Kick up your shroom game with these Magic Mushrooms.
Mushrooms are one of those things you either love or hate. I am surprised at the amount of people I come across that claim, “I don’t do mushrooms!” Well, that’s too bad for you… more for the rest of us! Serve these as a side dish with a steak or enjoy them as an appetizer. One thing for sure is that you will wish you had made more of these shrooms as they will go quickly.
If you are not a fan… no worries we mushroom folks will not try to convert you.
I’ve always been amazed at how great the mushrooms are at a good steak house and finally decided to crack that code. Hope you enjoy these Magic Mushrooms as much as we do. My kids even eat them!
- 24 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 2 tsp. Lemon zest
- 1 large sprig of Fresh Rosemary - chopped coarse
- 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 oz. Butter
- 1 tsp. each fresh ground salt and pepper
- Set 350 degree oven (convection roast)
- Trim / clean stem ends of mushrooms.
- Leave mushrooms whole - you can cut the really big ones in half.
- In a ceramic or similar roasting pan add mushrooms.
- Drizzle olive oil - toss mushrooms to coat, add butter.
- Add chopped rosemary, lemon zest, salt and pepper - toss again to coat.
- Place in oven for 30 minutes - shake pan midway to brown evenly.
- Serve hot.
A real-deal creamed spinach like at your favorite steak house.
Creamed Spinach is one of those dishes that used to trigger “can’t eat that!… gonna make me fat” kinda thoughts. Creamed Spinach is no longer on that side of the ledger and goes amazing with steak and magic shrooms to edge your keto macros in the right direction.
If you are not a fan of creamed spinach then you probably have not had a good one or had one made with frozen spinach. In a pinch, frozen can work but I’d hold out for fresh baby spinach which is so easy to find. If you can find the bunched baby spinach rather than the plastic boxed version, go for it. It is the closest to fresh picked without growing your own.
Many recipes call for flour to thicken the cream sauce. The same can be accomplished with a little cream cheese and the only difference is that you won’t need a nap after dinner.
- 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2.5 tbsp finely chopped onion
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp cream cheese
- 3/4 cup half-and-half
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Cook and drain the spinach: Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spinach in large handfuls until all the spinach is added, and cook for 15 seconds.
- Drain the pot of spinach in a colander in the sink and immediately run the spinach under cold water to halt the cooking. Shake as much of the water off the spinach as you can by shaking the colander.
- Using your hands or a wooden spoon, press the spinach against the sides of the colander, squeezing to remove as much excess moisture as possible. Set aside to drain further while making the cream sauce.
- Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 1 minute. Stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, stir in the half-and-half and the cream cheese. Cook the mixture, stirring slowly and continuously, until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens enough to coat the back of the spatula, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking until the sauce is thickened, about 2 minutes more.
- Stir in the parmesan cheese, nutmeg, mustard, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Add the spinach and mix well.
- Keep warm over very low heat.
This Roasted Acorn Squash with Chili Vinaigrette will be a treat you won’t soon forget.
Acorn Squash is one of those shopping items that I like to have on hand for when I have run out of ideas for an easy but substantial side dish. They last a while in kitchen before you have to get to them, so I usually have one around.
Now if I can just remember to get fresh cilantro and a jalepeno I’m in business!
My wife Lisa turned me on to this amazing Acorn Squash recipe from Gourmet a while ago – we have made a few tweaks and have been making this for years and it never gets old. This is lick-the-plate-good so be sure to sop up all that vinaigrette.
Acorn squash are a little higher in carbs than most of my “go-to” keto veggies so I tend to only make this about once a month and on a day when the rest of the meal or even my day was on the lower-carb side.
This is also a great simple recipe to impress guests at your next dinner party. If you are not a winter squash person, this one might convert you. Enjoy!
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove
- 3/4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoons finely chopped fresh hot red chile or jalepeno, including seeds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/4 tsp. honey
- Put oven rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 450F.
- Halve squash lengthwise, then cut off and discard stem ends.
- Scoop out seeds and cut squash lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide wedges. (8 slices)
- Toss squash with fresh ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl, then arrange, cut sides down, in a large shallow baking pan.
- Roast squash, until squash is tender and undersides of wedges are golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes.
- While squash roasts, mince garlic and mash to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt.
- Transfer paste to a small bowl and whisk in lime juice, chile (to taste), cilantro, honey, and remaining 1 tbsp. of olive oil until combined.
