Labor Day hails almost the end of the grilling party season, but it’s the beginning of the rest of the year in terms of holidays.
We know you have the meat portion of your meal under control at your next barbecue; now how about those other, more nefarious food options? Try any of these healthy, ketogenic recipes at only 5 carbs or less (6 or less for desserts), and you’re closer to looking like Barbie (Or He-Man if you’re a guy) at the barbecue.
5-carb or less Salads:
Potatoless Potato Salad This salad is literally so delicious that people write to me and tell me this salad tastes better than their best potato salad. I have other spouses tell me their loved ones never knew this was a cauliflower dish. Try it for yourself and prepare to be won over. This dish also translates well to a chicken salad; simply sub out the cauliflower for up to 2 cups diced or shredded chicken.
Loaded Baked Potato Salad A friend made a baked potato salad this week, and I spent the rest of my time reconstructing is with cauliflower. The results? A dish you’re going to flip for. These taste like loaded, baked potatoes. It just doesn’t get any better than that. Add all of your favorite toppings and enjoy, but beware: this dish will go fast, so take a smaller serving spoon or triple the batch.
Basic Coleslaw This dish literally takes me less than 2 minutes to prepare in the kitchen. It’s so easy, I have the ingredients memorized. I use bagged cabbage, but you can make your own, or even use broccoli slaw. You can play with this dish, have a blast, and adjust to your tastes. I know when my kids hear there’s coleslaw coming to the table, they hustle. They may not put pants on, but they hustle.
Parmesan Vegetable Salad Filled with winning and plenty of summer vegetables, this festive, delicious zippy salad had loads of color and flavor. Keep chill and chill with this healthy dish. Robust colors of red from tomatoes, purple from purple onions, green from broccoli and light green from zucchini gives this side the visual punch it needs alongside the other dishes on the table.
Sexy Egg Salad If you’ve never seen a sexy egg salad before, you’re in for a treat. This exquisite, easy treat features a fantastic egg salad, filled with everything you love about the stuff and never get enough of: crunch, creamy, and crafty. And because you top the dish with hard-boiled eggs, your salad doubles as an appetizer, too.
5-carbs or less Sides:
Fresh Dill Relish This relish is fresh and easy to make. A little bit of dill pickle and a couple of other ingredients, three minutes with your favorite knives (or a food processor), and you have a fresh, delicious topping worthy of those dogs you’re grilling. People will marvel at your ingenuity; you’ll know you got yourself out of a potential carby condiment pickle. Pardon me while I chuckle at my pun.
Just the Beef Chili This chili is so earthy, delicious and filled with Charlie Sheen winning that I make this dish a lot. It eat it for breakfast. I put it on my zucchini spaghetti. I load it on my hot dogs and brats. I would wear it as earrings, but it’s chili. You don’t wear it as earrings. You eat it. I make a crock pot of this a day ahead, let the flavors meld, reheat, and let the beef do all of the talking. If you’re wondering why a chili would contain cocoa, stop. Just… stop. Trust me.
Taco Dip Our planet is a wonderful place. One of those reasons exists in the fact that we are the only known, inhabitable planet to have taco dip. Layers or gooey, delicious, fresh flavors kick your palate in the face with Chuck Norris precision and have you begging for more. And because it’s your creation, you can go a little loco and put in your favorite flavors and colors. I love this dip, and guests won’t even think, “This is low-carb.” There’s just too much there to love. Thank you, Earth. I love you.
Cheese Chicken Dorito Chips What better to serve with the fabulousness that is the taco dip than your very own crispy Dorito chips made from (are you ready for this) chicken and cheese. I kid your brains not. Make these chips with baked chicken, process, and let the magic of cheese work for some of the most tremendous, substantial chips you’ll ever eat. Season to your liking, and dip, dip, dip! This chip can be dehydrated beyond baking for even more crunch. And no one will ever know these are made from chicken.
Crispy Celeriac Chips The ugliest root known to man makes some of the most visually scrumptious potatoless potato chips this vector of space will ever see. Get the deep fat fryer going, fry up small batches of these at a time, drain, salt, and marvel. I also recommend trying these ahead of time to nail down the process of making chips; it takes a little finesse to make sure the chips come out just right, with the perfect amount of crunch and color.
