15 Low-Carb Holiday Side Dishes

Creamy mashed potatoes, candied yams, apple crumbles, turkey stuffing, cheesy casseroles, buttery biscuits…all the classic foods and flavors that make you look forward to the holidays…with all the carbs and fat that make you dread stepping onto the scale come New Year.

You can put together delicious holiday feasts for your family and friends that don’t require everyone’s weight loss commitments to be checked at the door. These side dishes are low in carbs and fat while high in fat-flushing fiber, flavor, and rich appetizing colors that make your holiday table look spectacular.

Best of all, all these sides are extremely low maintenance – on your time, effort, waist-line and wallet – which is the very best gift we can give ourselves during the busy holiday season.


Charred Red Peppers with Basil and Garlic

4 red bell peppers

3 cloves garlic, chopped

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp dried basil

Salt and pepper, to taste

¼ tsp red chili flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the bell peppers in half, removing the stem, membranes and seeds. Lay the peppers, cut side down, onto the prepared baking sheet, and sprinkle the chopped garlic over top. Place it in the oven. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pepper skins are wrinkled and slightly blackened. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool for 2 or 3 minutes. Then cut the peppers into thick strips and place them into a bowl. Combine them with the roasted garlic, olive oil and seasonings, tossing all together. Serve.


Braised Baby Onions in Balsamic Orange Glaze

2 lbs fresh pearl onions, whole with skins on

¼ cup olive oil

¾ cup fresh orange juice

¾ cup balsamic vinegar

To skin the onions easily: Boil salted water in a large pot, and place the onions in the boiling water to blanch for 15 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions into a bowl of ice water to cool. Trim off the root end of each onion and then pop the onion out of its skin.

Heat oil in a large skillet on high heat. Add whole onions and saute for about 9 minutes, until the onions develop deep golden brown spots. Add the orange juice and vinegar to the skillet, bringing to a boil and scraping up the browned bits. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the onions are tender, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a serving bowl. Continue to boil the juices remaining in the skillet until syrupy, about 3 more minutes. Then pour this over the onions.


Garlic Herb Mashed Cau-tatoes

For this delicious, easy and healthy recipe, click here.


Hand-cut Carrot & Parsnip Fries

5 carrots, peeled

3 parsnips, peeled

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp red chili flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the carrots and parsnips into match-sticks by slicing each one in half cross-wise, then slicing length-wise into ¼ inch slabs, than slicing length-wise again to make ¼ inch thick fries. Place the fries in a bowl and coat them with the oil and seasonings. Then spread the fries in a single layer across the prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 10 minutes, then flip them over and roast for 10 more minutes, until crisp and develop some golden-brown spots.


Oven Roasted Sprouts with Rosemary and Garlic

For this delicious, easy and healthy recipe, click here.


Sautéed Sesame Broccoli & Bok Choy

1 lb broccoli

1 lb bok choy

2 Tbsp sesame oil

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 tsp sesame seeds

Separate the white stems of the bok choy from the boy choy leaves. Chop the bok choy stems into 1 inch pieces and roughly chop the boy choy leaves. Separate the broccoli florets from the stems, and chop the stems into 1 inch pieces.

Boil ½ cup of water in a skillet. Add the bok choy stems and broccoli, cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green. Then uncover and cook on high heat until all of the water evaporates, about 3 more minutes. Then pour in the oil, garlic, ginger and bok choy leaves. Toss everything together and saute for about 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the soy sauce, sprinkle over with sesame seeds and serve.


Ginger Sesame Green Beans with Sliced Almonds

For this delicious, easy and healthy recipe, click here.


Fire Roasted Tomatoes & Garlic with Oregano

2 pints grape tomatoes, halves

5 garlic cloves, sliced

1 tsp olive oil

½ tsp dried oregano

Coarse salt & cracked black pepper

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh chives

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, coat the tomatoes and garlic with oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Spread this out on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, when the tomatoes are slightly browned in placed and starting to collapse. Toss with the chives.


Asparagus in Creamy Kale Parmesan Pesto

For this delicious, easy and healthy recipe, click here.


Oven Roasted Moroccan Eggplant

2 or 3 small eggplant

¼ cup olive oil

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp paprika

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

¼ tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

Trim the ends off the eggplant and cut lengthwise into thin slices, about 1/8 inches thick. Transfer the slices into a colander set over a bowl, and sprinkle each layer with salt. Allow the slices to rest this way for 30 minutes, so that the salt can help draw out excess moisture from the eggplant. Then rinse off the salt with cold water and pat each slice dry.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. In a bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Brush each side of the eggplant slices with this mixture. Then place the baking sheet in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until tender and golden.


Roasted Yams with Shallots and Sage

6 yams or sweet potatoes, cubed into 2 inch chunks

1 shallot, peeled and quartered length-wise

2 Tbsp olive oil

¼ cup fresh sage leaves, finely chopped

Coarse salt & cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line 1 or 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Toss the yams and shallots with the oil, herbs and seasonings, and spread across the baking sheets in a single layer. Place in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the yams are golden. Half-way through cooking, toss the yams and rotate the baking sheets.


Wilted Spinach in Lemon Garlic Dressing

1 lb spinach, washed and chopped roughly

½ white onion, sliced thinly

3 cloves garlic, pressed

2 Tbsp cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil

½ Tbsp fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Salt & freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

Crushed red chili flakes, to taste

Fill the bottom of a steamer or pot with water and bring it to a boil. Place the onions in the steamer basket, and place the chard leaves on top. Once the water starts to boil, place the steamer basket on top and cover. Steam for about 5 minutes.

While the greens are steaming, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and seasonings in a bowl. Transfer the hot onions and greens into a large bowl, pour in the dressing and massage the dressing into the steamed greens and onions with clean hands. Serve warm.


Sautéed Leek & Garlic

400g leeks, trimmed, chopped into ½ inch rounds

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Saute the garlic for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and turn the heat down to low. Continue to saute for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously and adding a bit of water if necessary, until the leeks become soft.


Warm Spiced Okra

1 lb okra, stem removed, cut into 1 inch pieces

½ white onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp fresh ginger, grated

¼ tsp cumin

¼ tsp coriander

¼ tsp turmeric

¼ tsp garam masala

¼ tsp salt

Olive oil

In a skillet, heat olive oil and brown the onion, about 10 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for another 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add in the seasonings and saute for 30 seconds, than add in the okra and saute for about 15 minutes, stirring continuously and adding a bit of water if necessary, until the okra becomes soft.


Sautéed Mushroom Medley

1 lb assorted mushrooms, such as button, shiitake, cremini, etc., stems trimmed off and sliced

1 tsp olive oil or butter

1 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried parsley

Coarse salt & cracked black pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, sprinkle over with seasonings, and saute for 12 or 13 minutes, until lightly brown and tender. Remove into a bowl, toss with the vinegar.


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