Simple and Delicious Low Carb Side Dishes

Providing low carb side dishes with every meal can pose a bit of a challenge to the low carb dieter. Even more so if the rest of your family is not on the same diet as you. The beginner low carb dieter often feels overwhelmed by the seeming lack of choices. The seasoned low carb dieter knows there is almost everything to choose from. I used to be a skeptic until I tasted mashed cauliflower. Until then, I had pooh-poohed the idea of mashed cauliflower substituting for mashed potatoes. I could not believe how tasty they were and that a foodie like me was actually happy with the substitute.

 

low carb side dishes mashed cauliflower

Mashed cauliflower is a tasty alternative to mashed potatoes!

It helps to start with a list of low carb and moderate carb vegetables.  Here is a brief list:

Low Carb Vegetables for Side Dishes with only 2 Net Carbs or Less

  • Artichokes – 1.5 net grams per ounce
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 1 net gram per ounce
  • Asparagus – 0.5 net gram per ounce
  • Avocado – 0.52 net gram per ounce
  • Bamboo shoots – 0 net grams per ounce
  • Beets – 1.9 net grams per ounce
  • Broccoli – 1.18 net grams per ounce
  • Brussels sprouts – 1.44 net grams per ounce
  • Cabbage – 0.88 net grams per ounce
  • Cauliflower – 0.8 net grams per ounce
  • Celery – 0.34 net grams per ounce
  • Chard – 0.8 net grams per ounce
  • Collard Greens – 0.61 net grams per ounce
  • Eggplant – 0.62 net grams per ounce
  • Kale – 2 net grams per ounce
  • Olives – 0.63 net grams per ounce
  • Onion – 2 net grams per ounce
  • Rhubarb – 0 net grams per rounce
  • Spinach – 0.43 net grams per ounce
  • Summer Squash – 0.8 net grams per ounce
  • Tomato – 0.81 net grams per ounce
  • Turnips – 1.32 net grams per ounce
  • Zucchini – 0.65 net grams per ounce
low carb side dishes spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash?! Yup, it’s awesome.

Armed with this list, it is possible to come up with innovative and interesting low carb side dishes that complement every kind of cuisine and satisfy a variety of cravings, without compromising on carb count or taste.

How to Plan Your Next Low Carb Side Dish

A number of websites are dedicated to low carb side dish recipes. My favorite among these is pinterest, simply because it puts together all the good ones in one place.

In general, while planning low carb sides, it is helpful to stick with a minimal number of ingredients. Simply because it is easier to keep track of carbs in each portion. For example, if I had to choose between preparing a mixed vegetable dish and a single-vegetable dish, I would opt for the latter. It is also important never to lose sight of ‘fat’ targets, always going for the healthiest option. A low carb diet does not mean an all-the-fat-you-would-like-to-eat diet.

Be Careful, Even with Salads

Salads make for excellent sides, but they have to be real salads. A wedge of iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing and crumbled bacon does not count as a healthy low carb side, even though it is technically low carb. It does not provide vital nutrients. Mixed greens, baby spinach, arugula, alfalfa sprouts are some of the healthier greens. It is generally understood, the darker the green, the healthier it is for you.

To dress your salad, use a healthier salad dressing. My personal favorites are vinegar or balsamic dressings. Whenever I want a creamier dressing, I use Walden Farm’s Chipotle or Caesar sald dressings.

low carb grocery list walden farms

No carbs. No sugar. No gluten. Yes, it’s that ridiculously good for you.

Croutons do not belong in a low carb salad. Even one. Simply because they can trigger cravings and take you right off your diet.

low carb side dishes croutons

Keep these out of your salad bowl…

Make every low carb side count. Delicious, nutritious and good-looking. And why not? Who says diet food has to look boring or taste bland? Spice it up, jazz it up, look up your favorite vegetable and whole grain sides and keep a handy list for days when you are running on zombie mode. I have those days and I assume the rest of the world does too. Those are the days when it is important to have a list. Here is a ready-made one for starters. I have put together my favorites. You cannot go wrong with these.

My Favorite Low Carb Side Dishes

  1. Lemony Brussels sprouts
  2. Roasted cabbage (these are sliced in roundels in the Martha Stewart recipe I like)
  3. Cheesy mashed cauliflower
  4. Bacon or prosciutto wrapped asparagus
  5. Stuffed and grilled zucchini
  6. Eggplant and mozzarella melt
  7. Buttered cabbage
  8. Zucchini noodles with sesame peanut sauce
  9. Zucchini cakes
  10. Mixed green salad topped with sharp cheddar cheese, boiled egg (sliced or chopped), crumbled bacon, lime-chili seasoning and a healthy dressing.

My ideal low carb side dish is stress-free, uses up minimal prep time and tastes delicious! If you’ve enjoyed these ideas, you may want to try our low carb chili recipes as well!

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