Keto Chinese Food Recipes For You
We all have our favorite Chinese food dishes, and making them at home can give us the chance to add a personal spin to the flavors we love. But if you’re following a specific diet or you have dietary restrictions that prevent you from enjoying your favorite flavors, it can be frustrating to find substitutions for the recipes you usually turn to.
Thankfully, Chinese food is incredibly versatile and evolves easily. If you need to adapt your top recipes to fit a new lifestyle or medical requirement, it’s surprisingly straightforward—and can actually be a lot of fun. Chinese food dishes crossover with many of today’s common dietary needs, so you don’t have to worry about giving up on your favorite flavors. In fact, you can start making easy and delicious Chinese dishes right at home today.
A keto diet requires low carbs and lots of protein, which you can achieve easily with your favorite Chinese food dishes right at home. Studies indicate that it can help with weight loss, reduce the risk of diabetes, and make you feel healthier and more energetic. Here are some keto Chinese dishes to try out.
Hot and Sour Soup
On a keto diet, you’ll need to do your best to avoid sugars and thicker sauces, but you still have many great options available to you. A hot and sour soup uses chicken, lots of great vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, and bamboo shoots, and the spices that really make Chinese food feeling filling and delicious. Chili pepper, garlic, and ginger will offer up the tastes you love even on a keto diet.
You can make a delicious mapo tofu with just a few simple substitutions. You’ll want to make sure you’re using a light oil, like avocado oil. Enjoy combining shrimp, tofu, and chicken with your favorite Chinese food flavors like Szechuan peppercorns and hot chili sauce.
Gluten-Free Chinese Food
A gluten intolerance, whether extreme or mild, can lead to discomfort, nausea, congestion, and other unenviable reactions, so steering clear of gluten can be a requirement for many diners. With your favorite Chinese food dishes, that’s actually not as challenging as it might seem. Here are some dishes and ingredients you’ll want to swap out to make gluten-free Chinese food at home.
Chinese noodles are one of the most versatile and delicious options for your home-cooked Chinese meal, and you might be feeling a little left out if you can’t enjoy your favorite dishes. The good news is, there are lots of excellent gluten-free substitutes you can use in place of traditional noodles.
Different recipes call for different types of noodles, so it’s a good idea to do your research to see which gluten-free noodle alternative is the best option for you. Explore great gluten-free Chinese noodles made with rice, beans, and even acorn bases. Believe it or not, there are also noodles made from the konjac yam, called shirataki noodles, or you could try out fern root noodles, which have a distinct purple-black color. These options, in particular, have a unique, chewy texture, so it’s worth trying out several options to see which ones you really love. And it’s not only for those who are gluten-free. Some of the alternative options add a unique and delicious flavor that takes your dish to the next level in a healthy and fulfilling way.
Another dish you just don’t want to miss is Chinese dumplings. Dumplings are made with a flour-based dough, but that isn’t required for these delicious and classic treats. Instead, experiment with gluten-free flours to make a dough that is safe to eat and still delivers on all your favorite flavors.
It’s important to note that different gluten-free flours have different uses. The method you use to make your dumplings will impact the gluten-free flour you use, as some are designed more for baking and pastries and others for noodles or bread. Do your research and experiment with gluten-free flour to find the right fit for your favorite dumpling recipe.
Scallion pancakes are another easy dish that you can convert to a gluten-free recipe with ease. It requires the use of all-purpose flour, but you can swap that out for a gluten-free base instead. Scallion pancakes are fried, which means you’ll probably want to find a different gluten-free flour than you might use for dumplings or noodles, but test out your favorite recipes and see which one works best for you.
Whole30 is a diet designed to help you find the foods that might be causing your body to have poor reactions, such as headaches or nausea. While it may feel like you have to eliminate all of the fun things from your diet, the goal is to cleanse what you eat of the irritants so you can feel better, stronger, and more alert. It might not seem like you have great Chinese food options on the Whole30 diet, but there are definitely some you can enjoy!
Beef and Broccoli
While Whole30 does require you to give up some great flavors and ingredients—like soy sauce—you can still enjoy the tastes of excellent Chinese food right at home, with ingredients like sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Beef and broccoli delivers fresh vegetables and thinly sliced beef with a lighter feel that doesn’t sacrifice any flavor.
Veggie Lo Mein With Zucchini Noodles
If you’re trying to cut out gluten or you simply want to make your meal a little lighter, zucchini noodles are a great substitute for noodles or rice. A zucchini noodle lo mein is all about the fresh vegetables and great tastes. Along with zucchini, you can enjoy carrots, peppers, bok choy, and mushrooms flavored with ginger, garlic, and avocado oil.
One of the reasons Chinese food is so delicious is because it blends the hot and spicy with the sweet and savory. That doesn’t mean that every dish has to have sugar in it, however. Here are a few of the top recipes that you can try at home for sugar-free Chinese cuisine.
Egg Foo Young
Egg foo young is one of those versatile dishes that would match many of the lifestyle and diet choices on this list. It’s easy to make at home with the ingredients that you already have, and you can incorporate your favorite vegetables, like mushrooms, water chestnuts, and bean sprouts.
Moo Goo Gai Pan
If you’re looking for an awesome stir-fry, this is the way to go. Moo goo gai pan is fresh and delicious and loaded up with those great vegetables that still deliver on all your favorite flavors. If you’re looking to make the dish completely sugar free, you can substitute out the rice wine. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the flavors and textures of ginger, bok choy, and water chestnuts.
Many Chinese food dishes can be made vegan very easily, like this mapo tofu. Traditionally, Chinese food dishes don’t call for much dairy, so you won’t need to find too many substitutes. Take out the meat and add in more of your favorite vegetables for dumpling fillings, noodle dishes, egg dishes, and soups. If you really feel like you’re missing those animal proteins in your dish, try using shiitake mushrooms to really amp up the umami flavor while still sticking with your diet of choice. There are a few tricky ingredients you’ll want to watch out for when making vegan or vegetarian Chinese food dishes, however.
Dumplings will sometimes call for an egg to seal the dough closed before being cooked. Skip the egg and seal your dumplings with a touch of water, instead.
If you make your noodles at home, you can avoid the eggs entirely. Some Chinese noodles are made with eggs, so you’ll want to do your research and make sure you’re purchasing the vegan-friendly options. Or simply try a noodle recipe in your own kitchen!
You can easily swap out beef or chicken broth for vegetable, as long as you know in advance. Some dishes are marinated in broth, and some soups may look vegetarian but have a chicken or beef broth base. It’s an easy fix, but you’ll always want to double-check when ordering Chinese food to be certain it fits your dietary needs. If you’re making Chinese food at home, a vegetable broth is always a good idea.
Chinese food doesn’t have to be off the table when it’s time to eat healthily or follow your dietary restrictions. In fact, there are many healthy and delicious options already available—and you don’t even need to change the recipe. Whether you’re looking to cut down on meat, skip the gluten, or follow the keto or Whole30 diet, there are easy and delicious Chinese food dishes that you can make at home.
It’s always a good idea to check on your ingredients, just to be certain. If you’re making Chinese food at home, explore many great substitutions and find the ones that work best for your diet. Once you finalize those recipes you love, invite some friends over for dinner—they’re sure to enjoy classic Chinese flavors with a modern twist as much as you enjoyed cooking them!