- Transfer squash, browned sides up, to a platter and drizzle with vinaigrette.
These Keto Zucchini Fritters are about as close as I’m ever gonna get to a low-carb version of one of my childhood favs – the potato latke. Sour cream with chives or creme fresh are still in but a little tzatziki can be a nice tweak to switch things up.
This is the perfect side dish in place of potatoes or if you are just cauliflower’d out.
These would also be a great base for a low-carb eggs Benedict on a lazy weekend morning. These Keto Zucchini Fritters are so good the kids will even like them. These will be especially good in summer with local farm fresh zucchinis but you can get good ones all year round.
- 2.5 cups zucchini, grated
- 1/3 cup almond flour or coconut flour or a mix of both
- 2 scallions, chopped fine
- 1/4 small onion, chopped fine
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp. coconut oil
- 1.5 tsp. Pepper, fresh ground
- 1 tsp. salt
- Grate the zucchini on a box grater - medium grate.
- Put the zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with the teaspoon of salt. Mix the zucchini gently to distribute the salt and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
- Squeeze the zucchini out with your hands and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs and scallion to the zucchini and mix together.
- In a small bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir together.
- Add them to the zucchini and mix thoroughly.
- Heat oils in a medium to large pan over medium - high heat.
- Oil should completely cover the bottom surface of the pan.
- When the oil is hot, stir the zucchini mixture one more time and dip a ¼ cup measuring cup into the batter, level off. Dump the batter into the pan and gently push it into a flat pancake shape with the back of a metal spatula.
- Cook for four minutes adjusting the heat up or down as needed, then flip, cooking for another four minutes. Add more oil to the pan if needed to prevent sticking.
- Salt then drain the zucchini fritters on a paper towel before serving.
This Keto Fried Eggplant is my go-to for a substantial side that is almost a meal in and of itself.
What to do with an eggplant? I always come back to beginning, to the core of the issue. When I was a kid, my mother used to prepare fried eggplant and serve it the same way – simple with sauce. As you can see I’ve been on an eggplant kick as of late. Perfecting the perfect lower-carb fried eggplant side dish has been on my to do list for some time, and now, I think I’ve cracked it.
Be sure the rest of your meal is on the lighter side as you may find it hard to stick to one serving of these beauties. At 13 grams of net carbs per serving including the sauce – these are a keeper at my house. The kids even eat them!
- 1 large purple eggplant
- 1/4 cup of almond flour
- 1/4 cup hazelnut flour
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese - grated
- 5 tbsp avocado oil
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp half n half
- Fresh ground salt and pepper - to taste
- 1.25 cups jared tomato sauce - Rao's, etc
- Peel large eggplant.
- Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch round slices.
- Lightly salt both sides, lay on paper towel for 20 minutes to remove excess moisture.
- Mix Romano cheese and flours on a small plate. Add salt and pepper.
- Heat large fry pan on medium high.
- Add avocado and coconut oils.
- Mix egg and half n half to make egg wash.
- Coat eggplant slices with egg wash then flour mixture. Shake off excess flour.
- In batches, fry eggplant slices in hot oil - about 4 minutes per side until golden.
- Place fried eggplant on a large plate with paper towel to absorb any excess oil.
- Salt eggplant to taste.
- Top with a tbsp of your favorite heated jarred tomato sauce.
- Don't go cheap on the jarred sauce. The better the sauce, the better this dish will taste. I prefer Rao's or Franks but there are many choices between $5 and $8 a jar that are worth every penny.
- Also be sure to check for carbs - not all jarred sauces are created equal.
- Bob's Red Mill makes some great hazelnut and almond flours.
A roasted eggplant caponata that is simple to make and always a crowd pleaser.
I always buy eggplant this time a year as there are so many varieties available especially at local farm stands and markets. Be sure to pick fresh ones that are heavy and solid to the tap. This roasted eggplant caponata recipe really delivers a great flavor that goes well as side dish or an app. You can serve it with cucumbers to keep it really low carb or you can splurge with some lower carb pita chips shown below.
- 1 large eggplant - 3/4 inch diced, skin on
- 1 cup red onion - halved then sliced thin
- 1/2 cup green olives - pitted, sliced in quarters length-wise
- 1 cup fresh fennel bulb - coarse diced
- 1/3 cup capers - rinsed
- 1 cup tomato sauce - good quality jared or substitute with 4 ripe tomatoes - chopped coarse
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley - chopped coarse
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
- 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Toss eggplant in 4 tbsp of olive oil in a large bowl.
