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Low Carb, Keto Friendly Vegetables To Include In Your Diet

Carina Wolff
14 - 16 MIN.

IN THIS ARTICLE
  • Low-Carb Keto Vegetables To Eat Frequently
  • Low-Carb Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Other Keto-Friendly Vegetables
  • Veggies to Limit On A Keto Diet
  • High Carb Vegetables To Avoid On A Keto Diet
  • Keto Recipes That Include Low Carb Veggies

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Keto-Friendly Veggies

05-30-2019


If you’re starting the ketogenic diet, you might be tempted to eat just cheese or bacon for every meal — after all, who wouldn’t want to eat these favorite comfort foods every chance they get? But just because you’re trying to increase your fat intake and limit your carb amount doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still focus on eating a balanced diet, and that includes making sure you get enough plant-based foods. As indulgent as it would be to eat bacon all day, vegetables are important to incorporate into your meals, and thankfully, there are plenty of keto friendly vegetables that are low carb and that won’t bump you out of ketosis (using fat for fuel).

The exact amount of carbs each person may need to consume when on a keto-diet varies, but most guidelines recommend 20-50g a day. You can find your estimated keto diet carb level by using a keto calculator. Since there are vegetables that have minimal carbs ranging to those considered high carb vegetables, choosing the low carb varieties will help you get the vitamins, minerals, and fiber you need without going over your carbohydrate limit.

As a general rule of thumb, vegetables that grow above ground — think lettuce and broccoli — are typically lower carb and better for a ketogenic diet than their more starchy counterparts that grow below ground, such as potatoes. Low carb vegetables like lettuce can be eaten more freely, which can help ensure you’re getting an abundance of nutrients without compromising your keto diet.

If you’re going keto and wondering what vegetables to include, there are a wide variety of low-carb vegetables you can try! Below is a quick cheat sheet to guide you when you're grocery shopping or eating out. Save it, pin it or print it and keep reading to find out why these veggies are a great choice for your keto diet.

Low-Carb Keto Vegetables To Eat Frequently - Greens

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and arugula are great options when it comes to keto friendly vegetables. They are low in carbs but high in other important nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron. You can use them raw in salads, and you can also cook them into omelets, soups, and more. With greens, you don’t have to worry as much about limiting portion size, so you can throw them into any meal to add flavor, nutrients and volume to help keep yourself full.

Kale

Kale is great in  salads, just massage in your favorite keto friendly dressing. You can also make kale chips to snack on, or sauté kale with bacon or other vegetables for added nutrients or to help fill you up. 

kale

1 cup of raw kale (67 grams or 2.4 ounces) has 4 grams of net carbs and 2 grams of fiber.

Spinach

Spinach can be enjoyed cooked or raw. Toss it up in a salad, mix it into pasta sauces, or sauté it with some butter and cheese for a tasty vegetable dish with a low carb amount. 

1 cup of raw spinach has 1 gram of net carbs and 1 gram of fiber

Arugula

Because arugula is so low in carbs, you can use it to make your dishes more filling. Arugula works best in a salad, and you won’t have to worry much about portion size. You can also cook it into no carb rice or  pasta dishes, or serve it wilted with a poached egg to get in your greens

1 cup of raw arugula has 1 gram of net carbs and 1 gram of fiber.

Collard Greens

Collard greens can be enjoyed sautéed, or you can steam the leaves and use them as a replacement for a tortilla in a wrap.  

1 cup of chopped collard greens (36 grams) has .5 grams of net carbs and 1.4 grams of fiber

Romaine

Simply add your favorite  keto friendly Caesar dressing to crisp romaine leaves, and experiment with adding different proteins and vegetables to make a tasty low-carb salad. 

1 cup of shredded romaine (47 grams) has .5 grams of net carbs and 1 gram of fiber

Low-Carb Cruciferous Vegetables

Members of the cruciferous vegetable family, such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower can be enjoyed as part of the keto diet. These nutrient-rich vegetables contain specific phytonutrients that have been suggested to play a  role in inhibiting certain types of cancer cells, plus they are high in fiber, and they can be prepared in a wide range of dishes. 

Cabbage

Cabbage can be eaten shredded and raw, like a coleslaw, or it can be cooked and mixed into foods. You can even use it as a replacement for noodles in some dishes. 

1 cup of shredded cabbage (70 grams) has 2 grams of net carbs and 2 grams of fiber

Broccoli

Add broccoli as a side to any entree — your mama would be so proud. For those who don’t enjoy the earthy and nutty taste, you can always customize by adding herbs, cream and butter, cheese, or roast it with salt and sesame oil to make the vegetable more palatable and to your liking.  

broccoli keto-friendly macros

1 cup of raw broccoli (91 grams) has 4 grams of net carbs and 2 grams of fiber.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower can be particularly useful, as it can be made into a rice substitute, a pizza crust or our favorite Cauliflower Mash. We love Cauliflower mash so much that we created an Instant Cauliflower Mash version that is ready in minutes and keto-friendly, of course.

cauliflower keto-friendly macros

1 cup of raw cauliflower (100 grams) has 2 grams of net carbs and 3 grams of fiber.

