Non-carb sides for tacos? I'm serving tacos to a group, including gluten-free and paleo people (who eat taco salad).

All the Mexican side dishes are carby - beans, rice, corn, potatoes. Salad doesn't make sense as I already have all the salad fixin's on hand for the taco salad eaters. I do serve salsas and chips, but those paleo people can't indulge. What large quantity side can fit into this conundrum?

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28 Comments

Michele June 15, 2015
We are Paleo... Do lots of taco salad w peppers and onions to add on. Guac. Fresh salsa.
 
Sam1148 May 24, 2015
Make a "Cauliflower Rice". Pulse florets of cauliflower into a rice size grains.
Make up a Mexican type seasoning (use some sazon seasoning in water)..water 'fry' that to color and season and just LIGHTLY cook---you want crunch.
Then finish it up with some chopped tomatoes, green onions, and parsley (or cilantro) and good dash of olive oil.

A Mexican Fruit Salad: Basic fruits (melon, orange slices, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango)
Savory and texture elements: Red Onion Diced fine, tomato, Jicama, jalapeno peppers.
Dressing: Lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, chili powder.
 
The A. May 26, 2015
- guasacaca sauce! great on the tacos and as a dip for veggies: http://www.theamusedbouche.com/2015/05/04/guasacaca-sauce/

-gazpacho! so fresh and healthy: http://www.theamusedbouche.com/2012/09/26/just-in-time-late-summer-gazpacho-tomatoes-red-pepper-jalapeno-avocado/

-roasted butternut squash and black bean quinoa: http://www.theamusedbouche.com/2012/05/02/the-odd-couple-roasted-butternut-squash-and-black-bean-quinoa/
 
Jennifer E. May 24, 2015
Coleslaw is usually served with my paleo, celiac taco meals. I am celiac, and try to stay on a paleo eating regime.
 
Andrea Y. May 23, 2015
Thanks for all your suggestions! I have this dinner monthly with this same group (and always tacos - I just change up the meat and taco toppings to keep it interesting - and always a homemade salsa or two). I ended up serving cut-up watermelon this time, as I didn't have time for anything more complicated. But I'm going to scan through your ideas and write them down. I appreciate them all!
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 24, 2015
Are you familiar with http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex A great resource for inspiration & ideas.
 
Susan W. May 24, 2015
As SLC said, NomNom Paleo is a great resource. So is Melissa's site. Her two cookbooks are also go to books for me. I often will Google something I want to make and add NomNom or Well Fed and great recipes pop up.
http://theclothesmakethegirl.com/
 
healthierkitchen May 22, 2015
cabbage slaw made with lime?

https://food52.com/recipes/12818-cabbage-vinaigrette
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 22, 2015
Hi Nancy, this article by Food52 guest author may shed some life on the paleo lifestyle:
https://food52.com/blog/12148-5-things-you-didn-t-know-about-eating-paleo
 
Susan W. May 22, 2015
I forgot about that article. It's very good and his cookbook is one of my favorites. I wasn't thrilled about the vitriolic comments though. Goodness.
 
Nancy May 22, 2015
Thanks, SLC. I'll have a read.
 
Nancy May 22, 2015
Thanks, SLC. I'll have a read.
 
Nancy May 22, 2015
Maybe I need to update my definitions, or medical knowledge, but I think carbohydrates and gluten are NOT the same thing. The gluten that people with celiac disease cannot tolerate is from wheat gluten. Please enlighten me. Meanwhile, yes, I understand people following a paleo diet don't eat carbs. So serve them some grilled, sliced steak, yes?
 
Susan W. May 22, 2015
I understood it as two different dietary restrictions. Some of her guests are gluten free and some are Paleo. It's easy to serve both groups the same thing. Just to clarify, Paleo does not equal low or no carbs. When I need them, I get plenty of carbs in the form of fruits and certain vegetables.
 
Nancy May 22, 2015
Thanks Susan. If some carbs are permitted on Paleo diet, does that mean followers could eat vegetables with carbohyrdates in them but not grains?
 
