For those of us on low carb diets; the humble potato is one of the biggest enemies out there, along with regular pasta and rice. Their many forms often tease and tempt us into submission, and trying to find new and tasty ideas for dinner that don’t involve these staples can be difficult. Luckily, help is at hand and we’ve come up with a list of low carb side dish ideas that will help you in substituting these starchy high carb foods for low carb alternatives that taste great.
Mashed & Roasted Vegetables
A much under-used vegetable and often hidden under cheese sauce; cauliflower makes for a great alternative to potatoes. Instead of serving mashed potatoes, try boiling or steaming some cauliflower until soft and then pureeing with butter, milk and some grated nutmeg. Baked cauliflower lightly spiced with ground cumin and cilantro seeds makes a delicious side dish for curries and other spicy foods in place of rice or potatoes. Cauliflower can also be used to thicken low carb soups by adding tender steamed florets to your soup before blending.
It may not be the prettiest of vegetables, but celeriac is high in potassium, vitamin C and phosphorus. Tasting faintly of celery, celeriac is a fabulous low carb alternative to mashed or roasted potatoes, although it does require a longer cooking time. Make sure you add your peeled celeriac to boiling water though as starting to cook it in cold water can make it very bitter.
Vegetables: Alternatives to Pasta
A fantastic way to almost eliminate all carbs from a meal is to use vegetables as a pasta alternative. Spaghetti squash has a quarter of the calories and carbs of regular spaghetti so makes an excellent choice. Vegetable strips such as eggplant can be used as layers in mousaka, and zucchini can be used in the same way for lasagna dishes. Long, thin zucchini strips can be also be used as a substitute for spaghetti or other pasta served with your favorite sauces.
Shirataki Noodles & Rice . . . on a Low Carb Diet?
Shirataki noodles are traditional Japanese noodle made from tofu that have a very low net carbohydrate count, and are extremely low in calories. They can be used in any recipe that you would use Chinese noodles or even pasta. They simply need to be rinsed under cold water and then heated up and added to your dish. Alternatively you can dry roast the noodles in a hot skillet pan for a couple of minutes until you start to hear them squeak, dry roasting the noodles gives them a more pasta-like consistency and able to absorb sauces better.
Low Carb Pasta
Unlike the starch-laden, carb-heavy potato, pasta can be made into a low carb staple. By using low carb flour to make the pasta, the manufacturers can reduce the overall carbohydrate content while still keeping the fiber content. There are now lots of varieties of low carb pasta available for us to choose from that are high in fiber but low in carbs, and with a lower glycemic index than regular pasta it’s a perfect choice for those on a low GI or low carb Aitkins-style diet.
You don’t even have to go without comfort foods such as Mac & Cheese as Dixie Diner offer a low carb version of this all-American classic that has just 3 net carbs.
Thanks for reading our article! Did you know that there are many great-tasting low carb food products on the market today that can make sticking to your low carb diet a breeze? Linda’s Diet Delites is a leading online supplier of low carb food products, offering a wide selection at affordable prices. Take a look!
*Michael Nace is a low carb blogger for Linda’s Diet Delites.