The ketogenic diet, or keto for short, is a very low-carb diet that’s high in fat and moderate in protein. It’s similar to other grain-free and low-carb diets, like paleo and Atkins, and calls for eating meats, dairy, eggs, fish, nuts, butters, oils, and non-starchy vegetables.
Replacing most of the body’s carbohydrate intake with fat causes it to be better at burning fat for energy. Usually, cells use blood sugar — which comes from carbohydrates — to create energy. But when there are more ketones (fat molecules) in the blood than blood sugar, the body will burn stored fat instead. This metabolic state is called ketosis.
The diet isn’t new. It’s actually been used for decades as a treatment for children with epilepsy whose seizures weren’t responding to medication. You see, studies have shown that the keto diet is effective for reducing seizures. Because of this, researchers believe it may also have positive benefits for other neurological conditions, like autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injuries, and brain tumors.
But keto is most popular for its weight loss benefits. The diet is often used to help control hunger and boost weight loss in people who are obese. It may also help with blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.
Whether you’re looking to try a keto diet for the first time or add new dishes to your routine, these recipes have you covered.
Low Carb Taco Night with Cheese Taco Shells
It’s hard to think of ways to make tacos better — they’re already pretty delicious. But creative friends and bloggers Kat and Melinda at Home. Made. Interest. found one. Enter the cheese taco shell. Their recipe uses cheddar cheese to form the taco shell instead of a tortilla — fill it with all your favorite taco fillings! Get the recipe!
Cauliflower makes a pretty good carb substitute. It’s buttery, works with all sorts of flavors, and feels like comfort food when cooked. This recipe by Low Carb Maven is ideal when you’re craving mashed potatoes or loaded potato skins. It has all the savory elements, like butter, sour cream, chives, cheddar, and bacon! Get the recipe!
Low Carb Sesame Chicken
Sesame chicken in Chinese carryout dishes is often battered or breaded, making it a poor option for those sticking to low-carb diets. Vicky’s take on the recipe for her blog, Tasteaholics, recreates the popular dish without all the carbs, using arrowroot to help the sauce stick! Get the recipe!
Thai BBQ Pork Salad
Writer Craig Clarke created Ruled Me to share with others what he learned about healthy eating and weight loss, and his delicious salad proves pulled pork doesn’t only belong on a bun. Romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, and chopped cilantro are topped with shredded pulled pork and drizzled with a creamy Thai peanut sauce. Get the recipe!
Salmon Wasabi Burgers
Enjoy the burgers, but hold the bun! Elana Amsterdam, best-selling author and founder of Elana’s Pantry, shares another Asian-inspired recipe: salmon wasabi burgers. The burgers don’t even need sauce or condiments because the ginger, lime, cilantro, and wasabi are already inside, packing a flavorful punch. Get the recipe!
Keto Chicken Pot Pie
It’s hard to imagine a pot pie without it being a carb bomb, but this chicken pot pie from I Breathe I’m Hungry manages to maintain the dish’s flaky crust and creamy center. The sauce has a garlic base and thyme for added flavor and aroma. Get the recipe!
Colombian-Style Zucchini Rellenos
Stuffed zucchini is a popular go-to for low-carb dieters. But this version is a bit different because it’s adapted from a Colombian recipe not typically found in restaurants. Skinnytaste blogger Gina Homolka believes in keeping recipes healthy and tasty. She focuses on eating clean, whole foods and practicing portion control and moderation. Drizzle melted butter or olive oil on top, or sprinkle on cheese to up the total fat in this dish. Get the recipe!
Low Carb Mexican Cauliflower Rice
The key to sustaining a low-carb lifestyle is to be able to cook dishes you love. Cauliflower makes an excellent rice substitute for those times when you’re craving a stir fry, or beans and rice. This dish by Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food is fast and easy to prep — and full of flavor. Get the recipe!
Pesto Grilled Shrimp
Tired of chicken and meat skewers? This pesto grilled shrimp from Closet Cooking is a great keto-friendly addition to your grilling season recipes. And there’s nothing quite like pesto made from fresh basil! The shrimp is actually marinated in the pesto, so the flavor really soaks in. They’re also easy to prep with little cleanup. Get the recipe!
Avocado Frittata with Cotija and Mozzarella
This dish checks a lot of boxes: it’s low-carb, meatless, keto, low-glycemic, and gluten-free. Plus, there’s avocado and two types of cheese! The recipe is a creation from Kalyn Denny of Kalyn’s Kitchen. After losing 40 pounds on the South Beach Diet, Kalyn says she accidentally became a food blogger. Now her creative carb-free recipes live on the blog! Get the recipe!