If you are following a low-carb diet and love Indian food, choosing the right dishes can get tricky. Here's a collection of 25+ healthy and easy-to-make Low Carb Indian food recipes that you can enjoy while watching your carbs.
These recipes include popular restaurant classics as well as traditional homestyle dishes, made in your pressure cooker, air fryer or stovetop.
My husband and I have been on a low-carb diet for the last few years. Reducing carbohydrates has become an essential way for us to reduce and maintain weight.
To keep us going, we do have a few cheat days when we indulge in dishes we love, like Chole Bhatura, Chicken Biryani, Carrot Halwa and Moong Dal halwa, just less frequently, and in moderation.
Indian food spreads tend to have high-carb components like rice, roti, paratha, potatoes (aloo), peas, lentils, and so on. Eating low carb or Keto Indian food is even harder if you are vegetarian.
In this post, I list 20+ low carb Indian food recipes and Keto Indian recipes, including Low Carb Indian Vegetarian Recipes. I will keep adding to this collection, so be sure to bookmark it by clicking on the heart icon ❤️ on your right.
Why Eat a Low Carb Diet?
As per Mayo Clinic, low-carb diets may help prevent or improve serious health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
But, I will refrain from giving advice about the benefits of a low-carb diet, since each body is different so one size doesn't fit all here, and I'm definitely not a certified nutritionist. You can find more information on Low-Carb Diet here.
Let us discuss some basic terminology before we get started.
Keto vs. Low Carb Diet
Ketogenic diets, referred to as 'keto', require keeping daily carbs under 50 grams and ideally less than 20 grams of carbs. Low carb diets typically recommend taking in less than 100 grams of carbs a day.
In this post, I consider dishes that are less than 10 grams of carbs to be ketogenic, and those under 15 grams are low carb.
How to Calculate Net Carbs
Net carbs refers to the carbs that are absorbed by the body. When evaluating a dish, it is important to calculate the net carbohydrates. Net carbs is simply total carbs minus the carbs from fiber (and sugar alcohol, if present).
Few things to remember while counting net carbs:
- Simple Formula: Total Carbs - Fiber = Net Carbs. The fiber content makes a big difference when calculating net carbs.
- For accurate calculations, find the Total Carbohydrates number listed on a package's Nutrition Info panel. Then, check the 'suggested' serving size and adjust that based on the amount you eat.
- For grains, lentils and legumes, the default nutritional information is listed for 'uncooked' grains. Adjust that and calculate for cooked quantities that you are consuming.
- Sugar Alcohol content present in processed food items should also be subtracted from total carbs since the body does not absorb it.
Let us check out some of the BEST High Protein Low Carb Indian Recipes !
Please note: Before following any diet plan, I recommend checking with your doctor. The nutrition facts listed in these recipes are estimates based on a nutritional calculator and a standard serving size, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred calculators.
Low-Carb Indian Recipes: Chicken, Meat & Seafood (Under 10 grams Net Carbs per Serving)
Some recipes include a pot-in-pot rice option. Skip the basmati rice and serve these curries with Cauli-rice instead, and enjoy a low-carb meal. See notes and instructions for Cauli-rice at the bottom of this post.
Low-Carb Indian Vegetarian Recipes: (Under 10 grams Net Carbs per Serving)
And here are some Indian Vegetarian options for you. If you're specifically looking for High Protein Low carb Indian Vegetarian Recipes, they will be the ones made with Paneer (Indian firm cottage cheese cubes). Paneer is the king of protein in Indian vegetarian food, while maintaining low-carbs.
Here's another Low Carb Collection: Low Carb Cocktails
Low Carb Substitute for Rice
Since Indian curries and stir-fries have a flavorful sauce, you need something to soak up all those flavorful juices, which is why rice is a key component of an Indian meal.
How Many Carbs in Cooked Rice
- 1 cup of cooked white rice has about 44 grams of net carbs, and,
- 1 cup of cooked brown rice has around 42 grams of net carbs.
Since rice is very high-carb, smarter substitutes like Cauliflower rice work great. Cauliflower rice is basically finely shredded cauliflower head. My local grocery stores, including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Safeway etc, all carry fresh and frozen 'Riced Cauliflower'.
But it is very easy to do it yourself too. Rinse cauliflower, dry and cut in florets. Add to a food processor and pulse till it breaks down into smaller rice-like bits.
How to Cook Cauliflower Rice
You can follow the microwave instructions listed on the package, or simply saute it on the stove. Here's a recipe I make weekly! It goes great with all kinds of Indian dishes and takes less than 10 minutes to put together!
For another real simple recipe, here's what I do:
- Heat a skillet or fry pan on medium-high heat for a few minutes.
- Add olive oil or coconut oil and add the riced cauliflower.
- Sprinkle salt to taste. Keep stirring till the cauliflower rice turns soft and cooks 75% of the way. Takes about 6-8 minutes.
- Don't over cook it as it will turn to mush. If it has a little bite to it, it mimics the texture of 'rice'.
Low Carb Substitute for Roti
I have tried 5 different Keto naan recipes and I just cannot develop a taste for them. I know it's probably me, but that's not an option I can count on. So, while I experiment and develop my own version of a Low-carb Roti or Naan, I keep looking for store-bought options.
For dry dishes like Fish Tikka, Tandoori Chicken and Kadai Paneer, I find lettuce cups as the easiest substitute. I turn them into lettuce wraps and enjoy with a drizzle of Cilantro Chutney.
Recently, I came across Mission Carb Balance Whole Wheat Tortillas, and I'be been enjoying them occasionally. I get them from my local grocery store, and they are available on Amazon too. Depending on the size, each tortilla has 2-3 grams of net carbs.
The short answer to this is 'No'. Let's see how. 1 cup (180 grams) of cooked lentils contains 36 grams of carbs. After you subtract the 14 grams of fiber, it still has 22 grams of net carbs.
Similarly, 1 cup (160–200 grams) of cooked beans and legumes contains carbs ranging between 44- 49 grams. After deducting fiber, ranging between 9-16 grams, they still average around 30 grams net carbs per serving.
Depending on personal tolerance and dietary restrictions, you may be able to include small amounts on a low-carb diet. (check with your physician)
I see so many recipes mislabel quinoa as a low-carb alternative to rice. Quinoa is a seed that’s packed with protein, fiber, and nutrients. But it’s not a low-carb food. A cup of cooked quinoa has more than 39 grams of carbohydrates. That’s 50% more than in the same amount of brown rice and almost as many carbs as in white rice.
I hope you enjoy these recipes! If you're looking for a particular recipe, simply comment on this post and let me know! If you try any of these recipes, do share your pictures on your favorite social media channels by tagging #spicecravings.