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Low Fat Low Carb Diet

Tomato Salad with Pickled Onions

Tomato Salad with Pickled Onions

This recipe is delicious with pickled onions, but if you are in a hurry, plain red onions and also very good. This batch of pickled onions is enough for other dishes and only takes a few minutes to make. Plus, I love how they turn pink!

I make enough tomato salad for one meal and never refrigerate the wonderful, organic and farm fresh tomatoes available in summer.

Tomato Salad with Pickled Onions

Tomatoes cut into bite sized pieces

Pickled red or raw onion, sliced very thin

Dash of avocado or extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

Pickled Red Onions

2 large red onions, thinly sliced

1 cup rice wine vinegar

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoons kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon sea salt)

In a clean glass jar with a tightfitting lid, mix vinegar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the onions. Let it sit for just a few seconds in the hot water, then drain well, reserving 1 cup water. Add water to jar and shake. Add onions to the jar with the vinegar. The pickled onions will be ready to use in an hour and will last for weeks in the refrigerator.


Spicy Coleslaw

Spicy Coleslaw

I’ve always liked my coleslaw recipe, but adding a bit of hot sauce made this dish memorable! (And yes, I’m talking about veggies!)  I use whatever veggies I have on hand, but usually use red cabbage and red onion. This version had kale, carrots and white cabbage. Broccoli stems, scallions, brussels sprouts, celery root, jicama…any hard vegetable will work in coleslaw.

Coleslaw is the perfect salad because it doesn’t wilt with dressing and leftovers taste even better the next day!

Spicy Coleslaw

Use about two pounds of vegetables to serve 4-6

Red onion, slice thin on a mandolin, squeeze out extra liquid

Broccoli stem, outer tough layer removed and shred in a food processor or thinly sliced

Red cabbage, quarter, remove core and either shred in food processor or slice thinly

Lacinato kale, stem removed and julienned

Carrot, peeled and shredded in a food processor or peel with carrot peeler,

Anything else—celery root, jicama


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive or avocado oil

2 tablespoons either rice vinegar, lemon juice or cider vinegar

¼ cup Mayo and/or crème fraiche

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard


1 tablespoon celery seed

¼ cup Mayo or creme fraiche

1-2 teaspoons hot sauce  like small-batch Mazi Piri Piri or Frank’s

Whisk dressing ingredients together and toss in vegetables. Adjust ingredients as needed. Allow to sit in refrigerator an hour or so to soft and meld.


Blackened Pork Tenderloin & Brussels Salad 

Blackened Pork Tenderloin and Brussels Sprout Salad

With this heatwave, I am eating basically all cold food. Any cooking is done in the morning. I cooked this pork tenderloin in my (well-insulated) oven instead of using the stove, which keeps heat and smells at a minimum with A/C on. I love grilled pork tenderloin, but that’s not happening in my NYC apartment!

Blackened Pork Tenderloin

Serves 4

2 pork tenderloins (about 6 ounces per serving)

Blackened Seasoning  (See below)

Extra virgin olive or avocado oil

Preheat oven to 450 and place a cast iron pan inside. Rinse and dry pork. Rub desired amount of blackening season on meat, then coat with oil using your hands. When oven reaches temp, take pan out of oven and place meat in it. Cook for 7 minutes and turn over; cook another 7 minutes. Cook each side about 4 minutes each and test meat. When cool, cut into bite sized pieces.

Brussels Sprout Salad

Serves 8 as side, 4 main course

1 ½  pounds baby brussels sprouts, slicer attachment on food processor or cut in half and hand slice thin

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ cup extra virgin olive or avocado oil

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoon cider vinegar

Salt & Pepper

¾ cup pecan, toasted at 350 until lightly brown and fragrant; watch carefully—5-10 minutes–and chopped coarsely

3 ounces shredded parmesan cheese

Wisk garlic, mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, oil, salt & pepper and add oil.

Toss sprouts with dressing and add parmesan; allow to sit about 20-30 to wilt brussels sprouts slightly. Add pecans and pork just before serving.

