What is a low carb alternative to rice? There are so many! In this post I share 10 low carb rice alternatives, some of which may surprise you. These rice alternatives will give your everyday meals a boost of flavour and are perfect if you're following a keto diet or watching your blood sugar.
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What is a low carb alternative to rice?
Rice is a staple in many people's diets. It's a great starch or carbohydrate that is really filling, inexpensive, easy to find, and so versatile. It can be a great addition to main dishes or eaten as a side dish and there are so many ways to use it. It also has many different nutritional benefits and is easy to digest.
However, rice is also high in carbs or carbohydrates and for health reasons you might be trying to lower your carbohydrate intake or might be following a low carb or keto diet. If that's the case one of the foods that you'll want to limit or avoid is rice.
One cup of cooked white rice contains 45-53 grams of total and net carbohydrates, depending on the type of rice, so it's really high in carbs. Because of this, it can spike your blood sugar and so for those with diabetes you may be trying to avoid or limit your rice intake, but don't know what to use instead.
Don't worry, even if you can't have rice or are limiting your rice intake, there are plenty of delicious, low carb alternatives to rice that you can use instead. Using rice alternatives will also bring some fun variety to your everyday meals. In this post I'm sharing 10 of my favourite low carb rice alternatives so that you can easily enjoy many different no-rice meals.
Low Carb Rice Alternatives:
One of the most popular low-carb rice alternatives, cauliflower rice provides some protein and fiber, plus it's high in vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. You can also see from the nutritional breakdown below that it's naturally low in carbs with just 4 grams of carbs per serving, with 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of sugar.
Per serving (3/4 cup): 20 calories, 0 g fat, 4 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 20 mg sodium, 2 g protein
Some fun ideas of what to do with cauliflower rice include making:
You can also make plain cauliflower rice and use it the same way you would use white rice such as using it in stir-fries, as a side dish or for serving with meat or fish dishes. You can either make your own cauliflower rice at home, either by grating it or using your food processor, or buy pre-made options which are now available in most grocery stores.
While most people have heard of cauliflower rice, I find that very few people have thought of making broccoli rice. But broccoli rice is a fun alternative to cauliflower rice and is a great way to add more greens to your diet. It's also very low in carbohydrates with one serving having just 4 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar.
Per serving (85 grams): 20 calories, 0 g fat, 4 g carbs, 3 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 20 mg sodium, 2 g protein
You can use broccoli rice the same way you would use white rice or cauliflower rice.
Parsnip Rice or Parsnip Noodles
Another fun and lower carb alternative to rice are parsnips! You can turn them into either rice or noodles. To turn parsnips into rice either use a grater or food processor. To turn them into noodles you can use a peeler or a spiralizer. Note that parsnips do have more carbs than either broccoli or cauliflower so if you are following a keto diet these may not work for you, but they are much lower in carbohydrates that white rice or brown rice, having 13.3 gram of carbs per 1/2 cup of cooked parsnips, with 2.8 grams of fiber and 3.7 grams of sugar.
Per serving (½ cup, cooked parsnip): 55 calories, 0.2 g fat (0 g sat), 13.3 g carbs, 2.8 g fiber, 3.7 g sugar, 7.8 mg sodium, 1 g protein
Cabbage Rice or Riced Cabbage
Who knew you could turn cabbage into rice? I didn't until recently! To make cabbage rice either use your food processor or a cheese grater. Cabbage is great because it's readily available in grocery stores. And when it comes to vegetables is one of the more affordable options. I love using riced cabbage in stir fries. You'll also low how low in carbs it is, containing only 4 grams of carbs per cup, with 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of sugar, meaning it has only 2 grams of net carbs per cup! It's the perfect option if you are on a keto diet or trying to regulate your blood sugar.
