A bowl of kaizen rice with sides for low carb rice alternatives.

When you’re on a low-carb or keto diet, sometimes you can miss the simple things… like rice! It’s tough to find a low carb rice substitute that is just as enjoyable as regular rice. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best low carb rice alternatives. Looking at everything from taste to texture to macros, you’ll be able to find an option that’ll satisfy your cravings without jeopardizing your carb intake. 

A bowl of kaizen rice with sides for low carb rice alternatives.

Rice is such a staple in many cuisines, from Asian to Indian to Mediterranean. But for those of us watching our macros, we aren’t able to indulge in this carb-heavy grain. And if you’ve tried as many low-carb rice substitutes as I have, you’ll know that a majority of them don’t quite hit the mark. Not to mention how overwhelming it is to even find a good option in the first place!

The struggle is real. That’s why I poured my heart and soul into creating my Kaizen Rice. I’ll cut to the chase and say that this is my personal favorite low-carb rice alternative. I may be a bit biased, but I believe it ticks all the boxes when it comes to taste, texture, and nutritional value. 

Featured in my Baked Mediterranean Cod, Oven Chuck Roast, and TikTok Salmon Bowl, this rice substitute is a versatile and satisfying option for any type of dish.

But let’s take a look at some other options out there so you can decide for yourself!

Whether you’re looking to make a mean stir fry, a creamy risotto, or just want to serve rice as a side dish, there’s a low carb alternative out there for you. Let’s dive in!

Close up of Kaizen low carb rice for low carb rice alternatives.

Factors to Consider

How close to the real thing can low-carb alternatives taste? Where should my expectations lie? Is there anything I should look for in the ingredients? 

These are all valid questions when it comes to finding a suitable rice substitute. With your values in mind, I’ve outlined some factors to consider before making a purchase or trying out a new recipe.

Taste

No one wants to sacrifice taste, especially when it comes to something as basic as rice! Make sure the alternative you choose has a neutral or mild flavor that tastes great on its own and can easily absorb the flavors of your dish.

I’ve tried some low-carb rice substitutes that had a strong, off-putting taste. It was almost like eating plain cardboard! Not appetizing at all. The different types of rice alternatives below have my stamp of approval, so give them a try! 

Texture

Another important factor is texture. Rice has a unique bite to it — it’s neither too mushy nor too chewy. This can really make or break your dish. Some low-carb rice substitutes have a grainy texture that just doesn’t cut it. Others can be too mushy or disintegrate completely, leaving you with a clumpy mess. 

Follow your gut on this one. If it seems off, you’ll know right away. It should have a familiar rice-like texture that adds to the dish, not takes away from it.

Ingredients and Nutritional Value

Don’t just trust any brand with keto-friendly labeling. Check out the ingredients and nutritional value for yourself. Some brands may use a ton of fillers and additives to bring down the carb count, which I personally am not a fan of. To reap the most health benefits, it’s best to choose a rice alternative that has a minimal, clean ingredient list.

When on a low-carb diet, especially if you’re watching your macros, it’s important to not only focus on eating fewer carbs but to choose a nutrient-dense option as well. Read the nutritional facts on the box and look for options that are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats as well. 

Kaizen lupini rice recipe for low carb rice alternatives.

Top Low-Carb Rice Alternatives

As a passionate foodie and founder of Kaizen, my own low-carb pasta company, you can probably imagine how much research and taste testing I did to find the best rice alternatives. While nothing can truly replicate real rice, I am confident you’ll find a healthy rice alternative on this list that’ll be your new household staple.

I made it easy for you by providing the highlights of each, along with a few pros and cons to help you decide. Here you go!

1. Kaizen rice

Kaizen lupini rice packaging for low carb rice alternatives.

My #1 pick is no doubt going to be my Kaizen low-carb rice. It’s not just my brand, but also the solution to my own problems: finding a delicious, macro-friendly, low-carb rice alternative. It’s likely you’re here because you have the same problem too! 

My rice is made with high-protein lupini flour, which is loaded with all kinds of nutrients. With every serving, you get a whopping 20 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, and only 6 grams of net carbs. 

In my humble opinion, it’s the best option out there as it’s both macro-friendly and tastes so similar to real rice that you won’t even notice the difference. Its chewy texture and neutral flavor make it the perfect canvas for any dish!

Pros

  • ​It’s gluten-free, grain-free, plant-based, and keto-friendly.
  • Has a taste and texture that closely resembles traditional rice.
  • Nutrient-dense, offering not just low-carb but high-protein as well.
  • It’s made with only five clean ingredients: lupini flour, fava bean protein, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum.

Cons

Below is a look at how my rice holds up to others. And I also recommend checking out this breakdown of how protein rice compares to regular rice!

Graphic comparing Kaizen rice to white rice and vegetable rice.

If you want to give Kaizen rice a try, make sure to use my discount code!

2. Cauliflower rice

Cauliflower rice is another healthy alternative to regular rice. It’s not only super close in taste and texture but also full of various antioxidants and vitamins. You’d think that since it’s a vegetable, it wouldn’t be filling, but that’s not the case. With just 40 calories and 7 grams of carbs per serving, it’s a great option for those looking for a low-carb yet satiating meal. 

Made from cauliflower florets, it’s easy to prepare and can be found in most grocery stores, either fresh or frozen. You can also make your own by pulsing cauliflower in a food processor until it’s rice-like in texture. 

Pros

  • Has a subtle nutty flavor and is overall versatile and easy to work with.
  • It’s a healthy option, low in calories and carbs but high in fiber and vitamins.
  • Can be found at most grocery stores or easily made at home.

