Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas – slow carb snacks

Finding alternatives for chips is often problematic for people living a low carb lifestyle.  Some people crave sugar, but almost as many crave a salty, crunchy snack.  Protein, fat and vegetables don’t lend themselves to salty and crunchy.  I’ve recommended chicharonnes (pork skins) in the past, but this easy recipe for Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas is another alternative for those that just can’t handle the idea of pork skins.  It’s really easy to make, but there is a new prepared convenience food currently in stores that is also great — Parmesan Crisps!

 

Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas

Recipe for Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas with herbs and Parmesan:

This is the recipe I used in the photo above.  There is a plethora of different seasoning mixes to use with Roasted Chickpeas (just google Roasted Chickpeas), but the basic process is the same.  Here is my recipe for a low carb version, followed by an infographic with a few more ideas.

makes 9 servings of 1/4 cup each

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chile pepper spice (I used this Chipotle spice)
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs (I used a mix of oregano, thyme & rosemary)
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 15-oz can of chickpeas, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the first 5 ingredients (oil, Worcestershire, chile spice, herbs and garlic salt).  Add the chickpeas and toss to coat.  Spread out the mixture onto a baking sheet.
  3. Roast 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in cheese and roast 25 minutes more or until brown and crisp, stirring twice (beans may pop during roasting).  Cool.
  5. To Store:  Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.  To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees and roast 5 minutes or until crisp

Nutritional analysis:

  • 131 calories
  • 8 g. fat
  • 12 g. carbs
  • 4 g. protein

Variations on the Seasoning mixes for Low Carb Roasted Chickpeas

The process for roasting chickpeas is pretty similar for all the various recipes.  What changes is the seasoning mix you might choose.  This link is a nice, clean infographic on how to make roasted chickpeas. using 5 different seasoning mixes.  Not all are low carb, but they offer some other ideas.  I like the idea of turmeric and

Also, here is a photo of the Parmesan Crisps I mentioned at the beginning of this post.  These are a great and convenient low carb snack…. slow carb also!

Parmesan Crisps

Parmesan Crisps

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

Low Carb Cocktails – Cranberry Drinking Vinegar (Shrub)

While not a food group, cocktails are one of those things many people miss on a low carb diet (along with bread and sugar).  Alcohol itself, doesn’t pack in a lot of carbs or sugar, rather it is usually the mixers that take cocktails over the proverbial low-carb top.  With margaritas, it is generally the sweet and sour mix.  So… if you are going to imbibe over the holidays, why not try a low carb cocktail (margarita) dressed up beautifully with a Cranberry Shrub Syrup (aka drinking vinegar) instead of a sugary sweet and sour mix.  The low carb cocktail below was made with a Cranberry Hot Pepper Shrub Syrup, but you could use the Cranberry Ginger Shrub Syrup if you’re not a fan of heat. And there are more ideas for low carb cocktails at the end of the post!

low carb cocktails

Cranberry Shrub Margarita (with Cranberry Hot Pepper Syrup)

Is a Shrub Syrup really an alternative for low carb cocktails?

Well, there is sugar in a shrub syrup for sure, but it is reduced considerably compared to a simple syrup.  Shrub syrups are typically 1/3 fruit, 1/3 vinegar, and 1/3 sugar.  Simple syrups can be anywhere from 1/2 sugar upwards and they often contain artificial flavors for the fruit.  Shrub syrups (at least ours) are made from real fruit.

In the case of the Cranberry Shrub syrups, the cranberries come from Wisconsin, and are purchased from our friends at the St. Paul Farmers Market fresh off the bog each Fall.  Nothing artificial is added to our syrups.

Also, it is important to note that you don’t need to add a lot of shrub syrups to get a lot of flavor in low carb cocktails.

Oh, and as far as low carb fruits go cranberries are at the top of the list.

So, while not “no-sugar”, you can definitely make a low carb cocktail with a shrub syrup.  I wouldn’t recommend cocktails on a daily basis if you’re leading a low carb lifestyle, but if you’re a little mindful during the holidays you could certainly imbibe without a lot of damage to your progress.

