Chapter 4

Nourishing Soups and Refreshing Salads

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There’s a chapter devoted to soups and salads in almost all of my books. That’s partly because Czechs eat soup on just about every occasion and at any time of the day—as a starter or main dish, and even for breakfast. (Really!) But it’s also because low-carb soups are so good for batch cooking. Make the Cream of Mushroom Soup, the Vietnamese-inspired Chicken Meatball Pho, or the Chilled Avocado-Coconut Soup tonight, then store the leftovers in the fridge to tide you over for the rest of the week.

As for salads, I simply can’t imagine my life without them. Don’t get me wrong, I love bacon and eggs—and keto treats, too! But there’s nothing like a big bowl of salad laced with a generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil, ideally served with fatty fish, to make my body feel great. Try it for yourself: start with the satisfying, stick-to-your-ribs Carne Asada Salad, The Easiest Cobb Salad, or the lemony, herb-strewn Zingy Fennel & Squid Salad.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

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Creamy, full of earthy flavor, and finished with a warming dash of freshly ground nutmeg, this dairy-free soup is just what you need on a chilly fall evening. Serve it with a handful of Multiseed Keto Crackers or Garlic & Herb Focaccia.

1 cup (30 g/1.1 oz) dried porcini mushrooms

5 cups (1200 ml) chicken stock or vegetable stock, divided

2 tablespoons (30 g/1.1 oz) ghee or duck fat

1 medium (110 g/3.9 oz) yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 medium (300 g/10.6 oz) cauliflower, cut into small florets

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk

3/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste

Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl, cover with 2 cups (480 ml) of the hot stock, and let them steep for about 30 minutes.

Grease a large saucepan with the ghee. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the cauliflower, nutmeg, thyme, and the remaining 3 cups (720 ml) stock. Pour in the mushrooms soaked in the stock and any remaining liquid. Bring to a boil, and cover with a lid. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender.

Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture. For a smooth soup, purée until smooth. For a chunky texture, reserve some of the vegetable mixture, blend the remaining mixture, then add the reserved vegetables back to the saucepan. Add the coconut milk and remove from the heat. Stir and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or let the soup cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (ABOUT 360 ML/11/2 CUPS):

Total carbs: 9 g / Fiber: 1.9 g / Net carbs: 7.1 g / Protein: 6.3 g / Fat: 17.3 g / Calories: 207 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (14%), protein (12%), fat (74%)

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Salmon Ramen

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This fragrant ramen soup is ideal for beating keto flu and boosting your electrolyte intake: salmon is high in potassium and omega-3s, and mushrooms are a good source of magnesium. Add a pinch of turmeric for a dose of anti-inflammatory curcumin—and extra flavor!

2 tablespoons (30 g/1.1 oz) ghee or coconut oil, divided

2 small (220 g/7.8 oz) salmon fillets

Sea salt and black pepper

2 medium (30 g/1.1 oz) spring onions, sliced, white and green parts separated

1 tablespoon (6 g/0.2 oz) grated ginger

1 small (14 g/0.5 oz) chile pepper, sliced, seeds removed

3 cups (720 ml) fish stock or chicken stock

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fish sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut aminos

1 cup (70 g/2.5 oz) sliced shiitake or oyster mushrooms

Optional: 1 teaspoon grated turmeric root, or 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

4 ounces (113 g) Swiss chard or bok choy

8 ounces (225 g) kelp noodles, drained

2 large eggs

Optional: 1 teaspoon dried wakame seaweed flakes

2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

Grease a pan with 1 tablespoon (15 g/0.5 oz) of the ghee and place over medium-high heat. Pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Place the salmon, skin-side down, in the hot pan, and lower the heat to medium. Cook undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes per side, until the fish is firm and cooked through. (Do not force the fish out of the pan: if the fish doesn’t release when you try to flip it, cook it a bit longer until it releases easily.) Set the cooked fish aside and keep warm.

Place the white parts of the onions, plus the ginger and chile, in a medium saucepan greased with the remaining (15 g/0.5 oz) ghee. Cook over medium heat until fragrant. Add the stock, fish sauce, coconut aminos, and mushrooms. Add the turmeric, if using. Bring to a boil and add the Swiss chard. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from the heat. Rinse the kelp noodles and add them to the pot.

Soft-boil the eggs by following the instructions shown here. Season the stock with salt and pepper to taste, and add the wakame seaweed flakes, if using.

