The keto diet is the new fitness craze sweeping the nation, but it’s an extremely limiting diet that’s really difficult to stick to. Keto diet recipes that don’t suck are hard to come by, so we scoured the Internet for a few that’ll make “going keto” a little less painful.
But first: “Keto” is short for “ketogenic,” and at face value, the keto diet is a lot like the Atkins diet program. It’s a low carb, high fat and moderately high protein diet geared toward forcing the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Essentially, by starving your body for carbohydrates, you can trick your brain into using what are called “ketone bodies,” which is when your brain will eventually start converting fat into for energy if you don’t give it carbohydrates.
That’s all fine and good, until you realize carbohydrates make up a ton of most people’s favorite foods. Bagels, pizza, French fries, hot dogs, burritos, rice—all of these foods are packed with carbs, and if you’re looking at the keto diet, you’re going to have to say goodbye to all of them. Oof.
While that outlook appears grim, it doesn’t mean there aren’t excellent keto-friendly meals out there:
Keto Recipes That Don’t Suck
The minute you put us on a diet that says we can’t have bread, we give you the same look we give people who only drink decaf coffee. It’s that distinctive mix between, “Who the hell do you think you are?” and “It smells like farts in here.” However, as luck would have it, you can have “bread” while on the keto diet, and it doesn’t have to be awful.
This recipe replaces standard baking flower with keto-friendly low carb almond flour, and includes stuff like ground psyllium husk powder, baking powder, sea salt, cider vinegar and three egg whites (with optional sesame seeds, if that’s your thing).
It only takes about 10 minutes of prep and an additional 55 minutes to cook, but once it’s done, it’s a perfect substitute for your favorite carb-loaded dinner rolls. The only trick is making sure you don’t over mix the dough. The consistency should resemble Play-Doh; not pizza dough.
And since butter is keto-friendly, do whatever ya want!
Keto Meat Pie
Keto is a tough diet for carbs, but luckily most meats are super low carb to begin with. This old-school classic from the U.K. is a near-perfect keto dish as is, but this updated version—with all the meat, cheese and tomato paste you’re used to—features a keto-friendly crust that’s both easy to make and pairs well with the delicious filling.
You can use ground lamb or beef, depending on your taste preference, and if cottage cheese doesn’t sound like your thing, you can just top it with more regular cheese (because cheese is— you guessed it—keto-friendly).
Keto Fathead Pizza Crust
One of the largest issues about going low-carb for any diet is that it means giving up one of the world’s undisputed kings of food: Pizza. Because of pizza’s delicious doughy crust, it’s a carb-loaded heavyweight, much to the dismay of everyone living that gluten-free low-carb life.
There are a few different pie crusts out there for keto that include things like coconut and cauliflower, but it always seemed so wrong to taint something as delicious with something as not-delicious as cauliflower.
Enter: Keto Fathead Pizza Crust
First of all, this crust only has four ingredients: Mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, eggs and coconut flower.
The only potential issue with this recipe is that the dough tends to solidify and dry out quickly, which means you need to be on your game while prepping. Luckily, if it gets a little too solid, you can toss it in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen everything back up.
The strange thing about this pizza is that the crust gets cooked through before toppings are added. But hey, nobody said keto was perfect.
A Pile of Bacon
We didn’t realize how keto-friendly we were in our everyday lives until we learned that bacon is 100% keto-friendly. On this diet, you can basically eat as much bacon as you want. To us, that sounds exceptionally counter-intuitive of what we believe diets are, but hey, what the hell do we know?
Anyway, We’ll never miss out on a good opportunity to cook up a pile of bacon, so we figured none of you would, either.
Grab yourself a pound of your favorite bacon, cook it low and slow in your favorite non-stick pan until it renders down and becomes delicious, chewy and makes your whole house smell like a breakfast diner. No fancy recipes or any of that nonsense, here. If you want a variation, have your bacon with some fried eggs and some avocado (or follow this delicious recipe for some avocado “toad in the hole”).
12-Minute Saucy Chicken Breasts with Lime
Chicken is some of the best and leanest protein you can eat, but the problem is that it’s hard finding good ways to cook it without it coming out dry or bland. This completely keto-friendly recipe from the team over at Bon Appétit is the answer to everyone’s poultry problem.
What we like most about the recipe is that it’s exceptionally easy to prepare and can be ready and on the table in less than 20 minutes. The only thing you really need is a cast-iron skillet (And if you don’t have one of those, get one anyway—they’re awesome!). The chicken uses a dry rub of cumin, turmeric, paprika, salt, extra virgin olive oil and limes, and once the skin is seared in the skillet, it goes into the oven to cook for another ten minutes, and then back onto the stovetop for a finishing sear on the meat side.
The only issue is that the recipe calls for one whole skin-on, bone-in chicken breast, split for easy, more even cooking. The recipe goes into detail about how to do this, but if you’re a visual person, this video is excellent.
Other than that, it’s all pretty self-explanatory.
One-Skillet Roasted Sesame Chicken Thighs
If you’re not a light meat chicken person (Everybody knows all the best flavor comes from the dark stuff!), this is another incredibly simple recipe from Bon Appétit for one-skillet sesame roasted chicken thighs.
We love working with bone-in chicken thighs because they’re perfectly portioned for healthy cooking and proper appetite control. They’re also damn good.
This is another very simple skillet recipe that offers up perfectly crispy bone-in, skin on chicken thighs with surprisingly good skillet-fried carrots. The real winner here, however, is the sauce made in step 8, with soy sauce, Sriracha, rice vinegar, honey and oil. Keto or not, we’re positive this one will make its way to your everyday rotation.
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