Blackening Seasoning (or buy any Cajun or taco seasoning mix) This will make a big batch for many uses. Freeze to keep fresh. I buy all my teas and herbs from Mountain Rose–organic, fresh and great prices!

1 cup Garlic Powder

1 cup onion powder

2/3 cup paprika

1/3 cup cayenne

2/3 cup oregano

1/3 black pepper

1/3 cup cumin

2/3 cup lemon peel

1/3 cup tumeric

1/3 cup salt

Combine all ingredients

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Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad

I like salads year-round, but especially when it’s warm. Since I eat a green salad almost everyday for lunch, I make dinner salads with a variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and more. You can opt to keep broccoli raw, but I like mine cooked.

The beauty of using these tougher vegetables is that they stand up longer when dressed, making them perfect for parties or when you want to enjoy them the next day.

Broccoli Salad

Bunch of broccoli, florets cut small, stems peeled and chopped

1 small red onion, sliced thinly by hand or on a mandolin

1 raw golden beet, peeled and sliced thin by hand or on ribbon slicer on a spiralizer

½-1 lemon, juiced and zested

3-4 ounces feta, preferably goat or sheep, rinsed and crumbled

Extra virgin olive or avocado oil, to taste or about ¼ cup

Handful parsley

Pepper and salt

Lightly steam broccoli, drain and put into an ice bath; drain well.

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Garlicky Tomato Swordfish over Spaghetti Squash

Garlicky Tomato Swordfish over Spagetti Squash

Make this delicious (and easy) dish and you won’t miss the carbs at all! It is packed with flavor and textures and the spaghetti squash is the perfect (low carb) vehicle for the sauce. You can also substitute spiralized zucchini for the squash.

I like to add kale or baby spinach because then it is a complete meal in a bowl.

This is an easy meal to prepare, but you can really impress friends or family with it.

Note that you will need a good quality, sharp, heavy Chef’s knife to cut through the spaghetti squash. Having quality knives is essential if you do any real cooking and the absence of a good knife makes cooking difficult and a real drag. My favorite knives are Wusthof.

Good knives are an investment, but you only need to buy them once, along with a sharpener. The essentials:

  •  Chef knife (8″ or 10″)
  • Paring or utility (3″)
  • Long serrated bread knife
  • Carving/slicing knife (10″)

Garlicky Tomato Swordfish over Spaghetti Squash

Serves 4

Cooking Garlicky Tomato Swordfish over Spaghetti Squash

1 large can crushed or diced tomato

½-1 whole head garlic, diced and divided in half

Extra virgin olive or avocado oil

1 lemon, zested and juiced

Handful flat parsley, large stems removed and chopped

½ cup white wine or chicken stock

12 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped

16-24 ounces swordfish, cut into bite-sized pieces

Salt and pepper

1 head Kale, spine removed and cut into small pieces or baby spinach (optional)

1 spaghetti squash (recipe below)

Parmesan cheese for serving, shredded

Heat cast iron pot or heavy casserole on medium high and coat bottom with oil. Add swordfish, slat and pepper and sauté on each side until lightly brown. Remove fish, along with any juices.

Heat pan on medium low and add more oil and sauté half the garlic until fragrant, about a minute. Add olives, tomato, and accumulated fish juice and bring to a gently boil, then lower and cook for 30 minutes.

Add fish and cook an additional 10 minutes. If you are using kale, add with fish; add baby spinach just before done.

Mix parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, and remaining garlic. Remove the pot from heat and add raw ingredients or put on top of individual portions. Serve over spaghetti squash. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti Squash

Cooked Spaghetti Squash

Preheat oven to 400.  Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. You will need a heavy and sharp chef’s knife for this. You can score it a few times if you have trouble cutting through.

Rub a little olive oil rubbed the cut side of the squash and add some salt and pepper. Place cut side down on parchment paper on an oven safe tray or pan.

Bake 40-50 minutes, until edges begin to caramelize. Allow to cool a few minutes and use a fork to get all the strands of “spaghetti” out.

