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I’m a keto guy. I like the diet and the main reason is that it makes me feel good. It’s not just about weigh loss for me although the diet does work for that. On top of that, I actually think the diet is pretty easy to follow. However, part of that is because I was never a big sweets guy so cutting our carbs wasn’t a huge deal for me.
Still, despite how I feel about it, I’m the first to say that the diet isn’t for everyone. It does limit you to a certain subset of food and cutting our carbs isn’t that easy for everyone. And yet, it’s become one of the most popular diets in recent times simply because how effective it is in certain areas. You want to lose weight and keep it off? Keto is there for you? You want help with certain medical issues? Keto can help.
The beauty of this popularity is that it’s now much easier to find pre-made foods that are catered for the keto diet. The low carb explosion is a god send to those of us following the keto diet. After all, sometimes, you just want an easy snack or an easy meal. The one beauty of a diet full of carbs is that many foods are easy to prepare. Think about stuff like cereal, chips, candy, frozen pizza, etc. Those are all easy to make and enjoy quickly. Similar keto options often require a lot more work. In essence, it somewhat sucks if you’re a lazy guy like myself. However, like I said, times are changing.
The consumer is suddenly a lot more interested in low carb alternatives. Since companies like to make money, they’re starting to provide them. It’s a slow change but it’s definitely happening. Now things like keto pizza and keto pasta exist. However, as with all things, substitutes are often very hit or miss. And that’s why I’m writing this series of posts. I want to share my feelings on the various keto products I try. On top of that, I want to get suggestions from others on things that they like(and maybe review those things too).
This won’t be a very regular series. It’ll pop up as often as I have some new items to try. However, the reality is that these new items that excite me so don’t appear all that often. I don’t want to force this into a weekly series if I don’t have enough material.
One thing you should know about me is that I REALLY enjoy grocery shopping. I’m the type of guy to get excited when I see a new item at Trader Joe’s. You’ll find me standing in the aisle reading the ingredients and seeing if it’s keto friendly. It’s a bit of a hobby, much to the chagrin of my wife, who just wants to get the stuff and get going. Now I’m taking that hobby online where I will talk about my grocery shopping! As an ingredient reader myself, I’ll try to post pictures of every item that includes ingredients and nutritional data so you can join in on the fun too!
That’s the idea behind Sunday Keto Pantry! Hopefully those of you who enjoy grocery shopping and reading about keto will enjoy it. If you do or have any suggestions for items to try, send me a note via my contact page.
Now that the intro is behind us, let’s talk about keto pasta!
Keto Pasta – Explore Cuisine Edamame Spaghetti
Pasta is one of the things that is sorely missing in keto. It’s an absolute no no on the diet given the high carb count. That’s why I was excited when I saw this box of edamame pasta at Costco.
It’s a soy based product and a 2oz serving is 7 net carbs, a tiny bit of fat and 24g of protein. The bit of potassium is nice to as it’s a key nutrient to prevent the keto flu. I was never a HUGE pasta eater but my wife is so I figured it be nice to have a meal I could make for both of us.
One thing that worried me is that the sample size is so small. It’s important to keep that in mind when making this pasta as those carbs can quickly add up. In making this pasta, I tried to stick close to the serving size to illustrate how much food you actually get for the carbs.
The package comes with two smaller bags, each containing about 18oz of pasta.
I took 5oz out of the package for our meal for two, a bit above the serving size but 4 oz felt too small. That means 17.5g net carbs split into two meals or 8.75g per person. For comparison, a 2 oz serving of regular pasta was 42g net carbs so a similar meal would be 52.5g net carbs per person; a pretty nice drop if you’re using this keto pasta instead.
The preparation is very easy. You toss the pasta into some boiling water, boil for 3 to 5 minutes, then drain. Since pasta tends to take on water, we ended up with quite a bit of pasta to share between the two of us. As you can see below, this keto pasta looks pretty much like the real thing. It’s a bit greener but the noodles are well separated and look and act like regular pasta.
I made two dishes out of this. For my wife, I tossed the pasta in some tomato sauce and added some Parmesan. Since I don’t really eat pasta and didn’t have any low carb tomato sauce, I just made mine with some olive oil and various cheeses to keep the carb count low.
So how does it taste?
According to my wife, the pasta aficionado, it tastes weird. I’m not sure she was a big fan as she left about half her portion uneaten. When I asked her if she’d like to have it again, she said probably not! Guess it’s not good enough to convert my carb loving wife.
