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Mar 30, 2013 08:14 PM

Made any Low carb, GF, or grain free cooking discoveries lately?

It is the start of grilling season and there are always a ton of new Ideas to try with the grill (s) and almost all fit into a LC, sugar free, GF, vegetarian or clean meat healthy lifestyle. But sometimes I just feel like some sticky BBQ sauce on that grilled chicken! I have never liked the sugar free bottled sauces - and my attempts to make my own sugar free BBQ sauce were not very great either. I usually just do a BBQ flavored rub...and I like it, but it is not the same.

Well tonight I did my usual BBQ rub, grilled the chicken...then when they were resting, I drizzled a bit of SF maple syrup over them. BINGO! Sticky and savory..not too sweet and no fake cloying BBQ sauce taste. I bet some SF honey would be good as well.

The layering effect worked.

What have you discovered that makes great, heathy food even tastier for you and your family?

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  1. I am not a big fan of sweet sauces. My two favorite summer sauces to use with grilled food (usually chicken or veggies) are ancho sauce and cilantro sauce:

    Ancho suace:
    soak 3 or so large (more if medium sized) dried whole ancho chilies in hot water till soft; remove seeds and stems and put in a blender with a clove of garlic and 3 or 4 scallions (white part only). Add a glug of olive or corn oil and a glug of lime juice and puree; add more oil or juice or water to get desired consistancy; add cumin and salt to taste.

    Cilantro sauce:
    put 3 or 4 scallions (green part only) in the blender with one cored and seeded small jalepeno; add leaves from one bunch of cilantro and also a handful of parsley leaves. As above, add a glug of oil and a glug of lime juice and puree; Add salt to taste.

    Happy Griling!

    1 Reply
    1. re: PamelaD

      That ancho sauce sounds like a winner :)

    2. Do you need food to be all of the above, or just any one of the above?

      WRT sf maple syrup, it's always a tad watery or weak for me, so I buy natural maple extract and add it to a container of SF syrup and it comes much closer to the real thing.

      I use Walkerswood spicy jerk marinade (seriousy spicy) or dry rub ribs, smoke low and slow, then rub lightly with Jardines Mesquite or Killer bbq sauce... not the sugar levels of most.

      My best advice for grilling chicken this year (it just doesn't have the magic, made in the oven) is this new family favorite:

      Very easy prep and cook time, big bang for the effort.

      4 Replies
      1. re: mcf

        Well, I wasn't asking specifically about grilling, I was just using that as an example. The point was that layering sweetness over the rub worked much better than making a sugar free BBQ sauce. It was something I discovered.

        I am interested in how and what folks with special diets have discovered.

        I do really well on garbanzo beans. I am using chickpea flour a lot right now and am experimenting and discovering all kinds of things. I especially love Chana dal soup and I discovered that of all the vegetarian soups I make, it keeps me full for a much longer time.

        I eat in all those ways listed so I am open. Just interested in others meals and kitchen discoveries!

        1. re: sedimental

          Ok, I wasn't sure if all applied. For me, spice rubs, always having fresh herbs on hand in place of dried to use generously, matter in general.

          I love roasting veggies on high heat so they carmelize, usually with some whole shallots tossed in, and I always have a load of them grilled in my fridge, after grilling them outside in spring and summer.

          Making (low carb) wraps with grilled veggies, fresh mozzarella and basil leaves is wonderful.

          I also love using them in omelets, with cheese.

          1. re: mcf

            Yes, and thanks for the tip about the maple extract. Brilliant! I rarely eat syrup (like on breakfast items) but I find it a nice ingredient for cooking with...oddly. I prefer it over sugar free powders for many things.

            1. re: sedimental

              I'm pretty sure I've had the same maple syrup bottle in the fridge for years, but once or twice a year, it's nice to have syrup that tastes like real maple. I've also mixed it, with some sweetener, into butter for the occasional low carb French toast sprinkled with cinnamon and my fortified syrup.

              Speaking of extracts, that's also a way to make low carb banana or cranberry orange muffins/bread with your favorite low carb/gf blend. Use the extract in place of orange juice or banana, then add liquid to make up the diff.

      2. What works for me, and it's kind of a "doh!" thing, is increasing marinade times, by a lot in some cases. I'm GF, and eat very few packaged foods. I used to be the Princess of Prepared foods. Those foods have so much flavor added to them that it was jarring for me, initially, to switch to fresh and homemade. I had to learn to really cook. Really, seriously cook, making a lot of it up as I go.

        Take chicken. We eat a lot of skinless boneless chicken and quickly grew tired of the blah. So I started boosting the spices in my marinades, and increasing the time, usually to 8 hours, often overnight. What a difference!

