Low carb spring menu

Feb 23, 2010 at 4:34 p.m. ET

As the end of winter nears, you naturally anticipate digging into a light and lovely spring meal. Fresh vegetables and flavorful herbs are perfect accompaniments for lean proteins, like chicken and fish. Here is an impressive low carb spring menu worthy of your first garden party or spring celebration.

Roasted Asparagus

Herbed Goat Cheese Nibbles

Makes 8

Goat cheese rolled in fresh herbs is the perfect low carb spring appetizer, boasting distinct goat cheese flavor and herb freshness. Each of these irresistible nibbles have under 2 grams of carbs. Serve with your favorite low carb crackers or an assortment of gourmet olives and roasted nuts.

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh baby thyme leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
A few grinds black pepper
1 (8-ounce) log goat cheese, sliced crosswise into 8 slices

1. In a shallow dish, mix herbs and black pepper. Roll goat cheese slices in herb mixture.

2. Place herbed goat cheese nibbles on a serving platter and keep chilled until ready to serve.

Chicken Piccata

Serves 6

A classic dish with lemon, this chicken piccata is freshened up with clementines. If clementines aren't in season or unavailable, substitute lemon or limes. Cooking clementine slices until tender makes them edible, peel and all. Low in carbs, almond flour replaces all purpose flour, making this recipe a succulent low carb dish.

1/2 cup almond flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened with a mallet until about 1/4-inch thick
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
Juice and zest of 1 clementine
2 clementines, cut lengthwise into sixths (do not peel)
3 tablespoons capers, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided

1. Place almond flour in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in almond flour mixture.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, swirl pan a few times. Place 3 chicken breasts in skillet and cook 3 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a plate to keep warm.

3. Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, swirling until butter is melted. Cook remaining three chicken breasts until cooked through. Transfer to a plate to keep warm.

4. Add wine, broth, clementine juice and zest, clementine slices, capers and garlic. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by a third. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons parsley.

5. To serve, place chicken on a serving platter or individual dinner plates and spoon sauce evenly overtop. Garnish with remaining parsley.

Roasted Asparagus

Serves 6

Asparagus is a quintessential spring vegetable that becomes a spring delicacy when roasted with olive oil until the stalks are tender and the spear tips are just crisp. At 3 calories and less than 1 gram carbs per small spear, this is a side dish you'll want to serve all spring and summer long.

1 pound asparagus, preferably thin stalks
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Dried thyme

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Using a sharp knife, remove the bottom 1 to 2 inches of the asparagus stalks. Place asparagus in a single layer on a large baking sheet.

3. Spray or brush asparagus with olive oil, turning stalks to coat evenly. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.

4. Roast for 15 minutes or until asparagus is tender and the spear tips are just crisp. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the stalks. Serve warm with mayonnaise.

Celebrate spring with more low carb recipes