So, yes the below is a real conversation – I should call it a badgering – I had to endure recently:
“So on keto you can’t use breadcrumbs, right? Are there alot of carbs in breadcrumbs? … So how do you “bread” and fry anything?! Does this mean you have to give up chicken parm? What about my favourite veal cutlets? I could never do keto…”Uninitiated Carbaholic – prepare to be ‘woke!
I started to talk alternatives, but this individual had already switched off and moved on. Alright no problem, this is kind of common with most people who ask about my way of eating. I don’t preach, man, I’ll just whip up this awesome recipe, snap a few pics, and share with those who are actually interested that there are alternatives to every dish you can think of. Read on and enjoy my “revenge of the breadcrumb” recipe.
What’s this? We Have a New Challenger!
Find me an Italian (or anybody – let’s be real here) who doesn’t rank those breaded dishes right at the top of their favourite comfort food lists. Why are breaded + fried items so delicious? I know you know, but just allow me a moment to ‘indulge’ myself here – the savory flavours of well-seasoned protein, complimented by the crunchy bite of crispy bits brought to life by the high heat of broiling or frying. Take it to the next level by smothering it with sweet notes via your signature homemade tomatoe sauce, and bring it all together with a gooey melted cheese element. Yeah it’s tough to beat. And good news you don’t need to give it up on keto. Other than the breading, everything we are drooling over is keto-friendly. I’m going to show you how easy it is to replace breadcrumbs with – brace yourself – pork rinds.
Pork Rinds to the Rescue
So there you go, the secret is out. Our ultra-classified “breadcrumb substitute” is a snack food I had never even tasted before switching to keto. This zero carb snack is one of the few sub-ins for chips you have available as a “ready to eat out of the bag” item on keto. (Aside: Another off-the-shelf “chip” substitute item are these cheese whisps I love.) When I first dabbled with pork rinds, I did up a keto plate of nachos, melted cheese on ’em in the microwave and topped with jalapenos & salsa. Glorious! So this snack food has given and keeps on giving! PS: The kids love ’em!
So our pork rinds work like a charm as breading, and are fun to mess around with as filler or ‘crust’ (I’ve used them in a cauliflower mac and cheese, or to ‘dust’ a keto casserole for some crunch!). All you do is crush them up to a medium-fine consistency, add a few seasonings (onion / garlic powder tossed with some some dried oregano & parsley give an Italian inspired herbaceousness – and yes I looked that spelling up) and use just like breadcrumbs!
Think back to my conversation earlier in the post. What exactly was it this person thinks they are “missing“? Is it the bland breadcrumbs themselves? Of course not. Is it the sandwich bun – meant to act as nutrient-void filler? Or maybe some plain pasta noodles you were just using as a vehicle to mop up the delicious sauce, or smother in cheese? Enjoy the flavours – ditch the carbs and remember always leave the love.
Step by Step Pork-Rind Breadcrumbs
- Crush pork rinds – most come packaged in a convenient “crush”-bag!
- Add your preferred seasonings & shake
- Set up assembly line: Meat to egg bath to pork rind mix to tray
- Tip: really press the egg-washed protein in to the pork rinds
- Either bake at high heat (broil to finish) or pan-fry on medium-high
By coating your protein in these alternative breadcrumbs, your result is actually a crunchier texture than I was able to achieve with normal breadcrumbs. Must be the fat trapped in the pork helping things along! I’ve got super-juicy chicken, pork and veal while keeping those pesky carbs down (and spared myself and guests a blood sugar crash to the couch). Instead of putting your pork-rind crusted creations in a “traditional” sandwich, or sitting atop a mountain of flavourless spaghetti noodles, opt instead for eating it as the star of the show! Plate it up topped with your tomatoe sauce, melted cheese, and a few veggies (roasted eggplant is a fave!) on the side to soak up any / cheese spillover. Buon appetito!