50 Atkins recipes
Easy low-carb dinner recipes don’t need to come from a fancy meal delivery service. You can find many ideas that are inexpensive and don’t require very many ingredients. In fact, some of the best recipes have only a few ingredients.
Low-carb foods can help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Even though you might be eating more fat, you’ll notice that your cholesterol levels are much lower than they were when you were indulging in bread and pasta.
This is because when your body processes carbs, it turns the carbs into sugar and turns the sugars into reserved fat. Your body uses carbs as pure energy, but most of us don’t expend as much energy as is needed to burn off all those carbs. This is why they can cause us to gain weight even if we are eating a low-fat diet.
The best way to keep off the extra weight is to indulge in low-carb foods. Luckily, there are plenty of recipes that are not only healthy but are very delicious too. You might even find yourself craving some of these recipes on a weekly basis.
50 Low Carb Dinner Ideas to Make You Go Mmmm
1. Shaksuka on a Budget
You don’t need to break the bank or your low-carb diet to enjoy a protein-rich breakfast. Shaksuka is the perfect way to start your low-carb day. A traditional middle eastern dish, shaksuka is essentially eggs cooked in a rich tomato sauce that’s spiced with cumin and paprika. Though the dish is traditionally served with thick slices of challah bread, you can transform yours into a low-carb option by skipping the bread altogether or opting for a low-carb tortilla or toast for a healthy dinner.
2. Steak Rolls
Everyone love a Philly cheesesteak. What we don’t love is the soft pillows of bread that come with the tender steak and oozing cheese. Okay, maybe we do love the bread, but we promise you won’t even miss the carbs in this recipe. These steak rolls are filled with hearty veggies, like green beans, peppers and onions. It’s all the fun of the steak dinner with a little added fiber and vitamins. The tender steak tastes so flavorful, and the tender veggies give a nice pop between your teeth.
3. Thai Beef Salad
Thai food ends up on everyone’s guilty pleasures bucket list. Yet not all Thai food is created equally; you can enjoy Thai food and eat it too with this Thai beef salad recipe. Thin strips of beef offer plenty of protein and energy that keeps you full all afternoon. The crisp onions, peppers, and cucumbers offer a cooling refresher from the spicy chilies that bring a layer of heat throughout the dish. The peanuts add an extra crunchy texture that ensures you won’t even miss the noodles. This carb free dinner has tons of texture and flavor.
4. Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Chicken
There’s something so fresh about a caprese salad that just makes you want to scream, “Summer’s here!” This dish ties together all the fresh flavors of the capreses salad, including the mozzarella and basil, and adds a twist on the tomato by introducing roasted red pepper to the flavor combination. This chicken can be prepared in advance and popped into the oven when you get home from work, so it’s a great weeknight dinner.
5. Chicken, Asparagus and Bacon Skillet
Chicken and bacon just seem to go together. This dish shows off the best of both of our favorite white meats. The chicken is tender and juicy, and the bacon adds a little fat to keep the chicken moist. The thin strands of asparagus add a green pop of color and freshen up the dish. If you’re looking for a healthy dinner, look no further.
6. Cauliflower Fried Rice
This cauliflower fried “rice” is so good, you’ll forget there’s no grain to be found in this dish. The best part is that it only takes 15 minutes to prepare. If you cook the cauliflower in sesame oil, you can render an even more nutty flavor from the small granules. The bright flavors of the bean sprouts, carrot and green onion lighten this low-carb dinner in what could otherwise be a heavy dish.
7. Portobello Mushroom Cashew Cheese Burger
This low-carb dinner burger reminds us a little of Shake Shack’s decadent Portobello burger – yet this one doesn’t come with the high-calorie count. Meaty Portobello mushrooms are stuffed with cashew cheese that adds a layer of umami to the dish. Arugula, green onions and succulent tomatoes are added at the last minute; the acid from the tomatoes cuts through the velvety cashew butter and balances the dish.
8. Caramelized Brussel Sprouts and Chorizo
We’re always looking for a fresh take on Brussel sprouts. These hearty little green morsels can be transformed into an entire meal with a sprinkle of spicy chorizo. The fact that this dish only has three ingredients adds to its impressive impact on your taste bud. This dish consists simply of chorizo, olive oil and brussel sprouts. These three ingredients go a long way here!
