Keto is a highly efficient diet because it enables your body to burn fat to produce energy. The ketogenic diet requires a decrease in the number of carbohydrates we consume down to 20 to 50 grams per day. This carbohydrate reduction limits the supply of glucose (also known as sugar), which is the primary energy source for all the cells in our bodies. When this happens, the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis, in which the liver produces molecules called ketones (hence the name “ketogenic”). If you are wondering which keto-friendly vegetables should be on your allowed food list, this article brings you all the information you need for tasty and healthy snacks and meals using low-carb vegetables.
Vegetables are an ideal food in this diet since they are low in carbohydrates and provide the body with vitamins and minerals, fibres, antioxidants and amino acids.
We have compiled a list of keto-friendly vegetables to help you stay healthy and in line with your keto diet “rules”. This list will enable you to enjoy tasty keto snacks and meals.
What vegetables are allowed on the keto diet?
Keto-friendly vegetables can be consumed raw or cooked. And there are plenty of them in the keto diet!
You can eat every day up to 100 grams raw of the following low-carb vegetables:
asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, fennel, garlic, ginger, green beans, kumara – starchy, mushrooms, onions/leeks, pumpkin-starchy, radishes, and shallots.
Why are these veggies (and not others) allowed on the keto diet? The answer is simple: because they meet the keto diet’s objective of delivering low-carb content whilst providing your body with essential nutrients to keep you healthy and full of energy!
What are each vegetable’s carbohydrate and nutrient content on our allowed food list?
With just 3.88 g of carbs in a 100 g serving (which means about half a gram per stalk), asparagus is a fantastic source of vitamins E, A, C, and K. It also contains potassium and fibre iron and folate.
You can consume asparagus in its raw form, steam it, sautée it, or you can try our salmon burgers with creamed vegetables recipe; it tastes delicious!
Bok Choy, a type of Chinese cabbage, is a super low-carb vegetable with just 1 g of net carbohydrates per 100 g serving. This veggie is so packed with nutrients that it has been placed in the second position in a summary of top powerhouse fruits and vegetables. And for a good reason, if we’re to consider it contains 35% of the required daily intake of vitamin C, a crucial antioxidant with so many benefits for health.
Bok Choy grants a nice flavour to salads, is delicious in any Asian dish that you can cook in a pan and is perfect with coconut poached fish with Asian greens.
Broccoli is an undeniable star of the low-carb vegetables gallery, packed with vitamins C and K, abundant in protein, fibre, iron, potassium and manganese.
With close to 7 g of carbohydrates per 100 g of serving, this cruciferous vegetable can improve your eyesight thanks to the lutein, zeaxanthin and beta carotene it contains. It can protect you from different types of cancer and can lower your blood pressure due to quercetin – an antioxidant also present in this celeb veggie.
If its raw taste is not appetising to you, we recommend our beef stew recipe to soften its flavour.
Aside from its recognisable flavour, Brussels sprouts have excellent benefits for health. The antioxidants these keto-friendly vegetables contain decrease the risk for chronic diseases by reducing oxidative stress in the body’s cells. Kaempferol, in particular, is an antioxidant that helps reduce the growth of cancer cells and promotes a healthy heart.
With 8.95 g of carbs per 100 g of serving, Brussels Sprouts also provides your body with iron and potassium and fights against constipation.
This greenie tastes delicious roasted, with or without bacon, and also tastes amazing in our recipe of chicken avocado burgers and shredded Brussels Sprouts – have a look.
Cabbages are beloved low-carb vegetables from the U.S. to China and from New Zealand to Romania! And for a good reason: it’s full of antioxidants and vitamins and has just 5 g of carbs per serving. Cabbage makes a perfect food staple for those looking after their health. Cabbage always brings a super fresh flavour to every meal!
