The Joy of Keto Rice Substitutes: 6 Options for Guilt-Free Grains
Embarking on a keto journey can make you feel like you are leaving behind a friend. If rice has been a part of your life till now, giving it up can be really hard, making you feel that you are missing something in your meals.
Happily, fellow keto diet followers and recipe developers have done their homework. These low-carb rice substitutes can replace those favorite rice dishes and more than satisfy those rice cravings while keeping our ketosis cooking.
What’s the Deal With Ketosis and Rice?
The idea of ketosis is to induce our bodies to burn fat, especially in the belly, rather than carbohydrates. When we minimize carb intake, our bodies naturally switch to burning off the accumulated stores of belly fat to generate the energy we need.
Keto diets, depending on their strictness, call on us to consume fewer carbs, down to between 20–50g of net carbs per day. Since traditional rice is a high-carb food, it simply doesn’t fit into the keto diet, making it necessary to explore keto-friendly rice recipes to stay within the allotted carb intake.
By reducing your consumption of net carbs with a low-carb rice substitute, you’ll force your body into this desirable ketogenic state. The switch to a keto rice substitute, in turn, leads directly to weight loss and other health benefits.
While the principles of eating fewer net carbs to induce ketosis are based on science, transforming that knowledge into action can be a challenge. Learning about other low-carb rice alternatives and keto substitutes and how to prepare them can give you a head start in the race to replace rice with a rice alternative.
Is Rice Keto-Friendly?
Rice is a comforting presence on half the world’s plates. There’s no end to rice variations: white rice, brown rice, black rice, sushi rice, wild rice, basmati rice, fried rice, stove cooked rice. Unfortunately, the grain’s high carb content, around 45+ grams of carbs per cup, makes it wise to avoid rice, at least the traditional type.
Eating so many net carbs can bounce us out of ketosis, halting fat-burning and defeating the diet’s purpose. First, let’s meet the 3 biggest bouncers, and then we’ll consider low-carb rice substitutes.
Is white rice keto?
White rice is the most common kind. It’s also the unhealthiest and least keto-friendly due to its high carb content. Even one portion has too many grams of carbs than you are allotted for the whole day. Saying goodbye to white rice for many of us is as tough as rice before boiling.
Is brown rice keto?
Brown rice is often deemed a healthier alternative to white due to its higher fiber and nutrient content. But brown rice is still nowhere near suitable for the keto diet. Cooked brown rice contains approximately 45g of net carbs, just like white rice. Not a good fit if you’re following a strict keto diet.
Is wild rice keto?
Wild rice, technically a grass rather than a classic rice, has a whopping 120g of carbs per cup, making it totally unacceptable for inclusion in the keto diet. Go wild over other grasses, but not this one. Wild rice is a no-go for keto followers.
6 Best Keto Rice Substitutes
Let’s consider some good low-carb rice substitutes. Give these broccoli rice and keto substitutes a try. As you eat well and burn fat, you’ll soon forget all about traditional high-carb rice:
A cup of grated cauliflower contains just 5g of carbs. Its texture resembles rice and can be used in dishes like stir-fries or a casserole. Just grate the cauliflower florets, then cook them on a stovetop or in the microwave. Always make sure to use a microwave-safe bowl.
Cauliflower rice, sometimes called riced cauliflower, is great for stir-fries, sushi rolls, and even keto-friendly cauliflower fried rice. You can even make a risotto using cauliflower rice. Or just offer cauliflower rice as a side dish.
Want a delicious alternative to rice that is super low in carbs and high in nutrients? Try cabbage rice or riced cabbage, as it is sometimes called. Toss the cabbage rice into your food processor or manually shred it into fine pieces, then sauté it in a pan till tender. Then add it with some extra virgin olive oil to a stir fry, Brussels sprouts, stuffed peppers, casseroles, and salads.
To make broccoli rice, also called riced broccoli, just pulse broccoli florets in a food processor or grate them by hand. It’s a nutrient-dense low-carb rice substitute. The flavor of riced broccoli is a bit stronger than cauliflower rice. If you’re a recipe developer, you can concoct low-carb stir-fries, risottos, and burrito bowls. Combine into delicious fried rice or with Brussels sprouts, or liven up a ground beef stroganoff.
Love the earthy flavor of mushrooms? Chop your favorite ‘shrooms or grate them in a food processor. Then cook them in a pan with oil or butter till they’re brown and tender and have a rice-like consistency. Mushroom rice pairs well with stroganoff, risotto or as a side dish with your protein. Use a cheese grater for a finer consistency. Combine mushroom rice with cauliflower rice for an especially delectable taste bud treat.
Hearts of palm, the tender inner cores of certain palm trees, are a nutritious and versatile ingredient. They are low in calories and carbohydrates, with a mere 3–4g of carbs per 100g serving. Rich in dietary fiber, hearts of palm support digestion and gut health while providing essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, and calcium. They also contain antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals and oxidative stress.
