Nowadays everyone is eating “low carb”. To be honest, most of the time, I am as well. But, if put a french fry in front of me, it’s over. Am I the only one? I decided to go on a mission to find the best low carb french fry alternative. Don’t worry, no one was harmed in this experiment. Except for me that is… I cut myself with the mandolin. LOL
My initial thought was that I would fry each vegetable the traditional way in vegetable oil and do another batch in the air fryer. Unfortunately, my air fryer batch was a fail. I feel like that is its own experiment altogether. We’ll see if I ever get around to it. But in the mean time, check out my findings. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
For this experiment I used 5 vegetables including the control group, which ofcourse is the potato.
- Sweet Potato
How to cut your fries:
I normally cut my fries by hand with a knife because I hate having to clean another kitchen gadget and I like how some fries are thick and some are thin. However, this time I used a mandolin so that they were all the same and would cook evenly. The choice is up to you. Just keep in mind that they will shrink, so if you don’t want shoestring fries, you should cut them similar to the image below. You also want to be extremely careful if using a mandolin. Like I mentioned earlier, I cut myself. So you’ll want to make sure you’re always using to guard so you protect your hand and fingers.
Frying vs. Air Frying:
This is a tricky one. If you’re trying to cut calories and fat, then air frying is the way to go. However, I will warn you. As I mentioned earlier, my attempts at air frying was a fail, even with just regular ol’ potatoes. Using the air fryer dries out your vegetable. You need to put the fat back in by tossing it in oil in order for it to cook properly. In my opinion, that defeats the purpose of air frying. I sprayed mine with avocado oil spray (I even added more in the middle of the cooking process) and it was not enough. The vegetables were dry and hard. And some burned.
If you’re going to use a lower carb vegetable, I recommend just frying it in oil. You’re already cutting a lot of calories because of the vegetable you’re using. I personally would rather not sacrifice the taste for a few extra calories.
1. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are great. They still have a significant amount of carbs if you’re trying to do low carb (27g per cup). But they are on the low end of the glycemic index (depending on how you cook them) which means they won’t spike your blood sugar as much as other carbs. Cooking them as fries are a slightly better alternative to potatoes. You can either fry them in oil or bake them. They’re delicious either way.
It’s hard to know where exactly the french fry originated; some claim it to be France and others will say it was Belgium. But there’s no arguing that the potato is by far the best tasting “fry”. It is however, one of the highest carb options at 31g per cup. Potatoes will give you the best crispy on the outside, soft on the inside texture. They are neutral enough that you can add just about any topping to it, but have it’s own delicious unique flavor that is so good, you can eat it all on it’s on.
Jicama is a root vegetable native to Mexico and South America. The inside of a jicama is white and crispy with a slight sweetness. It reminds me of water chestnut. Jicama can be eaten raw, sliced up in a salad, or cooked. The jicama fried up very nicely, with a crisp exterior. However, given the crispiness of this vegetable in its raw state, that carries over even when it’s cooked. It almost had a “raw potato” texture inside and never gets quite soft. This might turn people off, but I didn’t mind. Jicama is 11g of carbs per cup.
The rutabaga is a root vegetable that is often described as a cross between a turnip and a cabbage. Similar to jicama, this vegetable is low in carbs at 12g of carbs per cup. The flavor of a rutabaga is slightly sweeter than a potato with hint of bitterness. Fried, this remained crispy on the outside and soft on the inside similar to a potato.
Turnips have the lowest amount of carbs by far at just 8g of carbs per cup. Originating in middle and eastern Asia, turnips are another root vegetable and considered in the “mustard” family. Turnips can be eaten both raw and cooked. When eaten raw, turnips taste mildly spicy but change flavor when cooked to more sweet earthy flavor, similar to a potato. While similar in taste to a potato, when fried, the turnip remained soggy and slightly greasy.
Depending on your preference, any of these vegetables make a great alternative to a potato. While I liked the taste of the turnip the best, in my opinion, the rutabaga won against them all both in taste and texture.