How to Make Your Regular Recipes Lower in Carbs

Lots of new low-carb cookbooks are available. It’s easy to convert traditional high-carbohydrate recipes into lower-carb versions. Before we had the luxury of all the lower-carb cookbooks that are now available, I would look at a recipe and identify the higher-carb ingredients; then I’d try to decrease them in quantity, omit them entirely, or replace them with something else that would work as well and would still taste good.

The Pasta Dilemma

Lasagne, a good example of a traditional recipe that you can easily make lower-carb, is usually made from meat, cheeses, eggs, tomato sauce and lasagne noodles.

The higher-carb ingredients are the tomato sauce and the noodles.

My favorite recipe called for three layers of lasagne noodles. You can replace the tomato sauce with a lower-carb tomato or spaghetti sauce and decrease the noodle layers to only one layer, using whole-wheat or lower-carb noodles.

I have also used cabbage or other vegetables to replace the pasta layers. Zucchini sliced lengthwise works especially well when first sautéed in olive oil with garlic, and it tastes delicious.

Dana Carpender, author of “500 Low-Carb Recipes” and “15-Minute Low-Carb Recipes: Instant Recipes for Dinners, Desserts and More” (Fair Winds Press, 2003) says if you must have noodles, try the whole-wheat variety or noodles made from Jerusalem artichokes (made by DeBoles and sold in health food stores). Their taste and texture are similar to regular pasta but they have a lower glycemic index.

The Power of Cauliflower

Dana never leaves the grocery store without cauliflower.

She uses cauliflower instead of potatoes for dishes like cauliflower “potato” salad and mashed “potatoes”—better known as “fauxtatoes” or “mashed un-potatoes.”

Dana learned from Fran McCullough’s book “Living Low Carb” (Little Brown and Company, 2003) to take a head of cauliflower and put it through the food processor using the shredding blade. This gives the cauliflower a texture that’s remarkably similar to rice. You can then use this cauliflower “rice” in recipes that call for risotto or rice.

Carbo-Free Pastry Crusts

I asked Dana about making quiche.

We both agreed to go crustless until she told me about a new crust she’s experimenting with. Take almonds and grind them in the food processor; add some Parmesan cheese, a little salt, some melted butter and a little unflavored protein powder. Press this into a pie pan as you would a crumb crust. First bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes, add your quiche filling, and bake until done.

Do remember to check your blood glucose levels before and after trying new recipes to see how these foods affect you. No two people who have diabetes are alike.

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