- Arrange eggplant single layer on a baking sheet and roast until browned, flipping halfway through, about 25 minutes. Let cool down.
- Cook fennel in bowling water for 4 minutes, drain and let cool - set aside.
- Heat remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat.
- Add onion and cook till just golden about 5 min.
- Add the olives, capers, reserved fennel, tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Gently stir in the eggplant, being careful not break up the eggplant.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl or platter and cool.
- Garnish with parsley and serve cold or at room temperature.
- Can be made ahead a few days and gets better with age.
I often have trouble figuring out what to do with all the eggplants I buy. I mean how many eggplant parm-like dishes can one eat? This roasted eggplant caponata appetizer has become a welcome addition to the happy hours at my house and should at yours as well.
Everyone loves a grilled portobello!
Every once in a while you come across a grilled portobello mushroom appetizer that blows you away and you wonder why you can not make one of those at home. There is something special about the texture of a grilled portobello that you just can’t get in any other grilled veggie.
I have been experimenting for years to come up with a simple, summer, week-night side that smacks you upside the head with flavor, to accompany that perfect grilled steak. You could experiment endlessly as a grilled portobello is very forgiving and can take whatever you throw at it. I hope you like my version and try it the next time you are grilling out. Your family and friends will be impressed for sure. Mine always are!
- 2 large portobello mushroom caps
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup of gorgonzola or blue cheese
- 1/8 cup fresh chives chopped.
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- On a plate cap side down, drizzle olive oil over both mushroom caps.
- Drizzle balsamic vinegar.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Fill mushroom cavity with blue cheese.
- Sprinkle with chopped chives.
- Place mushrooms on a medium hot grill cap side down.
- Grill for 10 - 12 minutes until all the cheese is melted and shrooms are tender and browned.
- Serve 1/2 a mushroom cap per person.
- Use good quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar for best results.
- Other crumbly cheeses can be used if you prefer.
Who said eating low-carb can’t be fun? BBQ Pulled Pork anyone!
One of the biggest challenges for me, keeping low-carb in the summer, is BBQ sauce. I love ribs, BBQ pulled pork and anything else you can slather that yummy, spicy, sticky sauce on. I have made my own low carb version and may perfect that recipe in the future and share it with you but for now, as my 12 year old daughter says, “Ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that!”
There are plenty of bottled BBQ sauces on the market but most have way too many carbs to even be considered low-carb some over 20 grams per serving so read those labels carefully. I have recently found an exceptional brand – JB’s Best, that is infused with beer and has the lowest carbs of all bottled BBQ sauces – around *4-6 grams. I use several spicy and not so spicy varieties in the BBQ pulled pork recipe below.
This is not a complicated meal to prepare and it feeds around 10-12 people affordably and heavenly.
The secret is in the spices! I use the southern-style, Penzeys – 33rd and Galena, Chicken and Pork Rub which is mixture of black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, sage, cayenne, red pepper and basil.
Be sure to have all the ingredients on hand to make our coleslaw recipe to go with. This meal would not be the same without it. My wife Lisa claims she wants this to be her “last meal on earth” – no kidding.. she said that – It’s that good!
Now many hard-core BBQ enthusiasts would argue that using a crock pot is not serious BBQ but hey… don’t knock it till you try it! This is one of those quick prep time, set-it-and-forget-it deals so you can go about your day and have an amazing dinner ready 8 hrs later for a small crowd. Either that or you will just have to enjoy the left-overs for days.. and you will as it is just as good the second day. Can I get a Yeeehaa!?
- 5-6 lbs Pork Butt - fat trimmed
- 3 tbsp Pensey's - 33rd and Galena, Chicken and Pork Rub
- Salt and Pepper - fresh ground
- 1.5 tbsp Olive oil
- 3/4 cup JB's Best, Ghost Pepper BBQ Sauce - to cook in
- 3/4 cup JB's Best, Ancho Peach BBQ Sauce - to cook in (alternate - Stubbs Original)
- Extra JB's Best, Blazin Bacon BBQ Sauce - to serve over cooked pork
- 1 cup of water
- Trim fat from pork butt.
- Cut into 4 inch cubes.
- Salt and pepper all sides.
- Dust with Pensey's spice rub on all sides.
