Skip to main content

18 Low Carb Side Dishes in 6 Categories (+ 3 Tips)

You don’t have to limit your meals to main dishes to lose weight. You can still enjoy a well-rounded, flavorful meal while on a diet. Most people prefer low-carb dishes now, both to maintain their weight and to promote their health.

This article lists 18 low-carb side dishes under six categories that suit all occasions. We’ll also share some nifty serving tips to help you create eye-catching sides.

Whether you want new recipes for a healthier lifestyle or wish to refresh traditional old ones, you’ve come to the right place.

Best Low Carb Side Dishes You Need to Try

Best Low Carb Side Dishes You Need to Try

In this section, we’ve chosen several low-carb sides from diverse categories to cater to every need and taste. With our recipes, you can revamp your meals at barbecues, Thanksgiving gatherings, summer potlucks, and everyday dinners.

Here are some of the most mouthwatering low-carb side dishes to consider.

Mexican Low Carb Side Dishes

Mexican Low Carb Side Dishes

What’s more savory than Mexican food, with its mesmerizing aroma and flavors? Indeed, rice and tortillas are among the main ingredients in almost all Mexican dishes.

However, we managed to find you some alternative low-carb Mexican side dishes. Here are three of our favorites.

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

Mexican Cauliflower Rice

This recipe is a healthier version of your traditional Mexican rice side dish. The trick is to substitute cauliflower for rice. Sure, cauliflower itself doesn’t have a distinct taste, but the dish isn’t bland at all. In fact, it tastes almost the same, if not more flavorful, thanks to the rich spices.

It’s a hassle-free dish made with simple ingredients you can easily find at home. Next to the cauliflower rice, you’ll use the typical Mexican mix of seasoning and veggies. That way, you’ll enjoy this flavorful alternative without worrying about your carb intake.

Mexican Coleslaw With Lime Dressing

Mexican Coleslaw With Lime Dressing

Coleslaw is a classic recipe, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s basic enough that you can turn it into anything you want. Mexican flavors can turn this dish into a delectable low-carb side dish for you to enjoy with a clear conscience.

Typically, you make coleslaw with green and red cabbage. However, feel free to add any vegetable you want to the mix, such as onions and carrots. To give your coleslaw a Mexican flair, add to your shredded veggies:

  • Cumin: A pinch can give your dish a special aroma.
  • Coriander: An optional seasoning to add an extra touch to the mix.
  • Lime juice: Juice and zest of a lemon is our signature ingredient. It gives the coleslaw a refreshing twist.
  • Onions: You can use green onions instead of red ones to reduce carbs even further.
  • Olive oil: This is a key ingredient to highlight the Mexican flair.

Keto Zucchini Nachos

Keto Zucchini Nachos – Air-Fried Zucchini Slices Make for a Great Alternative to Regular Nachos

As the name implies, this side dish is a healthy alternative to the Mexican nachos. It’s a perfect keto or low-carb recipe that you can season with your favorite herbs or spices. You only need three primary ingredients: zucchini, shredded cheese, and taco meat.

This side dish is fast and easy to make in the oven or air fryer. Just slice your zucchini really thin, like chips, add the meat and cheese, and cook for 6–7 minutes. That way, you get the same delicious nacho flavor that your kids are guaranteed to love.

Low Carb Side Dishes for BBQ

Low Carb Side Dishes for BBQ

Summer is the season of barbecues, but how do you enjoy them while watching your carbs? That shouldn’t be a problem. There are plenty of low-carb sides that fit the barbecue vibes.

Here are some great dishes to serve with your barbecue.

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

When the craving strikes, no one can stop it. We all crave the rich, creamy feeling of the traditional mac and cheese dish we grew to love.

However, it’s not diet-friendly because the star here is macaroni, which is high in carbs, right? Don’t worry; you can still enjoy this traditional dish with the help of our magical ingredient, cauliflower.

Simply use cauliflower as a substitute for macaroni. With its low-flavor profile, cauliflower is a healthy alternative for most high-carb ingredients.

Better yet, add a crunchy topping made of bread crumbs, melted butter, and cheese. Trust us, you won’t feel any difference in taste.

