Now that you are learning about the ketogenic diet , or simply “keto”, you may begin to panic because there will be cooking involved. No worries–here are a few super-simple meal ideas to get you started and build your confidence. You can do this! You can also make GREAT snacks on a keto diet. Check out this post for ideas!
Keto Meal #1 – Italian Sausage and Zucchini (pictured above, minus carrot chunks)
Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange your Italian sausages with about an inch between them for even cooking. Place in a preheated 400 degree oven. While the sausages are roasting, wash and chop zucchinis, and place them on another baking sheet (sprayed with cooking spray). Slice red onion and mix those in with the zucchini. Drizzle olive oil over the blend, and sprinkle with Italian herbs (rosemary, parsley, etc.), salt, and ground pepper. Put those in the 400 degree oven with sausages. Turn the sausages with tongs as you add zucchini to the oven. Roast everything for another 15 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or spat to shuffle the veggies around for even cooking and turn sausages again and let everything cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve as a complete meal, or after a small salad. Delicious!
Keto Meal #2 – Pecan Crusted Chicken Tenders and Roasted Green Beans
Crushed pecans (or other nuts) make a great coating for chicken. Use eggs and coconut flour with crushed pecans to coat chicken tenders and place them on a baking sheet. Begin roasting at 400 degrees. Scatter frozen green beans on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Drizzle olive oil over the green beans and stir them around to coat, and sprinkle with a little salt. After the tenders have been cooking for 20 minutes, turn them and add the green beans to the oven. After another 15 minutes, turn chicken again and stir green beans for even cooking. Continue baking until chicken begins to brown, then remove everything from the oven. Spicy mustard or honey mustard make an excellent dip for the chicken.
Keto Meal #3 – Garlic Lemon Shrimp and Asparagus
This meal is really quick! Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wash asparagus and cut off bottoms. Place asparagus on oiled baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roll asparagus right and left to coat evenly, and place in hot oven for 6 minutes. Remove from oven and make space on the baking sheet for shrimp. Place shrimp on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Then coat shrimp and asparagus with minced garlic. Sprinkle paprika and chili powder on all, then top with lemon juice (or lemon slices). Place back into the oven for 6 minutes or until shrimp begins to curl, then take the tray out of the oven and enjoy!
Keto Meal #4 – Hamburger Steaks and Brussels Sprouts
This is one of my FAVORITES! I buy good old 5-lb packs of ground beef at Costco, but you are free to buy organic, grass-fed, buffalo or whatever to make your hamburger steaks. Here’s what I do to the beef to make an incredibly flavorful, juicy “steak”: I finely chop one onion, one jalapeno, and some mushrooms, and add it to a pile of ground beef in a big mixing bowl. Then I add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and an egg or two. Mix all that together and patty out the hamburger into steak-sized pieces. Sometimes hubby grills them, but you can bake them in a 400 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes, and they’re great. Now for the brussel sprouts: take time to cut all the sprouts (already washed and drained) in half lengthwise to decrease cooking time. If they are large, cut again to make quarters. Spread those on a greased baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Put into 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and turn sprouts. Sprinkle with salt and Parmesan cheese, or crumble up microwave bacon for even more flavor! Put back into the oven for another 20 minutes or so, until sprouts are beginning to brown on the edges. Serve this combo as is, right out of the oven!
Keto Meal #5 – Italian Chicken Tenders and Roasted Vegetables
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop zucchinis, red onion, and broccoli florets, and spread on a greased baking sheet. (Add cherry tomatoes for color – optional.) Drizzle veggies with olive oil and sprinkle with a mixture of rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, paprika, and salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Chop chicken tenders into 3-4 chunks each, and add to a large zipper bag. Add olive oil and remaining herbs. Squeeze bag and move chicken around to coat. Make space on the baking sheet and add chicken tenders. Put into the oven, turning every ten minutes until chicken begins to brown.
Keto Meal #6 – Chicken Tender Fajita Roast
Marinate chicken tenders in olive oil, lime juice, oregano, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder for half hour. Spread onto greased baking sheet and cover with strips of red and green peppers and onion, then top with a can of diced tomatoes. Roast in preheated 400 degree oven, turning meat every 15 minutes until chicken begins to brown, and peppers and onions become tender. Serve with lettuce leaves (as wraps), low-carb flour tortillas, or small corn tortillas. Have salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado slices, and shredded lettuce as toppings.
Keto Meal #7 – Zucchini Boats
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut washed zucchinis in half, lengthwise. Scoop out middle of each half with a melon-baller (a spoon works fine too, it just takes a little more work to scoop evenly). Saute zucchini centers in a skillet with olive oil, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. Meanwhile, roast oiled zucchinis in hot oven for 15 minutes, then remove. Load “boats” with cooked ground beef, chicken, or pepperoni and sauteed veggies. Cover with slices of mozzarella or provolone cheese. Bake until zucchinis begin to brown, and cheese is bubbly. This can be eaten like pizza or stuffed peppers, and makes a great casual meal.
Keto Meal #8 – Heat-and-eat Sausage and Broccoli/Cauliflower Medley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread broccoli and cauliflower onto a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with Kosher salt and Italian herbs (rosemary, parsley, etc.). On another greased baking sheet, spread heat-and-eat sausages–we like spinach artichoke or mango jalapeno sausages from Costco. Put all into the hot oven. Check every 20 minutes, stirring veggies and turning sausages until all is ready–about 30 – 40 minutes. Fabulous!
Keto Meal #9 – Beef or Chicken Stir Fry
You can eat this “stir-fry” style or as a lettuce wrap dish. Buy Asian slaw or slice cabbage into thin strips. Chop an onion, peppers, mushrooms, etc. Stir fry veggies in olive or coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Add cooked ground beef or chicken to the tender stir fry, and serve plain in a bowl or as a lettuce wrap.
There you have it! Nine easy Keto meals to cook and enjoy with the whole family. If your family isn’t ready to give up carbs, serve the meals with fresh baked artisan bread, brown rice, or roasted potatoes! If you are looking for more information on the ketogenic diet or more ideas and recipes, check out Leanne Vogel’s new book or her website – Healthful Pursuit.