For those that don’t drink alcohol, these syrups are wonderful with sparkling water and a squeeze of lime.

Recipe for Cranberry Shrub Margarita (made with Cranberry Habanero Shrub Syrup)

Yield:  1 margarita

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. tequila
  • 2 oz. Cranberry Habanero Shrub Syrup
  • 1 oz. lime juice
  • 1 oz. triple sec (or orange liqueur)
  • kosher salt for rimming the glass
  • Garnishes: thinly sliced limes, lime wedges or fresh cranberries

Directions:

  1. Use one of the lime wedges to moisten the rim of the glass and then dip glass rim into some kosher salt spread out on a plate.
  2. Combine the tequila, cranberry syrup, lime juice and orange liqueur in a shaker with ice.  Shake rather vigorously for about 10 seconds.
  3. Strain into low tumblers filled with ice.
low carb cocktails

Ingredients for Cranberry Shrub Margarita

More Low Carb Cocktails made with Cranberry Shrub Syrups:

 

Cheers!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

Low Carb Breading Mix – for Fish, Veggies, Pork, etc.

The main food that people say they miss most when on a low carb or keto diet is bread.  In fact there is some trending science indicating that the “mouthfeel” of breads and starches may indeed be the “sixth” discovered taste sensation (following the five tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami).  While it is totally compliant to fry proteins and veggies in olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee, it is difficult to enjoy a lot of fried food without some sort of breading.  Enter this low carb breading mix!  It tastes just as good as it looks….without all the carbs!

low carb breading mix

Low Carb Breaded Cod

Low Carb Breading Mix on Fish

I’ve been on a high-protein-low-carb diet for years now (nuanced versions of slow carb, low carb, & ketogenic) and most of the dinner recipes I share on my recipe blog focus on chicken, beef and pork proteins.

I have posted several really tasty dinner dishes using salmon and scallops, but whenever I cooked white fish of any kind (cod, flounder, tilapia, etc.) it just tasted blah.  Easy and quick to make yes, but blah.

Using this breading mix on white fish truly enhanced the flavor and is a go-to dish now for quick and easy week-night dinners.  It’s also a great foil for the walleye and crappies our friend brings us in exchange for bow-hunting the deer on the farm (thanks Greg!)

Of course the low carb breading mix could be used for zucchini sticks, fried cheese sticks, pork chops, and any number of fried foods.  I think I might try it on oysters next time.  I have a food memory of a Fried Oyster Po’Boy from San Francisco that I’d like to emulate sometime soon!

Recipe (& Variations) for a Low Carb Breading Mix

This is the recipe I used, but I’ve listed a few variations below also.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 fish filets (I used cod, but any white fish is fine
  • 1/2 cup crushed pork rinds (aka chicharonnes)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil (use ghee if you have it for high temp cooking)

Directions:

  1. Place the pork rinds in a Ziploc bag and crush with the bottom of a glass or a heavy small plate
  2. Combine the crushed pork rinds, the Parmesan cheese and the pepper in a medium sized bowl.  Mix well.
  3. In another bowl, use a whisk or fork to stir up the egg
  4. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Olive oil is a low temperature oil so don’t heat it to the smoke point.  Heat the oil hot enough that when you add a drop of water to the pan it sizzles)
  5. Dip the fish filet into the egg mixture and then dip it into the pork rind mixture.  You can use tongs for this or your hands.  If it is not thoroughly coated you might want to do a double dip (repeat the egg dip and the pork rind dip for the filet).  Place all of the dipped filets on a plate.
  6. When the oil is hot, gently place the filets in the skillet.  Do not move them around or try to flip them right away.  You want the crust to get crisp.  After a few minutes, gently lift the edge of a filet and see if it is brown and crisp.  If so gently turn it over to the other side.  The fish will cook quickly (only a couple of minutes on each side).

Variation of a Low Carb Breading Mix:

If you don’t like pork rinds this combination works well also:

  • 3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp golden flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp almond flour

Based on the current information on flaxseed, I don’t use it anymore, but the above combination is tasty if you prefer flaxseed and are not a fan of pork rinds.

