Low Carb Appetizer Ideas

by Michael Brent
Meat and vegetable kabobs with a hummus dip or creamy dressing can be a great low-carb appetizer.

Meat and vegetable kabobs with a hummus dip or creamy dressing can be a great low-carb appetizer.

Popular diets such as the South Beach diet and the Atkins diet can help you lose weight by cutting down on foods that are high in carbohydrates. If you're planning a dinner party or backyard barbecue and want to keep the carbs in your menu to a minimum, there are a variety of different low-carb, kid-friendly appetizer ideas you can try.

Get Creative

Ideas for low-carbohydrate appetizers are limited only by your imagination. For example, hollow out sliced cucumber spears and stuff them with liver pate, or wrap grilled asparagus in slices of prosciutto. Curried pork and tandoori chicken can add an ethnic flair with no carbs, as can Thai chicken skewers accompanied by a spicy peanut sauce for dipping. Spinach and creamy dressing-stuffed eggs are also low in carbs, serving up a fresh spin on traditional deviled eggs.


Dips are always popular as a low-carb appetizer, including the tried-and-true onion and ranch dips made from sour cream and powdered onion-soup mix or ranch-flavored seasoning mix. Greek tzatziki, a zesty yogurt dip flavored with lemon, is a delicious accompaniment to pita chips. For another taste of the Middle East, serve some hummus, a delicious dip combining chickpeas, olive oil, garlic and tahini or creamy dressing. Another surefire appetizer hit is to make your own zesty salsa and guacamole, perfect with corn chips; chili powder or finely diced jalapeño peppers will add some spice. For a cooler guacamole, substitute ranch-flavored dry mix for the spicy ingredients.


Various varieties of seafood make excellent low-carb appetizers. Raw oysters served on the half shell are an elegant appetizer with no carbs at all; for a more creative oyster dish, consider "angels on horseback," which are seasoned oysters wrapped with bacon and served with a splash of lemon or lime juice. If you're also serving kids, shrimp is an excellent choice, whether it’s in a classic shrimp cocktail, grilled on the barbecue or pan-fried in lemon and garlic; serve skewered for a tasty appetizer. Provide tasty dipping sauces for your shrimp. Good choices include the classic cocktail sauce and creamy dressing. Other seafood-based appetizers that are low in carbohydrates include baked bacon-wrapped scallops, crab-stuffed mushrooms made with creamy dressing, and jalapeño poppers with shrimp and bacon.

Cutting Carbs

When coming up with ideas for low-carb appetizers, there are several tips that can reduce the level of carbohydrates in popular appetizers. If you’d like to serve sliders or small sandwiches as appetizers, consider using grilled eggplant slices Instead of bread. Another carb-cutting solution is to wrap food in lettuce leaves, which works exceptionally well with Asian dishes such as chicken satay. When serving a creamy dip, substitute raw cut vegetables for chips and pita bread.

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