Strands of Spaghetti Squash

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Lemony Baked Fish with Haricot Verts Almandine

Baked Fish and Haricot Verts

I adapted this recipe from Marjory Pilley and love it because it is tasty, easy to make and there is no stovetop mess, as fish is baked in the oven. Use fluke, sole, flounder, basa, catfish or just about any fillet.

Serve with vegetables on the side, over a bed of spiralized zucchini, on salad greens or wrap like a taco in butter lettuce.

If you’ve never had haricot verts, you are in for a treat! The French bean is thinner and younger than it’s American green bean, but without the starchy taste. You do need to test them when cooking though, as they don’t taste very good over or undercooked.

Lemony Baked Fluke Fish with Haricot Verts Almandine

Serves: 4 servings


4 6 ounce fluke fish fillets or other mild white fish

1-2 Tablespoons butter, melted

4 Tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Sea salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

2 scallions, sliced thin

2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

Lemon wedges, optional


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Pat fish fillets dry and place in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Pour lemon juice and melted butter over fish.

Sprinkle remaining ingredients over fish.

Bake uncovered for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

Serve with lemon wedges, if using.

Haricot Verts Almandine

1 pound haricot verts, ends cut off

1 Tablespoon butter

1 handful raw slivered almonds

Salt and pepper

Steam haricot verts for about 5 minutes; test for doneness and drain water. Melt butter over a low heat; when melted, add almonds and stir occasionally until light brown. Add cooked beans, slat and pepper and stir. Serve immediately.


Low Carb Mexican Hot Pot

I like Mexican food, but since most of it has lots of high-carb ingredients, I haven’t been eating much of it. I was missing my fajitas and decided to fool around with my recipe and came up with this low carb version. Omit the beans and increase the meat makes it even lower in carbs but I wanted the taste, texture (and fiber) so I added it. This was so good that I didn’t miss the carbs at all!

I make my own blackened spice mix, but any spice mix called taco seasoning or Cajun will do just fine. I’ve added my recipe, below. If you want to make your own mix, I highly recommend Rose Mountain Herbs for the ingredients, because all their products are organic, very fresh and inexpensive.

Low Carb Mexican Hot Pot

Low Carb Mexican Pot

1-pound ground turkey

1 can organic black beans, juice reserved

2-3 tablespoons blackened spice mix

1 14.5 ounce fire roasted organic diced tomatoes

3 medium onions, sliced thinly

3 large bell peppers, sliced

Salt and pepper

Handful or two of baby spinach

1 lemon


Sour cream or crème fraiche

1 avocado, diced with lemon, salt and pepper

Shredded cheddar

Hot sauces

Brown turkey; add blackened spice mix and stir into turkey, allowing spices to become fragrant, a couple minutes; set aside. Sauté onion on medium high until they begin to brown, then add peppers. Cook until peppers begin to wilt, about 15 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, black beans with liquid and stir. Heat through. Turn off heat and stir in spinach and lemon. Serve immediately with sides.

Blackened Spice Mix

This makes a big batch. I freeze it and use it in many recipes.

1 cup Garlic Powder

1 cup onion powder

2/3 cup paprika

1/3 cup cayenne

2/3 cup oregano

1/3 black pepper

1/3 cup cumin

2/3 cup lemon peel

1/3 cup tumeric


Mix ingredients and store in a tight container.

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Tofu Stir-fry

Tofu Stir Fry

Stir-fries are great because any vegetables and protein can be used, and the dish comes together quickly. I like to use tofu because it is one of the few low carb proteins out there and it works well with this dish—however, use meat or fish if you prefer—either raw, or leftovers.

If you think you don’t like tofu, try this recipe—I swear it will make you a convert! If you do like tofu, you will love it baked! Now, not all tofu is the same and my favorite is The Bridge, made by a small company in Connecticut, because it’s nice and firm and tastes so fresh. Baking the tofu changes its texture from soft and spongy to firm and chewy.

In this dish, I used baby bok choy, yellow squash, swiss char; but you can use almost any veggie—even make it a “veggie refrigerator clean-out”!