Cons

  • Can be a bit damp, so make sure you squeeze out any excess moisture before cooking.
  • It can be difficult and time-consuming to prepare it from scratch.
  • Some people may not enjoy the cauliflower taste and texture.

3. Banza chickpea rice

Known for its delicious chickpea-based pasta, Banza also offers a great rice alternative. Banza rice is made from 90% chickpeas as well as potato starch, xantham gum, and sea salt. 

With fewer carbs, calories, and sodium than white rice and more fiber and protein, it’s a healthier option that still offers a similar texture and flavor to traditional rice. 

You can get Banza chickpea rice in two different varieties: regular chickpea and “tricolor legume,” which mixes chickpeas, red lentils, and green peas. It’s got a bit more flavor compared to real rice, but it’s not overpowering. 

The biggest drawback to chickpea rice is the carb count. With 30g total carbs per serving, it’s lower carb than regular rice but still not low enough for many keto dieters and some low-carb eaters. 

Pros

  • A healthier option with fewer carbs and more protein, fiber, and nutrients.
  • Is said to be more filling than other plant-based alternatives like cauliflower rice.
  • Available in two different varieties for more versatility. 

Cons

  • With a higher carb count than other rice alternatives, it may not fit within your macro goals.
  • A bit more expensive than traditional rice, making it more difficult to purchase regularly. 
  • The consistency and shape of the rice are more similar to orzo than traditional rice.
  • It has a more full-bodied flavor, which may not appeal to everyone. 

4. Lentil rice

These versatile legumes are low-carb, high-protein, and packed with other beneficial nutrients such as iron, potassium, fiber, folate, and more. Certain brands like Whole Foods’ Organic Red Lentil Rice contain only organic red lentil flour as an ingredient, making it a clean and nutritious option. It’s also gluten-free, kosher, and low in sugar.

Especially great for risotto dishes, lentil rice cooks down into a similar oozy texture but offers more nutrients and fewer calories and carbs. However, be aware that lentil rice can sometimes come across as dry, so make sure to cook it well with plenty of liquids.

Similar to chickpea rice, lentil rice is also higher in carbs, with nearly 30g per serving. Depending on your diet goals, it’s not as “low-carb” as other alternatives out there. 

Pros

  • Nutrient-dense, high in protein, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients like iron.
  • A great alternative for rice dishes like risotto.
  • Gluten-free, kosher, and low in sugar.

Cons

  • May not be considered a truly low-carb option.
  • It can be dry if not cooked well with enough liquids.
  • Can have a slightly earthy taste that some may not enjoy. 
  • May take longer to cook compared to traditional rice. 

5. Palmini low carb rice

Featured on Shark Tank, Palmini low carb rice is a unique alternative made from hearts of palm. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, and kosher, and has only 20 calories and 4 grams of net carbs per serving. One thing to note is that it doesn’t have much protein, with just 1 gram per serving. Even so, it makes a great option for those looking to reduce their carb intake or following a keto or low-carb diet.

The taste of palmini can vary depending on how you cook it. To prepare it, you need to first rinse and drain the rice, then dry it out. After that, you can cook it with your choice of flavorings or sauces to give it some more taste. I find it works best for fried rice dishes since it has a nice al dente, non-mushy texture.

Pros

  • Low in calories, carbs, sugar, and gluten-free.
  • Has a neutral taste that can be enhanced with many different flavors.
  • Offers a nice texture similar to traditional rice.

Cons

  • Not much protein compared to other alternatives. 
  • Can be a bit time-consuming to prepare and cook.
  • Is quite expensive, so it might not be feasible for regular consumption. 

6. Shirataki rice

Shirataki rice, or “Miracle Rice,” is a popular alternative made from konjac plant. It’s 97% water and 3% fiber, making it extremely low in calories and carbs. It also has no sugar, fat, or protein, making it a great option for those watching their macros and carb intake. 

The texture of shirataki rice is different from traditional rice, with a bouncy and jell-o like consistency. It also has a flavorless taste so it’ll pair well with any dish or sauce you choose to use it in. Don’t be confused when you first open a pack of shirataki rice – it is packaged in water, which helps to maintain its freshness.

Pros

  • Extremely low in calories and carbs, making it a great option for those watching their macros or following a keto or low-carb diet.
  • Has a neutral taste that can be easily paired with any dish.
  • Can be found in most grocery stores and is quite affordable.

Cons 

  • The texture and preparation may take some getting used to.
  • Once opened, some people find that it has a slightly fishy smell, even though it doesn’t contain any fish.
  • It can cause short-term digestive discomfort for some individuals, so you might want to test it out in small amounts first. 

7. Broccoli rice

Consider broccoli rice the curious cousin of cauliflower rice. With a similar texture and taste, it’s another great alternative that offers a healthy dose of nutrients. Broccoli is packed with vitamins, folate, fiber, calcium, iron, and potassium. You can either chop or grate broccoli yourself or find pre-riced broccoli in grocery stores.

A serving of broccoli rice contains about 7 grams of net carbs and 4 grams of fiber and it is surprisingly filling, but might not be as filling as some of the other low carb rice alternatives on this list. It’s easy to make, with options like steaming or microwaving it. You can also add flavorings or sauces to make it more tasty.

Pros

  • Offers a healthy dose of nutrients like vitamins, folate, fiber, and more.
  • Can be made from scratch in just 10 minutes and can be found pre-packaged in some grocery stores. 
  • It’s broccoli, so there’s no surprise on how it’ll taste.

Cons

  • May not be as filling as other low carb rice alternatives.
  • The taste might not appeal to everyone, especially if you’re not a fan of broccoli.
  • It’ll be quite far from the flavor and texture of actual rice.
Two servings of halal cart chicken with sauce and toppings.

Low-Carb Rice Recipes to Try

Similar Posts