Low-Carb Passover Menu Ideas

Useful Tips for Planning Your Low-Carb Pesach

Seder plate for passover
Seder plate. Dennis Gottlieb / Getty Images

You’d think low-carbers would have an edge at Passover. After all, we really don’t go for bread (leavened or not) any time of the year, and we tend to make most of our dishes without flour. To a large extent, it's true that there are advantages to low-carb eating at Passover.

There are only two real problem areas. One is traditional starchy foods such as potato kugel. And the other is, of course, matzo, which is required, at least at Seders (matzo has 22 grams of effective carb each).

When it comes to traditional holiday foods of any type, we suggest “substitute where you can, otherwise, have a little.” After all, holidays are special, and it feeds our souls to enjoy them in traditional ways with family and friends.

It may also be best to avoid starting an ultra-low-carb phase of your diet right before Passover. However, a little deviation now and then is okay. If we don’t allow some flexibility in our eating, we probably won’t be on any eating plan for long.

The good news is that there are many lower-carb possibilities for a typical Passover meal, which we're going to explore.

Traditional Seder Foods

Matzo: Try to buy whole grain matzos, which have slightly less carbohydrate (19 grams instead of 22), and at least a little fiber. Also, there's no obligation to chow down on them. Have some raw vegetables on hand for munching if you're hungry before the main meal.

Charoset: Charoset is, for the most part, healthy.

The key is to try not to load it down with sugar or honey. If you want it sweeter, add a little sugar substitute instead.

Gefilte Fish: Gefilte fish does not have to be hard to make and, by making it yourself, you can control the extra ingredients. Homemade is so much better than the stuff in jars, anyway.

If you shop at a store with a fish counter, they may even grind the fish up for you, which speeds up the process. Jewish food writer Joan Nathan says to think of them as dumplings and they won't seem to be such a big deal. 

Main Dishes

Most main dishes, like brisket, are fine.  Grilled salmon or baked salmon are also popular main dishes here. Of course, traditions differ in different areas and in different families. Sometimes it's even fun to bend tradition and try something new, so don't be afraid to try a new low-carb entree.

Side Dishes

Spring vegetables, especially asparagus, are common side dishes. Passover can be a nice time to transition from the often-starchier winter vegetables to the lighter spring ones. Luckily, these are usually low in carbohydrate as well. Spring vegetables can include greens, oven-roasted or grilled asparagus, artichokes, and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Kugels made with potato are high in starch. To get around this low-carb deal breaker, either enjoy just a few bites or try a vegetable kugel with fewer or no potatoes. Even if your recipe includes potatoes, you could probably cut them down or out.

Kugel is rather similar to a frittata, which could be used as a substitute and it is easy to make.

Another idea is to make a grated squash casserole such as a zucchini casserole or Southwest squash casserole, both of which are similar to kugels as well.

Desserts

Believe it or not, it's easy to find low-carb Passover desserts! If you're in charge of bringing the dessert to Seder, you have plenty of delicious low-carb dessert options. Here are couple favorites:

A Word From Verywell

As you can see, meshing a low-carb diet with Passover is easier than you may think.

Think of ways you can adapt your family's favorite dishes to diet-friendly fare or get creative with something new. Also, don't be afraid of having a nibble of your favorites. It's a season to celebrate, so a little bit won't hurt.