To assemble, ladle the soup into serving bowls. Add the salmon fillets (you can peel off the skin if you wish), the green parts of the onions, and the soft-boiled eggs cut in half. Drizzle the eggs and salmon with the Sriracha, olive oil, and sesame oil. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve immediately. Refrigerate the stock and noodles only, in an airtight container, for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (2 CUPS/480 ML/16 FL OZ):

Total carbs: 13.1 g / Fiber: 5.6 g / Net carbs: 7.5 g / Protein: 38.1 g / Fat: 37.7 g / Calories: 543 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (6%), protein (29%), fat (65%)

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Anti-Inflammatory Egg Drop Soup

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I’ve created a keto-friendly version of the Chinese take-out classic, and it’s so much healthier than the original. Like the Salmon Ramen, it features turmeric, a powerful adaptogen that’s immune-boosting, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.

2 quarts (2 L) chicken stock or vegetable stock

1 tablespoon grated turmeric root, or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 tablespoon grated ginger, or 1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small (14 g/0.5 oz) chile pepper, seeds removed and sliced

2 cups (144 g/5.1 oz) sliced brown mushrooms

4 cups (144 g/5.1 oz) chopped Swiss chard, collard greens, or spinach, stalks and leaves separated

2 tablespoons (30 ml) coconut aminos

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 medium (30 g/1.1 oz) spring onions, sliced

2 tablespoons (8 g/0.3 oz) chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Ground black pepper

6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Pour the chicken stock into a large pot and heat over medium heat until it starts to simmer. Add the turmeric, ginger, garlic, chile, mushrooms, chard stalks, and coconut aminos to the pot, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Add the chard leaves and cook for 1 minute more. Slowly pour the beaten eggs into the simmering soup. Keep stirring until the egg is cooked, then remove the pot from the heat. Add the spring onions and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide among serving bowls and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon or 15 ml per serving). Eat immediately, or let the soup cool and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

NOTE: Need to up your protein intake? Just add 1 pound (450 g) cooked and shredded chicken to the soup at the end of the cooking process and warm through.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (2 CUPS/480 ML/16 FL OZ):

Total carbs: 3.7 g / Fiber: 0.8 g / Net carbs: 2.9 g / Protein: 10.8 g / Fat: 22.4 g / Calories: 255 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (5%), protein (17%), fat (79%)

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Chilled Avocado-Coconut Soup

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Never had avocado in a soup before? It works beautifully, especially with equally creamy coconut milk. Spiked with chile and fresh lime juice, this smooth soup is perfect for summer days when it’s way too hot to cook. Plus, it’s allergy-free, and it’s high in heart-healthy fats, fiber, and potassium.

2 large (400 g/14.1 oz) avocados, pitted and peeled

1/2 small (35 g/1.2 oz) yellow onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 medium (200 g/7.1 oz) cucumber, roughly chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice

3 cups (720 ml) vegetable stock

1 cup (240 ml) coconut milk

Optional: 1 (14 g/0.5 oz) jalapeño pepper, seeds removed

1 medium (30 g/1.1 oz) spring onion, sliced

6 tablespoons (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Optional: crumbled feta or cooked, crispy Spanish chorizo; Garlic & Herb Focaccia for serving

Place all the ingredients except the spring onion and olive oil in a blender and process until smooth. Divide among serving bowls, sprinkle with spring onion, and drizzle with olive oil (1 tablespoon or 15 ml per serving). Serve on its own as a starter, or top with some feta or chorizo and eat with focaccia as a complete meal. Refrigerate (without toppings) in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (1 CUP/240 ML/8 FL OZ):

Total carbs: 10.5 g / Fiber: 5.3 g / Net carbs: 5.2 g / Protein: 3.2 g / Fat: 36.8 g / Calories: 366 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (6%), protein (3%), fat (91%)

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Chicken Meatball Pho

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If your energy levels are flagging, try this keto version of Vietnamese pho! It’s the perfect cold-weather pick-me-up dish, and it’s one of the best ways to fit extra electrolytes and nourishing collagen into your diet.

