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Low carb high fat

Vietnamese Lemon Grass Beef

Vietnamese Lemon Grass Beef

I have been eating a low carb diet for 1 ½ years now, but have been omitting sugar from recipes for years. Sugar is basically poison and I just prefer my savory food just that. One reason I taught myself to cook Vietnamese and Thai food is because restaurants tend to use a lot of sugar in their recipes. For example, most Thai restaurants make Pad Thai so sweet that I cannot eat it.

So, when I see a recipe with any sweetener—sugar, honey, maple syrup—I simply omit it. Don’t miss it; don’t want it in my food.

This recipe also calls for rice noodles; I simply didn’t use it.

A couple other modifications to the recipe: I spiralized and pickled the daikon and carrots to make them prettier and more flavorful. Pickle recipe below.

David Tanis recommends Red Boat fish sauce and I happen to agree with him—it’s the best fish sauce.

Red Boat Fish Sauce

I love the bright and clean flavors of Vietnamese food. Fresh herbs and lime keep it light for summer and fish sauce has that umami appeal that satisfies.

This is a wonderful dish I will make year round. The recipe.

Spiralized Pickled Carrots and Daikon

2 large carrots, spiralized

1 Daikon, spiralized

½ cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

Put veggies in a colander and salt. Let sit 15 minutes. Rinse and drain, squeeze out excess water. Boil enough water to cover vegetables. Pour water and vinegar on vegetables, let cool.

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Zucchini Slaw

Buffalo chicken thighs with roasted tomatoes and spiralized zucchini

I was in the mood for zucchini, but wanted it cold and raw and decided to make it into slaw. This was fast and easy and went well with the roasted Buffalo chicken thighs and roasted tomatoes.

2 medium zucchini, spiralized or shredded

1 small red onion/scallions, sliced thin

1 Lemon juice and zest

Extra virgin olive or avocado oil



Salt zucchini, let sit 15, rinse and drain and squeeze dry. Add ingredients.

Low Carb Fish Tacos

Low Carb Fish Tacos

I love fish tacos, especially in summer! But on the low carb lifestyle, I wasn’t making them—that is, until I substituted a few ingredients to create a low-carb taco or tortilla shell! They are made with zucchini, parmesan and almond flour and are seriously good. You get the texture, but not the carbs! There are only 6 grams of carbs in ¼ cup of almond flour, so 2 tacos are about 3-4 grams of carbs.

I used scallops, but you can use swordfish, mahi mahi, shrimp, or whatever you like. You can grill the fish, bake it or sauté it, like I did for the scallops. A little salt and pepper and you’re done. The vegetables, sauce and tacos give it plenty of flavor.

I buy a small can of adobe chipotle pepper and put what I don’t need into a plastic container and freeze it.

I had it last night and will have it tonight with the addition of  delicious tomatoes from the farmer’s market! (I made enough sauce for two nights plus leftovers for salads–see end of post. Also made the whole batch of taco shells and will put leftovers in the toaster oven. Veggies and scallops will make fresh.)

I usually use red cabbage over napa or white–because it is more nutritious and it looks better–but the local store didn’t have any, so I settled for napa.

A perfect summer dinner!


4 servings

Small red cabbage (or napa), sliced thin or use a food processor

1 medium red onion sliced on thinnest blade on a mandolin

1 avocado, cut into small chunks

Handful grape or cherry tomatoes, cut in half

2 Kirby cucumbers, sliced on mandolin or use a food processor

4 radishes, sliced on mandolin or use a food processor

Chipotle Pepper Sauce

3/4 cup sour cream, Greek yogurt or crème fraiche

Handful cilantro, chopped

1-2 canned adobe chipotle pepper with sauce

1 small garlic clove

Zest of one lime and juice

2 tablespoons of tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Mix all together with a blender

Toss salad with some pepper sauce to evenly coat. Add more sauce to cooked fish.

Low carb tortillas or taco shells

Low carb uncooked taco shells

Makes 4 tortilla and 8 taco shells

2 medium zucchini, grated and squeezed dry

1 egg

½ cup parmesan cheese

¼ cup almond flour


¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon cumin

Heat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Dry zucchini with kitchen towel and place in bowl. Add remaining ingredients. Divide mixture into 4 for tortillas or 8 for tacos and spread in circles on paper. Make pretty thin; about 7”. Bake 15 minutes or until edges are brown. Peel off paper and cool. Spray with cooking oil and heat in toaster oven at 375 to make crisp, about 10 minutes.

Low carb, cooked taco shells

Salad for lunch with shrimp and dressing! Baby spinach, arugula, celery, avocado, parmesan and shrimp–delcicious!

Salad with shrimp and avocado with fish taco dressing

Buffalo Chicken , Caesar Brussels Sprouts & Avocado Chips

Avocado chips, Buffalo chicken and Caesar Brussels sprouts

A friend posted a recipe for avocado chips and I had to make them immediately! I followed the recipe, which suggested using them as a chip for dipping into hummus. They are delicious, but next time I will make them smaller and flatten them more.

I decided to make buffalo chicken breast and turned the leftovers into a terrific salad, which I’ll try to post tomorrow. You can use any part of the chicken–I usually use thighs, but had breasts on hand.

Because it’s hot, I served everything at room temperature.