Per serving (1 cup): 17 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 4 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 2 g sugar, 13 mg sodium, 1 g protein
Another low carb rice alternative that most people haven't thought of is riced mushrooms! Full of vitamins and minerals mushrooms are a fun alternative to white rice or brown rice and they are full of flavour to give your meals a bit more kick. Naturally low in carbs, mushrooms only contain 2 grams of total carbs and 1 gram of net carbs per cup.
Per serving (1 cup): 16 calories, 0.2 g fat (0 g sat), 2 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1.5 g sugar, 4 mg sodium, 2 g protein
I personally prefer to rice mushrooms in my food processor rather than grating them as I find they hold up much better. I add riced mushrooms to stir fry dishes and love pairing them with grilled steaks and chicken.
Spaghetti squash is such a fun alternative to rice and noodles or pasta. I also love how easy it is to make. I will use spaghetti squash instead of noodles for dishes like spaghetti or other pasta dishes. Spaghetti squash is also lower in carbs than rice is. 1 cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains 10 grams of carbs, with 2.2 grams of fiber giving it a net carb count of 7.8 grams of carbs per cup.
Per serving (1 cup): 42 calories, 0.5 g fat, 1 gram protein, 10 g carbs, 2.2 g fiber
You'll also love that spaghetti squash is full of other vitamins including vitamin C, manganese and vitamin B6.
Turnip Rice or Turnip Noodles
Turnips are such a fun low carb alternative to rice, as well as cauliflower or broccoli rice or noodles. They have such a delicious flavour and are full of vitamins and minerals with 1 serving having 30% of your daily value of vitamin C! They're also naturally low in carbs with 1 cup having 6 grams of net carbs.
Per serving (1 cup): 36 calories, 8 grams carbs, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein
Better than Rice
I just learned about this product recently. Better than Rice is a product made from purified water and organic konjac flour, but also adds organic oat fiber to the mix. Konjac is a plant that grows in Asia and has an edible corm. Because it’s rich in fiber, it digests slowly and helps you feel fuller for longer. Another bonus is that it is pre-cooked so it's so easy and fast to use. Some grocery stores carry it but I've personally found it easier shopping online.
Per serving (¾ cup): 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 4 g carbs, 4 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 0 g protein
You can use Better than Rice the same way you would use white rice or noodles for dishes such as pastas or stir fries.
Shirataki (Miracle Rice)
Like Better than Rice, Shirataki rice or Miracle Rice is made with konjac, a prebiotic fiber that's great for gut health. It's a great low carb alternative to rice and has almost no carbs or calories which is why it's known as "miracle rice." I have never found Miracle Rice or Shirataki Rice in my local grocery stores but it's easily bought online from many different retailers. 3 ounces of Miracle Rice contains 3 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber and 1 gram of net carbs so it's great if you're keto or counting your carbohydrates.
Per serving (3 ounces): 10 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 3 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 0 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 1 g protein
Spiralized zucchini or zucchini noodles (also known as zoodles)
Another one of the more common vegetable noodle alternatives, zucchini noodles, are a fun alternative to pasta noodles. You can easily make them with either a peeler or a spiralizer. I use these anywhere you would normally use regular pasta noodles such as I spaghetti or Alfredo dishes. You'll also love how low in carbs zucchini noodles are. 3 ounces contain 2 grams of carbs, with 1 gram of fiber, giving a net carb count of 1 gram.
Per serving (3 ounces): 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g sat), 2 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 1 g sugar, 0 mg sodium, 1 g protein
Tools for making vegetable rice or vegetable noodles:
- Food processor - This is the best way to make riced veggies
- Grater - a staple in most kitchens you can make veggie rice using your cheese grater.
- Peeler - another kitchen staple you can use this to make veggie noodles.
- Spiralizer - This is the easiest way to make veggie noodles!
Frequently asked questions:
Simply take the total carb or carbohydrate count (in grams) and decrease the grams of fiber to give you the net carb count.
On the ketogenic or low carb diet it is the net carb count that matters or that you track.
If you still want to eat rice and are trying to limit you carb intake wild rice is the lowest in carbs with 32 grams of net carbs per cup (164 grams).