Cheesesteak stuffed peppers. Picture: Instagram
Cheesesteak stuffed peppers. Picture: Instagram

On a low-carb diet? Try these healthy and delicious dinner recipes

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Apr 23, 2021

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When maintaining a healthy diet while going low-carb, it's important to ensure you're getting a healthy amount of macronutrients, proteins, fats and carbs.

In a recent interview with IOL Lifestyle, dietitian Jentty Ngobeni said a low-carb diet restricted carbohydrates, which were primarily found in sugary foods, pasta, and bread. That meant that you eat fewer carbohydrates and a higher proportion of fat.

Here are a few low-carb recipes to try at home.

Picture: Chris Collingridge

Low-carb spinach and artichoke lasagna

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

4 large brinjals

olive oil

Tomato sauce

15ml olive oil

10ml chopped garlic

2x400g tins of chopped tomatoes

15ml tomato paste

10ml castor sugar

Salt and pepper

60ml chopped basil

Artichoke sauce

30ml olive oil

2 onions, chopped

15ml chopped garlic

500g cleaned, chopped spinach

2x400g tins artichoke hearts, chopped

500g crème Fraiche

60ml grated Parmesan cheese

grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper

60ml chopped dill

300g mozzarella cheese

250ml extra Parmesan cheese

Method

Cut the brinjals into 7mm- thick slices. Brush with olive oil and place on a large oven tray. Cook under a preheated grill for 2-3 minutes a side until lightly golden. Remove and set aside.

Tomato sauce: Heat the oil in a pot and fry the garlic over medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.

Remove and cool slightly before pureeing with a stick blender.

Artichoke sauce: Heat the olive oil in a pot and fry the onions and garlic over medium heat until the onions are soft.

Add the spinach and cook over high heat until the spinach is limp and the liquid has evaporated.

Add the artichokes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

Stir in the crème Fraiche, Parmesan, lemon rind, and juice, and season well. Stir in the dill.

In a 28x35cm ovenproof dish, spread half the tomato sauce. Sprinkle with a third of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Cover with a layer of brinjals.

Spread over half the artichoke sauce. Top with remaining tomato sauce, another third mozzarella, and Parmesan cheese. Top with another layer of brinjals and the remaining artichoke sauce.

Sprinkle over the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Remove and leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken vegetable patties

Ingredients

2 carrots, peeled and grated (If strict keto, you can replace carrots with two more zucchini)

2 zucchini, washed and grated

750g chicken breast, ground

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 onion, finely chopped

1 leek, finely chopped

2 eggs

2 tbs fresh cilantro

1 tbs Aminos

Cayenne pepper (the amount depends on how spicy you want it)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Using your hands, create patties of equal size. Place them next to one another on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden.

Preheat the butter in a large non-stick pan, and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the patties and broil them for around 2 minutes on each side, until crispy and golden brown.

Serve with your favourite sauce or cauliflower mash

Recipe from Filthy Healthy.

Cheesesteak stuffed peppers

Ingredients

4 green peppers, cut in half

2 tbs olive oil, divided

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 sirloin steak

1½ cups sliced mushrooms

1 small red onion, sliced

½ red pepper, sliced

2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Cut the green peppers in half and de-seed them. Drizzle with 1 tbs olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake in a 9x13 dish covered with tin foil for 10 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large frying pan. Add the steak, and season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and cook until they start to release juices. Add the onions and red pepper, sautéing for 2 to 3 minutes, until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, remove the green peppers from the oven. Divide the steak slices and veggies among the peppers then top with the cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese had melted. Remove and serve.

How do you go about sustaining the diet? A few tips from Ngobeni:

Cut back on starch

Bread is a staple food in many diets and, in most instances, it is high in carbs and generally low in fibre. This is especially true for white bread made from refined grains, which may negatively impact health and weight. Other foods to cut back on are pasta, rice, potatoes, potato chips, porridge and muesli.

Eat healthy high-protein foods

Eating a good protein source at every meal can make it easier to cut back on carbs, and it’s particularly important if you’re trying to lose weight. Protein triggers the release of the fullness hormone, reduces hunger, helps fight food cravings, and protects muscle mass during weight loss. Include at least one serving from the list of high protein, low carb foods at each meal. Consider beef, poultry, eggs, fish, nuts, cheese and yoghurt.

Prepare foods with healthy fats

Fat replaces some carbs and typically makes up more than 50% of energy on a low-carb diet. Two of the healthiest choices are virgin coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil.

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