9. Fresh Summer Rolls with Basil and Avocado
The summertime brings a bounty of fresh produce for a carb free dinner that just doesn’t taste the same in the other three seasons. These summer rolls highlight some of our favorite summer ingredients: Basil and avocado. The creamy avocado brightens up this dish and add a beautiful green color throughout the summer rolls. Crunchy veggies contrast the silkiness of the avocado, and the peanut sauce brings a little depth to the dish.
10. Pesto Kale Salad
Caesar salad is kind of an oxymoron. We eat salad because it’s healthy; Caesar salad is anything but healthy. This salad is reminiscent of the nutty and creamy textures and flavors of Caesar salad without all the added fat. The fresh kale replaces romaine and adds plenty of protein and iron. The cashews add a nice nutty crunch. You can even add a few slices of hardboiled egg for added protein.
11. Cauliflower Ham and Cheese Soup
One of our favorite fall dishes is ham and potato soup. Sadly, potatoes are a huge no-no on a low-carb diet. This soup replaces the potatoes with cauliflower; the creamy cauliflower does a great job thickening the soup and adding a smooth and creamy texture. The tender ham adds plenty of protein to a carb free dinner while the cheese adds just the right amount of salty flavor.
12. Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Crispy Goat Cheese
Portobello mushrooms and goat cheese seem to go hand in hand with each other in carb free dinner recipes. Portobello mushrooms love the sharp tang of goat cheese, and goat cheese loves the deep and meaty flavor of Portobello mushrooms. The spinach adds protein and a bright color while the panko bread crumbs add flavor and texture. Tomato paste adds a layer of umami to the mushrooms; the acid from the tomato paste lightens up the heavy flavor of the mushrooms.
13. Trout Provençale en Papillote
Some of the best low-carb dinner recipes are some of the simplest ones. This recipe highlights the flavors of the ripest tomatoes of the season. The zucchini adds bright color and meaty texture to the dish, and the black olives add plenty of flavors. The entire dish is cooked on a layer of parchment paper, so cleanup is easy. Salmon is the perfect dish for any time of year; it’s nice and light in the summer and can “beef up” dishes in the wintertime.
14. One Pot Cheesy Taco Skillet
These low-carb recipes are made all the better because it is cooked in one pot. Cleanup is easy, and you don’t need to keep an eye on several pans at once. Rich and hearty ground beef is combined with layers of cheese, veggies and taco seasoning. The bright green onions are added at the last minute, so you can still taste their freshness throughout the dish.
15. Mediterranean Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos
When it comes to low-carb, the Mediterranean diet has low-carb recipes flavor down to a science. These tacos are bright, fresh and flavorful. They are easy to make and don’t require a lot of prep time. They are reminiscent of the halal carts of New York City without all the added fat and oil. The bright romaine adds so much crunch; you won’t even miss the tortilla. The Kalamata olives add tang while the creamy tzatziki adds flavor and some smooth texture to a carb free dinner.
16. Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Mini Meatloaves
The hardest part about eating meatloaf is stopping when you’re full. These mini versions of the American favorite are flavorful and filling. They come in little individual loaves, so you won’t feel tempted to pile on slice after slice. The use of string cheese is creative and carves off several minutes from the prep time. Add a sprig of rosemary to add a woodsy aroma.
17. Poached Eggs Over Avocado Smoked Salmon
We could all use a little more of the good fat in our lives. This recipe gives us plenty of options for omega-3s with ingredients like salmon, avocado and leafy greens. The poached egg adds a little protein and heart-healthy fats that are needed to lose weight on a low-carb diet. The egg yolk acts as its own condiment; simply crack open the egg, and you’ll have a runny yolk to dress the arugula and avocado. Poach the egg in water with a little vinegar for an added tang of flavor.
18. Lettuce Wrapped Cheeseburgers
Who doesn’t love a juicy cheeseburger in the summer? Who doesn’t love a juicy cheeseburger in the winter for that matter? A low-carb dinner can also become a low carb fast food dinner; you simply must modify them into low-carb food. You won’t miss the bun in this recipe because the decadent “secret” sauce adds so much flavor that you won’t remember a time when you didn’t eat your burgers tucked in a lettuce hug.
19. Spinach Herb Frittata
You say frittato, and I say frittata. Frittata is one of those superfoods that you don’t need carbs to enhance. The broccoli and artichokes crisp up so nicely in this dish, you won’t even miss potatoes with your morning eggs. The goat cheese is tangy and creamy and holds the whole thing together quite nicely. The best part of this dish is the nutrition factor. It’s loaded with tons of omega-3s, vitamin E and beta carotene. You don’t need to modify frittata to make it into a low-carb food.
