Julie Giuffrida is Test Kitchen coordinator for the Los Angeles Times.
Let them eat meat — and vegetables, and cheese and nuts and seeds
A trick for feeding a crowd when one or more guests has a dietary restriction is to focus on what they can eat rather than what they cannot. Instead of substituting for forbidden ingredients, I make dishes that use only permitted ingredients. Take the trendy, rather controversial ketogenic (keto) diet, for example. Rather than focus on no grains, no legumes, no sugar aspects of the diet, I concentrate on yes meats and poultry, yes fat, yes seafood, yes cheese and dairy, yes vegetables and yes nuts and seeds. Truth is, there are wonderful dishes in our archives that meet the requirements of the keto diet (and others) without even trying — and you don’t have to include all of the yeses in one recipe.
You probably already enjoy many delicious keto-friendly foods such as ribeye steak and pulled pork. If you serve a summer squash chowder, for example, and salmon — slow-roasted with charred garlic aioli or with green curry and yogurt sauce or pan-roasted with crispy skin, brown butter and chile vinaigrette — nobody will accuse you of kowtowing to a specialty diet and depriving other diners of appetizing, delectable food. Likewise, brine-braised chicken thighs with kale and avocado and pork chop paprikash are tasty, savory keto-friendly preparations that appeal to most carnivores and do not scream or even hint at “special diet food.”
One hardly thinks “diet food” when contemplating a crackling roast pork shoulder with fennel and chile or mustardy meatballs and cauliflower gratin. The term “cauliflower rice” may elicit a raised eyebrow but serve flavorful cauliflower and kimchi “fried rice” and your guests might not even guess that the “rice” is actually cauliflower.
While the benefits of the keto diet may be debated, there is nothing contentious about delicious food that happens to adhere to the tenets of a particular diet. Whether you are a keto dieter looking to add to your repertoire or merely looking for a keto-friendly dish to feed to your keto guests, these recipes are sure to please most everyone at your dinner table.
Summer Squash Chowder
Summer squash makes a sweet counterpoint to this creamy end-of-summer chowder.
YieldsServes 6 to 8
Grilled Rib-Eye Steak With Pistachio Gremolata and Charred Balsamic Broccolini
Aged rib-eye steak is sauced with a garlicky, citrus-heavy gremolata made with rich pistachios in this main dish recipe that will impress dinner guests.
YieldsServes 4 to 6
Foolproof Pulled Pork
This California chef's recipe results in foolproof pulled pork that's perfect for sandwiches, tacos, or to use in a variety of other main dishes.
Time14 hours, largely unattended
YieldsServes 8 to 10
Green Curry and Yogurt-Roasted Salmon
Salmon fillets, baked with a simple topping of green curry paste and Greek yogurt, are served with crunchy salted cucumbers and cashews for a speedy weeknight dinner.
Brine-Braised Chicken Thighs With Kale and Avocado
The olive brine here tenderizes and seasons the thighs well, while the olives and avocado balance it with some needed richness.
Time1 hour 10 minutes
Slow-Roasted Salmon with Charred Garlic Aioli
Copious amounts of blackened, sweet garlic flavor a mustard-spiked mayonnaise to glaze this side of salmon,
YieldsServes 4 to 6
Cauliflower and kimchi 'fried rice'
Riced cauliflower, Lacinato kale and Asian seasonings make for a quick, tasty weeknight meal.
Crispy-Skin Salmon with Brown Butter and Chile Vinaigrette
The secret to cooking salmon to get a crispy skin? Don't touch it.
Pork Chop Paprikash
Thick-cut pork chops are served atop a brick-red sauce of peppers and paprika in this restaurant-style spin on the classic Eastern European dish, paprikash.
Crackling Roast Pork Shoulder With Fennel and Chile
Striations of crisp crackling top this 14-hour slow-cooked pork shoulder, rubbed with fennel seeds and pollen, lemon zest, garlic and chile flakes.
Time14 to 16 hours
YieldsServes 8 to 10
Mustardy Meatball and Cauliflower Gratin with Gruyère
This comforting baked keto dish could, if you squint your eyes hard enough, pass for baked pasta, swimming in cream and topped with nutty, browned Gruyère cheese.