A while ago, I saw vegan mozzarella sticks on a menu and got super excited. Back in my dairy days, I would have eaten mozzarella sticks as an actual meal, either at a restaurant or at home. Fried mozzarella sticks are a food that I actually really miss – especially as a vegan mozzarella stick isn’t exactly common in grocery stores. A low carb or keto vegan mozzarella stick is even less common, given that breading on these bad boys tends to be, well, flour. So, after learning at this restaurant that the vegan mozzarella sticks were neither low-carb nor gluten-free, I set out to make my own vegan keto mozzarella sticks recipe.
What intrigued me so much about the vegan mozzarella sticks I saw was that they weren’t made from fake cheese; they were made from hearts of palm (!!). I knew hearts of palm could be a pretty useful ingredient (I use them both in my vegan keto crab cakes and low carb faux fish tacos) but had never considered using them for a cheesy tasting food. Seriously, whoever came up with this originally is a complete genius.
As you may know, hearts of palm come from the palm tree, which isn’t commonly harvested in a remotely sustainable way. However, the hearts of palm I use (from Native Forest – an awesome company) employ a novel practice that is both sustainable and actually works with the local populations. Yay!
I’m so excited about how these little guys turned out. Do they taste exactly the same as traditional mozzarella sticks? Of course not, but they are a super taste replacement that happens to be dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soy-free, gluten-free and pretty darn easy to make!
Notes on Making Vegan Keto “Mozzarella” Sticks (gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free)
- Make sure the hearts of palm you use are not packed in syrup! I’ve been informed that some brands add sugar. I know neither Native Forest nor the 365 hearts of palm have sugar, though. 🙂
- Hearts of palm typically come in two cuts – “whole” and “salad cut.” Salad cut are great for other recipes where they need to be chopped up, but you want to use whole ones here.
- The sauce is just as important as the sticks here! You want to use a low-sugar tomato sauce. Rao’s has become the darling of the keto world, and it’s totally understandable why.
- Fun fact: About five years ago, my roommate and I were so into Rao’s that we would buy it by the case when it went on sale because the sale price + our employee discount + a case discount = a reasonable price for sauce. Now that I have to pay the real price, I’m a lot less liberal with my sauce usage.
- To boost the fat in this recipe, dip these babies in pesto! 😀
- I used the USDA values to calculate nutrition for this recipe with Cronometer. If you use different brands, your nutrition info may vary. Always remember to check the labels on ingredients!
- The lupin flour used in this recipe is pretty spendy, but can easily be replaced with either soy flour or chickpea flour, which cost 1/4 of the price. I definitely was not enthused about spending so much on the lupin flour at first, but it turns out to be totally worth it. I’ve just been using small amounts in recipes, so it goes pretty far, but it really helps everything bind together and have a much better texture. It has all the strengths (baking-wise) of soy flour or chickpea flour, with fewer carbs.
This low carb vegan twist on mozzarella sticks is super tasty and captures the flavor of that classic vegetarian appetizer while being dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free and soy-free. Plus, they contain just 1g of net carbs each!
- 10 pieces of hearts of palm (yield from 2 cans)
- 2 tbsp lupin flour (or soy flour or chickpea flour)
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- pinch of salt
- pinch of ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and have on hand a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Drain the hearts of palm.
- In a flat dish that is wide enough to fit one whole heart of palm with some room (I used a glass food storage container), whisk together dry ingredients and then stir in olive oil and water. Stir out lumps so the batter is smooth.
- Roll around each heart of palm until completely coated in the batter, place on the baking tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the coating is firm to the touch and uniformly golden.
- Dip in marinara, and enjoy!
***If the batter is too thick to coat evenly, add 1 tsp of water and stir in completely.
***If you want a super thick coating, add in only 2 tablespoons of water and coat just 1 can of hearts of palm. These may need an extra five minutes in the oven, but are super crispy and filling.