You know what makes enjoying the keto diet a lot easier? Simple, satisfying swaps for your favorite carb-heavy recipe ingredients and dishes that you can’t eat while keto! Here’s a heaping helping of great low-carb options to get you going in the kitchen, whether you crave pasta, fried rice, pizza, chocolate chip cookies, or other comfort foods.

Easy Swaps for Carb-Heavy Foods You Love

The hardest part of getting settled into the ketogenic diet is figuring out what you can reach for instead of your favorite carbs. This list will get you going and help you gain the health benefits and weight loss (if desired) through great low-carb alternatives to your favorite no-no ingredients, side dishes, main courses, and desserts!

Breadcrumbs = Ground Pork Rinds: Seriously, try grinding pork rinds in a food processor until they’re fine. Then dip chicken, pork, or fish in beaten egg followed by the ground rinds and sauté in coconut, avocado, or extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and serve with a side of lemon and be amazed by this gluten-free option. Bonus: they have no net carbs!

Buns = Portobello Mushrooms, Lettuce, or Napa Cabbage Leaves: Bolster your sandwich makings or burgers between two zero-carb and very low-calorie meaty mushrooms or two big leaves of lettuce or cabbage! You can also shop the ever-growing selection of no- and low-carb options, including “sandwich thins.”

Cookies = Keto Cookies: You’ll be blown away at how many recipes there are for delicious, totally keto cookies. Start with the Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe here to see what we mean.

Lasagna = Your Favorite Ingredients plus Sub Cabbage for Pasta Noodles and High-Sugar Pasta Sauce for Low-Sugar Sauce: Yes, layers of cheese, ricotta, and sauce can still be yours if you swap cabbage for noodles. Get the recipe here.

Lemon Cake = Keto Lemon Cake: Another shocker, you can have your lemon cake and eat it too. The best part? It takes seconds to make. Get the recipe here.

Mac & Cheese = Cauliflower “Mac” & Cheese: Sub chopped and steamed cauliflower florets for pasta, and cream for milk in your favorite mac & cheese recipe and you win! (Or try this recipe.) Take it over the top by finishing with a sprinkling of ground pork rinds for a crispy crust!

Mashed Potatoes = Mashed Cauliflower: You’ll be amazed at how delicious mashed boiled cauliflower is, especially when you add butter and salt, or even a bit of cream cheese and Parmesan.

Rice = Cauliflower Rice: Riced cauliflower florets perfectly mimic white rice. You can buy it frozen in grocery stores or make your own by pulsing cauliflower florets (heads only, not the stems) in a food processor into rice-size bits. You can even grate them with a grater for epic low-carb rice alternatives! To serve, briefly stir-fry to your desired doneness in a little avocado oil and just enough water to keep moist. Or make risotto or simply put the riced cauliflower in the microwave with a little water and steam for a low-carb rice option! 

Pancakes = Keto Pancakes: Get the almond-flour based recipe here!

Pasta = Zoodles: In moderation, peeled, spiralized zucchini (“zoodles”) can sub for pasta. Don’t have a spiralizer? Make long strips using a vegetable peeler. Microwave your zoodles for 30 seconds to warm, but not entirely cook them, then add your keto-friendly sauce of choice and manga! Another option is shirataki noodles, which are available in most grocery stores and have zero grams of carbs.

Pizza Crust = Cauliflower Crust: Ever-popular cauliflower crusts are available at grocery stores nationwide. They’re based on one of our favorite rice alternatives, cauliflower! Check these out for starters.

Sugar = Alternative Sugar: While you’ll kick the sugar cravings on the keto diet, it’s still nice to know you can stir a little sweetness into your tea or cupcakes if you want. Do this with a variety of traditional sugar substitutes highlighted here.

Syrups = Alternative Syrups: Believe it or not, you can have chocolate, caramel, and even maple-flavored syrup, if you buy zero-carb brands.

Wheat Flour = Coconut or Almond Flour: These two flours have different properties, but each is keto and delicious. Find out more about flours here.

Mojo On!

See? There are so many flavorful keto hacks to help you avoid carbohydrates, often through healthy veggies (Hooray for  pasta and rice substitutes!) Get even a couple of them in your apron pocket and you’re on the road to keto-cooking satisfaction!


Keto-Mojo is a participant in some affiliate programs and some of the links above will generate a small commission if you make a purchase through a product link on our site. This is at no cost to you and all proceeds go directly to the nonprofit Ketogenic Foundation [501(c)3 pending] to assist with their mission funding education and research into the ketogenic diet and lifestyle. Keto-Mojo in no way profits from these links.


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