Broth:

1 medium (110 g/3.9 oz) yellow onion, quartered

2-inch (5-cm) piece fresh ginger, peeled and quartered

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

4 whole cloves

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

2 quarts (2 L) chicken stock or bone broth

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fish sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut aminos

2 cloves garlic, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

2 packs (400 g/14.1 oz) shirataki noodles or kelp noodles

Meatballs:

1 tablespoon (15 g/0.5 oz) ghee or duck fat

11/2 cups (180 g/6.3 oz) cauliflower rice

1.1 pounds (500 g) ground chicken

1 large egg

2 tablespoons (16 g/0.6 oz) coconut flour

1 tablespoon (4 g/0.2 oz) chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon (4 g/0.2 oz) chopped Thai basil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Optional toppings: fresh herbs such as cilantro and Thai basil, sliced chile pepper, bean sprouts, sliced spring onion, lime wedges, and Sriracha sauce

TO MAKE THE BROTH: Either carefully char the onion and ginger over an open flame, or place them under a broiler preheated to its maximum for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly blackened on the outside but partially raw inside. Set aside.

In a large pot, dry-roast the spices over medium heat until fragrant, stirring frequently. Pour in the stock, fish sauce, and coconut aminos, then add the charred onion, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, for about 30 minutes. Then strain the soup through a sieve into another pot, return to the heat, and keep simmering. Season the stock with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, prepare the shirataki noodles (see here) and set aside. If you’re using kelp noodles, simply rinse them and set aside.

TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS: Grease a pan with the ghee and cook the cauliflower rice for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done, remove from the heat. Place the ground chicken and egg into a bowl. Add the coconut flour, cilantro, Thai basil, salt, and pepper, plus the cooked cauliflower rice. Mix until well combined. Shape into 18 medium meatballs. Add the meatballs to the pot with the strained stock and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

To assemble, place about a sixth of the shirataki noodles into a bowl. Add about 11/4 cups (300 ml) of the stock and 3 meatballs, plus any of the suggested toppings, and serve hot. To store, let the soup cool and then refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat and add toppings just before serving.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (2 CUPS/480 ML/16 FL OZ):

Total carbs: 7.5 g / Fiber: 2.8 g / Net carbs: 4.7 g / Protein: 27.3 g / Fat: 13.1 g / Calories: 254 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (8%), protein (44%), fat (48%)

Carne Asada Salad

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High in electrolytes and low in carbs, this simple steak salad is ideal for keto adaptation. And thanks to its refreshing cilantro- and jalapeño-spiked dressing, it’s so flavorful it practically jumps out of the bowl! To make it even more substantial, top it with sour cream and cheese.

Spicy Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette:

1 small bunch (15 g/0.5 oz) fresh cilantro

1 (14 g/0.5 oz) jalapeño pepper

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh lime juice

Sea salt and black pepper

Salad:

1 large (300 g/10.6 oz) flank steak or skirt steak

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon (15 g/0.5) ghee, lard, or coconut oil

1 head (200 g/7.1 oz) soft green lettuce, such as butterhead lettuce, or other leafy greens

1 medium (150 g/5.3 oz) avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1 medium (100 g/3.5 oz) tomato, diced

Lime wedges and fresh cilantro for serving

Optional toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese and sour cream

TO MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE: Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 ml) for the salad. Store any leftover dressing in the fridge for up to a week.

TO MAKE THE SALAD: Pat dry the steak and season with salt and pepper. Set a large pan greased with the ghee over high heat. Once hot, cook the steak for 3 minutes on each side (flank steak), or 2 to 3 minutes on each side (skirt steak), depending on the thickness of the meat, until medium-rare. Do not overcook the steak. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

When ready to serve, slice the meat thinly against the grain. Place the lettuce leaves in a bowl, and top with the sliced steak, avocado, and tomato. Drizzle the vinaigrette (2 tablespoons/30 ml per serving) over the salad. Serve with lime wedges and cilantro, and, optionally, with cheese and sour cream. The cooked steak can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The dressing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week in an airtight container. Always prepare the salad right before serving.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:

Total carbs: 14 g / Fiber: 7.3 g / Net carbs: 6.7 g / Protein: 35.5 g / Fat: 56.6 g / Calories: 694 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (4%), protein (21%), fat (75%)

Old Bay Salad

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With just one serving of this salad, you’ll score 30 percent of your daily magnesium requirement, and 50 percent of your daily potassium. That means it’s one of the best options if you just started following a ketogenic lifestyle, because both are essential for the induction phase. For extra points, sub some dark leafy greens for the iceberg lettuce!

