7 Nutritionist-Approved Low-Carb Side Dishes That Will Complement Any Meal

low carb side dishes

 Courtesy of Weeknight Bite

Ever since we were little, we've been hearing that a colorful plate is indicative of a healthy, balanced meal. As delicious as buttery Parker House rolls, a skillet of cornbread, and biscuits are, sometimes we're looking for something to accompany our main course that's a bit more nutritious and less heavy on the carbs. This is especially important when we're trying to squeeze in some essential nutrients to a meal that's already decadent or hearty. But that doesn't mean we want to compromise on flavor.

So we decided to ask a foodie to share her favorite low-carb side dishes with us. Lindsay Surowitz of Weeknight Bite knows how to deliver when it comes to approachable, healthy, and utterly delicious recipes since she's a pro gourmet cook and a holistic nutritionist. To whip up a low-carb side dish that diversifies every meal you eat this week, get to know the seven recipes below.

Mashed Cauliflower

Healthy Dinner Recipes
Weeknight Bite

Servings: 3 to 4


1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tsp. fresh thyme
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. chives, chopped


Start by steaming the cauliflower and garlic. Fill a stockpot with one to two inches of water, place the steamer basket in the pot, and then throw the cauliflower florets and peeled garlic into the basket. Place a lid on the pot, and let it steam for 10 minutes or so until the cauliflower is tender.

Drain the cauliflower and garlic, and then transfer everything into your food processor. Add the thyme, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Turn on the food processor, and as it's doing its thing, drizzle in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil. Process until smooth. Taste and season again as necessary.

Garlic Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Low Cal Side Dishes
Kristen Schellenberg

Servings: 3


2 bunches of rainbow carrots (about 20 carrots), washed and tops trimmed
1 1/2 tbsp. avocado oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp. parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place washed and trimmed carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle with avocado oil. Add minced garlic, and sprinkle cumin, salt, and pepper. Toss well.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (tossing halfway through), or until carrots are browned and tender.

Cauliflower Fried Rice

Weeknight Bite

Servings: 2


3 cups riced cauliflower
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (I use multicolored carrots to make it extra colorful)
1 1/2 cups snow peas, chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. avocado oil (or extra-virgin olive oil)
2 organic eggs, beaten
3 tbsp. coconut aminos
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. sesame seeds
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or olive oil). I prefer to cook with avocado oil since it has a higher smoke point.

Add carrots, onions, and snow peas, and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until onions have become translucent, or about three minutes. Then add garlic, and continue to saute for another minute.

Stir in cauliflower rice, and cook until heated through and tender, about three to four minutes, and then stir in coconut aminos and sesame oil.

When the cauliflower rice has about a minute to go, move all ingredients to one side of the skillet to create room to cook the eggs. Pour in the eggs, and scramble. Once scrambled, stir together, and combine with the veggies.

Veggie Ribbon Salad

Low Carb Side Dishes
Weeknight Bite

Servings: 3 to 4

Ingredients for Salad:

2 zucchini
1 large cucumber
4 Easter egg radishes, thinly sliced
1 bunch of colorful heirloom carrots
1 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped or torn
3 tbsp. sliced almonds

Ingredients for Lemon Tahini Dressing:

1/4 cup tahini
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper to taste


Using a vegetable peeler or mandolin (I used a Y-peeler), peel the zucchini, cucumber, and carrots into ribbons. Thinly slice the radishes.

Arrange the veggie ribbons in a bowl with the sliced radishes.

Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Garnish with sliced almonds and chopped or torn mint leaves, and serve right away.

Zucchini Pesto Pasta

Low Carb Recipes
Kristen Schellenberg

Servings: 3 to 4

Ingredients for Zucchini Pasta:

6 zucchini
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup walnuts
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste


Spiralize zucchini. (Here's how.) Pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.

Combine all pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until desired
consistency is reached. Add additional olive oil as needed.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add spiralized zucchini, and sauté until heated through, or about four to five minutes. Don't let it overcook, or it will get mushy.

Toss with pesto, garnish with extra Parmesan, and serve.

Apple and Cabbage Slaw

Healthy Dinner Ideas
Weeknight Bite

Servings: 3 to 4

Ingredients for Slaw:

1/2 red cabbage, sliced thinly
1 apple, sliced thinly
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. sesame seeds

Ingredients for Sesame Lime Dressing:

Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. coconut aminos
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Place sliced cabbage, apple, and scallions into a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over cabbage mixture, and toss well.

Sprinkle sunflower seeds and sesame seeds over the top.

Roasted Parmesan Broccolini

Easy Recipes
Weeknight Bite

Servings: 4


2 bunches of broccolini
1 tbsp. avocado oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
1 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. sliced almonds


Preheat to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the broccolini on the baking sheet, and toss evenly with avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Sprinkle sliced almonds over the broccolini, and continue to cook for another five minutes, or until the broccolini is crisp-tender.

Transfer the roasted broccolini and almonds to a serving dish, and grate fresh Parmesan over the top.

Add salt and pepper (and/or red pepper flakes) as desired. Serve with lemon wedges.

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