Blue Cheese Bacon Dip I can’t stand blue cheese, but something about this dip makes it palatable. My son loves the blue-veined, skunky-foot smelling dairy leavings on his burger, and I thought, “Hey; anything is better with bacon, right?” Hence, this actually, surprisingly fresh take on pungent delivers a thick, delicious wallop to vegetables or even to your crispy celeriac chips. I will never eat plain blue cheese for fun, but in this dip, I’d follow it anywhere.
Daikon au Gratin This is more of a warm side for buffets and cookouts, but even at room temperature, this interesting dish delivers cheesy, au gratin goodness. Adding to this, most people have no idea what a daikon radish is. You say daikon, I say potatoesque oot vegetable with a much lower glycemic impact. Whereas a potato is 5 carbs per ounce, the daikon measures in at only a carb. Bam. Take that conventional au gratins. In your little tuber face!
5-carb or less Refreshing Drinks:
Easy Lemonade This is kind of a ridiculous(ly awesome) drink I put together, first with actual squeezed lemons, and then with lemon juice. I prefer the lemon juice. Squeezing ten lemons is like being in labor for 36 hours. Only instead of a baby, all you have delivered is a Spock hat that says, “Kiss me, I’m illogical.” There’s no reason to waste your time fondling citrus when you get the same results from someone else’s efforts. The addition of Truvia makes this a sweet proposition–and it tastes just like regular, store-bought lemonade.
Horchata I am such a whore for horchata. I should just call it whorechata. I’ve had the high-carb version made from rice milk and it is so sinfully amazing that I had to make my own. Almond milk or coconut milk will both net a tremendously refreshing beverage with that tell-tale hint of vanilla and cinnamon, and you are going to be converted instantly to its refreshing, subdued sweetness. It’s really better than milk, and, because it’s not milk, you can serve to your lactose intolerant friends. It also would be pretty amazing on your own low carb granola for breakfast.
Chia Blueberry Smoothie This is a wild card I’m throwing in because of the chia. I made some seriously kick-heiny chia brownies this week, so adding a pretty tasty blueberry chia smoothie is a fun way to enjoy a little dessert-in-a-glass. It’s richness comes from only the freshest of ingredients, and the color is a heck of a lot of fun, too. Want an even “more-blue” color? Add some spinach while you blend and blow their socks off.
6-carb or less Delicious Desserts:
Strawberry Shortcake I am so in love with this fresh, substantial dessert that I make it every chance I get. Based on my signature oopsie rolls, this shortcake-meets-summer-freshness-meets- fresh whipped cream makes this a do-it-yourself option as a dessert bar, or plate and serve for plenty of oohs and ahhs around the backyard. I wouldn’t be surprised if guests ask you for the recipe, it’s that good. They’d never even suspect there’s not a lick of added sugar.
Red White & Blue Dessert Pizza I love this pizza. It’s impressive to behold, but it’s incredibly easy to make. On a crust of almond meal, lemon brings the light acid sweetness that makes the berries shine. A little added fat in the form of cream cheese means you’re going to feel more full with this dessert. Plenty of color means the eye wants what the stomach, thankfully, can have with little-to-no guilt.
Diana’s Oopsie Crumb Cake This oopsie-based batter cake might seem a little heavy for a cookout, but add some fresh berries and cream on the side, and you have a filling, delicious, spiced cake that makes the perfect ending to a summer meal and prepares you for the crispness of fall, with the promise of more baking. And what’s more, the limited number of carbs means you walk away from the table really satisfied.
Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cheesecake This one’s a show-stopper. Beautiful and simple to make, gourmet cheesecakes have massive staying power due to the fats and the richness in eat slice. every bit the kind of cheesecake you might find in an established cheesecake joint, you’re looking at less than 6 carbs per insanely decadent slice. And because cheesecakes go a long way, you can serve 12-16 of your closest friends small slices. You might even be able to fight off the hoard for a slice or two just for you.
Chia Seed Brownies The latest chia creation from my kitchen, the poppy seed texture of chia meshes with the richness of chocolate and cream cheese for a dense, moist brownie. The grab and go aspect makes these a perfect dessert for picnics, and the sugar-free appeal to something that’s so wonderfully desserty that the kids will ask for seconds. (Tell them to clean their rooms first).