There’s pretty much a diet for anyone out there and that’s because, while we’re all human, we’re all drastically different! Some of our systems can’t process lactose, others have a hard time with gluten, and there are millions suffering from food allergies or food-related diseases and conditions.
Therefore, there are lots of diets to choose from. One of the most controversial, yet popular is a low carb diet. This means restricting carbohydrates while increasing other macronutrients.
Of course, to follow a low carb diet it’s important to know all you can about carbs.
First, what is a carb?
Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients — carbs, protein, and fat — which is how the human body gets energy and calories. Carbs are found in “starches, fibers, and sugars that reside in vegetables, fruits, grains, and milk products.” While they are essential for a healthy functioning body, it’s important to choose your carbs wisely.
Which is where a low carb diet comes in handy!
There are two types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates, also called monosaccharides, which are made of one sugar include galactose and fructose found in fruit and milk products, and complex carbohydrates, also called disaccharides, which are created of two or more sugars and are found in “sucrose (table sugar), lactose (from dairy) and maltose (found in beer and some vegetables).
When sorting out a low carb diet, you’ll want to nix those simple carbs and only go for the complex carbs. With that said, you’ll also want to increase protein and fat in order to keep your body satiated and energized!
Here are 15 recipes that are low in carbohydrates and either high in protein (over 20 grams), high in healthy fat (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, or the omegas), or are high in both!
We also highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help you get healthy! And, don’t forget to check out our Whole Foods Archives!
Between the peanuts and oatmeal, this Vegan Protein Chocolate Shake recipe by Peffe Stahl is not only a super-luxurious afternoon treat, but it also offers over 20 grams of protein! This recipe is super easy to supplement based upon your protein needs as well!
Maybe you think low-carb means giving up on that delicious chocolate that you’re so in love with? Not true! Just make sure to choose at least 80 percent or higher without any added sugars. This Blueberry-Almond Dark Chocolate Bark recipe by Cathy Elton is the perfect mixture of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and carb-friendly blueberries. Plus, with a dose of those healthy fats and protein-rich nuts, you’re looking at being satiated for quite a bit!
This may be the ultimate low-carb, nutrient-rich, filling salad! Kale, beets, and pecans are loaded with nutrients, yet all happen to be low in carbs. Plus, they’re ultra filling due to high levels of dietary fiber. This Kale, Beet, and Pecan Salad With Ginger Dressing recipe by Jesse Lane Lee combines that nutrient-kale with naturally sweet beets and a dose of healthy pecan-sourced fat.
You may not think that a lemon salad can be filling, but berries are rich in dietary fiber and natural sugars, which are incredibly filling! This Lemony Berry Salad recipe by Jesse Lane Lee is the perfect sweet treat without the sweet sugar! It’s filled with all those wonderful low-carb fruits including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, plus there’s still a slightly sweet and spicy kick from the mixture of cinnamon and lemon. Add the optional full-fat coconut milk for that satiating healthy fat!
Eggplant isn’t necessarily loaded with nutrients, but that also means it’s not loaded with carbs. Plus, eggplant has that meaty feeling, which transmutes to our tummies the sensation of fullness. This Mini Eggplant Mushroom Pizzas recipe by Ella Suihko is the perfect way to enjoy this versatile veggie alongside mushrooms, cabbage, and tomatoes.
You may be wondering if pumpkin is actually low carb and it’s all about portion size! Pumpkin is a squash that is rich in that wonderful antioxidant that gives it that orange coloring, which means it’s great for your body. Just keep the portions on the smaller size and you’re safe! Another yummy dessert option to give you pause that protein can only be savory! This Protein Pumpkin Mug Cake recipe by Kat Condon sources over 20 grams of protein from oat flour and your choice of plant-based protein powder. If you’re looking for a real bump in protein content, try a vegan pea protein powder.
If you thought radishes were only good for a salad, think again! This Butter-Braised Radishes and Turnips recipe by Rachel Hanawalt takes those low-carb veggies douses them in delicious mint oil and braises them for a great side dish or snack!
When it comes to low-carb-friendly veggies, you can’t go wrong with dark leafy greens. Yet, instead of going straight for spinach or kale, how about giving swiss chard a try? This Swiss Chard Enchiladas With Avocado Cream recipe by Meghna Purandare uses hardy and incredibly nutrient-dense swiss chard, along with keto-friendly avocado. Swap out the sweet potato for carrots or cauliflower to really make this super low carb!
Greens beans are hardy, semi-sweet, super easy to cook, and low in carbs making them a great low-carb-friendly veggie to have on hand. This Turkish-Style Green Beans recipe by Deniz Kilic takes the traditional side dish veggie puts it center stage with a savory tomato, veggie broth, mint, and olive oil sauce.
One of the friendliest, easiest-to-use, and diverse veggies on the low-carb menu, this Artichoke Pesto Zucchini Noodles recipe by Julie Zimmer is that perfect substitute for those high carb pasta dishes you crave! Filled with flavor and paired with low-carb and fiber-rich artichokes, this is a great go-to recipe to keep you true to a low carb diet.
Looking for that perfect mid-day snack? How about a great low-carb-friendly appetizer for a dinner party? This Summer Daikon Rolls With Avocado and Micro Greens recipe by Vegan: The Cookbook sources multiple low-carb, keto-friendly ingredients including avocado, microgreens, cucumber, peas, and radish sprouts. These little summer rolls are bursting with flavor and nutrients!
The perfect example of making a classically carb-loaded meal with low-carb ingredients such as mushrooms and nuts! This Mushroom Nut Loaf with Balsamic Tomato Chutney recipe by Ashley Smyczek is riddled with all the best plant-based proteins including garbanzo beans, oats, and flaxseed (egg) pushing this lovely family-friendly recipe over the 20-gram brink! Remember, low-carb doesn’t necessarily mean cutting complex healthy carbs, but it doesn’t mean portioning out more carefully! Enjoy a smaller portion of this loaf with a large salad drenched in olive oil to make it truly low carb, yet filling.
Yes, grains are higher in carbs. Yet, if you need that filling texture to keep you on the low carb path, integrate a lower-carb grain such as bulger. This Baked Spinach and Bulgur Veggie Balls recipe by Sophie Yotova is a bit higher on the carb side — with both bulgur and chickpeas — yet offers a powerful dose of protein, fiber, and healthy plant-based fat to counteract those healthy carbs.
Incredibly diverse in a plant-based kitchen and happily low-carb, cauliflower is the must-have to replace high carb favorites such as rich and pizza crust. A great example is this low-carb, cauliflower-rich based Curried Cauliflower Rice Pilaf recipe by Lisa Lotts. Get that traditional curry dish without the extra sugar and carbs!
Don’t have time in the day to sneak that protein in a meal? How about trying out some coffee-rich protein? This High-Protein Caramel Cappuccino recipe by Logan Dunn and Lexus Osman packs in over 20 grams of protein from coconut butter, almond milk, and two heaping scoops of your choice of protein powder. Plus, this is a great low-sugar beverage to help you kick those high-carb lattes you’ve been enjoying!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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