5 ounces (142 g) cooked shrimp

5 ounces (142 g) cooked crabmeat (canned is fine)

1/3 cup (73 g/2.6 oz) mayonnaise (shown here)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Sriracha

1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1 medium (80 g/2.8 oz) celery stalk, sliced

Sea salt and black pepper

1/2 medium (200 g/7.1 oz) iceberg lettuce, or soft green lettuce such as butterhead

1 medium (150 g/5.3 oz) avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

2 medium (30 g/1.1 oz) spring onions, sliced

Place the shrimp, crabmeat, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Sriracha, Old Bay seasoning, and celery into a bowl and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and divide between 2 bowls. Add half of the dressed shrimp-crab mixture to each and top with avocado and spring onions. Eat immediately or store the dressed shrimp-crab mixture in the fridge for up to 3 days. Assemble the salad just before serving.

NOTES:

• You can find my recipe for Sriracha plus more homemade ingredients such as Dijon mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce on my blog: www.ketodietapp.com/blog.

• Packing this salad for lunch? Place the dressed shrimp-crab mixture into a tall 1-quart (960-ml) jar. Add the celery, avocado, and spring onions, then top with salad greens. When ready to serve, tip the salad over into a serving bowl so that the dressing covers the greens. Or, simply shake the jar—keeping the lid closed—and then eat the salad right from the jar.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:

Total carbs: 14 g / Fiber: 7.5 g / Net carbs: 6.5 g / Protein: 31.3 g / Fat: 44.8 g / Calories: 570 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (5%), protein (23%), fat (72%)

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Caesar Salad with Poached Egg

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Break your fast with this classic chicken Caesar salad. It’s high in protein and healthy fats, and the low-carb croutons made from Garlic & Herb Focaccia add plenty of texture and crunch. For a nigthshade-free dressing, use Mediterranean Vinaigrette (see Note) instead.

MCT Salad Dressing:

1/4 cup (55 g /1.9 oz) mayonnaise (shown here)

1 tablespoon (15 g/0.5 oz) Dijon mustard

1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) MCT oil

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons (8 g/0.3 oz) chopped herbs of your choice

Sea salt and black pepper

Optional: 4 anchovies (16 g/0.6 oz) and 1 tablespoon (5 g/0.2 oz) grated Parmesan cheese

Salad:

2 large (200 g/7.1 oz) chicken thighs, skin on, bone removed

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon (15 ml) duck fat or ghee

7.1 ounces (200 g) soft green lettuce, such as butterhead, or iceberg lettuce

2 large eggs, poached (see here)

2 slices (32 g/1.1 oz) crispy bacon (see here)

2 ounces (57 g) shaved Parmesan cheese

Optional: croutons made from 1 slice of Garlic & Herb Focaccia, cubed and toasted in the oven

TO MAKE THE DRESSING: Process all the ingredients in a blender. Reserve 1/4 cup (60 ml) for the salad. Any leftover salad dressing can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

TO MAKE THE SALAD: Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, and season them with salt and pepper on both sides. Grease a skillet with the duck fat and heat over high heat. Place the chicken thighs, skin-side down, into the hot pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 3 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Flip the chicken thighs over and cook for about 5 minutes more. The thighs are done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads at least 165°F (74°C). When done, transfer to a plate. Set aside for 5 minutes, then slice into thin strips.

To assemble the salad, tear the lettuce into pieces and divide between 2 bowls. Add the sliced chicken, poached egg, bacon, Parmesan, and croutons, if using. Drizzle with the prepared dressing. Eat immediately. To store, keep the ingredients in separate containers in the fridge. Reheat and assemble before serving.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:

Total carbs: 5.1 g / Fiber: 1.5 g / Net carbs: 3.6 g / Protein: 37 g / Fat: 63.8 g / Calories: 742 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (2%), protein (20%), fat (78%)

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Summer Asparagus & Halloumi Salad

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Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, watercress is a real nutritional powerhouse. And, of course, it’s ultra-low in carbs. Serve it with a dressing made with healthy fats, and top with slices of warm, salty, grilled Halloumi—or, if you’re dairy-free, poached eggs.

Pesto Dressing:

1/4 cup (55 g/1.9 oz) mayonnaise (shown here)

2 tablespoons (30 g/1.1 oz) basil pesto

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

Salad:

14.1 ounces (400 g) asparagus, woody ends removed

11.3 ounces (320 g) Halloumi cheese, or use 4 poached eggs (see here) for a dairy-free version

1 tablespoon (15 g/0.5 oz) ghee or duck fat

2 cups (70 g/2.5 oz) fresh watercress or arugula

1 pack (100 g/3.5 oz) fresh spinach

1 medium (200 g/7.1 oz) cucumber, spiralized or sliced

1 cup (150 g/5.3 oz) chopped tomatoes, or halved cherry tomatoes

1 medium (150 g/5.3 oz) avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced

Sea salt and pepper

TO MAKE THE DRESSING: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

TO MAKE THE SALAD: Fill a saucepan with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.