        And salsas! It's so easy to whip up a fresh salsa from stuff in my fridge and garden, and they jazz up chicken, fish and pork like nobody's business.

        Like I said, "Doh!" :)

        1. Bookmarking my place here. Now if I could just find a way to duplicate my favorite low brow Open Pit sauce and make it sugar free!

          8 Replies
          1. re: Violatp

            Here's the ingredient list: High Fructose Corn Syrup, Water, Distilled Vinegar, Tomato Puree, Salt, Modified Food Starch, Contains 2% of Less of: Soybean Oil, Hydrolyzed Corn and Soy Protein, Spice, Onion Powder, Dehydrated Garlic, Artificial Tomato Flavor, Natural and Artificial Flavor, Colored with (Yellow 6, Red 40, Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide), Caramel Color

            Here's a link to a reduced carb attempt: 1.5 c heinz low carb katsup
            1 c apple cider vinegar
            1 c brown sugar style Diabeti-Sweet (wally world diabetic section, all ISOMALT)
            1/2 c sugar free maple syrup
            1/2 c rooster sauce
            2 T dijon mustard
            1.5 T chili powder
            1 T onion powder
            0.5 T black pepper
            0.5 T garlic powder

            Had no directions, but I'm guessing you would blend and simmer, then cool it. Maybe add some liquid smoke?

            I get Diabetisweet brown at, it's the only one that tastes anything like brown sugar. Rooster sauce is sriracha, too much sugar, so I'd go for a non sweet hot sauce and compensate with your favorite sweetener to taste.

            I hate sweet bbq sauces, so can't add anything, but this looks like it could make a decent approximation.

            1. re: mcf

              Thanks! I have sriracha but only use it to make spiced mayo and ac vinegar is on my shopping list. I've bought sf syrups on Netrition before but never the DiabetiSweet. Good to know that it is close to brown sugar!

              Back in the day, before HFCS, vinegar was the first ingredient on their list. I always liked it more than other bottled sauces because it did have that sharp kick the others lacked. I could probably adjust to get it to that sharpness.

              1. re: mcf

                "Hydrolyzed corn and soy protein" = MSG, so I'd add a little anchovy for the umami kick.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Would the anchovy paste in a tube be okay, you think? That's been on my list for awhile. I know it's ridiculous because I know that anchovy paste is that thing that makes you go mmm, but those hairy little fishies just skeeve me out!

                  1. re: Violatp

                    It's great, especially because you can use a little dab and not have a whole can or jar left over taking up room. It keeps forever in the fridge in that tube.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Great idea; the comments where I found that mentioned Worcestershire, but anchovy paste (or maybe some Taste #5?) is a much better idea.

                    1. re: mcf

                      It's one of my secret weapons :)

                      Umami paste might work too. I never would have thought of it for this because it contains olives, mushrooms & parm in addition to the anchovy. There must be some mechanism in my brain that prevented it from connecting those ingredients to BBQ sauce!

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Point taken! I am never without a tube of anchovy sauce in my fridge, you may not know it's there, but you definitely get the flavor bump.

              2. I use currants in many of my salads, in the my Sicilian meatballs, in many places for just a hint of sweetness.

                I have been making a lot of kale salads lately and most recently a chopped kale & brussel sprout salad w/ currants & pine nuts. The fresh chopped brussel sprouts give a nice crunch contrast to the chopped kale. The salad can be tweaked anyway (lemon juice or vinaigrette, addition of peppers &/or tomatoes, feta cheese, different nuts, red pepper flakes, fresh herbs, etc.

                Chimichurri is hot in my house right now too. It's easy to whip up and tastes great on steak, lamb, chicken pork. I like Saveur's recipe:

                3 Replies
                1. re: lynnlato

                  Kale is a godsend for me. Lettuce salad just isn't filling enough, but a kale salad is a proper meal! I've been doing a salad with blood oranges, parmesan and hazelnuts lately. I like to put radicchio in for contrast but might try brussels sprouts too.

                  Also, this is kind of stupid, but I've discovered they make smaller tortilla wraps than the size I was buying. I haven't managed to find any low-carb ones so these are a lower-carb solution.

                  1. re: gembellina

                    There are excellent low carb tortillas in various sizes from La Tortilla Factory. Mission makes white flour ones, too, but last time I looked, had hydrogenated oils. You can almost always find this stuff on if you live somewhere that it can't be found in stores.

                    1. re: gembellina

                      Blood oranges, parm & hazelnuts? Hellooooo... I like it!

                      I am in love with Kale and brussel sprouts these days. You're right, it's much heartier than traditional salad lettuces (although some good farmers market spinach makes me happy) and therefore more satisfying. I put it in my protein smoothies and in my salads. I love the crunch that the shaved brussel sprouts gives to a salad though - try it.