Palmini rice is derived from this superplant, with a mild flavor and a slightly crunchy rice-like texture throughout. It tastes especially good in pilaf, curry, and jambalaya. Try it with coconut oil. Find it pre-made in cans or pouches, in a few different brands, at grocery stores, or online.
Shirataki rice/konjac rice
Shirataki konjac rice, or shirataki noodles, made from the fiber-rich konjac root, is a low-cal, low-carb, gluten-free alternative to traditional rice that boasts abundant health benefits. High in glucomannan fiber, shirataki rice or konjac rice aids in digestion, supports weight loss, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
With virtually zero calories and carbs, konjac rice is a fantastic option for those following a ketogenic or low-carb diet. The distinctive shirataki rice has a chewy texture and slightly nutty flavor that blends beautifully with various dishes, including sushi, poke bowls, and as a base for your favorite sauce.
Do take care to rinse shirataki rice/konjac rice thoroughly and cook it carefully according to the instructions to achieve the best taste and texture.
Customize and Socialize Your Keto Experience
The greatest challenge of keeping a ketogenic diet? Making sure that your meals stay fresh and exciting. Living well, as the saying goes, is the best revenge. To take this sweet vengeance, technology can be a big help. But ultimately, the rice alternatives that you cook up reflect a personal dietary decision that needs to be tailored to your tastes and nutritional needs.
Take the quiz
Take this quick quiz to check whether a keto diet is right for you. If you find that it is, then you definitely want to explore the Keto Cycle app, the top app for managing and optimizing your keto diet. You’ll get personalized meal plans and keto recipes tailored to your tastes. With it, you’ll never get bored with your food choices and low-carb miracle rice substitutes. With the app’s guidance, enjoy a diverse range of keto-friendly dishes with non-rice “miracle rice” that will please your taste buds and meet your nutritional and dietary needs.
Connect with other keto keepers
The app can also connect you with others who share your keto lifestyle. The keto community is full of people who’ve faced similar struggles and successes. Engaging with others on a similar path gives motivation, inspiration, and new ideas for delicious keto recipes. If you’re a recipe developer, it’s full of inspiration.
Leave your wild rice days behind, and get behind nutritious, delicious keto rice instead.
Following your favorite keto recipe or low-carb rice alternative can also help you stay committed to your personal wellness goals and on track to be a new healthier you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is jasmine rice keto-friendly?
Jasmine rice? Forget it. It may smell aromatic, and it can appeal visually with a variety of pleasing colors, but it’s not at all keto-friendly due to its high carb content. At 36g of carbs per cup, it will cause you to exceed the carb limit needed for ketosis. Try rice alternatives like cauliflower rice instead.
Is sushi rice suitable for ketogenic diets?
Sushi rice is short-grain white rice, sticky and slightly sweet, so named because it’s often the dominant ingredient in sushi rolls and other Japanese dishes. Its carb content is similar to other white rice varieties and, therefore, unsuitable for any keto plan. So seek a low-carb rice alternative instead. Better riced cauliflower or flavorful mushroom rice.
Can I eat basmati rice on a keto diet?
Basmati, typically included with Indian dishes, is another example that is just as keto-unfriendly as other regular rice, with 46g net carbs per cup. To maintain ketosis, you need to avoid traditional rice varieties, including basmati. Try riced cabbage for a healthy keto rice substitute.
Are there store-bought keto rice substitutes?
Store-bought keto rice alternatives are available, including cauliflower, shirataki, and palmini rice. Find them at specialty grocery stores or online. They’re a convenient option for quick and easy low-carb rice substitutes. But bear in mind that making keto-friendly rice substitutes from fresh veggies saves money and gives you more control over flavor and texture.
What to do if I am in a restaurant with only traditional rice options?
If you find yourself in a restaurant that lacks keto-friendly low-carb rice substitutes, you can still navigate the menu and maintain your keto diet. These days, restaurants are a lot more receptive to requests for low-carb rice alternatives. Here are tips to help you make low-carb choices while dining out:
- Request a vegetable side: Many restaurants offer side dishes like steamed or sautéed vegetables. Ask the server to replace the rice with extra veggies or a side salad.
- Customize your order: Ask the server to accommodate your dietary preferences, such as using cauliflower rice or lettuce wraps instead of traditional rice.
- Choose protein-focused dishes: Opt for dishes that emphasize proteins, like grilled or baked meats, poultry, or fish, to get those essential amino acids. Request that the rice be left out or replaced with a low-carb side.
- Go for a salad: Choose one with a variety of non-starchy vegetables, protein, and healthy fats. Ask for a low-carb dressing on the side.
- BYOC (Bring Your Own Cauliflower): If you know in advance that the restaurant doesn’t offer a keto rice substitute, bring pre-made cauliflower rice to add. While this may not always be practical, and your meal partners may snicker, it’s better than nothing. Let them tease you while your fat burns and theirs doesn’t.