roughly into postage-stamp size chunks)

I used 100g meat and 300g cabbage.

Throw the fatty meat in a pan and cook it until just brown and the oil is flowing.

Toss in the garlic and give it just enough time to get fragrant.

Put the cabbage in the pan, add salt, and toss to coat in garlic, meat, and oil. Allow to cook about a minute, then cover for two to three minutes. Remove cover, wait a few more minutes, and serve with fresh-ground pepper and salt to taste.

I expected the flavor of the meat's grease in this to be the strongest part, but it turns out that steaming the cabbage brings out a beautiful, rich flavor I'd never known before. It was good enough it's probably worth trying without the meat sometime if you can use some decent oil or lard. I understand you can roast it for a similar effect.

Also, chicken breast covered with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and spices of choice, baked at 200C for 45 minutes is another winner.
posted by 23 at 4:06 AM on February 21, 2013

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