Bread isn’t just delicious. It’s also incredibly versatile and something that we use, in one form or another, in countless meals. However, has multiple issues. Bread is high in carbs, contains gluten, and doesn’t even offer that many nutrients to begin with. Whole grain bread can be better, but the antinutrients may mean that your body isn’t absorbing many of the extra nutrients. This is why bread alternatives are so powerful.
These foods can often be used in the exact same way as bread and get around some of the key problems of bread. For example, many bread alternatives are gluten free. Some are low in carbs too, and contain more nutrients than bread, making them perfect for keto dieters.
Some involve a decent amount of work, as they’re created in a similar way to bread, just with a different selection of ingredients. Others can be as simple as using a leaf of lettuce instead of a bun for your burger.
We’re covering both extremes in this post, along with plenty of other examples. You’re certain to find some exciting options that you can try at home.
Delicious Bread Alternatives
Lettuce leaves are one of the simplest alternatives to bread. They’re often used in place of tortilla wraps, as you can roll them in such the same way. The approach is a fantastic way to make your meal healthier too, as lettuce is a low calorie ingredient with barely any carbs.
Of course, lettuce is flimsy. It might take some practice before you can make a lettuce wrap or sandwich that stays together. One trick is to use something on the outside, like tinfoil or clingwrap, to hold the sandwich together while you eat it.
Lettuce can be used in other ways too. For example, you can make a bunless burger by using lettuce leaves instead of burger buns.
Dark Leafy Greens
You can take a similar approach with dark leafy greens rather than lettuce. This style can be more frustrating, as you’re often working with smaller leaves. Still, once you get the hang of this approach, you can make some delicious wraps.
The idea is worth persisting with, as dark leafy greens are some of the most nutritious vegetables out there. You can always use a skewer to help hold your wrap together.
These leafy greens are more resilient than lettuce, so you can use hot or cold ingredients in them. In contrast, the crunchy nature of lettuce means that it works best with cold ingredients.
Avocados work surprisingly well as an alternative to a burger bun. If nothing else, they create a burger that looks amazing. The flavor would be a knockout too, as the avocado ends up dominating the meal, rather than being an add-on ingredient.
This type of burger is popular on a keto diet, as it lets you replace a high-carb ingredient with one that’s rich in healthy fats.
While the approach looks and tastes stunning, there are two main problems.
The first is that a burger like this is challenging to eat. The avocado will tend to squish in your hands, especially if it is very ripe. You’ll often need to eat the burger with a knife and fork instead.
The second problem is that you end up with a high calorie meal. After all, a whole avocado contains around 250 calories and you’ll need the entire thing to create a burger. Other ingredients might be high in calories as well, like eggs and meat.
Seaweed isn’t just for sushi. You can also use seaweed as an alternative to bread. This mostly means that you’ll be making wraps with the seaweed.
You don’t need to stick to Asian flavors in your wrap either. Many combinations that you use in a regular wrap will taste just as good in seaweed. Why not play around and find some new favorites?
If they’re large enough, portobello mushrooms can be used as a burger bun. The finished meal is quite different than a burger made with avocado or bread, as mushrooms can be dense and meaty.
Mushrooms are also low in carbs and are a fantastic source of nutrients. They’re the perfect choice if an avocado burger feels like too much.
Don’t forget that you can make an open-faced burger, using one burger bun alternative rather than two. This style is ideal for options like mushrooms, as using two portobello mushrooms might feel like too much.
Rice paper is thin and easy to use. You don’t even need to cook it. Instead, you just dip the rice paper in warm water until it is moist. It then becomes pliable enough that you can roll it (once you’ve included a selection of veggies inside).
Rice paper is a fantastic way to make healthy wraps without using any bread at all. One fun feature is that you can easily see through the rice paper. This makes it easy to create a wrap that looks stunning.
You’re not limited to the traditional spring roll style either. Some people use rice paper for other recipes too, like a breakfast burrito or an egg roll.
While rice paper tends to be healthy, it is higher in carbs than some other options. This could be an issue if you’re following a low carb diet.
Apples are fun and easy. While you could hollow them out, the best trick is to make slices from the thickest part of the apple and use these to sandwich ingredients.
One of the easiest options would be to spread peanut butter between the slices. This gives you a protein-rich snack that’s also tasty. A combination of deli meat and cheese works well too.
