“Romesco” is a nut-based sauce that originated in the Spanish region of Catalonia. Traditional Catalan romesco sauces are made with toasted almonds, pine nuts, or hazelnuts, roasted bell peppers or tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil.
Some chefs use a variety of peppers native to the region, like bitxo or nyora peppers. Spanish fishermen used the chunky paste over fish and rice, or with giant chunks of crusty bread. But romesco is the perfect smoky, savory topping for vegetables and other meat if you’re on a keto diet.
This low-carb romesco recipe contains a boost of nutrition from hemp seeds and avocado oil, all while keeping 100% keto by pouring it over healthy cabbage “noodles.”
If you’re just starting a low-carb or keto diet, eliminating pasta completely may sound a bit overwhelming. But no need to stress. With these cabbage noodles, you can have a mock version of your favorite carb-loaded food without feeling deprived of this rich Spanish flavor.
This low-carb romesco is:
The main ingredients are:
- Avocado Oil
- Hemp seeds
- Parmesan cheese
- Shredded gouda
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Red pepper flakes
- Sweet paprika
- Slivered almonds
The Main Health Benefits Of Keto Romanesco
#1: Gut Health
A healthy gut is the cornerstone of a healthy body. And the secret to a healthy gut is eliminating inflammation and making sure that your gut microbiome is healthy.
Cabbage is incredible for your gut, partially because of its high glutamine content. Glutamine is essential for the structure and function of your gut lining[*]. And keeping your gut lining strong is the key to nutrient absorption and immune function.
When you have “leaky gut” (aka, intestinal permeability), undigested food particles and other compounds can get through your weakened gut lining and into your bloodstream.
This triggers your immune defenses in a new way because now your body has to deal with foreign objects in your blood.
Glutamine, with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, keeps your gut lining healthy and strong — inhibiting and even healing the progression of leaky gut[*].
Glutamine may also increase your glutathione production, also known as your body’s master antioxidant. More glutathione means less overall oxidative stress and inflammation[*].
#2: Enhances Mood
Hemp seeds are a great source of magnesium, packed with 210 grams in just one tablespoon[*].
Magnesium is a crucial nutrient for brain health and mood. In fact, studies suggest that magnesium may help relieve mood fluctuations in women with PMS symptoms and may even help treat depression[*][*].
Magnesium works by calming your nervous system. As your nervous system calms down, you’ll notice that stress, anxiety, and fear also take a backseat[*].
Feeling angry? Have some avocado oil. A small study was conducted with 32 people to determine the effect of monounsaturated fat on energy expenditure as compared with saturated fat.
The study found that a diet high in oleic oil (the monounsaturated fat found in abundance in avocado oil and olive oil) not only increased energy expenditure and physical activity but also decreased feelings of anger[*].
#3: Protects Against Cancer
Garlic has been used for centuries to treat a variety of illnesses and is known for its cancer-fighting properties. While the exact mechanism for its anticancer effects is still unknown, the compound allicin may be a contributing factor[*][*].
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage are also known for their detox and cancer-fighting properties.
Next time you bite into a piece of cabbage, notice the bitter aftertaste. That little kick comes from glucosinolate, a compound that tends to be high in cruciferous vegetables — cabbage in particular.
Glucosinolates have been shown to exhibit cancer protective properties, especially in lung and colon cancer[*]. The breakdown of glucosinolates also alters hormone metabolism in a way that could inhibit some hormone-sensitive cancers, like breast cancer[*].
Cruciferous vegetables, in general, contain cancer-fighting nutrients that may protect against oxidative damage from reactive oxygen species (ROS), slow tumor growth, and increase cell death of cancer cells[*].
Oleic acid in avocado oil also protects your cells from oxidative stress and DNA damage. This protection may help decrease the risk of cancer, specifically colon and breast cancer[*].
This was shown in a retrospective study that assessed women’s diets and their risk of developing breast cancer. In a sample of more than 2,500 women, those with the highest intake of oleic acid had the lowest risk of breast cancer[*].
Cabbage Noodles with Romesco Sauce
Use romesco sauce over steak, chicken breast, fatty fish, or serve with a side of golden brown roasted cabbage noodles.
Gluten-free, dairy-free, and low-carb — make sure to make enough of these keto-friendly noodles for second helpings.
For a bit of tang and depth of flavor, add a squeeze of lemon juice and a handful of flat leaf parsley to your romesco mixture.Print
Low-Carb Romanesco With Cabbage Noodles
This tasty low-carb romesco sauce is the perfect gluten-free, dairy-free, and keto answer to your Spanish food cravings.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
For the noodles:
- 1 head green cabbage
- ½ tablespoon avocado oil (per cup of shredded cabbage)
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt (per cup of shredded cabbage)
For the Sauce:
- ¼ cup shelled hemp seeds
- ¼ cup avocado oil
- ½ small Vidalia onion, sliced.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1–2 large garlic cloves, smashed
- 2 tablespoons chopped green olives
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Halve and core your cabbage. Place one half cabbage flat side down and begin to slice it in very thin slices starting on the round side. The sliced cabbage should look like confetti. Yield will depend on the size of the cabbage.
- Using the oil and salt suggestions above, toss the cabbage with oil and salt, and flatten it out over the sheet pan — no more than 5 cups of shredded cabbage per sheet pan.
- Roast for 10-15 minutes until tender and lightly browned at the tips.
- To make the sauce, heat a small skillet over high heat. Add the seeds and heat until lightly browned. Remove from the skillet.
- Add in the oil and onions. Fry the onions until golden.
- Transfer the fried onions, toasted seeds and the rest of the ingredients to a blender or food processor, and blend until chunky sauce forms. Spoon the sauce over the noodles and dig in.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 244
- Fat: 22.6
- Carbohydrates: 7.3
- Fiber: 2.3
- Protein: 4.8
Keywords: Low-Carb Romesco