Rice is a staple food in many cuisines and it isn’t as easily replaced as some staples when following a keto diet, but there are a few fantastic keto substitutes that I wanted to share. With a little creativity, they can add variety and novelty to your keto menus—and I don’t know about you, but I’m always up for that!
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Riced cauliflower is the best known rice substitute. Cauliflower has a mild flavor and light texture that makes it a great fit for many dishes. It is widely available at grocery stores, but also has the added bonus of being easy to make! Just grate raw cauliflower using a box grater or food processor. It can be cooked or added raw to salads, soups, casseroles, and more.
Riced cauliflower’s one drawback is that it can become very soft if cooked for more than a few minutes or cooked with liquid. Take care not to cook it for too long. Add it last to cooked dishes to heat through but retain some texture.
It’s worth noting that broccoli can also be riced and used in any recipe calling for cauliflower rice, but it will add a stronger flavor and color to dishes.
Riced heart of palm is less popular than cauliflower rice, but it’s a great option in many cases! It has a mild flavor with a slight tang. They blend well with a lot of ingredients and hold their shape better than cauliflower rice. It’s particularly good for stir-frys, pilafs, stuffings, and soups; it can also work well in stuffed vegetable dishes like stuffed cabbage, grape leaves, and zucchini.
Drain any liquid in the package and pat the rice dry in a clean towel before adding to dishes. This rice alternative does have a higher moisture content than traditional rice, so be aware that it won’t absorb liquids and seasonings in the same way.
This rice alternative is naturally low carb and gluten free. Noodles are also made from konjac plant and are used in traditional Japanese cuisine. It comes packaged in water and needs to be drained and rinsed well to remove any fishy odors. After draining and rinsing the rice, heat it in a dry skillet to drive off excess moisture and tighten the texture of the rice.
Shirataki rice works well in dishes like fried rice, stir-frys, soups, puddings, and other dishes where the rice should be dry and hold up to high heat cooking. The texture isn’t as soft as rice, but it will hold up and add a lot of body with no carbohydrates and virtually no calories. Because this rice substitute is made up of fiber, it can cause digestive distress or interfere with certain medications when eaten in large amounts, so be mindful of the quantities you consume.
They aren’t exactly a rice substitute, but chia seeds can be used to give body to puddings where rice might be used, and hemp seeds can be added for crunch in place of puffed rice. Grated coconut can even stand in for rice in puddings and sweets in small amounts.
You may find you lean more towards some of these rice alternatives than others—but don’t be afraid to combine them and experiment until you find the perfect taste, texture, and effect to replace rice in comfort dishes like stir-frys, puddings, soups, and more.
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