Diabetic Friendly Side Dishes For BBQ (With Recipes)

diabetic friendly side dishes for bbq

When the warm weather finally hits and the beautiful days of summer arrive, many of us get excited to pull out the grill and have a lovely BBQ with friends and family. It is sometimes difficult to accommodate foods that fit into a diabetes-friendly diet.

Many side dishes like potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, and common BBQ desserts don’t fit well into a sugar-free or low-carb diet. Luckily, I have a great list of side dishes for a cookout that are excellent for a person who has diabetes.

Roasted Baby Peppers

This easy recipe is one of my personal favorites! It takes very little effort, and the flavors of these little roasted peppers never get old.

Baby peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, and they also contain vitamin A. This recipe will provide a little fiber, and it is rich in “good” fat. Low in calories and carbs, this recipe is a go-to for me for sure!


  • 12 baby peppers (I get mine in a bag and they last a long time in the refrigerator)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic herb, spinach and herb, or your favorite low sodium seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (Cajun or your favorite low sodium seasoning)


        1.        Mix peppers with oil in a medium – large bowl.

        2.        Slowly add seasonings and evenly coat your peppers.

        3.        Let peppers sit for 10-15 minutes.

        4.        Place in oven or toaster oven for 6-7 minutes and turn over.

        5.        Roast for another 6-7 minutes, and they are ready to serve!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Serving Size: 3 peppers

Calories: 58

Fat: 3.5 g (Note that the fat in extra Virgin olive oil is primarily monounsaturated fat, which is a very healthful fat)

Carbohydrates: 5.1 g

Sugar: 3.6 g

Protein: < 1 g

Fiber: 1.8 g

Sodium: Varies, depending on your seasoning.

Garlic Herb, Spinach & Herb, and Mrs. Dash seasonings have no sodium.

Seasoned salts may contain excessive amounts of sodium.

Grilled Zucchini Parmesan Fries

Grilled zucchini parmesan fries are a quick and easy way to add a bit of healthful flavor to your cookout. They are savory and delicious, and take less than 15 minutes to put together. Zucchini is a significantly healthier option for people with diabetes compared to potatoes.

Zucchini is rich in vitamins, and research shows it may even help regulate blood glucose. In addition to all its health benefits, this recipe for grilled zucchini parmesan fries is delicious. It is sure to make your mouth water.


These ingredients are easy to find and you likely have most of them in your kitchen already. Zucchini is in season during the summer. It is an inexpensive and healthful option for your BBQ cookouts.

  • 4 zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil  
  • Salt (omit for lower sodium)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese


Preparing the zucchini fries is so easy and quick. Here are the directions for creating a delicious diabetes-friendly side dish for your cookout.

  1. Cut zucchini into fries. Slicing them lengthwise helps achieve the perfect size and shape for snacking.
  2. Place sliced zucchini in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the zucchini.
  3. Add salt and pepper to your liking. You can omit the salt if you are looking to lower the sodium in this recipe, as the parmesan cheese adds quite a bit of flavor.
  4. Sprinkle parmesan cheese into the mix. Fresh grated parmesan cheese is fantastic for this recipe but pre-grated parmesan works just as well and makes this recipe even easier.
  5. Mix everything together gently so as not to break the zucchini.
  6. Grill zucchini fries and enjoy!

Use a grill basket like this to make things easy.

*TIP* Dry sliced zucchini in some paper towel before seasoning and grilling. This helps remove excess moisture and gives you a more crispy zucchini fry.  

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Serving Size: 1 zucchini

Calories: 108

Fat: 6.9 g

Saturated Fat: 2.6 g

Sodium: 150 mg (with no salt added)

Carbohydrates: 7.4 g

Sugar: 3.4 g

Fiber: 2.3 g

Protein: 6.9 g

Cauliflower “Potato” Salad

Potato salad is a staple in the cookout side dish category. However, many pre-made potato salads have lots of sugar, carbs, fat, and sodium. This Cauliflower “Potato” Salad is sure to satisfy that craving while also offering a ton of health benefits.

