Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Because sometimes you just need something creamy and cheesy….

This can be made stove top or in a slow cooker. For stove top just keep everything at a very low simmer.

Ingredients:

  • 2lb broccoli (I used frozen)
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 brick (8oz) cream cheese
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1-2 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups pre-shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum (optional):

Instructions:

  • Mix the broth, cream, cream cheese, butter, and seasoning in the slow cooker and set to high.
  • I used frozen broccoli, so to speed things up I roasted it before adding to the soup. I dumped a bag of frozen broccoli and the garlic on a sheet pan, sprayed with olive oil, and roasted at 400F for 18 minutes. If you use fresh you can skip this step, or you can just put frozen broccoli in the slow cooker and cook for longer.
  • Add the broccoli and garlic to the slow cooker. Cook about 45 minutes, until hot and melty throughout.
  • Add the cheese and cook about 15 minutes more, until cheese is melted.
  • (Optional) add the xantham gum to thicken everything up a bit
  • (Optional) use a stick blender to lightly puree the soup and give it a more uniform consistency. Don’t pulverize it though!

Makes 9, 1-cup servings:

Makes 9x 1 cup servings, 337 calories / 7 net carb (6 if you omit garlic) / 30 fat / 11 protein each.

Advertisement

Fathead Flatbread

This flatbread looks super fancy, but really it’s a great weeknight dinner that’s ready in under 10 minutes if you meal prep the fathead bread part first.

It’s just a flatbread with Boursin garlic cheese spread, arugula, 2 fried eggs topped with melted muenster, and pickled onions. Pickled onions are also super easy to make for yourself, and last in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

Fathead Flatbread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups pre-shredded, low-moisture mozzarella (trust me, you don’t want to use the authentic wet stuff here)
  • 2 oz (4 tbsp) cream cheese
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 2 tsp xantham gum (optional, but gives it that authentic chewy texture)
  • 2 eggs

Recipe:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Combine dry ingredients, then add the 2 eggs and combine further until you have an even paste.

Melt the mozzarella and cream cheese together – you can use the microwave or do it stove top. You want the mozzarella very melty, so usually I err on the side of over melted and then let it cool just until I can touch it without burning myself.

Knead together the almond flour and mozzarella mixtures. This takes a LOT of elbow grease and you have to work quickly because the mozzarella gets harder to work with as it cools. Your goal should be to eliminate almost all of the marbling appearance so you have a homogenous mixture, but don’t worry if you can’t get it 100%.

Roll out the dough to “pizza crust” thickness (a little under 1/4″, and a bit smaller than a large cookie sheet) between two sheets of parchment paper. Transfer the dough, still on a parchment paper, to a cookie sheet.

Bake until browned on top, about 15 minutes.

Allow to cool, and then slice into 8 squares.

You can store these in the fridge for a few days, but they also freeze incredibly well. Just broil on low to reheat.

Macros:

Makes 8 flatbreads. Each is 300 cal / 3 net carb (8 total) / 25 fat / 15 protein

Fun modifications:

  • You can replace 1 cup of the mozzarella for another cheese, maybe cheddar or asiago?
  • This dough makes a great pizza dough, just add toppings before cooking instead of after.
  • Make bagels instead!

Cauliflower Baked Mac & Cheese

Another pre-keto household favorite was Alton Brown’s baked cheddar Mac and Cheese. That stuff is gold. So obviously I had to figure out how to ketofy it.

Ingredients:
3 pounds (about 12 cups) frozen cauliflower (or broccoli, or Brussels sprouts, or really any other low carb veggies)
4 tbsp butter
4 oz (8 tbsp) cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
16oz (1lb) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated vegetarian parmesan

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Put frozen broccoli on a 9×13 casserole pan (or cookie sheet if you have a ceramic casserole pan like me) and spray with olive oil spray.
Bake for 17 minutes, until the edges turn golden brown.

Meanwhile, heat butter, cream cheese, and heavy cream over medium low heat until melted but not boiling.
Add in all the spices.
Add the cheese and stir with a whisk until melted and clumps disappear.

Lower the heat to 350F.
Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower in casserole pan. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling.

If you didn’t mistakenly grab shredded parm at the grocery store like me, you’ll end up with a lovely grated Parmesan crust if you broil for a second at the end!

