Delicious Low-Carb Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Trying to eat a low-carb diet but still want to enjoy a flavorful Thanksgiving? Or just looking for something lighter to pair with your stuffing and mashed potatoes? We've got you covered. Check out some of our favorite low-carb Thanksgiving sides—all with 15 grams of carbohydrate or less—including savory Garlic Mashed Cauliflower and Creamy Green Beans & Mushrooms.
Balsamic-Parmesan Sautéed Spinach
Tender spinach with a hint of garlic, Parmesan cheese and sweet balsamic vinegar makes a quick and flavorful side dish. The sturdy leaves of mature spinach hold up best during cooking.
Slow-Cooker Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Onions
Thanks to fresh green beans, an easy homemade cream sauce and crispy onion topping, this green bean casserole recipe is healthier and more delicious than traditional recipes that use canned soup, beans and onions. Plus, the slow cooker saves you time cooking at the stove. Make sure to use fresh green beans, as frozen green beans will become mushy.
Garlic & Parmesan Roasted Carrots
Roasting carrots in the oven brings out their inherent sweetness, while Parmesan and garlic give this easy side dish a flavorful savory accent.
Carrot Rillettes with Dukkah
Traditional French rillettes are made by slowly cooking pork or duck in its own fat to make a spread. This recipe takes inspiration from that technique to make a plant-based version with carrots. Serve with crackers or bread.
Roasted Mushrooms with Brown Butter & Parmesan
Brown butter lends a toasty note to these savory roasted mushrooms. Enjoy them as a side dish alongside steak or chicken.
Kale Salad with Cranberries
This easy holiday salad gets its flavor from a sweet citrus dressing that's infused into the kale by massaging the greens and the dressing together with your hands. We like a mix of kale for this recipe, but any type of kale will work.
Low-Carb Broccoli & Cheddar Casserole
This simple broccoli casserole is cheesy and comforting while keeping the carbs in check. Serve it alongside roasted chicken or pork.
Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
This creamy cauliflower mash makes a perfect low-carb stand-in for mashed potatoes. Here we take simple mashed cauliflower and mix in garlic, buttermilk and a touch of butter to create a flavorful side dish that has about one-quarter of the calories of typical mashed potatoes. If you like, vary it by adding shredded low-fat cheese or chopped fresh herbs.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Broccolini
In this low-carb spaghetti squash lasagna recipe, garlicky broccolini, spaghetti squash and cheese are combined for a healthy take on a favorite casserole. This bakes right in the squash shells for a fun presentation. Serve with a big Caesar salad and some warm and crusty whole-grain bread.
Charred Sugar Snap Peas with Sesame-Chili Sauce
Be sure to let these sugar snap peas get some at-the-edge-of-burnt color in the skillet. It's the secret to the knockout flavor of this easy and delicious side dish.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Chef Michael Symon loves Brussels sprouts because they can be cooked so many different ways. In this healthy recipe, the rich flavor of the walnuts, Dijon and capers is perfection with roasted meats.
Garlic Mashed Cauliflower
Whir cauliflower into a creamy low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes. This easy recipe gets a kick of flavor from garlic-infused olive oil, making it a dairy-free (and vegan) vegetable side dish.
Beer-Braised Cipollini Onions
Creamed pearl onions have long been a staple Thanksgiving side dish, but this lighter, sweet-and-savory cipollini onion recipe may send that traditional recipe to the back of your file for good. For a fruity (and gluten-free) twist, use your favorite hard cider instead of beer.
Kale Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing
The lightly sweet, creamy homemade poppy seed dressing takes this crunchy salad to the next level for a mouthwatering vegetable side dish or light lunch. Top with cooked chicken for a heartier meal.
Creamy Green Beans & Mushrooms
This take on a green bean casserole from José Andrés features perfectly cooked green beans in a mushroom sauce made with real cream. Andrés even gives the traditional canned french-fried onions a run for their money with some freshly frizzled shallot rings. Serve for Thanksgiving or as a side for roast beef or roast chicken.