Cauliflower is packed with nutrients and fiber while offering significantly less carbs than potatoes. Therefore, it is especially great for people with diabetes, as its low glycemic index helps regulate blood sugar.


  • 1 cauliflower head
  • ¼ cup of chopped celery
  • 1 small onion
  • Scallions
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup of Greek Yogurt or Sugar-Free Mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper


Making this Cauliflower “Potato” Salad is easy on time, energy, and your wallet. With limited ingredients, you won’t have to splurge to enjoy this delicious recipe. In addition, this is a great recipe to make the night before a cookout as it keeps very well in the fridge.  

  1. Make the dressing by mixing the yogurt, apple cider vinegar, dill, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk these together to make a creamy and delicious sauce for the salad.
  2. Chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces.
  3. Boil the chopped cauliflower in water for 5 minutes. You want the cauliflower to still be a little firm to get crunchy and delicious salad.
  4. Hard boil the 2 eggs.
  5. Mix the cauliflower, eggs, celery, and onion together in a large bowl.
  6. Add the sauce you made to the mixture and mix well.
  7. Garnish with sliced scallions and voila!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Serving Size: 1 cup

Calories: 66  

Fat: 1.5g

Saturated Fat: 0.4g

Sodium: 310 mg

Carbohydrates: 7.1g

Sugar: 3.2g

Fiber: 2.6g

Protein: 5.3g

Low-Sugar Coleslaw

There’s nothing that hits the spot quite like some coleslaw with your ribs, burger, or brat. It is truly an integral part of having a delicious cookout. However, many traditional recipes have way too much fat and sugar to be beneficial for those looking out for their health and blood sugar. This coleslaw recipe swaps out some of the less healthful ingredients for alternatives that are just tasty. This recipe takes very little time, so you won’t have to wait long before digging in!


  • 1-16 oz bag of shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 ½ tsp Splenda
  • ½ tsp Celery Salt
  • 2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ⅔ cup reduced-fat mayo or greek yogurt


With the pre-mixed bag of shredded coleslaw mix, this recipe takes no time at all. If you choose to chop up the purple and green cabbage and grate the carrots, it will take a bit longer but not by much. Here are the simple steps to get delicious low-sugar coleslaw as part of the cookout spread.  

  1. Empty bag of pre-made coleslaw mix or combine cabbage and carrots in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, apple cider, vinegar, celery salt, and splenda. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Add mixture to the coleslaw mix and stir thoroughly.
  4. Chill and serve! Enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 9

Serving Size: ½ cup

Calories: 42

Fat: 2 g

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Sodium: 217 mg

Carbohydrates: 5 g

Sugar: 2 g

Fiber: 1 g

Protein: 0.7 g

Corn On The Cob with Homemade Diabetes friendly BBQ Sauce

Corn on the cob is a summer classic. Snacking on these at a BBQ brings back so many memories. No need to stop enjoying this delicious side dish! In fact, corn on the cob by itself is a great and healthful option for people with diabetes to enjoy.

We’ve taken it to the next level with a delicious diabetic-friendly BBQ sauce that is easy to make with inexpensive ingredients.  



Corn is so easy to make on the grill. I love to grill it in the husk, as it keeps the corn from drying out and makes for a delicious and healthful side-dish for cookouts and BBQs.

  1. Soak corn in the husk in a bucket of water for about an hour. This helps keep the corn from drying out on the grill and makes it so much more decadent.
  2. Put soaked corn in the husk on the grill.
  3. Rotate the corn until the husk is slightly burnt on all sides.
  4. Allow corn to cool enough for you to pull the husks off.
  5. Arrange the corn in a pan or on foil and brush the Diabetes-Friendly BBQ sauce onto the cobs.
  6. Cover with foil and put back on the grill for about 5 minutes to heat the sauce and corn up.
  7. Take off the grill and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Serving Size: 1 ear of BBQ corn

Calories: 127

Fat: 0.5 g

     Saturated Fat: 0.1 g

Sodium: 202 g

Carbohydrates: 26.1 g

Sugar: 4.3 g

Fiber: 2.2 g

Protein: 2.4 g

Diabetic-Friendly Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy caviar is a quick side dish to whip up. It is made with inexpensive and easy to find ingredients. Putting everything together is relatively quick, and yields a crunchy and healthful protein-packed dish! It makes a great side-dish, dip, or salsa. It is sure to raise the bar at your next BBQ.


