Keto for Newbies

10 of My Favorite Keto Recipes

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman
Image Credit: The Kitchn

While it certainly is possible to modify takeout and restaurant food to fit your keto lifestyle, it's not easy. Many of the classic and easily available foods like sandwiches and tacos or burritos just don't hold up when you eliminate the carb components. (Can it still be a taco if it doesn't have the tortilla? I rest my case.) Even Chinese and Thai food can be tough, as they often contain sugar or are noodle/rice-dependent.

Bottom line: A ketogenic diet means you'll be doing a lot more home cooking. Which, to me, is good news.

This good news is backed up by the fact that there are a lot of keto-friendly recipes out there, some of them by design and some of them just naturally so. These 10 recipes are ones that I go to again and again in part because they fit my keto macros but mostly because they're delicious.

1. Cabbage Chips

This recipe is from Good Eggs, my local food/meal delivery service. It's so simple and so delicious. Simply separate and oil up cabbage leaves and bake them until they're golden and crispy. Perfect for those times when you're really missing crispy textures or want to munch on something crunchy while watching TV.

2. Keto Crackers

Having a low- or no-carb cracker in your repertoire is critical, and this is by far my favorite since they hold up in your mouth and don't dissolve into mush like crackers made from flaxseed. It's worth doubling or tripling the recipe — just be sure to store in an airtight jar.

3. Easy Keto Creamed Spinach

Creamed spinach is a perfect keto dish, as you are getting your greens as well as upping your fat numbers. Classic creamed spinach uses a bit of flour as a thickener, but this recipe uses cream cheese. It's delicious and can be adapted to other greens like kale or chard.

4. Cabbage in Cream

This is a similar concept to creamed spinach and works really well with fennel, radicchio, and Brussels sprouts, too.

5. Three-Ingredient Sauce

This sauce from Kitchn is a favorite to have on hand to quickly elevate a piece of fish or to dress a bunch of wilted kale. Don't use balsamic, as it usually contains sugar, and skip the fruit juice option for the same reason. It's fun to play with different herbs, too. I don't mind if it breaks (separates into its individual components), so I often make a larger batch to use over several days.

Another favorite sauce to have on hand: Salsa Verde

6. Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

This wouldn't be a keto recipe list without at least one or two cauliflower recipes, and this is one of my favorites. The cauliflower gets nice and crispy on the edges and the Parmesan adds a rich, salty layer. I often eliminate the onion to bring the carbs down even more. My other tweak is to not add the thyme at the beginning, as it tends to burn. Instead I reserve it to toss with the Parmesan towards the end of roasting.

7. Low-Carb Soul Bread

The one thing I miss most with the keto lifestyle is sandwiches. This bread isn't even close to that crusty artisanal loaf of my dreams, but it does the job well enough. Plus, it toasts! (I also miss toast.) "Soul bread" is keto-famous for good reason and has many variations that are worth exploring.

8. Lemon Custard

I don't miss desserts much, but on occasion I do hanker for something a little sweet. This lemon custard is easy to make and lasts for several days in the refrigerator. Use the leftover egg whites for the keto crackers (above). Hint: I don't use the xanthan gum and it still thickens up fine with just the egg yolks.

9. Chicken and Veggie Pesto Salad

This Kitchn recipe is an example of how good, basic food can be keto-friendly. The zucchini ribbons are reminiscent of pasta (note I said reminiscent and not a substitute!) and don't require that you purchase a special gadget — just your use your Y-peeler. A decent store-bought pesto will save you time, if that's an issue.

10. Cauliflower Cheese

If the thought of living the rest of your life without macaroni and cheese has kept you away from a low-carb lifestyle, let me introduce you to cauliflower cheese. Creamy, cheesy, rich, and tasty — this is one of those substitution recipes that works on all levels. I often make it without the bacon and pork rind topping (crumbled pork rinds are the keto version of breadcrumbs) and fold in wilted kale or spinach if I haven't gotten in enough greens.

Keto for Newbies: Curious about the ketogenic diet? This high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb lifestyle puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where you burns fat instead of carbohydrates as the primary fuel source. Read more here about what keto is and see all of Kitchn's coverage on keto here.