Slice the Halloumi into about 1/2-inch (1-cm) slices. Grease a regular or griddle skillet with ghee and heat over medium-high heat. Add the Halloumi and cook on both sides for 2 to 3 minutes. Do not flip the Halloumi too early: let it crisp up to prevent it from breaking. When done, set aside and keep warm.

To assemble the salad, place the watercress and spinach in a bowl. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, and avocado slices. Place the cooked asparagus in the middle and top with the grilled Halloumi. Add the prepared dressing, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

NOTE: If you can’t eat eggs, make a simple Mediterranean Vinaigrette instead of the pesto dressing. Place all of the following ingredients in a sealable jar: 1/2 cup (120 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs, and salt and black pepper to taste. Shake until the vinaigrette is emulsified and use 2 tablespoons (30 ml) per serving. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (SALAD + 2 TABLESPOONS/130 ML DRESSING):

Total carbs: 12.8 g / Fiber: 6.3 g / Net carbs: 6.5 g / Protein: 21 g / Fat: 47.7 g / Calories: 546 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (5%), protein (16%), fat (79%)

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The Easiest Cobb Salad

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Based on the restaurant classic and topped with fun-to-eat bacon-wrapped asparagus parcels, this simple keto salad can serve as either an appetizer or a full meal. If you practice intermittent fasting (IF) and need a higher-protein, higher-calorie meal to keep you going, it’s the obvious solution.

1 bunch (200 g/7.1 oz) asparagus

12 thin-cut slices (180 g/6.3 oz) bacon

2 large (400 g/14.1 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lemon juice or white wine vinegar

1 small head (200 g/7.1 oz) green lettuce, roughly chopped

2 cups (60 g/2.1 oz) baby spinach

2 large hard-boiled eggs (see here), sliced

3/4 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) crumbled blue cheese

1 medium (150 g/5.3 oz) avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced

1/2 medium (100 g/3.5 oz) cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 cup (150 g/5.3 oz) cherry tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup (50 g/1.8 oz) black or green olives, sliced

1 cup (232 g/8.2 oz) Ranch Dressing (shown here)

Prepare the bacon-wrapped asparagus. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6). Snip the woody ends from the asparagus spears. Wrap a thin slice (15 g/0.5 oz) of bacon around 2 or 3 asparagus spears at a time. Place the “parcels” on a baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes. Once the bacon is browned and the asparagus is cooked through, remove from the oven. Set aside.

Meanwhile, poach the chicken breasts. Place the chicken breasts, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt, and lemon juice in a saucepan and fill with water until the chicken is submerged. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. The chicken is ready when an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165°F (74°C). Remove the chicken breasts from the poaching liquid and place on a cutting board. Dice the chicken breasts once they have cooled slightly.

To assemble the salad, place the lettuce and spinach in a bowl. Arrange the chicken, eggs, blue cheese, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, and olives side by side in rows. Serve with the Ranch Dressing and the bacon-wrapped asparagus spears.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:

Total carbs: 12.1 g / Fiber: 5.9 g / Net Carbs: 6.2 g / Protein: 41.5 g / Fat: 48.5 g / Calories: 646 kcal Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (4%), protein (26%), fat (70%)

Nordic Salad

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This Scandinavian-style sweet-and-sour salad is a family favorite. Different variations turn up in almost every Czech deli, but the traditional version uses carb-heavy potatoes and mayonnaise made with inferior oils. Swap the potatoes for rutabaga, make your own mayo, and you’ve got a healthy, keto- and paleo-friendly version that’s full of omega-3s!

1 medium (350 g/12.3 oz) rutabaga, peeled and diced into 1/2-to 1-inch (1 to 2.5-cm) pieces

3 whole allspice berries

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon sea salt

14.1 ounces (400 g) cooked canned or smoked fatty fish, such as herring, salmon, sardine, or mackerel, broken up with a fork or cut into pieces

1/2 cup (110 g/3.9 oz) mayonnaise (shown here)

1 medium (60 g/2.1 oz) celery stalk, chopped

1 small (60 g/2.1 oz) red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

2 tablespoons (8 g/0.3 oz) chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon (4 g/0.2 oz) chopped fresh dill

Optional: 2 teaspoons (10 g/0.4 oz) powdered erythritol or Swerve, or 3 to 5 drops stevia

Sea salt and black pepper

1 head (400 g/14.1 oz) iceberg lettuce

Place the rutabaga in a pot filled with enough water to cover it. Add the allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves, vinegar, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, and then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rutabaga is tender. Remove from the heat and strain through a colander. Discard the spices. Set the rutabaga aside to cool down.