Buffalo Chicken, Caesar Brussels Sprouts and Avocado Chips

Avocado Chips by Lena Abraham

Avocado chips

Buffalo Chicken

3 pounds chicken, rinsed and patted dry or 2 thighs per person

¼ cup Hot Sauce, like Frank’s Hot

2 T butter, melted

1 T minced garlic

Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put parchment paper on cast iron or oven proof roasting pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Cook 30 minutes. Turn thighs and remove extra oil. Cook another 30 minutes. Raise oven to 450. Remove extra oil. Combine melted butter, garlic and hot sauce and drizzle over thighs. Cook about 10 minutes, turning once or twice, until skin is crisp

Caesar Brussels Sprouts

For 4

1 1/2 brussels sprouts, ends cut off, sliced in half then cut in thin slices.

Add dressing, below, and allow to stand for about 10 minutes to soak up flavors.

Caesar Dressing (will have leftovers)

¾ cup extra virgin or avocado oil

2 teaspoons anchovy paste

1 clove garlic

1 lemon

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pepper and salt, to taste

1T Worchester sauce

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Put all ingredients except egg in a food processor and blend. Add egg and stir.

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Kale, Cabbage and Bacon Salad

Kale, cabbage and bacon salad

Because I eat a green salad every day for lunch, I really like to mix it up when I have raw vegetables for dinner and use cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and so on for salads. So, I’ve been experimenting a lot lately and have been pleased with the results.

The secret to using raw kale is to massage some extra virgin or avocado oil into it, which makes the kale tender.

The dressing is my Caesar dressing without the parmesan. Add it into dressing or sprinkle on a salad if you want Caesar.

Kale, Cabbage and Bacon Salad

Serves 4 as a main course dinner; 8 as an appetizer

1 head kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces or if lacinato kale, cut chiffonade

½ head medium red cabbage, thinly sliced on a mandolin or in a food processor

8 slices bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces

½ cup pecans, toasted

8 ounces gruyere or other hard cheese

Extra virgin or avocado oil for kale

Massage a couple tablespoons of oil on the cabbage and kale. Let sit about a half hour. Add dressing and let sit a few minutes. Add bacon, cheese and pecans and serve immediately.

Dressing (will have leftovers)

¾ cup extra virgin or avocado oil

2 teaspoons anchovy paste

1 clove garlic

1 lemon

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Pepper and salt, to taste

1T Worchester sauce

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Put all ingredients except egg in a food processor and blend. Add egg and stir.

Poached Salmon with Dill Sauce and Cucumber Salad

Poached salmon with dill sauce and cucumber salad

One of the few things I don’t make myself is poached salmon—for some weird reason, poaching salmon intimidates me. So, I bought a couple nice pieces from Zabar’s yesterday. I threw out their green dill sauce because they add sugar and it just isn’t as good as mine. Cucumbers go perfectly with the salmon and they get dressed with the same sauce. This dinner couldn’t be easier to make (even if you decide to poach the salmon!)

If you have extra sauce leftover, use as salad dressing.

Dill Sauce

Enough for 4 on cucumbers and fish with leftover

½ bunch dill, stems removed and chopped

4 ounces sour cream or crème fraiche

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Juice from ½ a lemon

1 teaspoon teaspoon salt


Combine ingredients and let sit for an hour

Cucumber Salad

6 Kirby cucumbers

Cut off ends and peel, if desired, cucumbers into ¼ inch rounds and place in a colander. Mix salt in and let drain for one hour. Rinse and shake dry.

Add as much sauce as you wish and let cucumber salad sit about 15 minutes.

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Heirloom Tomato Chili Con Carne

Low carb chili con carne with an avocado chip

I only buy tomatoes in season, because I dislike the flavor when grown in hothouses or otherwise. So I tend to eat a lot of tomatoes this time of year and whenever possible, choose heirloom from my local farmer’s market.

Avocado chips

I had never made Chili Con Carne from fresh tomatoes, so I thought, why not try it and I made a batch yesterday. I know many cooks remove the skin and seeds, but I didn’t bother and I doubt anyone would know the difference. Anyway, the dish turned out great! I made mine from pasture raised beef, but you can use ground turkey or chicken. I served it with avocado chips and dipped them in–so good, that I didn’t miss carbs at all! I garnished it with sour cream, cilanto and grated cheddar cheese.

Heirloom Tomato Chili Con Carne

Serves 6

1 pound ground pasture raised beef, buffalo, turkey, or chicken

2 medium onions, chopped

1 pepper, chopped

1/2 head garlic, minced

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes roughly chopped or 1 large can diced tomatoes

1-4 tablespoons hot chili pepper (adjust according to how spicy you like it)

1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon cumin

1 or more cups water

1 head kale, spine removed and chopped

Sides: Grated cheddar cheese, crème fraiche or sour cream, cilantro

  1. Sauté meat on medium high until brown and crumbly and set aside, drain excess oil.
  2. Sauté onion until soft, then add pepper and garlic in extra virgin olive oil until soft on medium heat, approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Add spices and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. (Taste and add more spices if needed.) Add chipolte pepper and sauce.
  4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste and a cup of water. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Simmer for an hour, adding water as needed. Add salt
  5. Garnish with sour cream, grated cheddar and cilantro and serve with avocado chips

Chili con carne