Oysters Rockefeller are one of my favorite old-school dishes to order at a restaurant. It’s my absolute favorite classic American dish, thanks to both its great flavor and history. Named after the ultra-wealthy Rockefeller family, this Louisiana-based dish was meant to be as “rich as the Rockefeller family.” It’s not so surprising, then, to hear that this classic dish has a reputation for hitting the waistline hard.
Did that Rockefeller oyster snack just break your diet?
And, I’ll admit it. No one makes them vanish faster than I do. You can put a couple dozen oysters in front of me, and they’ll be gone within a matter of minutes. That being said, I’m aware that I also get a little sick after Oyster Number 20. I know that it probably isn’t the kindest thing to do to my stomach.
A Look at Rockefeller Oysters
So, I started to wonder what’s really going on. How many calories are in a single Rockefeller oyster, anyway?
Oysters themselves aren’t really that calorific when compared to other sources of protein. According to nutritionists, a half-dozen raw oysters will set you back 45 calories. This means that a single raw oyster will hit you at 7.5 calories a pop.
As the old nickname suggests, it isn’t the oyster part of the Rockefeller oyster that makes this dish a calorie nuke. A typical Rockefeller oyster recipe is rich in cream, breading, and herbs. Those ingredients will turn any protein source into a calorie bomb. If you decide to go for a recipe that’s cheese-filled, the caloric count gets even higher!
That’s why a single Rockefeller oyster will clock in at around 79 calories a pop in most cases. That means that a dozen of these things will run you 948 calories—roughly half of what your daily caloric intake should be. Yikes!
Is There Anything You Can Do to Lessen the Caloric Blow?
Feeling shocked by the calorie count? Me too. When I found out the calorie count behind my favorite dish, my jaw dropped a little. I was also disappointed since this was one of my favorite Valentine’s Day meals. I’m not one to try to skip out on eating a Rockefeller oyster or two, though. So, I had to look for ways to “thin out” the recipe. Here are some quick tips:
- Avoid cheese and bread-filled recipes. Yes, I know, easier said than done in today’s modern society. But, hear me out. The historical option is actually really good. The original recipe from Antoine’s didn’t actually contain cheese in it. The recipe also avoided the use of excessive breadcrumbs and didn’t mention any cream. This leads to a more authentic flavor that will melt in your mouth.
- Focus on the spices and spinach. While we all tend to focus on the cheesiness of mainstream oysters Rockefeller, it’s important to remember the other parts of the recipe. Spinach and minced herbs act as a huge part of the flavor profile of a good platter of oysters ‘Rock. Upping the veggie and herb content in your recipe reduces the calorie count immensely but keeps the flavor intact.
- Use smaller oysters. Believe it or not, this is actually a part of making the traditional version of the dish.
Of course, the best way to lower the calorie count of any meal that you enjoy is to eat less of it. If you ask me, that’s easier said than done with oysters regardless of what recipe you use.
What Other Alternatives Are There?
If you’re on a diet and want to have some of that decadent goodness, I totally understand. Here are my waistline-friendly picks:
- Oysters on the Half Shell. Sure, it’s raw and it might squick some people out, but give it a try. A good oyster can be creamy and buttery in texture, too. If you’re not a big fan of having raw oysters on their own, it’s good to remember that you can also add dipping sauces like vinegar, cocktail sauce, or mustard to add that kick.
- Keto Fried Oysters. Fried oysters are amazing when it comes to having that smooth, buttery taste wrapped around crispy breading. This ketogenic recipe will keep you trim and give you that decadence without sacrificing flavor.
- Oyster Stew. Leave it to WebMD to come up with a stew that’s heavily reminiscent of oysters Rockefeller, but with fewer calories. If you were grieving the creaminess of a good platter of oysters Rockefeller, then this stew will make it happen. At only 222 calories per bowl, this stew is both satisfying and surprisingly opulent in flavor.
- Grilled Oysters With Garlic-Herb Butter. If you don’t want to stray too far away from the OG recipe of choice, then you’re going to need something that has a similar creaminess while keeping that herbal flavor intact. Grilled oysters with some DIY garlic-herb butter fits the bill very well. The recipe I linked to has 60 calories for three oysters, but if you don’t mind making it a little more calorific, you can add the vegetable and seasoning mix used in Oysters Rockefeller for a more true-to-palate taste.