The simplest way to use meat instead of bread is if you’re making a wrap. You’ll be relying on thinly sliced sandwich meat. You can simply roll the other fillings up inside it.
This style is great for keto dieters, as the snack is naturally low in carbs. Of course, you’re limited by the size of the piece of meat. This will often be small, so you’ll be making snacks rather than a full burrito-like meal.
You can also use thicker pieces of meat to create a more conventional sandwich. Ham steaks would be an easy choice here, as the meat is already cooked and is lean. Cooked chicken breast works well too. Just make sure that the pieces aren’t too dry.
It’s even possible to use hamburger patties as the outside to a burger or to make a steak sandwich with steak on the outside. While those two approaches can be delicious and filling, you do end up with a messy meal. Best to eat them with a knife and fork.
Did you know that you can make sandwiches with eggplants instead of bread? The most common way is to slice the eggplant into disks. These should be around an inch thick or a little thinner. Don’t make them too thin or your sandwich won’t stay together.
When you have the slices that you want, they can then be seasoned and cooked. Be careful with your cooking time, as overcooked eggplants aren’t firm and won’t work well in sandwiches.
Let the cooked eggplant cool. Once you’ve done this, the eggplant slices can easily be used as bread.
The size of the disks is perfect for making hamburgers. If you want a more traditional sandwich, try slicing the eggplant lengthways instead of making disks. You could even make a Subway-style sandwich this way.
As the image shows, you can use a large slice of sweet potato as a sandwich base. Sweet potato has the right texture to make this style work well. While you could make a full sandwich with two pieces of sweet potato, the open-faced style is more popular.
The trick is to get the size of your slices right. They need to be thin enough to cook quickly, but thick enough that they will stay firm. Somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of an inch can work well.
The beauty of sweet potato slices is that you can literally cook them in the toaster. You’re trying to get them tender to your fork, but not ultra-soft. Let them cool on a wire rack after toasting (so they don’t end up soggy). Then you can start to add your toppings.
Not surprisingly, sweet potato toast doesn’t taste much like regular toast at all. Don’t let this put you off. The root vegetable still makes a delicious breakfast or brunch.
Cucumbers and Pickles
Cucumbers are often used as the base of appetizers, but this isn’t your only option. You can make an entire sandwich using a cucumber too.
To do so, you need to hollow out the cucumber so there’s enough room for fillings. Then you treat it roughly like a sub and load it with whatever ingredients you like.
You can even do the same thing with pickles. To do this, you’ll need a pickle that’s large enough to hold your ingredients. While cucumbers may be easier to work with than pickles, pickles do have a more intense and interesting flavor. This might make them a better choice.
There are other approaches too. For example, you can make large and thin slices of cucumber and use these to wrap your fillings.
Tomatoes can be used as bread alternatives too, especially if you want to make a hamburger. You’ll need to rely on the ends of the tomato, as slices from the middle won’t hold together well enough to be useful.
You could hollow the ends out a little too. This would make it easier to keep all your ingredients in place.
I’ve also seen stacked sandwiches that use multiple tomato slices instead of bread. You’d need a skewer or something similar to hold that style of sandwich together. Firm tomatoes would work best too, as a sandwich with ultra-ripe tomatoes would quickly fall apart.
While we’re talking about hollowing out foods, try making sandwiches from bell peppers. This idea works even better than you might expect, as a hollowed-out bell pepper gives you plenty of space to work with.
This bread alternative is fantastic if you want something fresh and vibrant. Any type of bell pepper will work well here. Still, a red one might be the best place to begin, as this is the sweetest bell pepper, which makes it easy to eat.
Corn tortillas are one of the simplest alternatives to bread, as they’re just like regular tortillas, except that they’re made of corn. This means that you can use them to make delicious wraps without any problems.
These tortillas are also incredibly easy to find. Most grocery stores will sell them. You can even make them yourself at home.
Because they’re made from corn, these tortillas are naturally gluten free. Of course, the tortillas are made from a type of grain and they’re often processed. This means that they’re full of carbs and contain fewer nutrients than many other bread alternatives.
Who first thought of using cheese as a bread alternative? It sounds like a strange idea, yet you can make surprisingly delicious meals this way.
The most common approach is to create tortilla pockets out of cheese. To do this, you’re melting the cheese in large circles. You then wait until the cheese has started to cool down and harden, but is still malleable. When this happens, you can drape each circle of cheese over a stick and allow it to set all the way.