Follow the same directions for either list of ingredients.  Feel free to add seasonings to match your tastes or the protein you are using.  Old bay works well with fish.  Some people like garlic powder, onion powder or seasoning salt.

Me, well I prefer one of HeathGlen’s pepper spices of course.  Sometimes I use the sweet paprika and sometimes the smoky chipotle.  It’s all good….as they say.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

 

Shishito Peppers: a perfect low carb appetizer

Never one to ignore the food trends, I thought I’d try my hand at growing and cooking the trendy “perfect appetizer” that the chefs and foodies are raving about.  The cooking of these sweet, crunchy peppers couldn’t be easier.  And I’ve yet to have that one-in-ten of the peppers that turns out surprisingly spicy.  Red or green, these shishito peppers are a delight at home, at the bar, or served up as tapas.

 

Shishito peppers

Shishito peppers

Why are Shishito Peppers so Popular?

Well…Sautéed shishitos are absolutely the best thing to nibble on with drinks, making them popular with the bar crowd or as tapas.  Shishito peppers have really thin walls, so they’re also easy to grill at home or use in a stir-fry, adding robust flavor to a quick week-night dinner.

The Shishito pepper is a bright, flavorful sweet chili, and although it looks like a hot pepper in appearance, you rarely bite into one with any significant heat.  The fun part is that one in twenty peppers pack a fiery punch and you never know which bite that is going to be.  They have grown immensely popular as a quick-to-cook appetizer or side.

Does it matter if Shishito peppers are cooked in their red or green stage?

The slender, finger-sized peppers are bright green in color, and like most bell peppers they will turn red when mature.  Most photos you see on the internet show Shishito peppers cooked in their green stage.  I tried both and they are both wonderful, but the sweetness is a bit more intense with the red, mature peppers.

Padrón peppers are a stand-in for the Japanese Shishito variety and  can be treated exactly the same way.

Are Shishito Peppers spicy or sweet?

Although they resemble many hot chile peppers, the typical Shishito pepper is much milder than a Jalapeno (13 to 160 times milder) and a bit spicier than the zero-heat bell pepper.  Even if you were to get the one out of every ten to twenty that is hot, it will still be milder than a jalapeno.  It’s just a bit surprising, and fun, when you’re munching on sweet peppers and all of a sudden there is a spicy one in the bunch.

Padrón peppers are a stand-in for the Japanese Shishito variety and Padrón peppers have a similar “Russian roulette” tendency, which adds to the fun when serving s an appetizer.

 Easy Recipe for Cooking Shishito Peppers

The skin on Shishito peppers is usually quite tender so a quick sear is all that’s needed for cooking.

I use a cast iron skillet to sear the peppers. Most recipes call for adding oil to the pan before adding the peppers, but they are a bit too oily for me that way.  Searing in a dry pan works just as well.

Adding a slice of lemon or lime to the skillet adds a really nice flavor boost to the peppers (alternatively squeeze the citrus on the peppers after cooking).

Ingredients:

  • 6-10 shisito peppers
  • ½ lemon or lime
  • refined olive oil
  • Kosher or flavored salts
  1.  Heat a large cast iron skillet (or a wide sauté pan) over high heat until the pan is hot but not smoking (with or without a couple Tbsp olive oil)  If you are using olive oil, use a refined olive oil because extra virgin olive oils do not have a very high smoke point.
  2. Add the peppers to the hot skillet, turn the heat down a bit and cook the peppers, turning occasionally as they blister.  They shouldn’t char except in places. Don’t rush. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook a panful of peppers.
  3. When they’re done, toss them with sea salt and add a few squeezes of fresh lemons or limes.
  4. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil (if you didn’t use it in the skillet).
  5. Place them in a bowl with extra salt and lemon or lime wedges for anyone that wants more.  You pick them up by the stem end and eat the whole thing, (minus the stem).