20. Salmon, Avocado and Rocket Arugula Salad
The only activity more fun than saying “rocket arugula,” is eating rocket arugula. This is a lovely light summer salad that is topped with bright green chunks of avocado and delicate strands of pink smoked salmon. The cucumbers and sesame seeds add a nice crunchy finish. The dressing is made from sesame oil that lends the dish a nutty undertone. The lime in the dressing cuts through the rich flavor of the sesame oil and adds a bright finish to the salad. An easy and healthy dinner that also looks pretty is a bonus.
21. Skirt Steak with Asian Slaw
You might have thought your Chinese food days were over when you went low-carb. This recipe proves that you can have your Chinese and eat it too. There is such a thing as Chinese low-carb food. Skirt steaks are great because they are relatively inexpensive. This skirt steak comes out juicy and tender thanks to the marinade. The yellow bell peppers add bright flavor and color; the Sriracha adds a nice dry heat without too much spice.
22. Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats
These low-carb recipes prove that cheese and sauce make everything better. Instead of carb-laden enchiladas, treat your family to a dish that’s both flavorful and nutritious. The zucchini boats are tender and can be cut with the edge of your fork. The chicken adds tons of protein and texture, and the enchilada sauce that’s added to the bottom of the pan gives the dish plenty of spice. A thick layer of cheese blend is just the thing to keep all the ingredients in their places and add an extra layer of flavor.
23. Asian Zucchini Noodle Stir Fry Shrimp
Zucchini “noodles” are such a versatile ingredient. They taste pretty darn close to wheat or rice noodles and add a lot of nutrients. This recipe is fantastic because the shrimp adds a great texture to the dish. When cooked right, the shrimp should pop between your teeth. The texture of the snow peas mimics the shrimp’s texture; you almost can’t tell the difference between these two similar ingredients. Yellow bell peppers and green onions add an extra bout of color without a ton of calories on your low-carb diet.
24. Pizza Frittata
No one should ever ask you to go on a diet that banishes pizza from the menu. This no carb dinner “pizza” makes use of a frittata for its crust. The eggs add plenty of omega-3s and give the crust a lighter texture than most pizza crusts. Eat this dish with a fork and knife, or dig in and eat it with your hands. The tangy tomato sauce seeps into the eggs a little and lends more flavor to the crust. The soft mozzarella is gooey and clings onto the eggs and sauce in the same way it would on a traditional pizza.
25. Healthy Chicken Wing Recipe
Save this recipe for next year’s Super Bowl for low-carb recipes. Chicken wings are notoriously packed with fat and cholesterol, but these lightened wings rise to the challenge. You don’t exchange flavor for nutrition with this recipe though; these wings are doused in spicy buffalo sauce before they’re baked in a 375-degree oven to lock in flavor. Blue cheese yogurt adds a little tang and lightens the flavor even further.
26. Mongolian Beef Cauliflower Rice
You don’t need to travel halfway across the world for flavorful Mongolian beef. This recipe can be cooked from the comfort of your own home in one pan. Seared onions add tons of flavor to the sautéed beef. Sesame seeds and olive oil tie together flavors in the cauliflower “rice.” Red pepper flakes and fresh chilies add a low heat that you can control.
27. Bacon, Cheddar and Cauliflower Soup
This recipe tastes dangerously close to your favorite restaurant bacon, cheddar and potato soup. Yet you won’t find any potatoes in this decadent lunch. This hearty soup is full of low-carb foods and gets its ultra-rich consistence from the potato’s lower carb nemesis, cauliflower. Flavor is added to the soup layer by layer. Diced celery and onion powder are the base of the flavors and mirror the complex flavors of the traditional mirepoix. Two percent milk is added instead of cream. Hearty chunks of bacon and grated cheddar cheese give this soup its signature taste. This is one of the best no carb recipes for dinner.
28. Pimento Cheese Ball
Anyone who grew up in the South can tell you that pimento cheese reigns supreme south of Maryland. This lighter version of the mayonnaise-laden southern favorite will cure your craving for the uber fatty dip and is one of the yummiest low-carb recipes. Cream cheese is used instead of mayonnaise here and gives the cheeseball the sturdiness it needs to hold up in the fridge. The deep flavors of the pimento peppers are still familiar paired with the bright tang of the cheddar cheese.
29. Zucchini Noodles with Pesto
Pesto pasta is one of the great guilty pleasures in life. Carbs plus oil equals happiness for some reason. This pesto zucchini “pasta” has all the pleasure without the guilt on a low-carb diet. Zucchini ribbons replace the carb-filled noodles. The pesto is made with plenty of good olive oil and basil at the peak of freshness. Bright red cherry tomatoes add a punch of color at the end.
30. Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Artichokes
The end of winter and the beginning of spring are joyous occasions for many reasons. One of these reasons is that the month of March marks the time of year that artichokes are at their peak. Artichokes taste best when stuffed with oil and bread. Swap the bread for tender bites of chicken breast and a sprinkle of panko for a low-carb dinner comfort meal.
31. Fresh and Easy Spring Vegetable Soup
This soup makes a great soup for a spring detox. You can eat this for two days before introducing more vegetables back into your low-carb diet. The broth is made with green tea and ginger. Ribbons of kale add protein – which is important when all you’re eating is soup. Radishes add a little texture and are best eaten at the beginning of spring.
32. Garlic Brown Sugar Flank Steak with Chimichurri
Brazilians know their meat. This steak is a variation of a Brazilian favorite. The steak itself is flavorful and juicy on its own, yet when paired with a bright green chimichurri sauce, the meat is elevated to a whole separate level. The chimichurri is filled with bright flavor of cilantro, parsley and oregano. Red pepper flakes add a little bit of spice. The acidity of the red wine vinegar cuts through the heavy texture of the meat nicely.
33. Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir Fry
This stir fry is so easy that you’ll want to make more than just once a week. Chunks of chicken and strips of asparagus are flavored with chicken broth, garlic and ginger. Lemon is added at the end to brighten the flavors of the chicken and showcase the asparagus. Grapeseed oil is great for cooking at high temperatures because of its high burn point.
34. Lemon Cheesy Spaghetti Squash
We would be completely remiss if we didn’t include a recipe for a carb friendly mac and cheese on this list. This cheesy spaghetti squash is a major contender in the comfort low-carb food factor. It’s so easy to make, you won’t believe you actually took the time to boil and salt water for macaroni back in the day. The spaghetti squash can be eaten right in the shell of the squash. Shredded parmesan adds a little salty flavor, and a dash of parsley freshens up low-carb recipes for dinner.
35. Lemon Almond Roast Chicken Salad
Everyone always wants another way to cook chicken for a no carb dinner. This chicken salad recipe is light and flavorful. The chicken is shredded so fine that it practically fluffs up into the bowl itself. Slivered almonds add a delicate crunch and a nutty flavor. The lemon added at the end holds the salad together and helps tenderize the chicken.
36. Cauliflower Rice Greek Chicken Bowl
This cauliflower “rice” tastes so much like regular rice, you could say why we haven’t come up with this sooner is totally Greek to me! The cauliflower is fluffy and has a nutty flavor. The chicken is chopped so finely that it doesn’t compete in terms of texture with the cauliflower rice. Kalamata olives add a punch of flavor, and the chopped tomatoes brighten the flavor and the aesthetic of the dish.
37. Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Peanut Dipping Sauce
Shrimp is the perfect protein to sneak into lettuce wraps. The bright flavor of butter lettuce mimics the bright flavors of the perfectly seasoned shrimp. Crunchy carrots and creamy avocado slices add a variety of texture to these little bite-sized morsels. You can smell the cilantro as you raise the wrap up to your mouth for a bite; it contrasts well with the nuttiness of the peanut dipping sauce.
38. Feta Stuffed Chicken
These chicken wraps are so easy. You simply roll up feta and frozen spinach in a breast of chicken. These are great for kids; the little ones can help roll up the chicken breasts, and the spinach is hidden within the chicken roll. Any way we can con our kids into more veggies is okay with us!
39. Avocado and Egg Spaghetti Squash Boats
Spaghetti squash is such a versatile ingredient. Not only can you bake a spaghetti squash in its own shell, but you can serve spaghetti squash from its own shell too. The cleanup is minimal, and you’ve got a dish that practically bakes itself in less than an hour. This dish is also great for when you need a little protein but want to take a break from meat for an evening. Some chopped avocado adds a little texture to the top, and a squirt of Sriracha adds a tiny bit of heat.
40. Vegan Cauliflower and Roasted Garbanzo Rice and Peas
This recipe has so many layers of texture, you might forget that the meat is missing. Fluffy cauliflower “rice” is combined with creamy avocado. Crunchy chick peas and thin slices of radish are sprinkled over the top. A healthy handful of chopped parsley ties the flavors together at the end. low-carb recipes for dinner can be vegan too.
