Passover comes with many culinary challenges, but for those following a reduced carbohydrate diet, it is even more difficult. With the help of some of my internet “pan-pals” here are some wonderful low-carb side dishes that you can enjoy during Passover or all year ‘round. They’re perfectly delicious, even if you are not cooking the low-carb “weigh!”
My friend Risa Golding of Oxford, New Jersey, belongs to a group of cookbook collectors from all over the world and so do I. Her recipe for Brussels sprouts is a winner. Risa writes, “I learned to cook some of the holiday dishes from my mom, who learned at the heels of her mom. I didn’t watch my mom as much as I should have. I learned mostly from reading, from watching TV and from internet conversations, too. This delicious low-carb side dish will bring rave reviews from family and friends!”
RISA GOLDING’S ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 1 /2 lb. Brussels sprouts, well trimmed
Boiling salted water
3 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 tsp. Kosher salt (or to taste)
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim off ends from Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow leaves. Bring water to a rolling boil in a saucepan; add Brussels sprouts and cook for 3 minutes. Drain well; immediately place sprouts in a bowl of ice water for a few minutes. Drain thoroughly. (This is calling blanching. See Variation below.)
Place sprouts in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn them out onto a baking sheet and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, until crispy outside and tender inside. Be sure to shake the pan occasionally to help the Brussels sprouts brown evenly. Sprinkle with additional Kosher salt and serve immediately.
Variation: Cut blanched Brussels sprouts in half and roast them for half the time. They are also fabulous drizzled with lemon juice.
Makes 4 servings with 16 grams carbohydrate and 5 grams fiber, making a usable (net) carb count of 11carbs. 5 grams protein
Rabbi Hirsch Meisels, the director of Jewish Friends with Diabetes, runs a wonderful support group for Jewish diabetics and another support group for those on a low-carbohydrate diet. Visit his website at www.FriendsWithDiabetes.org. Rabbi Meisels was kind enough to share the following kugel recipe he got from cookbook author Dana Carpender.
Dana has written four low-carb cookbooks, including 500 Low-Carb Recipes (Wm. C. Brown Publishers, $28.95 Cdn). She is sensitive to the needs of those needing Kosher recipes and was glad to share this easy cauliflower kugel recipe, which I have modified slightly for Passover. Dana knows more ways to cook cauliflower than anyone I know and is the queen of creating low-carb recipes! Her website is at www.holdthetoastpress.com
DANA CARPENDER’S CAULIFLOWER KUGEL
A kugel is a traditional Jewish casserole dish, that comes in both sweet and savory varieties. This savory kugel is a nice side dish with a simple fish course. It could also be served as a vegetarian main dish.
2 packages, 10 ounces each, frozen cauliflower, thawed (or 1 large cauliflower, well-trimmed, cut in florets and cooked until nearly tender)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Chop the cauliflower into smallish bits – pieces about 1/2 inch or so. Combine with all other ingredients except paprika in a large mixing bowl, and mix very well. Spray an 8″ x 8″ square baking pan with non-stick cooking spray, and spread cauliflower mixture evenly in it. Sprinkle paprika lightly over the top. Bake at 350°F for 50 to 60 minutes, or until set and lightly browned.
Makes 9 servings, each with 5 grams of carbohydrate and 2 grams of fiber, for a usable carb count of 3 grams. 10 grams protein
Marilyn Westerfield, who lives in Maine, loves eggplant. She is a member of the Jewish Food List. Marilyn says this is the easiest and tastiest way to make eggplant. “I have this at least weekly and since I’m the only eggplant lover in the family, generally eat the entire eggplant myself! I got this recipe from a fellow South Beach dieter. I like it because there’s no oil or frying involved, yet it has that rich makes this easy eggplant recipe that is perfect as a side dish.”
MARILYN WESTERFIELD’S EASY EGGPLANT SIDE DISH
Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice eggplant into 1 /2 inch slices. (You can salt and drain the slices for about 15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.) Thinly spread mayonnaise (low-fat is fine) on one side only. Place on a baking sheet sprayed with Pam, mayonnaise-side up. Sprinkle with pepper and Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.
Makes 4 (or less) servings, depending on who is eating it! One serving contains 13.5 grams carb and 3.4 grams fiber, for a usable carb count of 10.1 grams. 5.6 grams protein.
Variation: You can also cook the eggplant slices for a shorter time, then layer it with your favourite ricotta cheese mixture and pasta sauce in a casserole dish. (If desired, top with sliced or grated Mozzarella cheese.) Bake at 350 F for about 30 to 40 minutes, until tender.
Wendy Baker of New York, also loves eggplant. She is always aware of the carbs in recipes as she is diabetic and experiments to create recipes that are diabetic-friendly.
I met Wendy through the Jewish-food list and many of her recipes appear in their archives (www.jewishfood-list.com). Wendy wasn’t able to provide exact quantities, but she shared two simple recipes that are simple, quick and guilt-free. Enjoy…
WENDY BAKER’S MICROWAVE EGGPLANT PARMIGIAN
Slice an eggplant in thinnish circles, spray with oil and microwave in a rectangular glass dish covered until quite soft. Pour on either jarred or home made tomato sauce (about 13 to 14 oz). There are several brands that are Kosher for Passover. Cover with sliced Mozzarella cheese, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and microwave for about 1 minute, or until the cheese is nicely melted.
WENDY BAKER’S SPAGHETTI SQUASH
Spaghetti squash makes a side dish since it is about the lowest in carbs of all the squashes. (Net carbs after fiber is deducted is about 3.4 grams per half cup cooked.) Wendy cuts it in half vertically and cleans out the seeds. Either microwave it cut-side-down or bake it in the oven with a little water in the pan until soft. Running a fork over the squash produces the strands. Serve with tomato sauce and cheese, just like pasta.
Order 500 Low Carb Recipes by Dana Carpender: at Shop@Gourmania