The words “keto diet” may conjure up visions of bacon, butter, and heavy cream, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the delectable food options available to keto dieters.
Most people build their meal plans around main dishes, which makes sense. Main dishes usually provide the bulk of the protein in a given meal, and we all know how critical protein is for maintaining strength and staying healthy now and well into old age. But sides are how you add color, pizzazz, texture, and even more flavor. Steak—delicious. Steak served with a big-ass side salad and crispy roasted broccoli—out of this world.
Without further ado, here are 20 of our favorite side dishes to complete your fabulous, low-carb keto meals.
20 Keto Side Dishes You’ll Love
Warm Vegetable Side Dishes
1. Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts have experienced a major popularity boost since everyone discovered that they’re actually quite delicious roasted and served with bacon. This recipe adds tangy and sweet balsamic vinaigrette to take the flavor to another level.
2. Grilled Greek Veggies
Customize this easy, flavorful recipe with whatever vegetables you have on hand. It’s great for summer when your garden is producing bounties.
3. Mushroom and Bacon Risotto
Plain cauliflower rice might not be very exciting, but this flavorful mushroom and bacon dish is a total crowd-pleaser.
4. Sesame Ginger Broccoli
This recipe will tempt even those folks who aren’t the biggest fans of broccoli. The trick is to roast it long enough to develop some lightly browned crispy bits around the edges.
5. Creamed Spinach
Creamed spinach might seem old-fashioned and, let’s face it, not that appealing, but give this one a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised. Bonus: it’s dairy-free!
6. Mashed Vegetables (That Aren’t Potatoes)
Mashed potatoes contain too many carbs to enjoy on a keto diet (unless you’re willing to stop at a spoonful or two). Luckily, there are lower-carb vegetables that are just as delicious mashed.
7. Air Fryer Green Beans
Perhaps you’ve had fried green beans off the menu at your favorite pub, but those were probably battered and fried. These are equally delicious and much more keto-friendly.
8. Fajita Veggies
9. Cauliflower Steaks
If you’ve only ever had cauliflower mashed or roasted, you must try these cauliflower steaks. Chimichurri is the real star of this show, though.
10. Cacio e Pepe
A keto version of the classic pasta dish of cheese and pepper made with zucchini noodles.
11. Summer Ratatouille
Ratatouille isn’t just a friendly talking rat, it’s a very beautiful layered baked vegetable side dish. It takes a bit of prep work to chop the veggies and assemble the casserole, but the final product is well worth it.
Salads and Vegetable Side Dishes Served Cold
12. Summer Broccoli Salad
The best parts of this salad are the texture and the dressing. Chopping all the ingredients finely and tossing them with homemade tahini dressing makes for a unique side that pairs nicely with any grilled meat.
13. Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
A new way to combine Brussels sprouts and bacon—into a raw salad with gorgonzola cheese and pecans that’s out of this world.
14. Keto Cole Slaw
Cole slaw, made with a creamy avocado oil mayo-based dressing, is the perfect combination of nutritious vegetables and healthy fats for a keto diet.
15. Citrus Slaw
A citrusy take on a classic slaw. Serve this with crispy pork carnitas or lettuce-wrapped fish tacos.
16. Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch Dressing
A crisp, cold wedge salad plus a perfectly grilled steak equals a meal you could eat every night and be totally happy.
17. Homemade Sauerkraut
Fermented foods deliver probiotics that are fantastic for gut health. If you’ve only ever eaten store-bought sauerkraut, you’ll be surprised how simple it is to make your own sauerkraut at home. Eat it with sausages or on top of eggs. (Yes, really, sauerkraut is delicious on eggs.)
18. Pickled Giardiniera
Giardiniera is dish of pickled vegetables with Italian spices. This one contains cauliflower, carrots, green beans and other vegetables. Serve it with any meat or seafood. It’s also a nice addition to a charcuterie board.
Sides That Aren’t Vegetables
19. Cheesy Keto Biscuits
Thought you couldn’t have biscuits on keto? Wrong! These are only 5 grams of carbs each.
20. Keto Bacon Cheddar Muffins
Another use for bacon! These savory cheesy muffins are awesome at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.