This is a pretty easy recipe to tweak to fit your macros. I went with a “generous” ratio of cheese to veggies, but you can easily go up to 12 cups of veggies in this. Or, leave off the parmesan for less calories, or pile more on for a high protein boost.

Macros: makes 8 servings

435 cal / 5 net carbs / 38 fat / 17 protein.

Baked Zoodles

This is one of our go-to easy week night meals, ready in well under 30 minutes. My husband’s favorite meal before keto was baked ziti, so this is my attempt to recreate it. It’s also great reheated from the fridge, although ricotta isn’t always amazing from frozen.

This is also a great dish for mixed veggie and non-veggie households. I make a “meat” sauce while my husband makes a Meat sauce, and we’re both happy. Plus, ricotta is a great source of protein even if you leave out the “meat” crumbles at 7g protein per 1/4 cup.

Ingredients (makes 1 serving, multiply by desired # servings):

  • 1 zucchini, spiralized, about 130g*
  • 1/4 cup no-sugar-added sauce
  • 1/2 cup “meat” crumbles (I use Beyond Meat beef crumbles because it’s soy free) (optional)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta (some brands are higher carb so check the label, the one I use is 2g carbs in the 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 oz (1/4 cup) mozzarella, divided
  • Plenty of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper

*A note on zoodles: you can find these in the fridge or freezer section if almost every grocery store these days, but a spiralized turned out to be an awesome investment for us because I think the texture is fresher, its cheaper, and takes only a minute to do. You can also totally use sliced zucchini, or sub in any other veggie like brussels sprouts, broccoli, green beans, spaghetti squash, or eggplant.

Instructions:

Cook the zoodles and beefy crumbles in an oiled pan over medium heat until tender (we keep the meat and zucchini separate since my husband uses real meat).

In the mean time, combine ricotta, parmesan, half the mozzarella, and the seasoning in a bowl.

Once the zoodles are cooked you might fine a bit of water in the bottom of the pan, I drain that off. Add your sauce to the zoodles, and then spoon on the ricotta mixture.

Top with the remaining half of the mozzarella.

Broil on low until bubbling and golden.

Macros (with Beyond Meat crumbles):

500 cal / 8 net carb / 35 fat / 35 protein

Macros (WITHOUT meat crumbles):

420 cal / 8 net carb / 32 fat / 22 protein

Buttery Roasted Green Beans

Buttery Roasted Green Beans
Buttery Roasted Green Beans

The most important Thanksgiving and Christmas tradition in our family is Grandma’s chestnut stuffing. Obviously, stuffing is not at all keto-friendly, so I had to find a creative way to keep the tradition going this year.

These green beans turned out super fantastic and retained all the savory deliciousness I loved about the stuffing recipe!

Note that for the Thanksgiving meal pictured, I did use chestnuts because roasting them the night before is such an important part of our tradition. But for everyday keto use, they’re too high in carbs, so on regular nights I’ve been using pecans in their place.

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup) (dairy free: use 1/4 cup oil)
  • 1 shallot
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery leaves (which is about the amount you can get out of one bundle of celery – if you can’t get celery with the leaves still on it, just chop up a few celery stalks)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 pounds green beans, ends removed (I prefer the slender french ones)

Recipe:
Preheat oven to 400F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add in the shallot and celery leaves, cooking until the shallots are translucent.
Add in all the seasonings and pecans and cook a few minutes more.
Toss the green beans in the butter mixture until thoroughly coated, then spread over 2 large tinfoil-lined baking sheets (so that they are a single layer).
Bake about 15 minutes, until tender and slightly browned.

Feel free to adjust the serving size to better fit your macros for the day. But this easily makes 8 generous portions:

Makes 8 servings: 235 calories / 5.5 net carbs (10 total) / 22 fat / 4 protein each

Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.
Thanksgiving Dinner: green beans, keto rolls, and Brussels sprouts gratin.

