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Keto Side Dishes | Mark’s Daily Apple

Couple cooking together with a variety of fresh bell peppers, cabbage, and other vegetables, drizzling olive oil.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.

Plate of roasted Brussels sprouts and bacon alongside a fork and a bottle of Primal Kitchen Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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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.

White serving bowl loaded with colorful mixed grilled vegetables.

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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.

Black bowl filled with cauliflower bacon mushroom risotto. Wooden serving spoon.

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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.

Overhead view of a bowl of roasted broccoli with garlic.

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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!

Creamed spinach in white bowl with spoon on wooden background, blue checked napkin.

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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.

Mashing cauliflower in a blue enamel pot with a potato masher.

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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.

Plate of air fried green beans, Primal Kitchen Ranch Dip, white kitchen towel, fresh flowers.

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8. Fajita Veggies

These make a yummy topping for a burrito bowl or big-ass steak salad, but you can also enjoy them with some simple grilled chicken or scrambled eggs.

Green, yellow, and red bell peppers and onions in a cast iron pan

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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.

Spoon drizzling bright green chimichurri sauce over a roasted cauliflower steak on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

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10. Cacio e Pepe

A keto version of the classic pasta dish of cheese and pepper made with zucchini noodles.

A fork swirling zucchini noodles with shredded cheese out of a white bowl.

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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.

White casserole dish of ratatouille on a wooden background with white towel and fork.

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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.

Pouring tahini dressing over finely chopped broccoli salad in a glass bowl.

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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.

Overhead shot of shaved Brussels sprouts salad in large white serving bowl with two lemon halves.

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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.

Cole slaw in a yellow ceramic bowl with a silver spoon on a white background adorned with green onions and purple cabbage.

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15. Citrus Slaw

A citrusy take on a classic slaw. Serve this with crispy pork carnitas or lettuce-wrapped fish tacos.

Overhead shot citrus cole slaw in a white bowl with wooden spoons, sliced limes, and a jar of Primal Kitchen Mayo.

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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.

White serving platter with wedge salad garnished with bright red diced pepper and a bottle of Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing.

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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.)

Large, open jar of sauerkraut in front of a head of cabbage and whole carrots.

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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.

Large jar of giardiniera against a white tile background.

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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.

Close-up shot of keto biscuits slathered with butter.

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20. Keto Bacon Cheddar Muffins 

Another use for bacon! These savory cheesy muffins are awesome at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Plate with bacon cheddar muffins and several strips of bacon.

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About the Author

Lindsay Taylor headshot

Lindsay Taylor, Ph.D., is a senior writer and community manager for Primal Nutrition, a certified Primal Health Coach, and the co-author of three keto cookbooks.

As a writer for Mark’s Daily Apple and the leader of the thriving Keto Reset and Primal Endurance communities, Lindsay’s job is to help people learn the whats, whys, and hows of leading a health-focused life. Before joining the Primal team, she earned her master’s and Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, where she also worked as a researcher and instructor.

Lindsay lives in Northern California with her husband and two sports-obsessed sons. In her free time, she enjoys ultra running, triathlon, camping, and game nights. Follow along on Instagram @theusefuldish as Lindsay attempts to juggle work, family, and endurance training, all while maintaining a healthy balance and, most of all, having fun in life.

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