Not every trend that's come out of the keto boom of 2019 has been delicious (looking at you, baked avocado). But replacing bread, tortillas and pizza crusts with lower-carb cauliflower, mushrooms and leafy greens turned out to be tasty, good for you and here to stay.
"I've seen thinly sliced jicama being used as a taco shell or tortilla replacement, lettuce or kale being used to wrap a sandwich, cauliflower mash being mixed with eggs and cheese to make crusts and wraps, and slices of sweet potato roasted and used as sliced bread," says nutrition and fitness expert Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE.
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We watched the rising popularity of veggie bread substitutes firsthand: Our BLT Avocado Toast on Cauliflower was LIVESTRONG.com's sixth most popular recipe of the entire year, and our lettuce-wrap recipes collectively saw a nearly 12 percent increase in traffic between 2019 and 2020.
Not to mention #cauliflowercrust has practically become a way of life for some low-carb pizza-lovers, with the hashtag showing up on Instagram nearly 48,000 times alongside captions like, "Pizza, but make it an extra serving of veg?? Yup, cauliflower pizza base, hello."
The veggie stand-ins aren't just tasty, of course. Trading refined carbs for vegetables is an easy way to bump up your produce and fiber intake, Palinski-Wade says.
Keep scrolling to see 2020's most popular recipes that swap bread for veggies.
1. Turkey Lettuce Wraps
Swapping the usual floury wrap for crunchy romaine lettuce keeps these Asian-inspired lettuce cups light. They're still satisfying, thanks to protein-packed ground turkey and savory flavors like soy sauce and Chinese rice wine vinegar. "This swap saves over 200 calories and approximately 40 grams of carbohydrates while delivering both fiber and antioxidants," Palinski-Wade says.
Get the Turkey Lettuce Wraps recipe and nutrition info here.
2. Prosciutto Mozzarella Avocado Toast on Cauliflower
This low-carb breakfast pick contains 30 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber — which is about 21 to 32 percent of your daily fiber needs, according to the Mayo Clinic. Skip the salt in the cauliflower bread if you want to cut down on this recipe's sodium.
Get the Prosciutto Mozzarella Avocado Toast on Cauliflower recipe and nutrition info here.
3. Roasted Dijon Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Tangy mustard gives your standard chicken breast a big flavor boost. The addition of creamy mozzarella cheese cuts the acidity and makes for a delicious contrast while cucumbers and two types of bell peppers add a satisfying crunch.
Get the Roasted Dijon Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe and nutrition info here.
4. Gluten-Free Turkey Roll-Ups
Palinski-Wade loves the idea of using romaine lettuce instead of plain iceberg as a substitute for bread or wraps. "It offers a combo of bone-building nutrients including calcium, phosphorus and magnesium," she says. This dish gets major flavor thanks to hearty roasted turkey, nutty brown rice, crunchy peppers and asparagus and a touch of creamy mayo.
Get the Gluten-Free Turkey Roll-Ups recipe and nutrition info here.
5. Portobello Egg Sandwich
Seared mushroom caps are loaded with rich umami flavor, but that's not the only reason why they beat out the standard breakfast sandwich bun. "Mushrooms provide a great swap for bread because they boost satiety," Palinski-Wade says. "They're also a good source of fiber, antioxidants and vitamin D."
Get the Portobello Egg Sandwich recipe and nutrition info here.
6. BLT Avocado Toast on Cauliflower
This low-carb take on the BLT is a delicious way to eat more cauliflower. "The cauliflower bread provides a satisfying texture with a boost of fiber and antioxidants while reducing the carbs and calories of the meal," Palinski-Wade says. The bread also provides protein to help you feel fuller longer.
Get the BLT Avocado Toast on Cauliflower recipe and nutrition info here.
7. Kimchi and Grilled Chicken Lettuce Cups
Grilled chicken tucked into buttery Bibb lettuce cups makes for an easy, low-carb meal. But the addition of spicy kimchi is what makes these wraps special. Not only does it deliver serious flavor, but it also serves up extra fiber and a dose of gut-healthy probiotic bacteria.
Get the Kimchi and Grilled Chicken Lettuce Cups recipe and nutrition info here.