I knew the minute I saw the title I would want to review 500 Ketogenic Recipes by Dana Carpender. I’ve been eating low-carb and low-sugar for a few months now and have changed many of my old eating habits with no desire to go back. That said, it’s nice to have some cookbooks dedicated to low carb cooking so that we can keep things interesting in the kitchen.
There are some immediate truths about Keto cooking that most people learn very quickly when they try out this diet. First, prep is essential. If you don’t have a plan, it’s going to be easier to screw up and a lot harder to cook the meals you should be eating. Second, replacement is going to be the name of the game. Sure, you can live without carbs in a literal sense, but in reality, that equals no potatoes, flour, sugar, various vegetables, pasta, bread, and so many other things. In almost every low-carb cookbook you will find replacement options for these things and many more. It’s incredibly likely that some of those things you’ll grow to love and other things you’ll hate with a passion. To replace these items, you’ll see a lot of ingredients that will mimic the things you can’t have. This will translate into lots of almond meal and/or pork rinds when you need breading or cauliflower in the place of rice or potatoes.
With this in mind, the success of the dish rides heavily on how much you can ignore the name and enjoy the taste. I don’t care how good of a chef you are, you can make cauliflower 100 ways, but it’s never going to taste like a potato. I love riced cauliflower and mashed, too. It’s never reminded me of anything more than cauliflower though and naming it something different won’t change that.
I can’t help but feel like there was a goal of hitting 500 recipes and to make that happen Carpender spent a lot of time rehashing recipes in small ways. Some of the recipes were from previous cookbooks, which is fine. The recipes I’m referring to are the ones like the five recipes for differently spiced pork rinds, the five Fauxtatoes (cauliflower), or the six or so “Risotto” or “Rice” (also cauliflower) recipes. I probably don’t need five ways to spice my pork rinds, and while I’m always looking for a good cauliflower recipe, I don’t need several “rice” recipes that are similar enough to stand alone as one with slight variations.
Still, there are a lot of great recipes here. Some are common options you might be familiar with, but there are some others that are more unique that make this cookbook worth the purchase. If you’re new to Keto or low-carb eating there are some great chapters on ingredients that are commonly used and a section on sugar. These areas will be invaluable to people unfamiliar with this way of eating.
Is 500 Ketogenic Recipes Recommended?
There are some things I could do without, here. Fauxtatoes is one of those things. Still, the good here does outweigh the bad. If you have other Carpender cookbooks that are Keto or low-carb, you may find some recipe repeats. If you’re new to these cookbooks I definitely recommend checking it out. There is some useful information here and many of the recipes are great, even if not all 500 are winners.
Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.