The ketogenic, or keto, diet is a popular nutrition plan that focuses on reducing the carbohydrates you eat to 5-10% of your total energy intake.

So if you’re following a 2,000-calorie diet, this typically means only between 20-50 grams (g) of carbs per day. This can make meal planning difficult for some people.

In this article, we share our 10 favorite keto diet recipes, including taco substitutes, salads, and rice dishes.

The keto diet 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.

It typically focuses on eating:

  • meats
  • dairy
  • eggs
  • fish
  • nuts
  • butter
  • oils
  • non-starchy vegetables

Keto is most popular for its weight loss benefits. The diet is often used to help control hunger and boost weight loss in people with obesity. It may also help with blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, according to 2020 research.

Learn everything you need to know about the ketogenic diet here.

Whether you’re looking to try the keto diet for the first time or add new dishes to your routine, these recipes have you covered.

1. Low carb 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 and is the perfect vessel for all your favorite taco fillings.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Protein: 17 g
  • Fat: 21 g

Get the recipe here.

2. Loaded cauliflower

Cauliflower makes a pretty good carb substitute. It’s buttery, works with all sorts of flavors, and can feel like comfort food.

This recipe by Low Carb Maven is ideal when you’re desiring mashed potatoes or loaded potato skins. It has all the savory elements, like butter, sour cream, chives, cheddar, and bacon.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 7.4 g
  • Protein: 11.6 g
  • Fat: 24.6 g

Get the recipe here.

3. Low carb sesame chicken

Many versions of sesame chicken often use batters or breading, making it a poor option for those sticking to low carb diets. Vicky’s take on the recipe for the Tasteaholics blog recreates the popular dish without all the carbs, using arrowroot to help the sauce stick.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Protein: 45 g
  • Fat: 36 g

Get the recipe here.

4. Thai BBQ pork salad

Writer Craig Clarke runs 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. This recipe combines romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, and chopped cilantro with shredded pulled pork and a creamy Thai peanut sauce.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 11.3 g
  • Protein: 28.9 g
  • Fat: 33.22 g

Get the recipe here.

5. Salmon wasabi burgers

The salmon wasabi burger can help satisfy your burger cravings, all without the bun. This keto-friendly dish from Elana Amsterdam, best-selling author and founder of Elana’s Pantry, is low on carbs but high on flavor.

The ginger, lime, cilantro, and wasabi in the recipe pack a flavorful punch without the need for high sugar condiments like ketchup.

This recipe doesn’t provide nutritional information but is naturally low in carbs, and rich in proteins and omega-3 fatty acids from the salmon.

Get the recipe here.

6. Keto chicken pot pie

It’s hard to imagine a pot pie without carbohydrates, 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.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Protein: 24 g
  • Fat: 11 g

Get the recipe here.

7. Colombian-style zucchini rellenos

Stuffed zucchini is a popular go-to for people on a low carb diet. This version puts a Colombian spin on the keto diet staple.

Skinnytaste blogger Gina Homolka believes in keeping recipes healthy and tasty. She focuses on eating clean, whole foods and practicing portion control and moderation. You can drizzle melted butter or olive oil on top or sprinkle on cheese to up the total fat in this dish.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 15.5 g
  • Protein: 17.5 g
  • Fat: 10 g

Get the recipe here.

8. 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.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 7 g
  • Protein: 29.1 g
  • Fat: 21.7 g

Get the recipe here.

9. Pesto grilled shrimp

These pesto grilled shrimp skewers from Closet Cooking are a great keto-friendly addition to your grilling season recipes. This recipe includes everything you need to make fresh homemade pesto, so you can fully control what goes into your marinade.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 2 g
  • Protein: 18 g
  • Fat: 11 g

Get the recipe here.

10. 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.

One serving contains:

  • Carbohydrates: 5 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Fat: 18 g

Get the recipe here.

Several studies have found that following the keto diet for up to 2 years can have a positive impact on several health markers, such as weight loss and improved insulin control. Despite these short-term benefits, the long-term implications of the diet are not clear.

If you decide to stop the keto diet, doctors recommend you slowly increase carbohydrates and continue following a low carb diet so you do not lose the health benefits.

Weight loss

According to a 2021 article, studies show that following the keto diet can assist in short-term weight loss.

Replacing most of your body’s carbohydrate intake with fat causes it to be better at burning fat for energy.

Usually, cells use blood sugar to create energy. This typically comes from carbohydrates in the system. 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.

Managing diabetes

Restricting carbohydrate intake may also help with blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes, 2020 research suggests. However, there is a risk of a person with diabetes experiencing hypoglycemia if they do not manage the condition adequately when starting the diet.

Hypoglycemia is when a person’s blood sugar levels drop to dangerously low levels.

Due to this risk of hypoglycemia, you should consult your doctor or dietitian prior to starting this diet.

Other health benefits

According to a 2019 research review, studies have shown that the keto diet is effective for reducing seizures in cases where medications do not work.

A 2018 review suggested that following a keto diet may help people to manage other neurological conditions, including:

The keto diet restricts the amounts of carbohydrates a person eats while prioritizing the consumption of fats and proteins.

Studies show that the keto diet can assist in short-term weight loss, as well as helping people manage type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions.

There are keto-friendly versions of the most popular dishes. With the right planning and inventive ingredient swaps, you can still eat many of your favorite dishes while on the keto diet.