Ahhh, summer! The time to wear denim shorts and flowery summer dresses (but not at the same time!). It’s the time to plan your vacation, hang out by the pool with a tasty beverage in your hand, and run outside with your kiddos (or just kick them outside for some alone time)…
Summer is so good for the soul. I’m sure many of us not only enjoy luscious sunshine, greenery, fresh air, and warmth, but delicious mouth-watering summer eats. I know you’re here for the low carb summer recipe round up but first, let’s talk about the basics.
Low- Carb Summer Recipes: The Basics
All the Memorial day and 4th of July festivities usually include lots of barbecues, hot dogs, pasta salads and sugary desserts might be tempting to sidetrack you from your low-carb train (if you are on one). I say it often, processed foods and sugar aren’t making our bodies sexy and lean for the summer bikini season.
First of all, read the basic steps below, and stock up accordingly. Grab your grocery shopping list here.
⇒ Have a LOT of veggies on hand. All the green leafy things that are so gorgeous in the summer, colorful fruits and veggies, herbs and such.
⇒ Indulge in local, seasonal produce. Grapefruit isn’t something to enjoy in the summer much when you have an abundance of fresh juicy berries on hand.
⇒ Rare finds? Fiddlehead, rhubarb, ramps, radishes, plums, sunchokes, etc.
⇒ Replace the multitude of starches with similar textures: zucchini fries, kohlrabi wedges, faux potato salad (cauliflower), green cabbage steaks, etc.
⇒ Grill your meats (who wants to turn the oven on when it’s hot out?)
⇒ Fancy it up: Stuffed zucchini blossoms, lemon lavender cookies, pickled radishes, and garlic scapes? Let your foodie come out.
⇒ Enjoy fresh beverages. Sometimes all it takes is to add a few mint leaves, a cut up strawberry, and your bubbly water of choice to enjoy the delicious freshness.
⇒ Fresh berries and fruit instead of sugar-food-dye-laden desserts.
Ready to enjoy some summer goodness? Here’s a pool of low-carb summer recipes I usually draw from on repeat. Just don’t tell the fussy people they are “low carb”, “keto” or whatever. Nobody will even guess.
20 low-carb summer recipes that are light and delicious
1. Grilled Steak + veggies
Such a simple, delicious way to make dinner in minutes. My favorite way to make it is similar to the one Carolyn Ketchum makes.
2. Vegetables + green sauces.
I’m not a fan of Romaine but I loooove all the other varieties, especially butter lettuce, arugula, baby kale, etc. Salads aren’t boring if you load them with goodness. Be creative – add fresh berries, unusual nuts (I add chopped macadamia nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, etc.) to your traditional staples. My favorites are Grilled BBQ Chicken BLT Salad, Beets and goat cheese salad, and Antipasto salad.
4. Lettuce wraps.
There is a slew of delicious lettuce wraps out there. The way I think about them – whatever I’d put on a taco, in a bowl, on a sandwich bread could be turned in a lettuce wrap. My favorites are Asian flavored ones (are you missing PF Changs?!) and fish tacos, obv.
5. Cold Soups.
Gazpacho all the way. So refreshing and light on your stomach when it’s scorching hot outside.
6. Finger foods.
I could live off finger foods. Simple, minimal cleanup, delicious, literally finger-licking. There is something primal about eating with our hands and having small bites with a pop of flavor. My favorites are:
7. Seafood on the grill.
Especially, when you’re on vacation and if staying at a place with a kitchenette or Airbnb. Go to a local fish market early in the morning, grab some incredible fresh fish, and make it stupid simple – grill on a plank or open fire, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon is all you need.
9. Desserts with berries.
I know, I know. There is a need for dessert. Lighten it up by enjoying some summer berry additions, less crust, more crumbles. Sometimes a few slices of dark chocolate with a piece of fancy cheese and a few raspberries will do. On the other hand, you may crave ice cream and you can make whipped cream with vanilla bean and berries or Raspberry and Kiwi sorbet.
10. Seasonal fruit.
Enjoy some summer berries, stone fruit, and an occasional sugary fruit too. The best way – to find wild sources or you-pick locations. Remember to bring some home!
To clarify, I think they are supposed to be seasonal in the winter but I enjoy them all year round. A simple lunch or dinner can be represented by a Strawberry Ceviche Salad in an avocado boat or if you’re feeling frisky, this Cod Liver Salad in an avocado half.
Meat can be so good and full of good nutrients. Most importantly, choose grass-fed or at least non-GMO organic, and stack your toppings high. I love these.
13. Seasonal veggies baked, steamed or grilled.
Grilled zucchini squash, roasted cauliflower florets, steamed green beans with an abundance of Kerrygold butter… Tell me you want them!
14. Summer beverages.
While I love a good glass of red on a relaxing Friday night, there are SO many great drinks that you can enjoy in the summer. I find that Kombucha (Humm is my recent obsession) is fantastic on a hot evening, a good cold brew can be amazing in the morning, and simply flavored water like LaCroix on ice is so darn delicious. Fancying something more elaborate? Here is a Strawberry Basil Italian Lemonade and a Low-Carb Moscow Mule.
15. Skewers and Kabobs.
As close to finger foods as it gets. Experiment with meats and add veggies to your skewers. These Kofta Kabobs are the bomb!
16. No cook dinners.
Grab cold leftovers (did you say yuck), deli meats, a rotisserie chicken, some goat cheese or aged cheese (if you tolerate dairy), a cup of berries and sit outside on a blanket. Certainly, it doesn’t get better than this.
17. Veggie noodles.
Most grocery stores make it easy for you already. I like to make my own, and looove some good zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash with lots of sauce (Vodka sauce is my recent favorite). Pesto or Alfredo will do too.
Slap some low-carb barbecue sauce (Primal Kitchen knocked my socks off) on your ribs, pulled pork that has been simmering in crock pork or grilled sausages.
Eggs are an amazing source of vitamins and minerals. If you don’t feel like eating too much meat this summer, they are a way to go. Low carb, beautifully delicious. Don’t leave the yolks out – they are the most nutrient-dense part! Frittatas are simple, quick and make you feel full for a while. This one is really good!
20. Bowls (burger, taco, comfort).
I love good comfort food bowl. It doesn’t have to have potatoes or rice at the bottom to make me happy. This Low-Carb Taco Bowl is amazing!
What about you? What are your favorite summer recipes?
Author: Anya Perry
Anya Perry battled boring diets, low energy, and declining health for over 10 years before she found what works. Now, she helps women achieve their dream state of health, fitness, and vitality… without the struggles, battles of miserable diets, and yo-yo results. She can’t live without coffee and challenges.