Low-Carb Alternatives for Cornstarch

The rise of diets like keto and Atkins has made finding low-carb recipes a snap. That’s been a massive boon for people with blood sugar concerns. For decades, finding low-sugar options in the store or at a restaurant was virtually impossible; now, it’s easy. But, sometimes, carbs still seem inescapable.

We occasionally share recipes that call for cornstarch, and we always suggest swapping it for whatever low-carb flour you keep in your kitchen. Almond flour works well as a substitute for cornstarch. Today, we’re looking at the best substitution options, their properties and their nutritional values.

Cornstarch is found in many sauces and stews for its thickening qualities. The minute you want a fluid to coat the back of a spoon, it gets the job done. You can reduce a liquid for a long time to thicken it, but that can change its flavor and other qualities, and cornstarch does it faster. Cornstarch also adds carbs. A tablespoon of cornstarch has seven grams of carbs. While that isn’t much, it can add up.

Pureed vegetables can add more body to a sauce and add extra flavor. We love this as an option because it can add more nutrients. It’s also an excellent way to get more veggies into your diet. Not all of us are huge vegetable fans! A tablespoon of cornstarch has seven grams of carbs, whereas a whole cup of squash will have — at most — five grams! And it will add so many vitamins. Another option is ground nuts that can make things creamy and thick but also add a little fat. We suggest adding them later in the process than you would typically add cornstarch, but that’s something you need to experiment with in your own kitchen!

Flaxseeds and chia seeds are foods we have suggested in the past. Maybe you have added them to your diet or tried them and didn’t like them. If you have some in the pantry, try grinding them and adding them to your soups. They have nutrients, vitamins, protein and fiber while being low in carbs! One “out there” option is pork rinds. They work well and are packed full of 17 grams of protein and nine grams of fat with zero carbs.

There are many other thickeners: xanthan gum, glucomannan powder, guar gum, psyllium husk and agar-agar. They can be found in health food stores, larger supermarkets and online. We can’t suggest them or steer you away from them. People on our team have only used things they find on the shelves of our usual stores. What we can say is, adding riced cauliflower and letting the stew simmer for an extra couple of minutes usually works for us!
September 02, 2020
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