Roasted Rutabagas with Lemon-Brown Butter Sauce & Crispy Sage
Roasted rutabagas are naturally low-carb vegetables, but they become rich and creamy when roasted whole. Then we halve and pan-fry them for a delectable textural juxtaposition. These root vegetables are often waxed to maintain freshness—you'll be able to feel it. It's easy to remove the wax with a quick dip in boiling water, making the skin edible again. Serve the rutabagas as a side or vegetarian appetizer for a special meal, such as Thanksgiving dinner.
Vietnamese-Style Coconutty Brussels Sprouts
In this easy Brussels sprouts recipe, the sprouts get a double hit of coconutty flavor from coconut oil and coconut water, and a salty, umami kick from fish sauce. The coconut water is a tropical nod to the southern Vietnamese practice of cooking with coconut water, which is often used in braises and dipping sauces. Don't have a pan large enough to cook the sprouts in one batch? Cook them in two batches in a medium (10-inch) skillet. No coconut oil in your pantry? Substitute unsalted European-style butter or vegetable oil. Serve these simple but flavorful Brussels sprouts as a side to any protein for weeknight dinners or special meals--they'd be a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner.
Sauteed Broccoli & Kale with Toasted Garlic Butter
For this low-carb side dish recipe, broccoli and kale are drizzled with a butter, garlic and crushed red pepper sauce. Serve this healthy recipe alongside roasted chicken, turkey or ham—or on top of your favorite whole grain, such as quinoa or farro.
Best Caesar Salad with Crispy Parmesan
For a nutrient-packed twist, this healthy Caesar salad features spinach and kale in addition to romaine. But it's the Parmesan crisps that make this salad holiday-worthy. Serve it for Thanksgiving or any other special meal.
Bitter Greens Salad with Soppressata & Pecorino
This bitter green salad turns the bland lunch salad on its head with its Mediterranean flair. Quickly charring radicchio and toasting dried oregano adds complex flavor, and slightly spicy soppressata pairs especially well with the sweetness of marinated cherry peppers. Pecorino Romano has a tangier, saltier taste than Parmesan, so just a bit provides the salad with plenty of nutty, sharp flavor. This salad can easily be made into a main course or served as a substantial side dish.
Mashed Celeriac with Herbs
Celeriac is a delicious low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. Pureeing the steamed celeriac in a food processor ensures a smooth, light and fluffy texture.
These simple sautéed mushrooms work as a quick, weeknight side dish. To turn them into a main course, toss with cooked pasta and a generous handful of Parmesan cheese or fold into an omelet with Gruyère, fontina or Swiss cheese.
Balsamic-Roasted Green Beans with Parmesan
Sweet balsamic vinegar and nutty Parmesan cheese complement roasted green beans and shallots in this easy and healthy side dish. Roasting the green beans gives them a sweet, caramelized flavor while they still retain some bite. Serve with chicken, fish, pork—you name it. These green beans are also a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving meal.
Whole Roasted Romanesco with Labneh & Curry Oil
If you are searching for a delicious roasted romanesco recipe, look no further. This psychedelic-seeming crucifer looks like cauliflower and broccoli fell in love and had a baby. The earthy, smoky flavor makes this a show-stopping vegetarian side dish or appetizer—or make it the centerpiece of a vegetarian feast. If your store carries the Middle Eastern strained yogurt called labneh, use 1 cup and omit Step 1.
Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Roasting isn't usually the first cooking method you think of for cauliflower but the results are quite delicious. The florets are cut into thick slices and tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and herbs. Wherever the flat surfaces come into contact with the hot roasting pan, a deep browning occurs that results in a sweet, nutty flavor.
Roasted Savoy Cabbage with Orange Vinaigrette
Easy Savoy cabbage recipes can be far and few between, especially ones that are as delicious as this whole roasted cabbage. The outer cabbage leaves blacken during the long cooking time, but when removed they reveal a meltingly tender center. Orange blossom water adds delicate aroma to the vinaigrette that's drizzled on top. Serve alongside roast beef or pork, or over mashed potatoes as a main course.