Place the cooked rutabaga in a mixing bowl with the fish, mayonnaise, celery, onion, lemon juice, lemon zest, parsley, and dill (reserve some herbs for garnish). Mix until well combined. Add the sweetener, if using, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble the salad, break the lettuce into leaves and fill each with the fish mixture. Garnish with the remaining herbs and serve. Store the fish-rutabaga mixture in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

NOTE: This salad is great with pickled herring in place of the cooked or smoked fish. If you use pickled fish, make sure you avoid products with added sugar: some versions of pickled herring are very sweet. Always be sure to read the label!

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:

Total carbs: 13 g / Fiber: 3.9 g / Net carbs: 9.1 g / Protein: 25.6 g / Fat: 34.8 g / Calories: 464 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (8%), protein (23%), fat (69%)

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Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

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Cool, crisp iceberg lettuce is the best vehicle for creamy blue cheese dressing, isn’t it? This refreshing—but highly addictive—salad gets extra flavor from onion, crumbled bacon, and walnuts. It makes an excellent light summer meal, or it can do double duty as a side dish for Induction Burger Stacks.

Blue Cheese Dressing:

1/2 cup (67 g/2.4 oz) crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup (58 g/2 oz) sour cream

1/4 cup (55 g/1.9 oz) mayonnaise (shown here)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons (30 ml) heavy whipping cream

Sea salt and black pepper

Salad:

1 head (400 g/14.1 oz) iceberg lettuce

1 small (60 g/2.1 oz) red onion, sliced

1 cup (150 g/5.3 oz) chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup (68 g/2.4 oz) crumbled blue cheese

4 slices (64 g/2.3 oz) crispy bacon, crumbled

1/2 cup (59/2 oz) chopped walnuts, ideally activated (see here)

TO MAKE THE DRESSING: Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Add a splash of water if it's too thick.

TO MAKE THE SALAD: Cut the lettuce into quarters and remove the hard core. Top with the onion, tomatoes, blue cheese, bacon, and walnuts. Drizzle with 2/3 cup (180 ml) of the dressing and serve. Store the remaining dressing in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING (1/4 SALAD PLUS 3 TABLESPOONS/45 ML DRESSING):

Total carbs: 9.3 g / Fiber: 3.1 g / Net carbs: 6.2 g / Protein: 15.5 g / Fat: 33.9 g / Calories: 392 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (6%), protein (16%), fat (78%)

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Zingy Fennel & Squid Salad

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Craving something light, summery, and refreshing? This cool, lightly spiced salad is the solution. Seafood, which is a great source of B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium, is a natural match for sweet, crunchy fennel, and they share the spotlight effortlessly in this quick-prep salad.

Juice (about 1/4 cup/60 ml) and zest of 1 lemon

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium (400 g/14.1 oz) fennel bulbs

4 ounces (113 g) soft greens, such as chard or spinach, chopped

1/2 small (30 g/1.1 oz) red onion, sliced

1 small (14 g/0.5 oz) mild chile pepper, finely chopped

2 tablespoons (8 g/0.3 oz) chopped fresh dill or reserved fennel fronds

2 tablespoons (8 g/0.3 oz) chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

7.1 ounces (200 g) cooked shrimp

7.1 ounces (200 g) cooked baby squid tentacles and bodies sliced into rings

Combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, and olive oil in a small bowl and set aside. Trim off the hard tops and bottoms of the fennel (reserve the fennel fronds for garnish). Halve the fennel and slice as thinly as you can (or use a mandoline or a food processor). Place the fennel in a bowl and add the chard, onion, chile, dill (or reserved fennel fronds), parsley, and the prepared dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and mix well. Set aside for 15 minutes to let the flavors combine. Add the shrimp and squid pieces, and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 1 day.

NUTRITION FACTS PER SERVING:

Total carbs: 12.7 g / Fiber: 4 g / Net carbs: 8.7 g / Protein: 17.2 g / Fat: 21.7 g / Calories: 305 kcal

Macronutrient ratio: Calories from carbs (12%), protein (23%), fat (65%)

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