**Leftovers are great stirred into scrambled eggs, hummus or any soup or stew.

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 300-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

 

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

While we still have a few red, pink and yellow heirlooms on the vine, the season is rapidly winding down.  Now is the perfect time to go for that iconic classic, fried green tomatoes.  Typically made with cornmeal or breadcrumbs, this recipe for low carb fried green tomatoes will meet the requirements of a low carb or ketogenic diet without losing a bit of flavor.

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

How to Pack in the Most Flavor to Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

  1. First of all, start with firm, bright green tomatoes.  The variety does make a difference in terms of sweetness but the main thing is to pick them before they are ripe.  I’ve tried using varieties like Aunt Ruby’s Green, Green Zebra and a few other green varieties, but they en up being too soft (yes they are green, but they are ripe green instead of firm and unripe).
  2. After you have the right tomato selected, add in a little spice.  I like a bit of smoky but moderate heat…not too hot, just a little kick.  Any of the chile spices work for this.  My favorite is the chipotle spice for more intense heat and the smoky blend for mild to medium heat.  You can find pure organic chipotle spice with no additives here, or a milder blend of smoked peppers (chipotle, ancho and pasilla)  here.  Any spicy addition will work…just use your favorite or what you have on hand.
  3. And finally is the coating.  Classic versions of Fried Green Tomatoes use a mix of cornmeal and flour, but those are both out on a low carb or keto diet.  For the recipe I used almond flour, salt & pepper, and some chipotle spice for the coating.  You could also mix in some crushed chicharonnes, which I often add to breading mixtures.  Some people will add a tsp of onion powder and 1/2 tsp garlic powder also if you like adding even more robust flavor.

Recipe for Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes

serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 1 cup almond flour (I used Nature’s Eats brand)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp chile pepper (your choice, here is what I used)
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or refined olive oil

Directions:

  1. With a sharp knife, slice the tomatoes about 1/4″ thick. Sprinkle with a little salt, and let them sit for a few minutes.
  2. In a medium size bowl, use a slotted spoon or fork to mix together the almond flour, the spices and the salt and pepper.  In another bowl, whisk together the egg and the water.
  3. Heat the fat or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Using tongs or your hands, dip the tomato slices in the egg/water mixture, then place them in the flour/spice mixture and cover all parts of the tomato slices using a spoon or your hands.
  5. Using tongs or your hands, place the slices in the hot oil for about 3 minutes.  Use a spatula to gently turn them over so the breading doesn’t fall off, and cook for another 3 minutes on that side (gently lift them to make sure they’re getting the color you want and not burning.
  6. Don’t overcrowd the skillet with the slices.  Work in batches if needed.
  7. Serve alone or for a real treat make some tzatziki sauce to dip them in!

Carb count:  5.5 net carbs/per 2 slice serving

For some more protein and fat, try this recipe for

Low Carb Fried Green Tomatoes with Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium firm green tomatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 cups almond flour/crushed-chicharrones mix
  • 1 tsp spicy chile pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat or refined olive oil
  • picante sauce for serving, if desired

Directions:

  1. Slice tomatoes into 1/4 inch thick slices
  2. Whisk the egg in a small bowl.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour/chicharrone mix and the seasonings and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat the oil to medium high but do not let oil boil.
  4. Dip tomato slices into the eggs, then into the flour mixture.  Coat well
  5. Set them into the oil and fry 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oil and set onto paper towels to drain.
  6. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Crack eggs into the boiling water and lightly poach them (about 3 min each).  Strain in a colander and serve the eggs over the fried green tomato slices.  Drizzle a bit of picante sauce on top and enjoy!

Online Coaching Available:

I have followed the slow carb diet for 3 years and the keto diet for 2 years now, and I have put my “been there done that” knowledge to work helping people figure it out.  I am currently an online diet coach (info can be found here if you’re interested), and have just hit the 250-client mark.  Come and visit me and see if online coaching might be for you!

If not for diet, there are other coaches on the site that coach anything from writing a blog, to getting up early, to getting rid of that pesky procrastination.  Explore the site while you are there.  There are some wonderful coaches and the testimonials will tell you what you need to know.  Click here to get to my profile and then explore others from there.

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