Spaghetti, bread, pancakes, pizza – you probably thought these foods were off limits on a low-carb diet but with our easy ingredient swaps, you can still satisfy those cravings while eating fewer carbohydrates and a more colourful array of vegetables. These satisfying replacements will also help you on your way to your five-a-day.


So whether you’re following a keto diet or simply looking to cut back on carbs, try our healthier versions of comforting dishes, such as keto pancakes, aubergine bake and tuna lettuce wraps.

Need more inspiration? Check out our low-carb recipes, all of which contain less than 10g of carbohydrate per serving. Plus, read up on the top 10 low-carb fruits and 20 low-carb vegetables.

Always speak to your GP or healthcare professional before starting a new dietary regime and read our guide to the ketogenic diet.

Swap 1: Almond flour instead of regular wheat flour

Keto pancakes topped with maple syrup, blueberries and bacon on a plate with a fork

If you’re cutting back on carbs, almond flour is an excellent option to have in your kitchen. Made from ground blanched almonds, it’s a high protein, naturally gluten-free flour that’s commonly used in cakes, bakes, brownies, falafel and more. Look out for recipes which call specifically for almond flour, such as our keto pancakes. If you’re replacing wheat flour with almond, a straight-swap 1:1 ratio should produce great results.

More like this

Keto pancakes

Check our handy guide for the best flour substitutions, including oat, chickpea and quinoa.

Swap 2: Nuts instead of bread croutons

Spinach & blue cheese salad with walnut dressing

You might only eat croutons in small amounts but they’re made from toasted bread, which means they’re bursting with carbohydrate. Next time you’re preparing a salad, add crunch using nuts instead. Nuts are great for a satisfying topping that’s rich in nutrients and good fats, but low in carbs.

Spinach & walnut salad with blue cheese dressing

Read up on the health benefits of walnuts.

Swap 3: Cauliflower rice instead of rice


Blitzing chunks of cauliflower in a food processor couldn’t be easier and they take just seconds to become granular-like rice or couscous. Next, microwave for seven minutes to cook through – that’s less than half the time it takes to boil conventional rice.

If you have a few extra minutes, try spreading the grains out on a baking tray, add a dash of olive oil and roast for 12 minutes. This intensifies the flavour and the rice becomes fluffier.

Cauliflower rice

Check out our guide on the best way to cook cauliflower rice for more ideas.

Swap 4: Courgetti instead of spaghetti

Summer courgetti with tomatoes and meatballs in a pan

This is particularly good in summer when courgettes are everywhere. You can make the ‘noodles’ with a spiralizer if you have one, a julienne peeler if you don’t, or simply make thick ribbons with your vegetable peeler for tagliatelle-style ribbons.

Courgetti and other vegetable ribbons work really well when combined with pasta spaghetti too, so if you’re aiming to up your veg count, why not serve your bolognese with half pasta spaghetti and half courgetti for a colourful change?

Courgetti bolognese

Find out how to make courgetti and browse our courgetti recipes. Or check out our 10 new ways to use your spiralizer.

Swap 5: Vegetable ribbons instead of pasta


Replace your regular wheat pasta with ribbons of root veg and toss in a rich and hearty sauce. With our duck ragù, we use shavings of lightly cooked swede along with pappardelle pasta – it’s delicious.

If you’re lucky enough to get hold of spaghetti squash (available in some veg box schemes or farmers’ markets), this is a great alternative to courgetti. You don’t need a spiralizer or even a peeler; just cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and bake for 45 mins to 1 hr until tender, then pull out the naturally forming spaghetti-like strands using a fork.

Duck ragù with pappardelle & swede

For more healthy pasta inspiration, check out our best recipes.

Swap 6: Cauliflower pizza instead of pizza dough


Here’s a neat trick: mix cooked cauliflower rice with egg and ground almonds, shape into a pizza base on a baking tray, heat in the oven for about 15 mins, add your choice of toppings, then finish baking. This is a great alternative to wheat flour-based pizzas. And, since there’s no need for kneading or proving, it’s quicker too.

Cauliflower crust pizza

Looking for more ways to use cauliflower? We have delicious curries, salads, soups and more.

Swap 7: Butternut squash wedges instead of chips


Stuck in a rut with spuds? Butternut squash is the answer. It makes delicious thick-cut chips or wedges and they’re particularly tasty when coated with flavourful spice mixes. Try adding za’atar or dukkah for a more exotic flourish to your meal.

Get the recipe: Dukkah-crusted butternut squash wedges

We have lots more flavoursome butternut squash recipes for you to try.

Swap 8: Sliced aubergine or courgette instead of lasagne sheets


Slice aubergines or courgettes lengthways and use in place of traditional lasagne sheets. While you make the filling and sauces, brush the aubergine or courgette slices with a little oil and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes before layering. This will prevent any excess water leaking into your bake while it’s cooking.

Spiced aubergine bake

Make the most of courgettes and aubergines with our delicious veggie bake recipes.

Swap 9: Lettuce wraps instead of tortilla wraps

Lettuce wraps filled with sliced tuna, tomato and capers

When you’re looking for something a little lighter, try fresh and crunchy lettuce leaves in place of regular wheat wraps. They make a surprisingly good substitute and can be filled with all kinds of delicious flavour combinations. We like seared tuna fillet with avocado, capers and tomatoes – why not give it a try?

Healthy tuna lettuce wraps

We have more lettuce wrap recipes for low-carb lunches and dinners.

Swap 10: Cloud bread instead of regular bread


Cloud bread is almost entirely made from eggs and tastes not dissimilar to a soufflé omelette. However, baked in little mounds, it comes out looking like halved bread rolls, which makes it ideal for sandwiches. Pop some into your lunchbox for a lighter alternative to a regular sandwich, or for those days when you simply fancy a bit of a change.

Cloud bread

Find tasty, filling ideas in our guide on how to use cloud bread.

Find more recipes and information on low-carb diets...

Spotlight on... low-carbohydrate diets
Low-carb recipes
Spiralizer recipes
What is the Atkins diet?
Healthier bread alternatives

Do you have another clever carb replacement? Leave a comment below...


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