9 Bread Alternatives for a Low-Carb Sandwich

Article posted in: Nutrition
mushrooms bun burger for a low-carb bread swap

Hoagie. Hero. Sub. Grinder. Sammie. Sandwich names can be as diverse as the fillings inside. One would think that a low-carb diet would discourage sandwiches because of the most valuable ingredient: Bread. However, that’s not the case when you’re following the South Beach Diet. There are too many healthy things about a sandwich to ignore: Proteins like roast beef, chicken and fish; Non-Starchy Vegetables like lettuce, onions and tomatoes; Healthy Fats like avocado, cheese and olive-oil-based mayonnaise. The bread, believe it or not, can easily and deliciously be substituted with a variety of low-carb options. So, you say you want a sandwich? Go for it.

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Here are nine tasty bread swaps for a low-carb sandwich:

1. Greens

lettuce bun

Have you ever had raw collards or Swiss chard leaves? They’re crunchy, right? Plus, they’re big like a slice of bread. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), collards contain less than two grams of carbs in a whole cup, as well as fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium. The mildly bitter flavor is an awesome complement on a Reuben or buffalo chicken sandwich. However, it might not be your first choice on your everyday turkey and cheese. That’s where romaine or butter lettuce can save the day. We like rolling lettuce sandwiches into wraps so everything stays together.

2. Eggplant Slices

keto bread

A meatier alternative to lettuce, eggplant is another great bread substitute that packs a nutritious punch. According to Healthline, one cup of this nightshade contains 20 calories, five grams of carbohydrates and three grams of fiber. Plus, you’ll get plenty of other nutrients, such as folate, manganese, potassium and vitamins K and C.

Stay true to its Italian roots by making a caprese, chicken cutlet or prosciutto and ham sandwich complete with roasted red peppers. Or, try nestling a burger—lamb or beef—inside. Grill the eggplant a bit while the meat’s cooking. You’ll love the smokiness it gives your sammie!

3. Portobello Mushrooms Caps

keto bread

Much like eggplant, portobello mushrooms are meaty and filling. They have the perfect burger bun shape and are a nice, big, bread-like size. Plus, they are very versatile and can be eaten raw or grilled. According to Men’s Health, one whole portobello mushroom contains 22 calories and two grams of protein. They are also rich in B vitamins, potassium, copper and selenium.

Mushrooms and avocados both have a buttery flavor, so the combination of these ingredients is perfect with lean meat like turkey. Or, forget the meat altogether! When grilled, mushrooms are infused with meaty flavor. Load up your mushroom sandwich with crunchy veggies or simply top with cheese and tomatoes for a toasted, open-faced sandwich. Add a few sesame seeds to the top for that real burger bun feel.

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4. Baked Cheese

keto bread

Cheese may be the world’s best food. It’s creamy, salty, gooey and flavorful. Plus, it’s nutritious and rich in healthy fats. Did you know that you can bake shredded or sliced cheese and it becomes a crispy chip when it cools? Now imagine two cheese chips holding your ham sandwich—with a juicy tomato and crisp lettuce—together. Our Breadless Ham and Cheese Sandwich takes just 10 minutes, start to finish.

Condiment Tip: Note the coarse-grain mustard in this recipe. Mustard is a Free Food on the South Beach Diet and all varieties (except honey mustard or those with added sugar) are permitted. Other sandwich-friendly, South Beach Diet-approved condiments include herb-based pesto, horseradish, hot sauce, sugar-free ketchup and salsa.

5. Almond Flour Bread

almond flour

Our Almond Flour Bread is for all you sandwich enthusiasts. This recipe comes together with eggs, cream of tartar, butter, almond flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum—most of which you can find in the baking aisle at your supermarket.

One loaf makes six servings and one serving is two slices. You can also make your slices thinner if you’d like to save some calories! We recommend making two loaves—one for now and one for the freezer—so you’ve always got some tasty bread on hand. Want to make rolls? Pour the batter into a monster muffin tin and do the toothpick test around the 20-minute mark.

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6. Cloud Bread

cloud bread

In Dr. Agatston’s new book, The New Keto-Friendly South Beach Diet, you’ll find oodles of information about The South Beach Diet as well as 100+ recipes. One of our favorite recipes is a gem called Cloud Bread.

Like our Almond Flour Bread recipe above, it uses eggs and cream-of-tartar to rise. However, Dr. Agatston’s Cloud Bread uses cream cheese and Greek yogurt instead of almond flour and baking powder. The result, believe it or not, is a pillowy, Naan-like bread that has just one gram of carbs and seven grams of protein. He also offers a garlic Parmesan or “everything bagel” topping if you love flavored bread.

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7. Sweet Potato Toast

keto bread

Thinly sliced sweet potatoes are the perfect minimally processed bread replacement for your low-carb diet! Simply slice up some sweet potatoes and throw them in your toaster. In a few minutes, you’ll have perfectly crispy sweet potato toast that’s ready for your favorite sandwich filling. Since sweet potatoes are a starchy vegetables, enjoy them in moderation. Keep your net carbs limited to 50 grams or less per day on the South Beach Diet meal plan.

8. Cucumber or Zucchini Subs

keto bread

A hollowed out cucumber or zucchini can replace your favorite sub sandwich or hoagie roll! Slice a raw cucumber, zucchini or summer squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Add your favorite toppings and place the other half on top. You can even enjoy it open-faced! This hydrating bread swap is a great option for those hot summer months and is perfect for chilled options like tuna salad, chicken salad or deli meats.

9. Bell Peppers

stuffed peppers

Bell peppers can easily be transformed into a vessel for your sandwich. Simply cut the ends off and stuff the pepper with your favorite fixings (this is the perfect option for a low-carb burrito!). You can also slice the pepper in half and remove the seeds. Use one half as the bottom piece of bread and add your meat, cheese and more veggies. Feel free to throw the peppers on the grill for a minute or two to add a bit more flavor! Top your sandwich with the other pepper half and dig in.