Keto Vegetarian Chili

This is something I always keep in my freezer for a quick and protein-packed meal. Note, any tomato-based soup will always be a touch high in carbs (8 net). But as filling as it is, I hope this is something you can squeeze into your macros on those chilly fall and winter days.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot (or 1/2 yellow onion), diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 14oz can baby corn, drained, rinsed, and diced
    • Yes! Baby corn are low carb at 2 net carbs per 1/2 cup!
  • 15oz can black soy beans, drained and rinsed
    • You can substitute 1, 12oz bag frozen shelled edamame for a remarkably close approximation to beans
    • For soy free, you can sub in chopped zucchini or cauliflower
    • The black soy beans I get are ‘Eden Organics’ brand and you can find them using this locator: https://www.edenfoods.com/storelocator/search.php
    • You can also order them online at Swanson Vitamins
    • See my notes about soy below
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder (or use fresh garlic)
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (trust me on this)
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 0.75 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 14oz can petite diced or pureed tomatoes
    • Make sure to check the ingredients for added sugar!
  • 1-2 cups vegetarian broth, as needed
  • 2 cups meatless crumbles
    • I use Beyond Beef because they are soy and gluten free
    • Meat eaters can just use 1 pound ground beef here
    • You can sub in chopped zucchini, cauliflower, or more soy beans

Instructions:
Heat oil in pan, then add shallots and sauté until translucent.
Add peppers and celery, cooking until softened.
Add corn, beans, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and all seasoning.
Add broth, as necessary, until the consistency looks about right (this will cook down a bit).
Reduce heat to low and simmer another 30-60 minutes.
Cook meatless crumbles in a skillet according to package directions, only stirring into the chili just before you take it off the stove (this keeps it from dissolving into the chili, yuck).

Veggies Cooking
Add the spices…
After broth has been added, before simmering. 

Macros:
Makes 6 servings: 275 cal | 8 net carb | 15 fat | 17 protein each

Recipe Notes:
I’m a total wimp when it comes to spice. Honestly, its embarrassing. So feel free to double or triple the chili and cumin, even throw in some cayenne.

Note on Soy:
Soy is a pretty controversial ingredient. It can disrupt your body’s estrogen receptors, potentially interfere with thyroid function, contains phytates (which act as anti-nutrients and may lead to leaky gut), has a high amount of omega 6, and is almost always GMO.
Personally, I stick them in the “not good for you, but not terrible enough to avoid altogether” camp. I limit my consumption to the occasional meal, and never eat it in it’s processed form (so, no soy imitation meat for this girl).
I find black soy beans to be the best option, texture wise, for an authentic yet keto-friendly chili. But ultimately, its up to you whether you’d like to include them.
For some more info on soy, check out these sources:
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-soy-bad-for-you-or-good
https://www.amymyersmd.com/2014/07/5-reasons-soy-is-not-a-health-food/

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Thanksgiving Spread

This brussels sprout gratin was the ‘main event’ for our Thanksgiving meal this year, and I plan to make it again for regular dinner meal prep! With the flavors of gruyere, and tender but flavorful Brussels sprouts, I honestly think this beats my  traditional carb bomb baked mac and cheese. Plus, it reheated beautifully in a 350F oven.
True story: I had to look up whether it was ‘brussels’ or ‘brussel’ – its Brussels with a capital B, so I was wrong all around.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (1/2 pound) brussels sprouts, sliced
    • or purchase shredded if you can find them
  • 2 cloves garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic powder)
  • Olive oil
  • 2oz (1/2 cup) gruyere, shredded
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp flax meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream (1/2 container)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook the garlic and brussels sprouts in olive oil until bright green and wilted.

Cooked Brussels Sprouts

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan melt butter. Add flax meal and coconut flour and stir until cooked. Add cream and thyme and heat, stirring, until steaming but do not boil. Basically, you’re making a keto roux here.

If you cooked the brussels sprouts in a cast iron skillet you can leave them there. If not, place the brussels sprouts in a baking dish (we doubled the recipe and used a 9×13). Top with half the cheese, then pour over cream sauce, and top with remaining half of cheese.

Ready for the OVen

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until bubbly and browned. 

Makes 4 servings. 357 cal / 5 net carbs (8.5 total) / 33 fat / 8 protein each.

Hot and Ready

Note for meat eaters: an excellent version of this involves cooking bacon, removing and then cooking the brussels sprouts in the bacon grease. You can add chopped bacon bits in before popping in the oven.

The inspiration for this dish came from Little Figgy Food: http://www.littlefiggy.com/creamy-brussel-sprouts-au-gratin/