For many people, going low-carb is a difficult decision. It means giving up many traditional favorites like bread baskets, pizza, garlic bread, many store-bought salad dressings, pasta, rice, and most desserts. Odds are, if you feel deprived, you won’t stick to the low-carb diet. So, short of depriving yourself of all your carb-heavy favorites, is there a more practical way to live low-carb without feeling deprived? And the answer is a resounding yes.
First, we’ll focus on everyone’s favorite course: dessert. We’ll find low-carb tips and tricks to baking and low-carb recipes that are decadent beyond belief. So, let’s get started.
Low-Carb Baking Basics
When you’re baking low-carb, there are a few flour substitute staples that you’ll need to have on hand. The most common among these are almond flour, coconut flour, and ground psyllium husk.
Almond flour is a gluten-free flour substitute made from finely ground, blanched almonds. In fact, if you want to ensure you’re not getting any hidden carbs in the form of fillers, you can make it yourself by grinding up blanched almonds in a coffee grinder.
Coconut flour is made from dried coconut that has been ground into a fine meal. Unlike almond flour, the coconut flour will impart a slight, characteristically coconut flavor to whatever you’re baking. So, keep that in mind when you bake garlic bread.
Last, but not least, ground psyllium husk is made from the ground shells of psyllium husk. Its high fiber content may irritate the stomachs of those with sensitive digestive systems.
Since all three of these flour substitutes do not contain gluten, they won’t rise when yeast is added to them. The ground psyllium husk will form a substance similar to gel, and it’ll make the dough much more shapeable.
Sugar substitutes are a bit more difficult because there are so many to choose from. However, a good rule of thumb is to choose minimally-processed options like raw honey, stevia, date sugar, coconut sugar, and high-quality maple syrup. All of these sugar substitutes will cause your blood sugar to spike somewhat, but in the case of raw honey and date sugar; they contain trace amounts of vitamins which are beneficial to the body.
Triple Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies
These brownies, (Triple Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownies) are decadent and almost sinfully delicious. And the best part is, they’re good for you. Melt almond butter and unsweetened baker’s chocolate together in a saucepan, stirring them together until they’re blended. Remove it from the heat once everything’s combined.
Then, stir in sweet potato puree, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture with a hand or stand mixer, and whisk one egg and egg yolk in. Once it’s creamy, add in the coconut flour, cocoa or cacao, baking soda, and salt. Be sure to mix it all together, but do not overmix. Once you’ve mixed in your dark chocolate chips, pour the batter into a parchment-lined pan and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F.
If you’re on a low-carb diet and you miss pizza, try this recipe, Fathead Pizza.
Dubbed by some as the “Holy Grale of low-carb pizza”, the pizza dough itself is a great base for pizzas, focaccia, flatbreads, and nan.
First, combine cream cheese and mozzarella in a pan and melt until they’re combined. Then, remove it from the heat and add almond flour, white wine vinegar, an egg, and salt. Thoroughly combine all the ingredients and flatten the dough onto parchment paper. Using a rolling pin or your hands, shape the dough into an eight-inch circle. Once the dough is the right size, prick the dough with a fork several times and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
While your dough is baking, sauté your ground Italian sausage in a pan with a bit of butter or olive oil. Once you’ve taken the dough out, spread unsweetened tomato sauce on the crust, and top it with the sausage and a handful of cheese. Then, pop it back into the oven and bake until the cheese browns.
This holiday season, don’t be deprived. Incorporate these low-carb baking tips into your repertoire and wow your family with healthy desserts.