Think Outside the Side Dish
by Leanne Ely
How many of us live in households where the dinner plate consists of a serving of meat, a starch and a small portion of vegetables?
Now that I eat a Paleo diet, my plate looks a lot different than it once did. No longer do we eat rice, couscous or pasta at my house.
When you live without grains and avoid starchy foods like potatoes, meals can be a little bit challenging for the first little while . . . until you learn to think outside the traditional side dish!
One of the best side effects of following a primarily protein- and veggie-based diet is that you get creative with your produce because, well, you need something to fill up that plate!
Vegetables around me live in fear because they know they will be eaten with wild, reckless abandon. I want you to live with that same passion for veggies so here’s a little inspiration to help you start thinking beyond starch.
Non-starch side dishes to explore
Bell peppers. Oh, how I adore a sauté of bell peppers and onions. Cooked in some butter or coconut oil with a sprinkle of sea salt and some ground pepper, this side dish is delicious with almost everything, but especially with grilled meats.
Greens. Look at salad as being worthy of taking up more space on your plate. I have written about salads many times, but I encourage you to experiment with the green stuff to see what you like best. Create a kale salad. Wilt a variety of chard and beet greens. Enjoy dandelion greens and spinach. There are more than enough greens to eat a different one each day!
Cauliflower. Roast it, steam it and puree it into a mash. I love my cauliflower and you will never catch me without this delicious vegetable in my fridge.
Sweet potatoes. Yes they’re starchy, but their nutritional profile makes sweet potatoes worthy of being enjoyed often. Roast them for best results!
Zucchini noodles. Did you know you can julienne zucchini into noodles? It’s true. What a great way to get in some more veggies while cutting out starchy sides.
Mushroom and zucchini. Sauté some zucchini and mushrooms together with whatever seasoning you like for a tasty treat. This makes a nice side dish for a spicy main.
Sliced cucumbers. Cool and refreshing cucumbers make a wonderful side dish for spicy curries. Why fill up on starchy rice when you can add more veggies to your diet?
Cabbage slaw. Finely sliced cabbage (red or green) mixed with a dressing of Greek yogurt, cider vinegar, honey and some sea salt & freshly ground black pepper makes a fantastic side dish. Guilt free, too!
What is your favorite non-starchy side dish?