Keto Winter Warmers
Winter isn’t just the perfect time for jumpers, slippers and cosy evenings – it’s also the perfect time to embrace keto food. Low carb, hearty stews and soups can all top a keto menu to get us through the colder months. Comfort dishes are great for easy variety too – once you’ve got your preferred recipes down to a T, you can play around with different proteins, low-carb vegetables, herbs, spices and accompaniments. Here is our guide to ultimate keto winter warming dishes…
The humble stew could have been created by a keto scientist- full of healthy fats, meats and low-starch veggies. But in reality, humans have eaten stews to brighten up dark days since forever – to save cash, to warm up in winter, to cook a family meal in one easy pot – whether on a keto diet or not. And, the more the merrier, stews make great freezer meals so there’s never a worry about cooking too much.
- Stainless Steel Saucepan: The pros of cooking in a steel saucepan pan are that you can use the same pan to fry up the ingredients first. You can adjust the heat throughout cooking and sneak taste-testing spoonfuls as you perfect the seasoning.
- Casserole Dish: Casserole dishes are often big enough for a decent batch of stew and sit nicely in the oven baking at high temperatures or slow and low – and if the dish has a heavy lid it will trap the moisture and flavours.
- Electric Slow Cooker: Cooking slow and low reduces nutrient breakdown while tenderising proteins end enhancing flavours. You’re less likely to burn your dinner with a slow cooker and for added convenience, some even have built in timers.
- Pressure Cooker: Pressure cookers can cook meat and veg into tender, tasty mouthfuls 70% quicker than other methods. The increased pressure forces heat to enter the foods and allows liquid to reach temperatures as high as 121⁰C. As the nutrients are exposed to heat for less time, more of them are preserved.
The ultimate base for stews and soup is homemade bone broth or stock. This is one sure-fire way to increase the depth of flavour and richness of your winter dishes.
What’s the difference between broth vs stock? Broth is made from meat and vegetables, while stock is cooked for longer and made with bones. Stock contains more calories, fat and carbohydrates than broth. But, it also contains more protein, vitamins and minerals. With vegetables, broth and stock are the same thing as there’s no bone or gelatin in veggies to measure a difference. As the gelatin from the muscles, skin and connective tissue breaks down the liquid gets thicker, richer and full of collagen, which is great for joint health, gut health, skin, hair and nails.
Bought stock cubes and gels can be also used. Stock cubes are generally 2 – 2.5g carbs per cube, and the gel pots are around 1g carbs per pot.
Gums are the easiest thickening alternative to cornstarch without adding extra carbs to your dish.
- Guar Gum – Use ½ teaspoon for every cup of liquid.
- Xanathan Gum – Whisk in ¼ teaspoon at a time until desired thickness is achieved.
Other keto friendly thickeners include cheese, cream and yoghurt.
Beef / Lamb Stew
The great thing about stews is that the cheaper cuts often make the tastiest dishes. For beef, chuck steak, also known as gravy beef or braising steak, is your best bet. And for lamb, try lamb shoulder or leg (even better on the bone). These cuts of meat have high levels of connective tissue (collagen) and a good amount of fat marbling. The fat in leaner cuts melts away too quickly, turning the meat firm and chewy. As the cooking time ticks away on these juicier cuts, the fats and collagen melt making the meat tender and the sauce flavourful.
Browning meat before you stew isn’t 100% necessary, but it can help seal in juiciness and flavour. Just remember not to overcrowd the pan and fry the meat just enough for the outside edges to be caramelised.
Check out this super easy Keto Beef Stew recipe here.
Chicken is naturally lower in fat than red meats but can still work great in a stew. Opt for thighs or drumsticks preferably on the bone and with skin. You can remove the skin and bone later if you want, but by cooking with them on you get the richness, flavour and health benefits of collagen as the proteins and fats break down. You can also use keto friendly thickeners such as xanthan gum, guar gum or dairy products.
How to make a Creamy Keto Chicken Stew is right here.
A vegan stew needs much less cooking time than meat or fish stews as the proteins and fats don’t need as much heat and time to break them down. It’s a good idea to add extra olive oil or coconut oil to give some extra richness and help with keeping the body in ketosis.
Try mixing and matching these flavours to find your favourite combos…
Throw any of these in your pot for a healthier stew….
- Bell pepper
- Green bean
- Brussels sprout
- Swiss chard
- Bok choy
Finally, pair your stew perfectly with these keto accompaniments – celeriac fries, Palmini mash, Heylo Artisan Seeded Loaf, salad, pickled cabbage or steamed fresh vegetables. And of course, all stews go well with a dumpling – this quick vegetarian recipe for easy dumplings is ideal.
Many of the rules for cooking a delicious stew also applies to soups. Starting with homemade stock or broth makes for the tastiest, richest soups, cooking slow and low releases the best flavours, and keto-friendly thickeners work just as well.
You can buy dedicated soup makers, but you can also make a delicious soup with just pan and a spoon. If you want a smooth creamy dish, then just blend up the ingredients before serving. Soup also freezes brilliantly so don’t be afraid of cooking a big batch.
It’s important to remember is to not boil your ingredients for too long – once soup has come to a boil, reduce the pot to a simmer. Boiling too vigorously means that the vegetables get mushy, the meat gets tough, and noodles can start breaking down.
Try these satisfying soups from the Heylo recipe section…
Top your soup with a few crunchy bites for next level soup satisfaction…
Fry cubes of Heylo Artisan Seeded Loaf with olive oil and seasoning.
Bake or fry spoonfuls of grated parmesan into crispy discs.
Sprinkle Keto Naturals Crispy Cauli Bites.
Stir through cheesy Total XP Protein Crisps.
We love hearing if you enjoy these recipes and ideas, or if you’ve any of your own favourite keto recipes, then please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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