For many people, rice is a staple component of the diet. After all, it tends to be inexpensive and incredibly versatile, regardless of whether you rely on brown rice or white rice. But, for people on a low carb. or a ketosis diet, rice simply isn’t an option.
There are, of course, plenty of healthy substitutions that you can make, including the various ancient grains (like quinoa). But, most of those are fairly high in carbs too. So, what can you turn to for low carb rice alternatives?
Well, there are a few different options out there and no shortage of recipes to take advantage of them.
Best Low Carb Rice Alternatives
Cauliflower is an exceptionally well-used vegetable in low carb and keto diets, largely because it is so versatile. In particular, cauliflower makes a powerful alternative to many high-carb ingredients, including rice.
If you’ve never tried it, using cauliflower to make rice may seem like a strange idea but it works exceptionally well.
Basically, you end up with something that is light and fluffy, with a similar texture to rice. You can also use the rice alternative hot or cold.
As a result, you end up with an ingredient that you can use in any dish that would normally rely on rice.
For that matter, the ‘rice’ tastes good enough that you could just use it as a side, without having to mix it with other ingredients.
The process of making the ‘rice’ is also incredibly simple and you don’t need any ingredients other than the cauliflower itself and possibly some salt and pepper.
There is also a great visual guide for making cauliflower rice at The Kitchn.
And, as I mentioned before, there are many different recipes that take advantage of this rice alternative. Some examples include the following:
- Cauliflower Fried Rice (from KetoConnect)
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice (from MyFoodStory)
- Mushroom Risotto with Cauliflower Rice (from Peace, Love and Low Carb)
- Broccoli Cauliflower ‘Rice’ (from Low Carb Maven)
- Spanish Cauliflower Rice (from Wendy Polisi)
Admittedly, cauliflower rice doesn’t sound all that appealing at first. But, with so many people raving about the dish – it is worth checking out. Likewise, this is often the most practical and versatile rice option for a low carb diet.
Cauliflower is the most common choice for creating ‘rice’. But, it isn’t the only option. Another alternative is making rice from cabbage instead. You can do this with any type of cabbage, although red cabbage does have some additional nutrients.
As with cauliflower rice, the basic idea here is to either grate the cabbage or shred it in a food processor. Once this has been done, you can treat the cabbage like any other type of rice, which includes cooking with it.
If you’re interested in trying it out, Slender Kitchen offers a great Cabbage Fried Rice recipe that can show you how to get started.
Cabbage itself offers a subtle flavor, which does seem to work well in many dishes. For that matter, if you’re planning on cooking Asian recipes, you may find that cabbage naturally complements them.
And, if nothing else, cabbage is a nice change to cauliflower rice. After all, relying on a single rice alternative is bound to get boring fast.
It is also possible to make rice out of other types of vegetables as well. For example, broccoli is sometimes used to create broccoli rice. Regardless of the vegetable, the basic principle at work is the same. So, you can try out different low carb vegetables to figure out flavors and textures that you like.
Miracle rice is a product you can buy that acts as a good alternative to rice. Of course, the product itself isn’t rice but it does have some of the same properties.
Instead, Miracle Rice is a variation on shirataki noodles, which are noodles made from Japanese yam. This source means that you get relatively few carbs and calories. But, at the same time, you do get a significant amount of dietary fiber.
You get the same advantages from either the rice or the noodles. However, the rice version is the right size and shape to be used as an alternative to rice.
As with other options, the end result here isn’t quite the same as rice. For one thing, it is somewhat gelatinous, although this aspect does work well in many dishes. Additionally, it’s normally worth straining the rice, as it has a slight fishy odor (even though the product is entirely vegan).
More than anything, Miracle Rice makes a good alternative for anyone who doesn’t like the taste of cauliflower or wants something they can use straight out of a package.
Low Carb Noodles
Miracle Rice is one product that is specifically marketed as a low carb rice option. But, you can get a similar outcome with many types of low carb noodles. In particular, if you cut up the noodles, you would end up with something that looks similar to rice.
Thankfully, there is a range of low carb noodle products out there. Some of these are like Miracle Rice, where they rely on shirataki noodles.
There are also other options, such as black bean spaghetti, where the pasta is made (not surprisingly) from beans.
Likewise, some companies have created low carb pasta that actually uses wheat. However, you do have to pay attention to the nutritional information, as individual brands differ from each other.
You may also find that some of the low carb pasta brands are fine for a low carb diet but not for anyone trying to stay in ketosis.
Speaking of noodles, one popular noodle alternative is to spiralize vegetables, such as zucchinis. Spiralizers make great tools for this and they let you create noodles and pasta from many different types of vegetable.
But, did you know you can also make rice this way?
The simplest option is just to spiralize vegetables like normal and then use a food processor to create rice, like in the video below.
The taste and behavior of this ‘rice’ will vary depending on the specific vegetable that you use. However, it’s easy to see how you could cook it and make a range of dishes. For that matter, the Inspiralized site offers a decent selection of spiralized rice recipes that you can try.
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