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries

Oven-Baked Zucchini Fries

What’s a BBQ without french fries? We all hate giving those up for the sake of diet, but it turns out that we don’t have to. Using zucchini, you can still indulge in a side dish of fries or an entire basket without feeling much guilt.

Remember to cut your zucchini into thin slices to look like french fries. To add the crunchy texture of french fries to the zucchini, coat it with eggs and a mixture of parmesan cheese and almond flour.

Then, oven-bake your zucchini sticks on a baking sheet. Done? Serve the low-carb fries with any dip you choose.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This side dish resembles the salads we used to have at our grandmas’. So, it’s sure to trigger some nostalgia for the good old summer days.

It’s also a great side dish for barbecues with its cool, creamy feel. After all, the recipe calls for cucumbers, onions, cream, and your preferred seasonings.

Usually, we make it with salt and vinegar for a classic taste. But believe it or not, a pinch of sugar may balance the ingredients without giving any hint of sweetness. As for the cream, you can use low-fat cream if you’re watching your calories as well.

Low Carb Vegetable Side Dishes

Low Carb Vegetable Side Dishes

When we hear “low carb,” we automatically think of vegetables. If you’re vegan or simply aiming at a healthier lifestyle, you might agree.

Here, we have gathered some of the most mouth-watering vegetable side dishes that are also low-carb for guilt-free pleasure.

Baby Vegetables with Orange and Thyme

Baby Vegetables with Orange and Thyme

This dish adds a twist to your classic roasted veggies. It’s easy and fast to make, with almost no cleanup. Usually, we make it with carrots and zucchini. But the key is to use the juice and zest of orange. They add a distinctive flavor and aroma to the side dish.

To get started, cut up veggies along with the orange juice, olive oil, and thyme. Then, bake the entire thing on parchment paper in the oven or air fryer. It’s an ideal side dish to serve next to roasted chicken, lamb, or even salmon.

Coconut Creamed Spinach

Coconut Creamed Spinach

If you think creamy dishes don’t work with your diet, think again. Now, this is a creamy side dish that is both low-carb and low-fat. Are you surprised? The secret is that the cream comes from coconut milk, which is a fan favorite among people following low-carb and keto diets.

The main ingredients are spinach, coconut milk, olive oil, and onions. You may enhance the flavor of this creamy recipe with seasoning. Typically, we add ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper. However, it’s okay to go for chili powder, cayenne peppers, or curry powder.

Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini

Zesty Chargrilled Broccolini

We know broccoli isn’t a fan favorite, but give it another chance with this recipe. If you use the right seasoning and fresh ingredients, you can turn a broccoli head into an amazing side dish that bursts with flavor.

This zesty chargrilled broccolini is super easy to make and requires only a few ingredients. All you need is broccoli, avocado oil, and lemon, but there are a few tips.

For starters, chargrill the broccoli instead of following the classic steaming recipe. That gives your dish a flavorful, smoky touch. In addition, avocado oil is critical since it adds plenty of healthy fats to the mix.

Low Carb Side Dishes for Diabetics

Low Carb Side Dishes for Diabetics

Diabetic people have to abide by some strict dietary rules to keep their health in check. So, it’s always better to consult your physician before altering your meal structure.

With that being said, there are plenty of low-carb side dishes that might be a good fit for you. Let’s check out some of them.

Lemon Couscous with Broccoli

Lemon Couscous with Broccoli

This side dish is the perfect combination of two recipes that make the perfect side dish for diabetics. As you might have guessed, it’s a mix of broccoli and couscous with a touch of lemon. Plus, the recipe can also be considered low-fat since the main fat source in this recipe is olive oil.

Either way, you’ll need a steamer to cook the broccoli. We’d recommend that you season this side dish with salt, black pepper, ginger, and curry powder. You can also sprinkle some cheese or almonds on top.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cabbage

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cabbage

This diabetes-friendly side dish is a flavor bomb that combines garlic with parmesan and extra savory seasoning. The star ingredient here is cabbage, which is a healthy choice for those watching their carbs or calorie intake.

For this side dish recipe, red or green cabbage will do. Don’t worry; they both have nearly the same amount of carbs.

Since cabbage doesn’t have a strong flavor, the seasoning and cheese are what give the dish its taste and aroma. Thus, you should use all the spices you enjoy. Olive oil, salt, black pepper, rice vinegar, and garlic are some of our favorites.