There are two things that I think go into this weirdness. First, there’s a definite difference between the mouth feel of this pasta and the regular stuff. It’s a bit thicker and the texture feels a bit more gritty, more akin to buckwheat pasta. However, it’s not awful and still retains a pretty decent similarity to regular pasta at a fraction of the carbs. On the flavor side, there’s definitely an earthy tone to the pasta that doesn’t get fully covered up by the sauce and lingers a bit after eating. If you’re someone who enjoys earthy flavors then you’ll like it but more picky eaters may find it unappealing.
Personally, I found it…just OK. I didn’t mind the flavor but the texture was a bit disappointing. The good thing about it is that it is pretty filling for the small portion size I had. If you add some fat into the mix, it can easily become a full meal. However, it’s important to watch the portion size here as this can be a big portion of your daily carbs if you’re trying to stay under 20 per day. You’ve also got a ton of protein here too.
If you’re a pasta fanatic then this does a pretty good job of filling the void. It’s definitely spaghetti but the texture and earthy flavor are a bit of a contrast against what you normally get from pasta. If you can get past that or even enjoy it then this could become a staple in your diet as long as you watch the portion sizes.
It’s probably not for me. I’ll finish the box eventually(it’s good until Dec 2020) but likely won’t pick it up again. Still, for those of us on keto who miss pasta daily, this is the best alternative I’ve tried so far. You can find this online if you can’t find it in local stores. The company also makes other varieties of other keto friendly pasta if spaghetti isn’t what you’re looking for!
Broccoli Chips – Trader Joe’s Broccoli Florets
One of the things I miss most about eating carbs are chips. It’s nice to just sit down with a bag of something crunchy while watching TV. Unfortunately, most chips include a ton of carbs. Sure, there’s pork rinds, but sometimes you want something different than roasted pig skin.
While strolling through Trader Joe’s the other day, I found a bag of broccoli chips. I know what you’re probably thinking; gross, who wants broccoli chips? Apparently, the customers of Trader Joe’s do. Personally, while Broccoli isn’t my favorite vegetable, I was willing to give it a try.
The product is 5 net carbs and a ton of fat. It’s basically just broccoli cooked in some rice bran oil with a pinch of salt. According to the bag, it’s an irresistible snack that makes you want to keep munching?
I don’t know if I truly agree with that BUT I did eat the entire bag in one sitting. In the end, this is about what you’d expect. It’s a fried/dried broccoli product with a bit of salt. The bag is pretty small and is mostly air so you end up with a small amount of actual florets to snack on; one of the main reasons I finished it in one sitting.
If you’ve ever had baked kale, you sort of know what to expect from this. It has a similar flavor and texture.
The problem is that the florets are small and very messy. There’s a ton of loose broccoli powder in the back which gets everywhere.
On top of that, they lack a ton of flavor. I was expecting a stronger broccoli flavor but only got a hint. The mouth feel is weird too as these tended to suck out all the moisture from my mouth leading me to seek out some water. It wasn’t even that they were salty because if anything, there was a lack of salt which would have added some flavor. It was just that they were dry and sought out my inner moisture like that doctor who villain, “moisturize me!”
Overall, if you’re a huge broccoli fan(I’m sure you exist), I’d suggest giving these a try. However, I wouldn’t suggest going out of your way to try them. I likely won’t be getting these again.
Cheese Crisps – Cello Whisps Parmesan Cheese Crisps
We’re staying on the chip train with these cheese crisps. These are small cheese crackers(see size below with banana for scale) that have a variety of uses.
You can snack on them and they make for a great replacement for regular chips. These are 1 net carb for 23 crisps which is more than enough for a snack.
I’ve been eating these things for a few months and honestly, I really love them. They’re a versatile snack that can be eaten on its own or added to things like salads to add some additional crunch.
The flavor is excellent and the only complaint I have is that the crisps can have some rough edges that can scratch my old gums. I have weak innards! Well, the other complaint I have is that they’re wicked expensive. I suggest buying these in bulk if you can find them at a place like Costco because the small packs are very expensive.
Also if you’re not lazy(gasp), you can make these yourself as they’re just baked cheese. That’ll probably save you a good deal of money but ain’t nobody got time for that.
However, these are great anytime you want a quick filling snack and don’t want to bake. I buy a few bags every time I go to Costco and think it’s money well spent. These are the best chip replacements I’ve found as I’m not a huge fan of pork rinds. One of my favorite ways to use these is to toss a few into a warm dish. For example, anytime I make some palak paneer, I add these for a nice crunch to that dish. They melt just a little bit in the warm paneer and are just fantastic.
If you like Cheese and crunchy things, you’ll like these.
And with crunchy cheese, I’ll wrap up this inaugural post of the keto pantry. Since this is new, I’m open to suggestions. Let me know if you want to see more pictures or if you have any items to suggest. I’m always available to chat via my contact page and love talking keto! I’ll be back when the aisles of Trader Joe’s greet me with some new keto stuff to try!