You've probably heard that eating a low carb diet can be helpful when you want to lose weight and add muscle. Here's why it works: When you consume foods low in carbs your insulin levels drop, which causes your body to burn stored body fat, resulting in weight loss. If following a low carb diet be sure to load up on low carb veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and lean proteins like chicken and shrimp. But don’t cut carbs out completely—incorporate some amount of “good carbs” like whole grains, nuts, and legumes into your diet as well.
Here, 10 quick, easy, and delicious low-carb recipes that are packed with protein that will get your body summer-ready in no time.
4 cups grated or finely chopped cauliflower (about 1 large head)
¼ cup dry white wine
½ cup chopped asparagus, cut into ¼ inch coins
1 cup grated zucchini
½ cup green peas, fresh or frozen
½ cup vegetable broth
½ cup milk (dairy, cashew, or almond)
½ cup parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ chopped Italian parsley
¼ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
1. In a large Dutch oven or wide deep sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and reserve.
2. Reduce the heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until they are soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cauliflower and stir thoroughly to make sure it is coated with the olive oil and onions. Cook the rice for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine, stirring and scraping the pan until the wine has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
3. Add the asparagus, zucchini, and peas, stirring to combine. Turn heat up to medium-high.
4. Add the broth and milk, frequently stirring so the vegetables cook and the liquid begins to evaporate. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and just a small amount of the liquid is left on the bottom of the pan. Turn off heat and add cheese, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add cooked mushrooms and lemon zest, stir to combine.
5. Taste the risotto and add more salt and pepper as needed. Serve and garnish with parsley, basil, and more cheese on top if desired.
3 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange), sliced in half
1 cup red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, minced, seeds removed (or not!)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Chipotle seasoning
1 tsp cumin, ground
2 tbsp chipotle tomato paste (or regular)
1 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt
2 tbsp ghee butter
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Place all but one bell pepper halves in a baking dish and sprinkle with pink s+p. Bake for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, dice the remaining bell pepper half, set aside.
3. Heat skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp ghee and then ground beef. Season with chipotle, cumin, pink s+p, and brown beef, stirring occasionally. Add diced red onions, diced bell pepper, and jalapeno and cook another 3-4 minutes. Next, add chipotle tomato paste and minced garlic, cook another few minutes.
4. Spoon meat mixture into bell pepper shells and bake for about 10 minutes. Then add shredded cheese and cook another minute or just until melted.
5. Garnish with avocado, cilantro and lime juice if desired!
⅓ cup dairy-free milk (almond, flax, cashew, etc).
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, mashed
¼ cup coconut flour
3 tbsp vanilla protein powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
3 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
1. Heat a large skillet to medium - medium high heat. Add 1 tbsp coconut oil to the pan to coat.
2. Melt ¼ cup coconut oil, and mix together in a large bowl with eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed banana. Combine all ingredients until smooth.
3. In a smaller bowl, mix together dry ingredients: flour, protein powder, baking powder, and sea salt. Add dry ingredients to wet and continue to mix until well combined. Batter will be thick.
4. Spoon batter onto pan to and shape into 3- 4-inch diameter discs or circles. Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown and cooked through. You may need to continue adding more coconut oil to pan, after each batch of pancakes.
5. Top with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup (optional)
1 whole organic lemon, pierced all over with a knife or fork
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
2. Remove giblets from chicken, pat dry. (This will enable the herb butter to stick to the bird better). Mix herbs, butter, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Slide your hand under the skin, between the breast meat to loosen, and rub herb butter all over, including some under the skin of the bird. Insert the whole lemon into the cavity of the chicken, and truss legs together with twine.
3. Place chicken on a wire roasting rack set inside a pan.
4. Roast chicken until skin turns brown, about 30-40 minutes. Baste with any herb butter in the roasting pan, reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and continue to cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165 degrees F, about 30-35 minutes more.
5. Let chicken rest on platter, covered loosely with foil for 15 minutes before serving.
small package smoked salmon, sliced into thin strips
2-3 small English cucumbers, cut into matchsticks
handful of green onions cut into long strips
1/2-1 avocado, thinly sliced
2 full nori seaweed sheets
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1. How you cut the ingredients will depend on the length of the nori seaweed sheets. Since I was using thin seaweed strips I cut everything into small pieces so they would just stick out of each roll. If you are using a full nori sheet then this will not be an issue as you will be able to slice the rolls individually later.
2. Place salmon, cucumbers, avocado, and green onions on the top 1/3 of the nori sheet. Tightly roll the seaweed over the filling and use a bit of oil to help seal it.