41. Two Ingredient Slow Cooker Pepperoncini Beef Roast
This two ingredient beef roast is melt in your mouth delicious. The acidity of the pepperoncini breaks down the fattiness of the beef. This recipe is so easy to make, you could easily prepare it on a weeknight; just pop both ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and by the time you’re home from work you’ll have an easy weeknight meal. Low-carb recipes for dinner don’t need to be complex.
42. Slim Palates Pistachio Crusted Salmon
This is an updated take on some old favorite carb free dinner recipes: Almond encrusted tilapia. These no carb dinner recipes utilize salmon instead of tilapia and packs the dish full of omega-3s. The smashed pistachios encrust the salmon and give it a nice crust on the outside. The pistachio crust also locks the flavors inside the fish, so its juicy when you cut it with the side of your fork.
43. Thai Chicken Lettuce Cups
This is an Americanized version of a Thai classic. Larb gai laab gai is a Thai favorite that’s as simple as it is flavorful. The lettuce cups used in this dish are indicative of the original dish, so they’re not used as a substitute for bread or tortillas. The lime juice adds some fresh flavor to the chicken that is intensified by the mint leaves you can sprinkle on the dish at the very end. These lettuce cups are easy to eat and fun for both adults and kids. No carb dinner recipes can travel the world.
44. Beef Snap Pea and Asparagus Stir Fry
No carb dinner recipes are not only yummy, but they’re easy to make. Snap peas and beef go so well together because the peas lighten the flavor of the thick and juicy meat. The asparagus itself is very meaty but lighter in texture than the beef. Fresh basil is the perfect ingredient to add at the height of its freshness during the summertime. The garlic adds a nice punch to the overall flavor of the dish, and the soy sauce and rice vinegar add to the dish’s Asian elements.
45. Chicken in Creamy Green Onion Sauce
This is one of our favorite low-carb dinner ideas. Chicken is juicy and flavorful on its own, but this white meat is almost always better with a sauce. The sauce in this dish is similar to the sauce in a chicken marsala. Instead of marsala wine, the recipe uses the chicken’s own juices and green onions to add the bright flavor that is usually rendered with marsala wine.
46. Turkey, Quinoa, Zucchini and Meatballs Recipe
Quinoa is a great way to add a little bulk and flavor to your meatballs without a lot of carbs or unnecessary calories. These meatballs are also packed full of fresh veggies, so they don’t dry out in the oven. They are finished with a light tomato sauce that makes them even more moist and delicious when eaten piping hot. They taste great on zucchini pasta, but they taste absolutely amazing wrapped in a leaf of fresh butter lettuce. This is one of the best low-carb dinner ideas on the list.
47. Seared Scallops with Pancetta and Brussel Sprouts
Scallops are an incredibly decadent ingredient that doesn’t add a lot of calories or any carbs to a dish. Out of all of these no carb recipes for dinner, this meal is the best to serve to your sweetie. Scallops are light and silky, and they take on the flavors of other ingredients. That’s why they pair so well with bacon. Brussel sprouts are also made better by an ingredient with a little extra fat. This dish balances the flavors of these three ingredients so perfectly. The bacon and the scallops are both salty enough that you don’t even need to add extra seasoning during prep time.
48. Portabella Hallumi Burgers
This is one of the best easy low-carb dinner recipes. Portabella mushrooms make great burgers, but they also make great buns too. These burgers are filling and flavorful thanks to the meaty texture of the portabella mushrooms and the bright aroma of the basil. When you grill the hallumi cheese before adding it to the burger, it gets a lovely crust that seals in the ooey gooey cheese until your teeth make contact.
49. Baked Spaghetti Squash and Cheese
You can’t go wrong with the two main ingredients in this dish. Grated parmesan cheese adds tons of flavor to spaghetti squash. The best part about spaghetti squash is that it takes on the flavor and consistency of dairy products. When you add milk, butter and cheese to spaghetti squash, you get a glorious union of creamy textures and flavors. Chicken broth adds another layer of flavor to the dish, and baby spinach adds a little protein. When you’re looking for a no carb dinner, look no further than spaghetti squash.
50. Pesto Chicken Salad
Pesto is best made in the summertime when basil is plentiful and fresh. The best part about pesto is that it can be frozen, so you can enjoy the flavors of summer any time of year. You can use store bought pesto in this dish if you want a weeknight shortcut. Fresh granny smith apple add some fresh acidity and a little bit of sweetness to the recipe too. Serve over arugula or butter lettuce for a low-carb food you can feel good about.