  • 1-16oz can of Pinto Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • ½ cup red bell pepper
  • ½ cup yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup red onion
  • ½ cup chopped tomato
  • 1 Serrano pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp p


Like other salsas and dips, this Diabetic-Friendly Cowboy Caviar doesn’t take much effort. It is another great dish to prepare the night before and keep in the fridge. I find letting the mix sit overnight really blends all the flavors together for a delicious and flavorful side dish.

  1. Drain and rinse pinto beans from the can.  
  2. Chop up peppers, onions, tomatoes, and herbs.  
  3. Combine all chopped vegetables and beans together and mix in a large bowl.
  4. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and seasonings.  
  5. Mix, chill, and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 6  

Serving Size: ½ cup

Calories: 158  

Fat: 4 g

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Sodium: 197 mg

Carbohydrates: 24 g

Sugar: 2 g

Fiber: 8 g

Protein: 7 g

BBQ Grilled Vegetables (Diabetes Friendly)

Another one of my “go to” favorites is vegetables on the grill. After trying this, many find out that grilling your vegetables on a charcoal grill gives them a whole new flavor profile. To make it effortless, my family uses this handy grill basket to make things quick and easy. No vegetables falling through the grate.


1 medium eggplant

1 yello Vidalia onion

1 8 oz package fresh button mushrooms

1 zucchini

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

½ tsp seasoned salt

Note: Feel free to substitute your favorite sodium-free seasoning; I often use the following:

2 tsp thyme

2 tsp rosemary

Grilling Directions

  1. Spray your grilling basket with a light coat of non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place the grill basket right over the coals.
  3. Allow it to heat up for a couple of minutes.
  4. Toss in your cut vegetables.
  5. Stir frequently.
  6. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, depending on your grill, and voilà!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 6  

Serving Size: ½ cup

Calories: 187

Carbohydrate: 3 g

Protein: 4 g

Fat: 6.6 g  (primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, or “good” fats)

    Saturated fat: 0.95 g

Fiber: 5.5 g

Sodium: Varies, depending on your seasonings. If you use salt-free seasonings, your vegetables will be salt free

Diabetic No-Bake Low-Sugar Apple Pie

What would a cookout be without some tasty dessert? It can be difficult to find a diabetic-friendly dessert option for cookouts but this no-bake low-sugar apple pie is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth at the next cookout. It is easy to make without any over-priced ingredients. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this low-sugar alternative to a classic summer dessert.


  • 1 package sugar-free gelatin
  • 1 package sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust
  • 5 medium apples
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg


This no-bake low-sugar apple pie is the perfect way to enjoy a classic summer dessert without all the excess sugar, fat, and carbs. It’s inexpensive, and wont take up too much of your time! The only thing time consuming is peeling the apples. But, since it is a no-bake recipe, you don’t need to keep an eye on the oven.

  1. Peel and slice apples.  
  2. Mix gelatin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and 1.5 cups of water in a large pot.  
  3. Add the sliced and peeled apples and bring the mixture to a boil.  
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the mixture to cook until the apples are soft and tender.  
  5. In a separate bow, mix together a ¼ cup of water with the pudding mix and then add it to the pot with the apple and gelatin mixture.  
  6. Cook until the mixture thickens for about a minute or so.  
  7. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the walnuts.  
  8. Pour the pie mixture into the graham cracker crust and refrigerate.  
  9. Allow pie to chill for at least two hours before slicing.  
  10. Top with a sugar free whipped cream if you’d like or enjoy it on its own!

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Serving Size: 1 slice (⅛ of pie)

Calories: 202  

Fat: 8 g

Saturated Fat: 1 g

Sodium: 152 mg

Carbohydrates: 30 g

Sugar: 17 g

Fiber: 2 g

Protein: 3 g  

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