6 Keto-Friendly and Low Carb Rice Substitutes

Although rice can be incorporated as part of a regular, healthy diet, it is high in carbs and low in protein. That means, if it’s not consumed with the right amount of fiber, fat, and protein at mealtimes, eating this popular grain may cause your blood sugar to spike.

For comparison, there are:

  • 13.8 grams net carbs and 1.3 grams protein per 50 grams of cooked white rice.
  • 11.9 grams net carbs and 1.4 grams protein per 50 grams of cooked brown rice.

Whether you’re making a burrito bowl or a stir fry, there are plenty of simple, healthy low carb rice substitutes on the market—many of which are in the produce aisle! So if you’re following an Atkins plan or just looking to add more variety and nutrition to your diet, try these three keto or low carb alternatives to rice.

1. Cauliflower Rice

0.9 grams net carbs and 0.9 grams protein per 50 grams cooked serving

Cauliflower rice is undoubtedly one of the most popular low calorie and low carb rice substitutes thanks to its similar look and texture to white rice. You can also try cabbage rice, broccoli rice, and zucchini rice to similar effect. Look for these veggies already “riced” in the produce section or easily dice them into rice-sized bits yourself with a food processor. Cauliflower rice and other vegetable rice substitutes are a great way to add extra servings of nutrient-dense, foundation vegetables to your meals.

Try these Atkins Recipes
Instant Pot® Chicken & Mushroom Cauliflower Rice
Keto Cauliflower Risotto Recipe

2. Shirataki Rice

0.6 grams net carbs and 0 grams protein per 50 grams cooked serving

Shirataki rice is referred to as “miracle rice” for good reason. Made from konjac root—an herb grown in parts of Asia—shirataki rice and noodles are not only free from calories, soy, and gluten, it typically contains between 1 and 3 grams of carbs per serving. Miracle rice is also a rich source of fiber, an important nutrient for any healthy diet. Plus, you can use it in any recipe that calls for shirataki noodles for a change of pace and texture, like the ones below.

Try these Atkins Recipes
Veggie “Beef” Crumble & Shirataki Sauté with Brussel Sprouts
Shirataki Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

3. Mushroom Rice

1.5 grams net carbs and 1.1 grams protein per 50 grams cooked serving

Mushrooms make for a great keto substitute for rice thanks to their savory, earthy flavor. Sliced white mushrooms have just 2 grams of carbs per cup, but any finely chopped variety will do. Sauté a cup or two of diced mushrooms in a pan with some butter to bring out their rich flavor. You can even combine mushroom rice with other low carb rice alternatives to switch up the flavor and texture of your meals.

Try this Atkins Recipe
Mushroom and Shallot Melange

The next few low carb rice alternatives aren’t compatible with a strict keto diet. However, if you’re on a flexible keto diet or living a low carb lifestyle, you have more options. While similar in net carbs, brown rice—plus the following options—have more protein per serving than white rice, making it a great swap that will still keep you on track to your goals. (Just be sure to track your net carbs with the free Atkins app.)

4. Lentils

6.1 grams net carbs and 4.5 grams protein per 50 grams cooked serving

Small and absorbent, lentils are an excellent low carb rice substitute and easily sprinkled in salads or used as a base where you would typically have served a dish over rice. Not only are these versatile legumes high in protein, they’ll also give your diet a boost of iron, potassium, fiber, folate, and other super nutrients.

Try this Atkins Recipe
Cumin-Crusted Snapper with Lentil-Spinach Sauté and Mojo

5. Wild Rice

9.8 grams carbs and 4.5 grams protein per 50 grams cooked serving

Although it has the same shape as rice, wild rice is actually a type of grass. It makes for a great low carb rice substitute because it has a similar texture to rice, but has fewer calories and about 40 percent more protein than brown rice. It’s also considered a complete protein because it contains all nine essential amino acids. Not to mention, it’s high in fiber, potassium, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants. Wild rice’s nutty, earthy taste will add some interest to any meal, but we especially love it in casseroles, soups, and salads. Make big batches at a time and keep leftovers frozen for quick use in future recipes.

Try this Atkins Recipe
Chopped Salad with Wild Rice

6. Quinoa

9.3 grams carbs and 2.2 grams protein per 50 grams cooked serving

Quinoa is a great gluten-free, high-protein and high-fiber low carb rice substitute. Technically a seed, it has a grain-like taste and texture perfect for occasionally swapping places with rice. It’s still a little high in starchy carbs, so only incorporate it into your diet a few times a week or as a smaller side dish.

Try this Atkins Recipe
Saffron Shrimp and Quinoa Paella

For more keto ingredient swaps and low carb recipes, get started with Atkins today!

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