Thanksgiving may seem like it’s all about carb-rich foods, from mashed potatoes and rich, creamy vegetable casseroles to fresh dinner rolls. The good news is you can still enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with your family without taking in a carb overload. While some side dishes may require a little creativity — such as replacing potatoes with cauliflower — they certainly won’t lack flavor.
1. Stuffing with Vegetables and Sausage
The stuffing is probably one of the most carb-rich side dishes you’ll enjoy on Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t need to be! Ditch the bread and make your stuffing from fresh vegetables and sausage for a recipe that has only 36 grams of carbs total, as well as a good amount of protein. Start by chopping two onions and saute them in three tablespoons of butter. Once the onion is translucent, brown one pound of pork sausage, such as sage-spiced or spicy. You can also use regular pork sausage and add the seasonings you would use for traditional stuffing. Next, chop a full head of cabbage and add it while the sausage is cooking. Add enough chicken broth slowly as the stuffing cooks to keep it from getting too dry. Once the meat is cooked through, pour into a casserole dish and add three well beaten eggs to the top. Cook for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.
2. Scalloped Cauliflower
Scalloped potatoes are one of the most traditional Thanksgiving sides but they are definitely carb-rich. One cup of scalloped potatoes is nearly 65% carbohydrates with 35 total grams! Switch to cauliflower and you’re looking at only 4 grams per serving. It’s also really easy to prepare. You can use fresh or frozen cauliflower; if you use fresh, steam the flowers from a single large head. Arrange half of the cauliflower in your baking dish and sprinkle with a bit of garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can also top with chopped onions for some extra flavor. Now, slice half a stick of butter and arrange on top of the cauliflower. Top with one cup of shredded cheese and repeat with a layer of cauliflower and more butter. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. Low-Carb Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato casserole is one of the stars of any Thanksgiving dinner, although it doesn’t need to be made with added sugar. While sweet potatoes are naturally rich in carbs, you can cut back dramatically on the amount of carbohydrates in your casserole by skipping the brown sugar and marshmallows. Start with three pounds of sweet potatoes or yams and roast for up to an hour at 400 degrees, or until tender. To make your topping, blend one cup of pecans in a blender and add 1/4 cup of your favorite sugar substitute, as well as 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, a small pinch of salt and 2 tablespoons of butter. Mix an additional 1/2 cup of pecans into the topping by hand.
Now, let your sweet potatoes cool off and split, removing all of the pulp. Blend in your food processor along with 3 additional tablespoons of butter. Add another 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg and a pinch of black pepper. Add one egg and blend well. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and fill with the sweet potato mixture. Add the topping and bake at 375 degrees until the topping starts to brown. This recipe makes 12 servings, each with only 230 calories and 20 grams of carbs.
About the Author of 3 Low-Carb Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Christine is a busy mom who follows a low carb diet, teaches yoga twice a week, and tries to minimize her carbon footprint.