Over the past few years I’ve transitioned to a lower-carb diet. It’s what seems to work best for me, to maintain my ideal weight and maximize my energy. In the past, I would do short stints of low-carb eating, especially after my trip to South America when I gained some weight, but then I would bring the carbs back in.  We’ve also experimented with going full Keto (high fat, very low carb) and my partner is currently experimenting with Carnivore. What I’ve settled into is what I like to call a lower-carb diet, which just means that I keep carbs fairly low, without depriving myself of the occasional taco night, or roasted yams, or even the occasional sandwich. 

The five dinner ideas below are perfect if you’re trying to minimize carbs. 

I should also mention, the Metabolic Makeover from Univera has been a huge support for me in optimizing my metabolism, increasing energy, reducing cravings, and so much more. 

 

#1 Lettuce wrapped burger with crispy turnips & cauliflower hot wings

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You’ll need:

  • Ground meat of choice: lean beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey (preferably free range/grass fed/organic)
  • Head of cauliflower
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Mushrooms (I love sliced portobella mushrooms!)
  • Frank’s hot sauce
  • spices/seasonings
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 medium sized turnips
  • Your favourite burger toppings that are low/no sugar – mustard is usually okay

Form your burger patties from your chosen protein. I like to season my burgers with some combination of the following: fresh or dried herbs like parsley or oregano, minced garlic, minced shallots, salt and pepper, a teaspoon of horseradish or dash of chili flakes. Make sure to check labels on any spices or sauces you use as many contain sugar!

Wash, peel and thinly slice the turnips (a mandolin works well if you have one). Wash and chop the cauliflower into small florets. Spread slices of turnip on one baking sheet and cauliflower florets on the other; drizzle both with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes, flip slices of turnips and cauliflower florets and continue baking for about 10 minutes until the turnips are golden brown and slightly crispy and the cauliflower is tender and lightly browned. Toss the cauliflower ‘wings’ in Frank’s Hot Sauce, or serve with a small dipping bowl of hot sauce.

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While veggies are roasting, cook burgers and mushrooms. You can either grill the portobella mushrooms or saute chopped mushrooms instead.

Build your burgers with several lettuce leaves forming a ‘bun,’ top with a thin spread of grainy mustard, a couple slices of avocado, and crispy turnips. Serve with a side of cauliflower ‘hot wings’ and green salad. Enjoy!

 

#2 Cauliflower Shepard’s Pie

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Serves 2-4 people. Serve with a green salad.

You’ll need:

  • Ground meat of choice: lean beef, lamb, bison, chicken, turkey
  • Head of cauliflower
  • A couple sticks of celery, chopped
  • Salt + pepper
  • 1 cup frozen peas (rather than the carrots pictured above, you can also use leeks)
  • Onion, diced
  • Garlic, minced
  • Sage, rosemary, thyme – great with chicken, turkey, lamb
  • Chili powder, cumin,  – great with beef or bison
  • ½ cup of chicken broth or a ¼ cup of tomato paste

Wash and chop the cauliflower into chunks and place in a large pot covered in water. Bring to a boil and cook until the cauliflower is fork-tender. Meanwhile, cook the ground meat in a cast iron pan on the stove; after cooking, drain excess fat/liquid and add seasonings. This is where you can experiment with flavours. I like to use diced garlic and onion (add these while the meat is cooking), a sprinkle of chopped sage, rosemary and/or thyme, or a blend of chili powder, cumin and a small sprinkle of cayenne, salt and pepper. After draining excess fat, add about ½ -⅔ cup of chicken broth, or a small amount of tomato paste to the meat mixture. Add frozen peas, mix, and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

Drain the cauliflower and transfer to a high powered blender or food processor, add a couple tablespoons of butter/coconut oil/olive oil, and a dash of salt and pepper and blend until smooth.

Spread the mashed cauliflower on top of the meat mixture and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for about 20 mins. Cool slightly and serve.

 

#3 Raw Zoodles with Pesto & Chicken

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Serves 2 people. 

You’ll need:

  • One large zucchini or two small ones
  • Pesto (check labels for sneaky sweeteners)
  • Handful of mushrooms of your choice
  • Swiss chard or brocollini
  • Tbs Olive oil
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Sprouts
  • Hemp hearts
  • Chicken breast or thigh

Use a spiralizer (my second favourite kitchen tool after the vitamix!) to turn the zucchini into zoodles. Leave zoodles on a bed of paper towel to absorb excess moisture.

Cook the mushrooms and other veggies of your choice in a pan with olive oil and the minced garlic; set aside. Pan fry bite size chunks of chicken breast or thigh. (Pictured here is organic tofu, which is a nice vegetarian option, but higher in carbs.)

Toss the zoodles in pesto and top with the cooked mushrooms and chicken. Garnish with sprouts and/or a sprinkle of hemp hearts if desired.

 

#4 Taco Salad / Lettuce tacos

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In the version pictured above I used some sour cream, but I normally make these without dairy. If you are friends with dairy feel free to add some shredded cheese or sour cream. 

This is two meals in one recipe! Very similar food prep can be served two different ways.

You’ll need:

  • Lean protein of your choice: ground beef, pan fried fish, or chicken
  • Seasonings: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne
  • Leaf lettuce, washed
  • Red or green onion, thinly sliced
  • Thinly sliced cabbage
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Cilantro, washed, trimmed and chopped roughly
  • Lime wedges
  • Frank’s hot sauce

 

Cook meat as desired. Wash and prepare veggies as listed.

Assemble Lettuce Tacos by selecting large leaves and filling with cooked meat, sliced onion, avocado, cilantro, sliced cabbage and a drizzle of hot sauce. Squeeze some lime juice on top and enjoy!

Or

Create Taco Salad with chopped or ripped lettuce, cabbage, red onion, avocado, cilantro, and top with meat of choice (usually ground beef).  

VARIATION

You can also mash the avocado with fresh lime juice, salt and pepper, cumin, and a dash of chili flakes to make a tasty guacamole.

A little bit of fresh salsa is also very delicious on either the tacos or salad.