- In batches, brown each side of pork in a large dutch oven or similar pot.
- Transfer browned pork to crock pot.
- Add BBQ sauces.
- Add Water.
- Cover and set crock pot on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours depending on what you have to do that day.
- Once done, use several paper towel strips to remove oil that has collected at the top of the pot.
- With 2 forks pull the pork apart and mix in with the juices in the crock pot.
- Serve topped with JB's Best, Blazin Bacon BBQ Sauce
- If you prefer less heat top with JB's Best, Ancho Peach or one of their other less hot varieties.
- Warning - Go easy on the BBQ sauce on top - 2 tbsp have 4-6 grams of carbs. Hopefully you planned ahead and saved your daily carb intake for this meal!
- 1/2 medium cabbage - sliced thin
- 1 large red bell pepper - sliced thin
- 1/2 bulb fresh fennel - sliced thin
- 1 medium onion - sliced thin
- 2 green onions - chopped
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 large lemon - juiced
- 1 1/4 tbsp of fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large bowl add all the veggies sliced very thin - use a mandoline slicer if needed.
- In a smaller bowl wisk together the mayo, lemon juice, and pepper.
- Toss the veggies with the dressing.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
On a side note – Jonathan and crew have hit it out of the park with their Vino De Milo, line of wine-infused salad dressings that have only 1-2 grams of carbs per serving. I have yet to try these but look forward to it as they do look amazing.
As an alternate brand I have found Stubb’s, Original Recipe to have only 5 net grams of carbs per serving and they make some great BBQ sauces as well.
As a suggestion you may want to wait until you have hit a weight loss goal before trying this recipe. It’s hard to eat just 1 serving and the chances that you are gonna get kicked out of ketosis are pretty high. Hopefully you have a short cut in place to get you back on track come Monday morning!
Eggplant Spinach Pizza is so easy, low carb and the variations are endless.
I have always made a simple breaded fried eggplant and topped it with a favorite jarred sauce as a side dish. Very simple and so delicious but loaded with the no-no combination of carbs and fat. I have tried almond flour to cut the carbs a bit but the results are not quite the same. Yet, I still find myself buying that purple veg whenever it looks good then wondering what to do with it that is more keto-friendly.
The perfect storm of ingredients in my fridge prompted this Eggplant Spinach Pizza that will now be a go to edible solution for my purple friend.
There are many possibilities and variations that you can have fun with depending on your favorite pizza toppings. This is a knife and fork situation so don’t worry about picking it up. Load on your creativity and see what you can come up with.
- 1 Large Eggplant - 3/4 inch sliced rounds
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup mozzerella cheese - I like the fresh Ciliegine balls
- 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano - grated
- 1.5 cups fresh baby spinach - chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic - finely chopped
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil leaves - chiffonade
- 3/4 cup fresh cherry tomatoes - sliced
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce - favorite jarred or make your own
- fresh ground salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Salt both sides of eggplant and let rest on paper towels for 25 minutes.
- Wipe off salt.
- Olive oil a 9 x 11 baking pan and place eggplant rounds single layer.
- Bake for 25 minutes until slightly browned.
- In a bowl, toss spinach with garlic and a little olive oil and salt and pepper.
- Top each eggplant with a teaspoon of sauce.
- Add tomatoes.
- Add spinach mixture.
- Top with both cheeses.
- Top with fresh basil.
- Bake in the oven for another 15 minutes or until cheese turns slightly brown
- Jarred sauce is optional - you can make your own with crushed canned tomatoes or just let the fresh tomatoes be your sauce.
I fell in love with Baby Bok Choi from my first taste. I’ve modeled this recipe after a local asian restaurant’s version that made my first impression of this veggie – a real keeper and a great low carb side dish.
I make this side about once a week when I can find Baby Bok Choi at its freshest. My local Big Y or the Fresh Market are my go-to sources for the most consistent quality. Konnichiwa!
- 1 large clove of garlic - thinly sliced
- 1/2 lb baby bok choi - about 4 small heads
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbsp EV olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp EV butter
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- fresh ground salt and pepper
- Cut off bottom stem of each baby bok choi head and rinse.
- Saute garlic in olive and sesame oil until golden. Then add butter.
- Add baby bok choi and saute on medium for 8 minutes till tender.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add chicken stock and reduce by half for about 3 minutes.
- Serve hot.