Do you think vegetables are boring? You know that nutrient-rich low-carb veggies are the best way to spend your daily carb limit. But the thought is so uninspiring… especially if you are not a vegetable lover.
Keto is a great opportunity to transform your relationship with vegetables.
What’s Keto diet high in? Fat! And fat can transform any bland food into a scrumptious delectable meal.
Here are a few ways to jazz up those dull low-carb veggies – guaranteed.
Drown your salads in dressing
Salads are the epitome of dreary diet food – but only if you scrimp on the dressing, as low-fat diets would have you do.
But Keto is the very opposite of that approach. Don’t hold back – be very generous. Just one extra spoonful of delicious high-fat dressing can make all the difference.
The easiest and healthiest option is to use cold-pressed oils, preferably organic – like flax, avocado, walnut or extra-virgin olive oil. They are not cheap – but their quality is miles ahead of highly-refined vegetable oils.
Another option is mayonnaise – home-made or store-bought – but make sure it is full-fat and not low-fat. Sour cream and crème fraiche also work a treat.
Avoid shop-bought ready-made salad dressings – they are likely to be laden with sugar. Instead, make your own at home or buy specialist Keto products.
17 Keto salad dressings – recipe round-up by Healthful Pursuit
Smother boiled veggies in butter or bacon fat
Steaming or boiling is a great way to cook many high-vitamin low-carb veggies, for example, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.
This may not seem very exciting – unless you add some extra oomph with (you guessed it!) – more fat.
Butter and bacon fat are my favourite options. They can transform the humblest of steamed vegetables into a delicious treat. Coconut oil and other cold-pressed vegetable oils are great for this purpose too.
Pan-fry vegetables for more oomph
Some veggies turn out much nicer when pan-fried. My favourites are:
- Cabbage – chopped into very thin bits and pan-fried until it turns soft and golden brown
- Bamboo shoots – stir-fry so that they are cooked but still slightly crispy
- Green leafy veggies like kale and spinach – wonderful when pan-fried in butter or oil
- Mushrooms – pan-fry them with lots of butter and add some chopped garlic at the last minute
Butter, coconut oil, bacon fat and lard are good choices for frying.
Oven-bake veggies for rich and smooth texture
Roasting is not the fastest cooking method – but it brings out the best in some low-carb veggies.
Mediterranean vegetables like aubergines (aka eggplants in the USA), courgettes (aka zucchinis in the USA) and peppers are fantastic when sliced, drizzled with oil and roasted. Add some Italian herbs and a few cloves of garlic to compliment the flavour.
Low-carb root vegetables like celeriac, daikon and pumpkin are also great candidates for oven-baking.
Invigorate your veggies with spices and herbs
Take your vegetable dishes to the next level with spices and herbs, for example:
- Spices: nutmeg, dried chilli flakes, paprika, white pepper, five-spice
- Fresh chopped herbs: dill, parsley, chives, basil, coriander, mint
- Dried herbs: sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, bay leaf, tarragon
- Seeds: caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Aromatics: ginger, garlic, fennel, shallots
Everything is better with cheese…
You can never go wrong with extra cheese. Just grate some and sprinkle on top of your veggies. This is guaranteed to instantly improve any vegetable dish.
My favourite cheeses for grating are Parmesan and Pecorino Romano. If you have a few extra minutes to spare, buying this type of cheese in blocks and grating just before eating is the way to go. This cheese likes being in a single big chunk. Pre-grated packaged parmesan quickly turns sad and tasteless.
But I must admit I buy pre-grated mozzarella. It’s a light and easy-going cheese, and it doesn’t seem to mind this format.
…and even better with bacon
Bacon fat already got mentioned many times. But that’s not all bacon can do! Here are a few other ideas:
- crumble crispy roasted bacon and sprinkle on top of your veggies
- wrap it around asparagus, Brussels sprouts and cabbage and then roast
- chop up cooked bacon and add it to your salads and cooked vegetables
- sauté your green leafy vegetables together with bacon
Any other ideas?
Do you have a favourite way to jazz up low-carb vegetables?
Share it in the comments below.
Do you need more ideas for low-carb side dishes?
See our list of 35 Keto side dishes – with recipes