Susan W. May 22, 2015
Exactly Nancy. Paleo philosophy (I don't like to use the word diet because of multiple meanings of that word) considers grains a processed food whether they contain gluten or not. Paleo is a good way to lose weight, but that isn't it's main focus. It keeps my weight steady and that's all I need, but I eat an astounding amount of food. If I am at certain events or a guest at someone's house and I overdo it (pastas, desserts etc.) multiple times, I feel the effects and it just takes a day or two of reigning it in to be back on track. I never limit carbs from any fruits or vegetables.
 
Andrea Y. May 23, 2015
Nancy, I had 2 groups of people at my party: 1. A gluten-free family, who eat that way because one child has celiac disease, and 2. A paleo family, who choose to eat that way. They also don't eat dairy (not sure if that is paleo or not). Please correct me if I'm wrong, but a paleo dieter is by default also gluten-free. So, I needed a side dish that not only didn't have wheat and other gluten-containing foods, but also not foods that are considered traditionally "carby" foods - potatoes, corn, beans, rice, noodles, bread, etc. And no cheese. It's a tough crowd to cook for, but I hate to invite people to my house and then provide food they can't/won't eat, so I was looking for side dish ideas. I was already serving them beef and salad-type foods to go with their beef, but I was looking for an additional side dish beyond that.
 
Nancy May 26, 2015
Andrea - how nice of you to reply and explain more. I didn't even really help answer you. But still, I wanted to learn. And I have. Lovely, and thanks.
 
Stephanie May 22, 2015
Love the watermelon salad idea. You could even add cucumber and radishes if you want to bulk it up a bit. And cilantro, if you're a fan.

- How about some big veggie slices (cucumbers) or strips (bell peppers, jicama) as a g-f, paleo salsa vessel. I know it sounds weird but I love cucumbers with salsa.
- Ceviche is a great snack/side...fresh and delicious. You can serve it in little shooter cups with mini spoons or just in a big bowl.
- Grilled fruit with chili powder and lime juice. I'm especially fond of pineapple and watermelon, which takes on an almost meaty quality.
 
PieceOfLayerCake May 22, 2015
Mexican herbs, flavors and spices such as oregano, epazote, chipotle, cumin, lime, cilantro, etc., can often take something not particularly Mexican (i.e. cauliflower), and make it quite appropriate. I like to grill or roast veggies and toss them in vinaigrettes and pestos made from these ingredients. Other toppings and ingredients you can use are pepitas, queso fresco/Oaxaca, all kinds of chiles, spring onions, cactus, etc.

I like to reference Rick Bayless when I want something relatively authentic and not too heavy. Unfortunately, Mexican-American fare can give an otherwise fantastically fresh and dynamic cuisine a fatty, carby, cheesy reputation. I think, above all, Mexican food is about simplicity.
 
Susan W. May 22, 2015
Also, don't forget about lettuce wraps for the paleontology people. I'm probably 85% paleontology and I love lettuce wrap tacos. Butter lettuce is my favorite, but green or red leaf and romaine also work. That way they can join in with you guys and eat with their hands too!
 
PieceOfLayerCake May 22, 2015
I like to have Korean "taco" parties with my GF and Paleo friends because they are so fond of the DIY lettuce wrap. I prefer the lettuce to any sort of "wrap" because one gets the flavor of the fillings more...and its so fresh!
 
Susan W. May 22, 2015
I do love an occasional handmade corn tortilla taco, but I save that for occasional. Otherwise butter lettuce tacos make me very happy. Fresh is right. I'm from San Diego, so I eat a lot of tacos.
 
Susan W. May 22, 2015
Good Lord...was supposed to say paleo..kindle wants to be all formal.
 
Claire S. May 22, 2015
What about getting some vegetable chips so the paleo people can eat salsa and chips too?
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 22, 2015

I make this salad all year round. You can play with herbs with success. http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2011/07/crunchy-pickled-salad/
 

Voted the Best Reply!

Susan W. May 22, 2015
I like the idea of a big watermelon and jicama salad. Lime dressing and sprinkled with cojita cheese. Cheese can be on the side if they are strict paleo folks.
 
Trena H. May 22, 2015
It's not a large quantity side, but I love pickled jalapeños and onions with my tacos.
 
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