If you choose to make this dish with a carb, like rice, 1 pound for 4 should be sufficient.

Tofu Stir Fry

Serves four

Vegetables for Tofu Stir Fry


3-4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

1 head swiss char, stems and leaves separated and chopped

1 pound baby bok choy, stems and leaves separated and chopped

2 yellow squash, spiralized

1 ½- 2 pounds extra firm tofu

2-3 tablespoons Tamari

2 tablespoons sesame oil


Oil for stir frying

Cooking Tofu Stirfry

Rinse tofu and blot dry with a paper or kitchen towel. Put tofu on parchment paper on an oven tray and coat tofu with 1 teaspoon sesame oil and soy sauce. If you have the time, let tofu marinate 30 minutes, then bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until golden. Put tofu aside, keeping warm

Heat oil on medium low, when hot, add ginger and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about a minute. Raise temperature to high and add baby bok choy and swiss char stems; stir until softened, 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except sesame oil and stir until hot. Turn off heat and add sesame oil and test for taste. Stir tofu in and serve immediately.

Braised Red Cabbage and Pork Chops

Braised Cabbage and Pork Chops

I bought large, free range bone-in pork chops from Whole Foods and one chop was enough for both my husband and I, so I cut the meat off the bone and served it that way. Meat cooked on the bone stays nice and moist and it is very easy to prepare this dish. You can make this dish even simpler without the marinade and it’s still delicious.

Braised red cabbage dish is familiar to many, but the addition of cinnamon gives it a cool and healthy twist. This is a comfort dish—something not easy to find in the low carb universe. Cut out apple to make it even lower in carbs.

Bone in Pork Chops

Serves 2

1 ½-2 pounds pork chops

Extra virgin olive oil


1 tablespoon tamarind paste (you can substitute lemon and dried apricot)

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine marinade ingredients, add pork chops, place in a covered container and let sit 2 hours to overnight in refrigerator. Put rack on lowest position in oven and preheat oven to 500 and put a cast iron or oven proof pan in the oven to heat up. Remove marinade, reserve and dry chops. Coat chops with oil. Place meat on hot pan and 5 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes. Remove chops from pan and let sit a couple minutes. Put reserved marinade in pan, stirring with any juices, medium heat on the stove. Allow liquid to evaporate by half and spoon over meat.

Braised Cabbage

Braised Red Cabbage

Serves 4

1 medium sized red cabbage, quartered with core removed and cut into narrow strips

2 onions, sliced thin

1 apples, cut into small pieces

¼ cup cider vinegar, more or less to taste

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Heat a large pot like a dutch oven on medium and add oil; when hot, add onion and allow to soften, 5 minutes. Add cabbage and apples and stir occasionally, until they soften. Add remaining ingredients, lower to low and cover. Cook another 45 minutes until nice and soft.

Low Carb Rueben Salad

Low Carb Rueben Salad

If you like a Rueben sandwich with corned beef leftovers, but don’t want the carbs, make a salad instead! Take greens, corned beef, swiss cheese, Russian Dressing (I used homemade,) and sauerkraut and you are good to go!  It may not be quite as good as the sandwich is, but it is pretty darn tasty!

Russian has ketchup in it, but I never buy it because I rarely use it and don’t like the added sugar, so I make my own.  Just mix tomato paste (find a tube for convenience) with some cider or white vinegar and you have ketchup in about a minute, but with no added preservatives, sugar or salt.

Low Carb Rueben Salad

Mix of your favorite salad greens, like romaine, arugula and baby spinach

Sauerkraut, shake off excess liquid

Leftover corned beef, cut into bite sized pieces and trimmed of fat

Swiss cheese, cut into bite sized pieces

Russian Dressing

Substitute some extra virgin olive oil for mayonnaise if you like a thinner dressing.

1/3 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons ketchup or 3 tablespoons tomato paste and 1 teaspoon cider or white vinegar

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish (use less if you don’t want the kick)

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine ingredients.

Assemble salad and toss in Russian dressing.