This non-starchy vegetable is delicious no matter how you eat it: raw, roasted, or soufflé. With 5.3 g of carbs in a 107 g serving, cauliflower has a low glycemic index rating, is full of vitamin C, B6, magnesium and more. Potassium, calcium, zinc, iron, copper, phosphorus, manganese, fluoride are all nutrients found in this versatile keto-friendly vegetable. Cauliflower is the choice of those who want to keep their weight under control; the fibre in this veggie makes this target achievable. When cooked, cauliflower shines in any dish, either steak, pizza crust or cauliflower fried rice.
With just 1 g of carbohydrates per stalk (or 2.97 g of carbs per 100 g of serving), celery not only brings you essential nutrients (such as potassium, calcium, folate and vitamin C) but also keeps you hydrated since it contains a fair amount of water.
A favourite addition to many international dishes, these low-carb vegetables are excellent to include in a one-pot soup.
From its total 6 g content of carbohydrates content, 3 g is fibre, which means that eggplant has only 3 g of net carbs per 100 g serving. Wow! No wonder this fantastic veggie often replaces meat, potatoes or starchy vegetables in various meals.
Dense in fibre and nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium, copper, potassium, manganese and vitamins B. The marvellous eggplant tastes great in keto eggplant lasagna, eggplant coconut curry and other low carb dishes.
Fennel is a fantastic plant whose whole parts (stalk, leaves, seeds) are edible and filled with healthy nutrients. With around 4 g of net carbohydrates per 100 g serving, roasted fennel makes an excellent appetiser for chicken and fish recipes. It also tastes fantastic with olive oil and lemon as a quick salad and a side dish with salmon, providing your body with iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin A.
Garlic is the perfect keto-friendly vegetable: low in carbohydrates and calories, it enhances the flavour in any dish and caries several benefits for your health, such as blood pressure and cholesterol decrease, protection against free radicals damaging effects or strengthening the immune system. Garlic is used in small amounts and not in bulk, but that is enough for this veggie to release its nutrients package consisting of vitamins C and B6, manganese and selenium.
Try our lemon & herb chicken breast with sautéed greens recipe for a feast of your taste buds. It’s worth it!
18 g of carbs per 100 g of serving might sound like plenty, but what you need to keep in mind is that fresh ginger is usually consumed in much lesser quantities than one serving. Ginger spices any food from tea, biscuits to soy and ginger chicken and ginger & turmeric soup with an intense flavour.
Very low in sodium and cholesterol, one tablespoon of fresh ginger has everything your body needs for a full day, every day: vitamins B6 and E, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, selenium and folate. What else could we ask from a wonder veggie?
Green beans are an excellent source of calcium and magnesium. With 7 g of carbohydrates in 100 g of fresh serving, green beans can be eaten raw, roasted with olive oil, pepper and garlic, sautéed or turned into a nutritious creamy soup.
Kale is another leafy green delight that you can eat 1-2 cups per day of, as it is rich in protein, calcium and vitamins C, A and B6. With around 10 g of carbs for 100 g of serving, Kale offers a wide range of culinary possibilities, from healthy chips to salad, soup, sandwiches and Matcha & Alkalising green smoothie.
Kumara is known in other parts of the world under different names: sweet potatoes in the U.S., batatas or bonitos in South America or ‘uala in Hawaii. No matter the name, the 20 g of carbs in 100 g of serving should not scare you: you can enjoy Kumara now and then in your diet as long as you keep an eye on your daily carbs intake to maintain your body in a ketosis state.
Why take the risk, you might ask. Simple: aside from its divine flavour, this veggie is a real superfood, packed with vitamins – A, C, B1, B2 and B6 and other nutrients such as dietary fibre, phosphorus, manganese, pantothenic acid and copper.
Kumara can be included in many delicious recipes from fish & kumara curry to pumpkin and kumara soup, salads and cakes.
Iceberg lettuce, a favourite, holds just 2.92 carbs per 100 g of serving, making it a definite keto-friendly vegetable. Packed with vitamins and used in salads, lettuce can be combined with other low-carb vegetables to maintain your body in a ketosis state.