3. Repeat with remaining sheets. Cut each roll of seaweed into the size you want.
4. Dip into soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari) with wasabi, or your favorite Japanese salad dressing
Serves 4Ingredients8 ounces uncooked small shrimp, shelled and deveined (26/30 count shrimp)½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season the rice¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to season the rice2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided3 eggs, beaten2 garlic cloves, minced¾ cup carrots, diced in ¼-inch cubes¾ cup peas, fresh or frozen1 head cauliflower, shredded into very small pieces (about 4 cups)2 tablespoons soy sauce¼ teaspoon sesame oil2 stalks green onion, thinly slicedInstructions1. Using the largest holes on a cheese grater, grate each cauliflower floret into small pieces, similar to the size of a grain of rice or to the size of a pea. Set aside.2. In a medium-sized bowl, season shrimp with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.3. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. The pan is hot enough when a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates. Once this happens, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to the pan, swirl to coat.4. Add the shrimp to the pan in one even layer. Allow the shrimp to cook for 30 seconds, and then flip over and cook for another 30 seconds. The shrimp should be pink and cooked through; be careful not to overcook. Transfer shrimp to a large plate and set aside.5. Reduce the heat to medium, and pour in the beaten eggs. Use a quick stirring motion to cook and break the eggs into small scrambled pieces. Once the eggs are almost fully cooked, transfer them to the plate with the shrimp.6. Carefully wipe the pan clean. Increase the heat to medium-high and add one tablespoon of oil.7. Once the oil is hot, add the minced garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned. Insert the carrots and cook for 2 minutes, until tender. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute. Add the cauliflower, stir to combine. Spread the cauliflower mixture out evenly in the pan so that it has more area to fry, allow to cook without stirring for about 2 minutes. Mix the rice and lower heat to medium, cover the pan and cook until the cauliflower rice is tender, about 5 to 7 minutes or longer if needed. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, stirring to combine.8. Taste the rice and add more soy sauce, salt and pepper as needed. Insert the eggs and shrimp, stir, and cook for a few more minutes. Garnish with sliced green onions. Serve hot and enjoy!Recipe and photo courtesy Jessica Gavin @ Jessica Gavin Culinary Scientist 20 Great Shrimp Recipes >>>
Mexican Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Serves: Serves 4
1 medium head of cauliflower
½ cup shredded jack cheese
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon almond meal (optional, if needed to help bind)
¾ cup refried beans
1½ cups shredded jack cheese
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped black olives
Salsa, for serving
Guacamole, for serving
1. Trim the stem and outer leaves off the cauliflower. Cut into small florets. Place cauliflower in a food processor and pulse until it forms a snow-like consistency, scraping down sides as needed. You should have 2-3 cups.
2. Scrape cauliflower snow out into a microwave safe bowl. Heat for 4 minutes then dump out onto a clean kitchen towel. When cool enough to handle, use the towel to squeeze out as much water as possible. Pour the cauliflower back into the bowl.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking dish with parchment paper. Add cheese, garlic, salt, and oregano and stir to combine. Add egg and stir to combine, forming a dough-like consistency. If needed, add a tablespoon of almond meal to bind.
4. Press the dough together into a round ball and scoop out onto the baking sheet. Press down, forming a crust about ¼th of an inch thick. Place in the oven and bake 8-11 minutes until the crust is browned and starting to crisp around the edges.
5. Remove from the oven and carefully spread the beans over the crust. Top with cheese, tomatoes and black olives. Place back in the oven and bake another 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted. Remove, let cool a couple minutes (this will help it stay together after cutting), then dollop with salsa and guacamole and serve.
Recipe and photo courtesy Rachael Hartley, RD, LD, CDE @ Avocado A Day
1. Make the Peanut Sauce: Combine peanut butter, Tamari, honey, lime, ginger, sesame oil, and chili flakes. Whisk well. Slowly pour in warm water while mixing to reach your desired consistency. You will need about ¼ to ½ cup of water. Add it a little at a time. Set aside.
2. Wash and dry your lettuce leaves and set 16 aside.
3. Trim green beans, cut into thirds, and cook in a shallow layer of boiling water. Cover and steam until crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes. Shock in an ice bath (or run under cold water) and set aside.
4. Cook the turkey in a lightly oiled skillet, breaking up meat, until browned and no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Drain, discard leftover fat from pan, and set aside.
5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil until hot. Add in garlic, shallot, red pepper, and ginger. Cook until softened, but not browned, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red chili pepper flakes. Return turkey to the pan along with the green beans. Mix the Tamari with the brown sugar and drizzle in. Cook mixture until heated through and bubbly. Add in shredded carrots in the last 1-2 minutes.
6. Remove from heat and gently stir in a large handful of chopped cilantro and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.
7. Serve wraps assembled and drizzled with peanut sauce or as a Build-Your-Own set-up. Sprinkle wraps liberally with shredded carrots and cilantro. Serve with lime.