Going keto often means cooking at home a lot more often than before. It’s certainly not impossible to eat keto when you’re out and about, but it’s a lot easier to avoid hidden ingredients and monitor the quality of the foods you’re eating when you prepare them yourself. But sometimes cooking can feel like a huge hassle, especially on those busy weeknights when you blink and suddenly it’s 7:30 p.m.
Having a few quick keto dinner recipes in your arsenal can help simplify your week and keep you feeling satisfied. It’s also helpful to have some loose guidelines that you know stay within the low carb, high fat parameters of the ketogenic diet, so that you can wing it when you don’t feel like following a recipe.
Our Favorite Easy Keto Recipes
If you’ve been following a keto meal plan for a while, you’ve probably already discovered the vast world of keto bloggers and recipe sites. That being said, some recipes are a lot more involved than others. While a glorious gourmet meal might look amazing and Pinterest-worthy, it might not be realistic for a quick and easy dinner on a Monday night. We’ve scoured the internet for our favorite keto resources and hand-selected some delicious recipes that you can easily add into this week’s low carb dinner menu. (Hint: these recipes also make for a great lunch or leftovers!)
- Sheet Pan Shrimp by Brit.co — Any single sheet pan, one pot, or skillet meal is alright by us! Less clean up means more relaxing at the end of a long day.
- Creamy Tuscan Garlic Chicken by The Recipe Critic — Here’s a great way to feel luxurious on a weeknight with simple ingredients that cook in 15 minutes!
- Shredded Chicken Chili by Ketogasm — This one-pot meal filled with juicy chicken makes for easy clean up and delicious leftovers.
- Keto Fried Rice by Happy Keto — To make this meal even quicker, head to Trader Joe’s for their pre-riced cauliflower!
- Keto Cauliflower Cheese Tots by Brit.co — Admittedly, these probably should be a side dish rather than a whole meal on their own, but if you’re cooking for yourself, why not make it a tot night? These are too scrumptious to leave off of our list!!
- Keto Baked Salmon with Pesto by Diet Doctor — This super simple dish goes from the oven to your table in no time flat.
- Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Parmesan by My Food Story — This unintimidating, non-boring stuffed chicken breast recipe is packed with veggies and only takes 30 minutes to get on the table.
- Spicy Tuna Stuffed Avocado by Salt and Lavender — Tuna salad is a secret ingredient for any quick keto meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- Easy Pork Stir Fry and Veggies by Low Carb Maven — Switch this Chinese-inspired dish up from time to time by giving it a simple Thai makeover. Add curry powder or paste into the mix, and you’ve added some easy variety to your life.
- Soft Tortilla Tacos by Healthful Pursuit — Sometimes you don’t want a deconstructed keto taco. Sometimes you want to pick it up and bite. These keto taco shells will make it happen in 35 minutes.
Stocking Your Pantry for Simple DIY Keto Cooking
If you’re not the recipe type, you probably just looked at that list and thought to yourself, “Those are good ideas. I can probably figure them out on my own.”
More power to you if you aren’t into following recipes. We understand. Sometimes what you have in the kitchen is what’s going to have to work for dinner, so we recommend stocking up on some keto staple foods so that you’re always prepared to improvise an easy recipe on your own.
Fresh or Frozen Veggies
If you’re worried about veggies staying fresh at your house, go for half fresh, half frozen when you make your weekly grocery run. This way, if you prioritize the fresh first, you’ll still have what you need at the end of the week to make a nutrient-dense keto dinner. We recommend opting for fresh brassicas like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and kale, which last a while in the fridge, and choosing frozen green beans and spinach to add into keto stir fry dishes or zoodles (zucchini noodles).
This brings us to pre-prepped foods you can stock up on at the beginning of the week to help you move your dinner ideas in new directions. There are so many accomodations available now in the grocery store for keto dieters to make life that much easier!
Prep work isn’t just about the time it takes to prep. It’s also about the time it takes to clean up. Sure, it only takes five minutes to send your cauliflower florets through the food processor, but then who’s going to clean up the food processor?
We’ve already mentioned riced cauliflower, available in the fresh and frozen sections at both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, but it bears repeating. You might also try the pre-made cauliflower pizza crusts in the frozen section instead of making your own, which can sometimes be hit or miss and create a big mess in the kitchen.
Zucchini noodles are another delicious way to enjoy a low carb meal. You don’t have to ditch your Italian pasta favorites if you and sub the semolina for zoodles. Check the produce section of your health foods store to see if they sell them pre-packed. You might also consider those miracle noodles (shirataki noodles), which just need to be warmed up (or eaten cold with chicken lettuce wraps or an Asian noodle salad).
Depending on how many net carbs you have left at dinner time, you can also consider using spaghetti squash as a pasta sub. It’s so easy to make, and if you get a big enough squash, the cooked “noodles” can last for days. Time is money in a busy household, so skipping the prep for those keto staples might be worth it for you.
Meats, Dairy, and Stocks
Most keto diet plans emphasize meat, so opt for high quality options where it fits your budget. If you can spring for an ethical meat subscription plan or select a reputable butcher for all of your carnivorous needs, go for it.
If not, try to pepper in the less expensive, high quality options like grass-fed ground beef and wild-caught canned fish. You might also consider getting your protein from bone broth, which makes for a great, protein-rich base for keto gravies and sauces.
As far as dairy goes, if you’re able to incorporate it into your life and can prioritize organic, then stock up on cheese, full fat cream, and probiotic yogurts, all of which last for a while in the fridge. They also help with a variety of condiments for your improvised keto meals.
Greek yogurt and sour cream are basically interchangeable in most recipes, and the former offers more gut-supporting microbes than the latter. Switch it up! Cream cheese makes for a great ingredient in sauces and meat toppers, as it’s rich and thick, so you can skip the cornstarch and other high carb thickeners.
Healthy fats are the most important ingredient in any keto diet. We know that healthy fats should make up the greatest percentage of your daily caloric intake. This means avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed ghee, nuts, nut butters, and fatty meats and organs from grass fed or pastured animals.
We recommend being strategic about your avocado purchases if you do your shopping once a week. Choose a few that are ready to eat and a few that are a little firmer so that they are ready to eat by mid-week. Refrigerate the ones that are ready when you purchase, and leave the harder ones out on the counter until midweek when they begin to ripen.
Eat Up These Easy Keto Dinners
Finding easy solutions for keto dinners isn’t complicated if you have a few tools to help you get going. Whether you’re a recipe follower or more of a kitchen improviser, stock your kitchen for success. Being prepared is the first step in getting yourself ready for quick, easy keto dinners filled with variety and flavor.
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