Lettuce can improve your sleep, strengthen your bones and prevent fractures thanks to the vitamin K it contains and keeps you hydrated since 95% of raw lettuce is made out of water.
With just 3.26 g of carbs per 100 g serving, mushrooms are a savoury addition to any meal. You can use them to make yourself a keto-friendly omelette, in salads, for a tasty soup or even sautéed alongside other low-carb vegetables.
Mushrooms tick all the boxes of healthy foods definition, as they are low in calories, carbohydrates, and fat. Their texture is creamy and abundant in potassium, fibre, zinc, and magnesium.
Onions or Allium cepa hold 9.3 g carbs per 100 g serving and have significant benefits for health: they promote bone development, fight against cancer and help regulate the level of blood sugar.
This garden favourite can be eaten raw (red onion) or cooked. These low-carb vegetables contain vitamin C and B6 and potassium and folate.
Their cousins – leeks – are even more beneficial for health. They carry only 6.3 g of carbohydrates per serving. They are a reliable source of phytonutrients such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which protect cells from free radical damage and decrease the risk of heart disease.
Pumpkin’s net carbohydrates figure per 100 g serving is 7.9 grams, but this quantity is often used in recipes for the entire family, which means you will not break your daily carbs intake when you have lunch with your loved ones. The many pumpkin varieties (white, giant, Jack-o’-lantern, etc.) help your immunity and promote eye, heart, metabolic and skin health.
Pumpkin is filled with healthy nutrients such as copper, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus.
Rich in fibre, this veggie tastes delicious in recipes like our pumpkin, flaxseed & turmeric crackers.
Radishes are among the most keto-friendly vegetables available, with just 1.8 g of net carbohydrates per 100 g of serving. They can be eaten raw, in salads, with steak, roasted in a breakfast bowl, fried or even turned into healthy chips.
These crunchy cruciferous vegetables are great for your heart’s health thanks to anthocyanins – a type of flavonoids they contain, increase the supply of oxygen in the blood and improve the condition of your skin with the help of vitamin C, zinc and phosphorus.
Known as Arugula, this vegetable provides essential nutrients to your body – calcium, phosphorous, vitamin A, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin K, zinc and iron, being the most significant ones.
With a content of 3.65 g of carbs per 100 g, Arugula has several benefits for health, such as improved digestion, increased athletic performance and weight control. Arugula provides a peppery savour to all dishes is present in from omelettes and salads to pizza and soups.
With a more subtle flavour than onions or garlic, shallots are the undeniable choice of many gourmet cooks. Their bulbs are edible, and their green shoots can be used as a replacement for scallion or green onions.
Although their carbohydrates content is high compared to other veggies on this list (17 g for 100 g serving), shallots make up for this “flaw” thanks to healthy nutrients such as antioxidants with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Silverbeet made it to our list for two main reasons:
- it has a low carb content (3.74 g per 100 g of serving);
- it keeps you in good health
- by reducing the damages caused by free radicals (thanks to antioxidants)
- by improving digestion (thanks to fibres that slow down the release of sugars into the blood after you eat)
- by supporting the nerves and muscles (calcium, magnesium, and potassium).
You can enjoy the flavour of Silverbeet (also called Chard or Swiss chard) in dishes such as carbonara, spicy chicken or bone broth soup.
Spinach is one the most versatile greens available, bringing personality to any culinary delight from steak and salads to smoothies and quiche. The carbohydrate number of spinach is 3.63 g per 100 g, making Popeye’s favourite food a keto-friendly vegetable filled with nutrients. Choline, antioxidants, magnesium, carotenoids, vitamin C, calcium, betaine, iron, folic acid and manganese are among the elements in spinach, with impressive benefits for health.
If you are looking for a quick, healthy and nutritious breakfast idea, a quick omelette might be just what you need.
This has been our complete guide to keto-friendly and low-carb vegetables allowed on the keto diet. Should you need any information regarding these materials, please send us an email, give us a call or stop by Feinerman’s Wholefood Shop.