Stir-Fried Mushroom With Baby Corn

Stir-Fried Mushroom With Baby Corn

Next, we have a Thai side dish with a Chinese touch. It makes use of many types of mushrooms, but the key is the sauce.

Along with the mushrooms and baby corn, this recipe includes three main sauces: soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. That, with the garlic and seasoning, is where you get the burst of flavors.

The issue is that many similar dishes get their iconic thick texture from cornstarch, which we know isn’t the healthiest choice. If you’re not comfortable with it, use potato starch or rice flour instead.

They give the same effect with a lower carb and calorie intake. That said, this side dish can still be considered low-carb, even with cornstarch.

Low Carb Sides for Thanksgiving

Low Carb Sides for Thanksgiving

Who said you have to gain a ton of weight after that hearty Thanksgiving dinner? We’ll show you how to enjoy every bite of that mouthwatering turkey without feeling guilty about your weight.

The trick lies in the side dishes; the turkey itself isn’t the real problem. That’s why we’ve gathered this selection of delicious low-carb Thanksgiving-themed sides.

Kale Salad with Cranberries

Kale Salad with Cranberries

Now, that’s a super healthy side dish with a Thanksgiving theme. You need less than ten minutes to make this one, so you can take all the time to focus on your turkey.

With this rich low-carb side dish, you’re less likely to gain weight, but that doesn’t mean it prioritizes health over taste. This salad fuses different flavors, including oranges, cranberries, and rice vinegar.

Feel free to use any type of kale. In fact, a mix of several types can give better results. You’ll also need some shallots, almonds, and a seasoning blend.

Olive oil, salt, and pepper are good places to start. Just make sure to massage the seasoning mix onto the greens to ensure the flavor gets to every bit of your dish.

Mashed Turnips

Mashed Turnips

Mashed potatoes are always welcome on Thanksgiving, but what to do with their high-carb content? We brought you an alternative: turnips.

Turnips have very low carbs, which makes this dish a perfect choice. Follow all the usual steps for making a classic mashed potato dish with milk, butter, and seasoning.  However, pay extra attention to the seasons you add. We suggest using:

  • Chilly powder: You can also use it with cayenne peppers if you want the side dish to be extra spicy.
  • Paprika: That’s a great alternative to hot pepper. It gives a non-spicy pepper taste.
  • Turmeric and curry: These two spices give your dish a vibrant flavor and aroma.

Garlic Buttered Green Beans

Garlic Buttered Green Beans

Green beans are low-carb vegetables that work well next to most main dishes. With a hint of garlic and butter, you can add a strong flavor guaranteed to last.

It’s a simple recipe that doesn’t require much work. All you need to do is cook the beans until they’re crisp-tender and add sauteed mushrooms.

The bulk of the flavor profile comes from the seasoning you’ll add to the mushrooms as you saute them in butter. Typically, we use salt and black pepper along with garlic and onion powders to create that classic garlicky taste. Avoid adding any pungent spices that might overpower the garlic.

Low Carb Sides for Dinner

Low Carb Sides for Dinner

Dieting shouldn’t mean eating the same dinner every day. In fact, you can switch between a long list of delicious meals that are low-carb, low-fat, or even both. In this section, we’ll go over some interesting side dishes that work for both special occasions and regular weeknight dinners.

Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant

Mediterranean Grilled Eggplant

Even if you’re not a fan of eggplant, you’ll love this low-carb side dish. The grilled eggplant, with its smoky flavor and tender texture, transforms the classic eggplant you know into a new exotic ingredient.

The beauty of this side dish is that you can serve it with sprinkled cheese and enjoy a classic taste or go wild with some Mediterranean additions. It’s up to you.

To start, mix your eggplant with oregano, chopped bell peppers, olive oil, salt, and black pepper. It shouldn’t take more than three minutes on each side over the grill.

Then, you can sprinkle either parmesan or parsley and feta. If you choose the Mediterranean route, don’t forget the tahini dip.

Balsamic-Thyme Roasted Mushrooms

Balsamic-Thyme Roasted Mushrooms

Next up, we have a recipe for those watching their carbs, calories, and cholesterol. The idea here is to turn your traditional mushroom roasting recipe into a mouthwatering side dish. How? Here are the star ingredients you’ll need to gather before you get started.

