How do you make food taste good without fat? And how do you make it interesting and satisfying without carbs?

Without butter, potatoes, bread or pasta, things can all taste pretty much the same. The only way to add flavor and to create some interest is by changing the cooking technique, exaggerate seasonings and by adding interesting vegetables which can be  ‘dry fried’, grilled or just plain steamed.

Cooking method is relatively easy as I tend to grill when I am calorie conscious and there are many protein options, but the side dishes still have to have flavor and be satisfying.

One if my go to ‘diet’ side dish combinations are mushrooms and green beans. How to make these, without butter, and make them even remotely interesting, is challenging.

When you cut out fat, you also cut down on flavor. So, one technique that I use is to use vegetable spray on a non-stick skillet and pan sear. In other words, ‘dry-fry’. With the mushroom, green bean combination, I essentially dry fry the mushrooms until the juices have evaporated and the mushrooms start to brown. Then I just steam the green beans in the microwave and toss them with the mushrooms at the last minute.

I also tend to amp up the seasoning a bit by adding a more black pepper, and I use a lot of lemons, both the zest and the juice, to add flavor. This is how I make my low calorie mushroom and green bean side dish.

As for the skirt steak, this is one of our favorite cuts of beef. It is not considered a fine cut and is often used for steak fajitas (not a low calorie dinner, but good for another time), or other kinds of ‘street foods’, but it is well marbled and takes on the flavor of the steak rub that I used.

The combination of the grilled steak and mushrooms and green beans made a satisfying meal, one that we often have during the week, the only difference is the focus on the side dish, vegetables ‘dry fried’ and no French Fries, the usual side dish with this dinner.

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