Low-carb Larb

This is nutrient-dense version of larb, a traditional Thai dish. It is a very versatile recipe that can handle many substitutions and additions. I am a “little bit of this, little bit of that” kind of cook and encourage people to use artistic license with this recipe.

The key to this recipe is the fresh herbs – and lots of them. It may seem like an excessive amount, but the greens cook down and create a nutrient-dense alchemy. Combine it with lime on a bed of raw cabbage and you have a winning combo.


1 lb ground pork

½ lb Shiitake mushrooms

6 cups Swiss chard

4 scallions

1 yellow pepper (capsicum)

3 tbs fish sauce*

1 tbs Worcestershire sauce

1 cup fresh peppermint

2 cups fresh cilantro

3 cups fresh basil

2 cups cabbage

2 limes


  1. Saute ground pork until cooked thoroughly. Remove pork from the pan and set aside, leaving some of the fat in the pan for sautéing the vegetables.
  2. Slice shiitake and saute until cooked thoroughly.
  3. Combine the pork with the mushrooms.
  4. Wash and finely chop the chard and yellow pepper (capsicum) and add to the pork and mushrooms on medium heat (placing a lid on pan will help cook the chard a little faster).
  5. Add fish sauce and Worcestershire sauce (I often add more of each at the end but if you do you’ll need to make the corrections to the ingredients for accurate nutrition analysis).
  6. When chard and peppers are cooked, add basil, mint, and cilantro in at the end and cook just until warmed.
  7. Serve on a bed of shredded cabbage garnished with 2 lime quarters.

*If you want to up the fat content of this recipe saute the vegetables in 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mash one avocado in with the shredded cabbage, along with Maldon salt and fresh lime juice. If wanting some nutrient-dense carbs, garnish with fresh mango chunks – oh so good!

Additions and substitutions:

You can substitute button mushrooms for shiitake, spinach or kale for the chard (a combination of these greens is nice as well). You could also add zucchini (courgette), asparagus, shrimp, and more to make the dish even higher in nutrient density. Don’t like pork? Ground turkey works well. Prefer plant-based dishes? Try it with crumbled tofu.

Tips on ingredients:

*Red Boat is the best fish sauce, IMHO (though it is not listed in Cronometer).
You could easily double the herbs in this recipe. The more herbs and fish sauce the better. I always want more fish sauce…

I find the dish tastes best when I saute the ingredients in batches, starting with pork (then set aside), the mushrooms (then set aside), followed by the veggies (this version has some zucchini).
Loads of fresh mint, basil, and cilantro is the key to this recipe.
All of the steps can be done in advance except for the herbs – add them and cook briefly just before serving.

Red Boat fish sauce is my favorite.

Credit for this recipe goes to my dear friend Kim!

2 thoughts on “Low-carb Larb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s