  • Balsamic vinegar: It comes with a distinctive taste and many health benefits
  • Olive oil: That’s a healthy fat source you can rely on for this recipe and plenty more.
  • Thyme leaves: Use the leaves to add flavor to your dish. They also make a great garnish for serving your platter.
  • Mustard, garlic powder, and salt: These are your typical spices to season your dish.
  • Arrowroot flour: That’s a healthy, low-carb option for thickening the sauce.

Note that this dish is best made with baby bella mushrooms. If you’re familiar with them, you’ll know they have a higher flavor profile. You’ll notice that the mushrooms naturally produce their own sauce while roasting in the oven, too.

Sauteed Asparagus With Lemon

Sauteed Asparagus With Lemon

Finally, we have a recipe with a strong aroma and a healthy ingredients list. This recipe calls for asparagus, onion, and lemons. For grease, a little oil and some butter would do. To keep the flavor fresh, you don’t need more than salt, pepper, and thyme to season this dish.

For best results, use fresh asparagus that doesn’t exceed half an inch in size. You should start by sauteing the onion and then the asparagus.

After removing the asparagus, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan. When it simmers, pour the mix over the asparagus. We’ve yet to see someone resisting the aroma.

Tips for Serving Low Carb Side Dishes

Tips for Serving Low Carb Side Dishes

Do you want your low-carb side dish to make an impression? Follow these tips to serve a side dish your dinner guests won’t forget. Even if you’re only concerned about making your kids eat the veggies on their plates, these tips are for you.

How to Garnish the Dish Beautifully

How to Garnish the Dish Beautifully

The eye eats before the mouth tastes, don’t you think? That’s why you might want to ensure your side dish looks as good as it tastes. The trick here is to use edible garnish with contrasting colors and textures.

For instance, use freshly cut herbs to garnish smooth and creamy foods. On the other hand, oils and cream are a perfect garnish for solid foods, such as chicken or fish.

Just remember that your side dish shouldn’t steal the spotlight from the main course, so don’t overdo the garnish.

Making Your Sides Customizable

Making Your Sides Customizable

If you’re having a large number of people over. Try to serve one plain side dish (like some zucchini fries) with various sauces and spices.

In other words, instead of adding one type of sauce as a garnish, you can give everyone on your dinner table the chance to customize their side dish.

Matching the Sides With the Right Main Dish

Matching the Sides With the Right Main Dish

To enjoy your side dish to the utmost, you should have it next to the right main dish. So, go ahead and think about how the two match in terms of flavors and richness. You have two options.

The first is to choose a cuisine theme, such as Mexican or Chinese. The other is to match flavors to create a specific tone for your meal. That way, your entire meal can be Mediterranean, smoky, zesty, and so on.

Best Low Carb Ingredients to Use

Best Low Carb Ingredients to Use

When picking ingredients for your low-carb diet, the choices aren’t as limited as you think. By learning about low-carb alternatives in different food categories, you can prepare delicious side dishes for every occasion. Better yet, you could use these insights to craft low-carb appetizers or mains.

Low Carb Vegetables

Low Carb Vegetables

Popular low-carb veggies include kale, spinach, broccoli, mushroom, and cauliflower. They’re rich in vitamins and minerals, and they can generally boost your health and keep your blood sugar in check.

If you can’t think of original recipes with these ingredients, use them instead of other ingredients in your usual high-carb recipes.

Low Carb Eggs and Dairy Products

Low Carb Eggs and Dairy Products

Eggs and dairy products (sour cream, hard cheese, and heavy cream) are an essential part of our daily diet. Fortunately, most of them have low-carb content.

Plus, a little bit of dairy goes a long way in making our dishes richer and more fulfilling. The creamed spinach recipe is a great example.

Low Carb Meat and Fish

Low Carb Meat and Fish

When it comes to meat and seafood, you’re free to eat all you want. Believe it or not, chicken, salmon, trout, as well as grass-fed beef and lamb contain no carbs whatsoever.

Just remember to use them in small amounts. After all, you don’t want the side dish to overshadow the protein-rich main dish.

0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 50 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5 (0 votes, average: 0.00 out of 5)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

Related Posts

Similar Articles