Low carb Thanksgiving side dishes

Oct 16, 2009 at 6:41 a.m. ET

This Thanksgiving, instead of simply eating roasted turkey and avoiding all the high-carb sides, craft a selection of delicious low-carb dishes that even your most carb-loving guests will enjoy.

Pear and Walnut Salad

Low-carb side-dishes for Thanksgiving

For low-carb holiday dishes, you can't go wrong with vegetables. And we're not just talking crudites or steamed veggies. Here are four creative ways to transform fresh vegetables into tasty low-carb Thanksgiving side-dishes.

Toasted walnut and pear salad recipes

Serves 8

What's a holiday without a leafy green salad accented by a tangy vinaigrette? Light but luscious, this low-carb salad is adorned with crunchy toasted nuts and juicy slices of pear, making the perfect complement for slices of roasted turkey or lamb.

2/3 cup walnut halves
2 shallots, minced
1-1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
8 to 10 cups mixed greens
2 large ripe but firm pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Toast for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Set aside.

2. In a cruet or mason jar with a lid, add shallots, vinegar, and oils. Shake jar, taste, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Place greens in a large bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or so of vinaigrette. Evenly divide greens among 8 chilled salad plates. Artfully arrange pears and walnuts on greens and sprinkle with cheese. Drizzle with a little more vinaigrette and serve.

Rosemary roasted radishes recipes

Serves 8

Most likely you've had crisp raw radishes on salads or as garnish, but these miniature root vegetables are utterly divine when roasted with a little fresh rosemary, olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Their normally sharp flavor is mellowed and their texture becomes quite tender. Best yet, a half-cup has a mere 10 calories and only 2 grams of carbohydrates.

4 to 6 cups trimmed radishes
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, toss radishes with remaining ingredients and transfer to a roasting pan large enough to hold radishes in one layer. Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and continue to roast for 10 more minutes or until radishes are tender, golden and slightly wrinkled. Serve warm.

Cauliflower gratin recipe

Serves 8

You won't miss the carb-heavy scalloped potatoes with this tasty cauliflower gratin. The crunchy topping and tender florets make every bite a delectable contrast in taste and texture. Want to know how many carbs you are saving? Consider one cup of diced potato packs upwards of 25 grams of carbohydrates while one cup of cauliflower has just over 5 grams.

4 to 6 cups cauliflower florets
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup rolled oats, coarsely ground in a food processor
1/4 cup low-carb breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. and butter a large baking dish.

2. Cook the cauliflower in a large pot of salted boiling water until tender (you can also steam cauliflower if preferred). Drain and pat dry.

3. Transfer cauliflower to baking dish, sprinkle with thyme and drizzle with melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.

4. In a small bowl, mix oats and breadcrumbs. Use your fingers to rub butter into oat mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over cauliflower. Bake for 30 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.

Rhubarb cranberry sauce recipe

Serves 8

A nice and tasty change from high-sugar canned cranberry sauce, rhubarb and cranberries infused with fresh ginger and cinnamon may just become one of your favorite year-round dishes for poultry or grilled meats. Canned cranberry sauce boasts 50 grams of carbohydrates per half-cup while this sweet homemade sauce comes in around 10 grams.

6 cups diced rhubarb (use unsweetened, frozen rhubarb if fresh is unavailable)
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 tablespoon minced or grated fresh gingerroot
Juice and grated zest of an orange
3/4 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup sugar substitute or more to taste

1. Place rhubarb, cranberries, ginger, orange juice and zest, water and cinnamon stick in a large pot over medium heat, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender and cranberries have popped.

3.Stir in sugar substitute to taste and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Sauce should be thick but still have a liquid consistency. Add more water, if necessary. Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm or cool.

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