500 Low-Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender Book Review

Walnut crusted salmon fillet entree
Low-Carb. Judd Pilossof / Getty Images

I first tried this cooking in 2002 and reviewed it in 2006. Since then have tried many low-carb cookbooks, but I have to say that this is still my favorite all these years later.

The Bottom Line

This cookbook is a great one for people new to cutting carbohydrates from their diets, as well as “veterans” looking for new ideas. The recipes are simple to follow and great for beginning cooks. There is a wonderful introductory section on low-carb cooking.

One of the strengths of the book is that Dana Carpender writes in an engaging and inviting manner, which leads you along so easily that you feel you are in good hands.


  • Delicious recipes
  • Easy-to-follow instructions
  • Excellent introductory section on low-carb cooking
  • Very few hard-to-find or specialty ingredients
  • The warmth and humor of the author comes through


  • Uses soy flour more than I would like, but this is a personal taste issue
  • Caveat: I haven't tried any of the breads or many of the desserts


  • 500 recipes of all kinds
  • 496 pages
  • Introductory section on low-carb cooking and ingredients
  • Excellent index, with recipes listed by ingredient and type of cooking as well as by name
  • Carbohydrate, protein, and fiber counts on all recipes (but not calories)
  • First published in 2002.

When it comes to cookbooks, it often comes down to finding authors whose taste in food is similar to your own (kind of like movie or book reviewers).

This is why I like to use the library as a resource for cookbooks before I spend money on them.

The first low-carb cookbook that I actually went out and bought was Dana Carpender’s 500 Low Carb Recipes. Almost every one of the recipes I’ve tried is a hit for me and my family (in fact, Carpender’s tastes are so similar to mine that I found a few recipes that were very similar to ones I'd developed myself).

For the most part, these are simple, non-fussy recipes without an overabundance of ingredients, and very few hard-to-find or specialty ingredients. A caveat is that for the most part, I have used her main dishes and side dishes – I haven’t tried many desserts or breads.

One feature I especially appreciate is the index – you can look up types of dishes (e.g. salads), cuisines (e.g. Italian), ingredients (e.g. almonds), or the name of the recipe. Some of our favorites are: Pasticchio (a casserole that’s a favorite of my husband using spaghetti squash instead of pasta), Nutty Brussels Sprouts, and Spicy Peanut Chicken. I highly recommend this book for low-carb beginners and long-timers alike.

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