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By Peta Martin Dr Pennie Taylor Professor Grant Brinkworth 25 October 2022 4 min read

Think low carb eating means you need to be restrictive, go heavy on meat or skip treats like pancakes? Think again! Our researchers[Link will open in a new window] have been busy creating a book full of flavoursome recipes to help make low-carb eating easy, flexible and accessible.

The CSIRO Low-Carb Diet Easy 100[Link will open in a new window] book is available now and has plenty or recipes including variety of meals, snacks, drinks and even pantry tips to help support you through your low-carb day.

To celebrate the newest book in the CSIRO low-Carb Diet Health Program we’d like to share two meat-free meals (and spoiler alert, one is a pancake!) so you can try easy low-carb eating[Link will open in a new window] today.

Tofu saag

Serves four | preparation 15 minutes | cooking 15 minutes

Tofu Saag has a creamy spinach base using herbs to create a complex flavour sensation that has only 10 grams (g) of carbs per serve. Add tofu and you have a good source of protein.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 600 g firm tofu, cut into 2 centimetres (cm) dice
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large zucchini, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 kg English spinach, thick stems removed (2–3 bunches)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1⁄2 cup (130 g) low-fat natural yoghurt
  • 450 g cauliflower rice, heated according to the packet instructions


  1. Heat half the olive oil in a large, deep-frying pan over medium heat. Add the tofu and cook, tossing occasionally, for 5 minutes until the tofu is golden brown on most sides. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

  1. Return the frying pan to the heat with the remaining olive oil. Add the onion and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4–5 minutes until the vegetables are golden. Add the garlic, turmeric, cumin and garam masala and stir for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the spinach leaves, a large handful at a time, and stir until wilted.

  1. Transfer the mixture to an upright blender, along with the lemon juice, and process until smooth.

  1. Return the pureed spinach to the frying pan, along with the tofu and the yoghurt. Stir everything together, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 1–2 minutes to warm through gently.

  1. Divide the warmed cauliflower rice and tofu saag between four bowls and serve.

You can freeze this meal too if you’re cooking for one or two. Divide individual portions of the tofu saag into containers, allow to cool, then freeze for up to two months. Freeze the cauliflower rice separately and heat it separately from the tofu saag.

A stack of zucchini chickpea pancakes sit on a serving board next to a plate of mixed salad leaves. In front of the serving board is half a lemon, a bowl of crispy chickpeas and a plate with yoghurt dressing, zucchini pancakes, salad leaves and the crispy chickpeas scattered over the stack and plate.

Zucchini Pancakes with Crispy Chickpeas

Serves four | preparation 15 minutes | cooking 30 minutes

You don't need to skip pancakes while eating low-carb. This recipe is a savoury low-carb delight at just 17 grams (g) of carbs per serve. Chickpeas and eggs provide a good source of meat-free protein in this beautifully presented meal.


  • 750 g zucchini (about 4 medium zucchini)
  • 4 × 55 g free-range eggs
  • 1⁄3 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1⁄3 cup (30 g) chickpea flour (besan)
  • 21⁄2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Yoghurt dressing:

  • 1⁄2 cup (130 g) natural yoghurt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground
  • Black pepper
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
  • 40 g Danish feta

Green salad:

  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup micro green sprouts
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lemon

Crispy chickpeas:

  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 × 400 g tin salt-reduced chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground turmeric


  1. To make the pancakes, finely grate the zucchini on the small holes of a box grater. Use your hands to squeeze out the excess water from the zucchini over the sink, then place in a large bowl. Add the eggs and parsley and whisk to combine. Stir in the chickpea flour until well combined. Set aside for 10 minutes before cooking.

  1. To make the yoghurt dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, mashing the feta in with a fork. Set aside.

  1. To make the green salad, place the spinach and sprouts in a bowl, squeeze the lemon juice over and toss to coat. Set aside.

  1. Heat a dash of the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Scoop up 1⁄4 cup amounts of the zucchini batter and place in the frying pan – you should be able to cook three pancakes at once. Cook the pancakes for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Set aside and repeat with the remaining olive oil and batterer. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and keep warm.

  1. To make the crispy chickpeas, heat the olive oil in the same pan, add the chickpeas and cook, tossing occasionally, for 4–5 minutes, until the chickpeas are crisp on the edges. Sprinkle in the turmeric and toss again for 1 minute until fragrant.

  1. Spread the yoghurt dressing across four plates, top with the pancakes, the green salad, and crispy chickpeas and serve.

Many of the meals in Easy Low-Carb 100 offer freezing instructions too, so you can easily prepare the meals for one or two and freeze the remainder.

CSIRO Low-Carb Diet Easy 100 [Link will open in a new window]is available in digital format and paperback and has plenty of tips and support tools for your low-carb journey.

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