It is often challenging to create vegetable side dishes that are delicious. The micronutrients in vegetables however, are really important to any and all diets. It is worth getting a few easy but tasty vegetable dishes in your repertoire so you can stay healthy and energetic while losing weight.Jump to Recipe
Creative Vegetable Dishes for Low Carb Diets
After being on a low carb diet since 2013 (alternating through the years between slow carb, low carb and keto), I am definitely a fan of this lifestyle in terms of energy and health.
Not to mention that I am 3 clothing sizes less than when I started and have maintained the weight for over 10 years now.
There is only one aspect of a low carb diet that remains challenging to me, and that is coming up with creative vegetable dishes on the spot. I tend to reach for the frozen vegetables and add butter and salt.
While there is nothing wrong with the simple frozen spinach with lots of butter, it does get tiring after a while, especially if you are making vegetables that the rest of the family will enjoy also.
If you don’t include vegetables in a low carb lifestyle however, It is difficult to get the fiber and micronutrients that you need for health from just protein and the good fats.
Vegetables (especially the leafy greens and the cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts) are the best nutritional supplements you can find for just about any diet, so it pays to get some easy, tasty vegetables dishes in your go-to recipe collection.
Make Cooking Vegetable Dishes Easy
As industrialization took over in the US and processed food became popular, many home cooks moved away from chopping and cooking fresh vegetables.
Many home cooks today avoid vegetables because it isn’t a habit that comes naturally when getting dinner on the table. If you are in a hurry, there is certainly nothing wrong with frozen vegetables in a bag.
Most of them are flash frozen when fresh and the nutrients can actually be better than if you bought them from a grocery store produce shelf.
If you want to get more creative with vegetables however, the best way is to pick out a recipe and make it 3 times. Three times seems to be the goldilocks number to ensure a dish becomes easy and reliable.
Using Fresh Vegetables vs Frozen
There’s really nothing wrong “nutritionally” with frozen vegetables heated up in a microwave. It’s just that they can become boring. So I’ve recently been on a kick to cook a new creative vegetable dish every Sunday until it becomes a habit that I don’t have to think of anymore.
It’s already happened with the skillet saute of some leafy greens (see this post for a great bok choy recipe). Now onto some cruciferous veggies.
One other thing….most of the high-protein-low-carb diets out there right now also herald the inclusion of fat. Olive oil and coconut oil are the fats of choice, but butter has lost its maligned status and is now also considered a “good fat” on most low carb diets.
A saying I found interesting from a scientist that works with the high fat aspects of the ketogenic diet relative to cancer research is: “vegetables are a fat delivery system”.
Well, that is definitely a plus for butter, but my hope is to enhance the vegetable itself with the golden low carb fat of butter. The recipe below does just that.
Try this Brussel Sprout Caesar Salad for another creative, tasty side dish!
Vegetable Medley of Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower and Bell Peppers
- 2-3 garlic cloves peeled
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter room temp.
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup drained small capers
- 3 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped
- 1 lb Brussels sprouts
- 1 head cauliflower can be a small head
- 1 lb broccoli
- S & P
- Make a garlic-herb butter (can make this ahead of time): Place the garlic cloves and salt on a cutting board and pound it with heavy object until it is a paste. In a bowl, mix the garlic paste with the room temperature butter. Using a microplane, zest the lemon over the bowl of garlic butter. Add mustard, capers, lemon zest and oregano and stir together thoroughly.
- Trim the bottom off of the Brussels sprouts and then slice them in half and place in large pot of water. Bring the pot of water to a boil and cook the sprouts for about 3 minutes. While the sprouts are cooking, cut the cauliflower and broccoli into bite-sized pieces.
- Add the cauliflower and broccoli to the pot of sprouts and boil for another 5 minutes. While the veggies are cooking bring the butter to room temperature if you have refrigerated it ahead of time.
- Using a colander, drain the vegetables, place into a bowl and use a spatula to gently mix the caper butter into the hot vegetables. Salt and pepper mixture to taste and toss again lightly.
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If you’d like to start with a plan for a low carb or keto lifestyle, check out this detailed guide in ebook form. It may be all you need to lose weight on this lifestyle. Or it may be used as a supplement to one-to-one coaching.