Rice is a classic side dish and comfort food and has a place in a healthy diet, but it’s definitely high in carbs. A single cup of cooked rice has 37 grams of carbohydrates, according to the USDA.
Here are some low-carb alternatives to rice that are healthy, delicious, and won’t leave your stomach growling.
1. Rutabaga rice is a low-carb rice alternative you probably haven’t tried.
Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is sometimes used as a low-carb alternative to potatoes, but it’s an equally good substitute for rice.
According to Self Nutrition Data, this veggie has just nine grams of net carbohydrates per cup, along with two grams of protein and plenty of vitamins. Opting for rutabaga rice is a good way to make sure you’re staying under your carb limit while maximizing your nutrient intake.
2. Cauliflower rice is a nearly perfect dupe for normal rice.
It’s white, it’s fluffy, and looks just like rice if you squint. Cauliflower rice is a simple and tasty way to swap out grains for veggies. A single cup of cauliflower rice has just four grams of carbs, compared to 37 grams of carbs in regular rice.
You can use cauliflower rice pretty much the same way you’d use regular rice: employ it as a base for stews, stuff it into taco shells, or serve it by itself with a bit of butter and salt.
3. Shirataki rice is also known as “miracle rice.”
Shirataki rice is made with flour prepared from the root of the konnyaku plant. The miraculous part is that this rice actually only has 10 calories and just one net carb per three ounce serving, according to Eat This Much.
How is this possible? Shirataki rice is composed entirely of soluble fiber, which can aid digestion and help you feel full. Try substituting it for pilaf rice or putting it in a stew instead of barley or brown rice.
4. Broccoli rice is a great way to get some extra green into your diet.
Broccoli is cauliflower’s greener cousin, so it makes sense that broccoli rice is also a great low-carb rice alternative. According to the USDA, a cup of riced broccoli has about four grams of carbs, and it’s easy to make. Simply toss a head of broccoli into a food processor and pulse until the “rice” is the size you desire.
Broccoli rice is wonderful mixed in with saucy vegetables or a stir-fry. You can also add it to soups to bulk them up and increase the fiber content.
5. Spiralized zucchini is a quick and colorful low-carb option.
If you don’t already have a spiralizer, you’re missing out. Munching on delicate strands of zucchini in place of starchy foods like pasta or rice makes staying low-carb easy and nutritious. A cup of spiralized zucchini will only set you back about four carbs, according to Nutritionix.
Though they can be tasty by themselves in a cold dish like salad, you’ll definitely want to pair these “zoodles” with a topping like a hearty tomato sauce or some olive oil and salt if you’re using them as a substitute for warm rice.
6. Spaghetti squash has a startlingly hearty taste without the carbs.
You’ve probably heard of spaghetti squash, but did you know the USDA says that one cup of the stuff has just seven carbs? It’s the perfect substitute when you’re craving something warm and hearty like rice.
In case you’re wondering, you don’t have to put spaghetti squash through any fancy machine to make it from those lovely strands. Simply halve the squash, roast it, and drag a fork through the cooked flesh. The strands appear as if by magic.