You end up with a crisp cheesy shell that doesn’t use any flour at all. You could also mix some herbs in with the cheese to create a more exciting flavor.
Cheese can be used in other ways too. For example, smaller circles of cheese end up being delicious crackers. Try making some and dipping them in marinara sauce.
Have you ever tried using eggs as the outside of a burger or a breakfast sandwich? The idea might sound strange, but it can work surprisingly well. The simplest option is to fry the egg. Make sure that the yolk is solid rather than runny, or your sandwich will be tricky to eat.
You could also make a type of egg patty, similar to what is used in some breakfast sandwiches. The patty will need to be solid enough to keep its structure when you bite into the burger.
If you’re making a bunless burger, then you might use a fried egg instead of the top burger bun and a meat patty or some lettuce instead of the bottom one. This style is messier than a regular burger (especially if you eat it with your hands). Still, it’s one of the most straightfoward options, as there’s nothing extra to prepare.
Finally, you can even make baby sandwiches using half of a hard boiled egg instead of bread.
Cloud bread is the first of our bread-like options. Despite the appearance and name, cloud bread is quite different than regular bread. It has a much lighter texture and an eggy flavor. The egginess isn’t surprising, as eggs are one of the main ingredients in the recipe.
Other ingredients include cream cheese and cream of tartar.
Don’t worry if this sounds boring. There are many ways to change up cloud bread. Some recipes add extra flavorings, while others change the ingredients to give the bread a better nutritional profile.
We’ve collected a range of cloud bread recipes that you can check out. They’re all keto-friendly and could be enjoyed on any diet.
Keto Seed Bread
Keto seed bread recipes give you most of the advantages of a regular loaf of bread, without the problem of carbs. Most of them are gluten free too or are at least low in gluten.
As the name suggests, these recipes use seeds as a main ingredient. We’re not talking about seeds that have been ground into flour either. Instead, the seeds are typically used whole. This means that you don’t get the blood sugar spike that you see with white bread. The seeds also create an interesting texture.
Many of the recipes rely on at least one type of keto flour. Almond flour and coconut flour at the most common options. Some recipes allow you to use one type or the other, which could be helpful if you are allergic to coconuts or almonds.
Zucchini bread is another common style and keto versions are ideal as bread alternatives. You can probably guess how the recipes work by now. They rely on at least one type of low-carb flour and also include zucchini as an ingredient.
As odd as the idea sounds, zucchini works well as a bread ingredient. You often won’t taste it, but the vegetable provides much-needed moisture. This can be essential, as keto bread recipes are often fairly dry.
Some zucchini bread recipes are simple and use relatively few ingredients. Others are much more complicated, adding in extra items that enhance the flavor and texture. With so many recipes to choose from, it should be easy to find a version that you love.
Cauliflower doesn’t sound like a vegetable to get excited about. After all, it doesn’t have much flavor and is pretty boring to look at too. Even so, cauliflower has become the darling ingredient for keto dieters.
One reason is the carb content. Cauliflower only contains around 4% carbs, which is impressive. The blandness of cauliflower is an advantage too. This means that cauliflower can be used in many recipes without changing the flavor much.
There are two main options here for bread alternatives. The first is cauliflower bread, which includes options like tortillas, flatbread, cheesy breadsticks, and more.
The other option is cauliflower pizza bases. This is one of the best ways to enjoy pizza on a keto diet. And honestly, you might use a cauliflower crust just to make your pizza healthier, regardless of your stance on carbs.
Other Keto Breads
There are countless other types of keto bread recipes, including ones that rely on coconut flour and others that use almond flour instead. The recipes vary in the ingredients that they use, along with their overall style. For example, there are some cheesy garlic bread options out there and others that mimic monkey bread.
Still, the basic idea is almost always the same – recipe creators are trying to create bread alternatives that are as close to the real thing as possible. This style has some advantages. In particular, you might not feel like you’re missing out because you still get something that looks similar to regular bread.
Of course, keto breads all have their limitations. They won’t quite have the same texture or flavor as regular bread. The recipes often require unusual ingredients too, which can be a pain. And, like regular bread, many of these options are relatively low in nutrients.
These patterns can make the ingredients like eggplant, lettuce, and bell peppers much more appealing. At least those ones don’t require much work and are packed with nutrients.
In the end though, the best choice will depend on what you want to do with your ‘bread’, along with your own preferences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a few different types and learn what you enjoy.