Tasty Low Carb Holiday Side Dishes
Whenever we begin creating our holiday meal plan, we usually come up with an entire list of side dishes that seem absolutely essential to the occasion. While tradition can be a very good thing, since many people tend to gain weight at the holidays, finding low carbs versions of all your family favorites.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Potatoes are off the menu on the first 2 phases of Atkins and most other low carb diets. But that does not mean you have to give up on all of your tasty treats. Either water down the potatoes with a lower carb vegetable like turnips, or substitute with mashed cauliflower that has been well seasoned with cream cheese and chives. Add garlic and black pepper for even more flavor.
As for the gravy, all you need are the pan drippings from any roast that you can reduce over a low flame until it is half its volume. For an even thicker gravy, run an array of cooked vegetables through a food processor and thin out with vegetable or chicken stock.
Green Bean Casserole
The main ingredient in this dish is a can of creamed soup, which will be full of flour and other carbs. The solution: make a low carb version from scratch. Use milk and almond, soy flour, or cornstarch to thicken it. Despite its name, cornstarch is not high in carbs, so it is acceptable even on a low carb diet. Cream cheese will also make the dish creamier.
As for those crunchy onions on top, cut the carbs by frying them in olive oil until they are golden brown. You’ll get all the flavor of green bean casserole without all the carbs.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole is also off the menu in its traditional form, but you can create a low carb makeover of this dish with a little time and attention. Cut the carb count by mashing the sweet potatoes with pumpkin puree or turnips. Use a little artificial sweetener like Stevia and lots of seasonings like cinnamon and you will never even miss the sugary marshmallows on top.
Cranberries are naturally low in carbs, until people start to smother them in sugar. Cook them from scratch with stevia and mash some of the cranberries for a thick whole berry sauce, or run through a food processor until smooth. Add a bit of orange oil and some fresh orange peel for a sweeter taste without a lot of carbs.
All of these low makeovers have one thing in common: all you have to do is plan ahead to find low carb recipes and ingredient substitutions. Your low carb side dishes will turn out so tasty, none of your guests will even know they are low carb.