Bok Choy

This low carb vegetable pairs well with Asian-inspired dishes. You can mix it into stir-frys, sauté it with garlic, or bake it with a protein like chicken or fish. 

1 cup of raw bok choy (70 grams) has about 1 gram of net carbs and .7 grams of fiber.

Other Keto-Friendly Vegetables

In addition to leafy greens and members of the cruciferous family, there are other keto  vegetables you can have when you are following a ketogenic diet. 

Zucchini

Missing pasta? Try incorporating some zucchini “zoodles” into your life. This keto-friendly squash is low in carbs but loaded with other essential vitamins and nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber. This heart-healthy veggie can be used as a substitute for spaghetti, but it also works well in casseroles, stir fries, or made as fries or chips. It’s easy to make your own zoodles if you have the right gadget, but many stores now have zoodles in the frozen section for your convenience.

zucchini keto-friendly macros

1 cup of raw zucchini (124 grams) has 3 grams of net carbs and 1 gram of fiber.

Asparagus

This high-fiber veggie is low in calories and carbs but high in important nutrients such as folate. It will help you fill up, but it can also make your dishes more exciting. Grill it for an appetizer, saute it with butter or use it as a base for dishes such as salmon or eggs.

asparagus keto-friendly macros

1 cup of cooked asparagus (180 grams) has 4 grams of net carbs and 4 grams of fiber.

Celery

Celery is notorious for being low in calories, but it’s also low in carbs, making it the perfect keto-friendly vegetable and vehicle for cream cheese, dips, or peanut butter. This vitamin-rich veggie can also be stuffed with foods as an appetizer or baked into dishes such as gratin.

celery keto friendly macros

1 cup of raw celery (101 grams) has 1 gram of net carbs and 2 grams of fiber.

Bell Peppers

Loaded with vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin K, bell peppers are a great low-carb, keto-friendly option that can be used for anything from salads to crudite platters. They can also be stuffed with meats and cheeses for a fancy entree. 

bell pepper keto-friendly macros

1 cup of raw, red bell pepper (149 grams) has 6 grams of net carbs and 3 grams of fiber.

Mushrooms

This immune-boosting and antioxidant-rich vegetable is a great option when it comes to eating keto. They’re low-carb, but rich in important nutrients such as the B vitamins. Mushrooms can be added to salads or entrees, or they can be stuffed with ingredients like sausage and cream cheese  for an amazing keto friendly appetizer.

mushrooms keto-friendly macros

1 cup of raw mushrooms (70 grams) has 1 gram of net carbs and 1 gram of fiber.

Garlic

Thank goodness you can still cook with garlic even on the ketogenic diet. Add some to your dressings, sauces, and vegetables for extra flavor and added nutrients. You can also use garlic powder to season your dishes. 

1 clove of garlic (3 grams) has 1 gram of net carbs 

Cucumber

Cucumbers or low in carbs and calories, and they make a great addition to salads and bowls. They also make a great snack wrapped in a piece of cheese or dipped into a ketogenic dip. 

1 cup of sliced cucumbers (104 grams) has 1.5 grams of net carbs and .26 grams of fiber.

Veggies to Limit On A Keto Diet

Certain vegetables contain higher amounts of carbohydrates but can still be enjoyed in moderation (no more than 1 serving per day). Try mixing them with some greens or lower carb vegetables for a more filling and keto-friendly dish. 

Brussels Sprouts

1 cup of raw brussels sprouts (88 grams) has 5 grams of net carbs and 3 grams of fiber.

Tomatoes

Although technically a fruit, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes (149 grams) has 4 grams of net carbs and 2 grams of fiber. 

Carrots

1 cup of chopped carrots (128 grams) has 8.5 grams of net carbs and 3.6 grams of fiber.

Pumpkin

1 cup of cubed pumpkin (116 grams) has 7.5 grams of net carbs and .6 grams of fiber.

High Carb Vegetables To Avoid On A Keto Diet

If you are a keto dieter there are certain types of starchy vegetables that are best avoided as they are considered high carb vegetables which makes them a no-go for the keto diet. This includes root vegetables/tubers such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, butternut squash, and most legumes. These vegetables tend to have a higher glycemic load than other vegetables, which means they can spike your blood glucose levels preventing you from entering into ketosis. 

Potatoes

1 cup of diced potatoes (150 grams) has 22.6 grams of net carbs

Sweet Potatoes

1 cup of diced sweet potatoes (133 grams) has 23 grams of net carbs.

Parsnips

1 cup of sliced parsnips (133 grams) has 17 grams of net carbs.

Butternut Squash

1 cup of cubed butternut squash (144 grams) has 13 grams of net carbs.

Green Peas

1 cup of green peas (145 grams) has 14 grams of net carbs.

Corn

1 cup of corn (145 grams) has 24 grams of net carbs

Keto Recipes That Include Low Carb Veggies

If you’re a veggie-lover, your new way of eating can take some adjusting, but thankfully, there are plenty of amazing keto recipes out there that incorporate keto friendly vegetables in creative and tasty ways. When in doubt, you can always cook them in a keto friendly fat like butter, ghee, coconut oil, or olive oil for added flavor. 

Here are some of my favorite keto diet recipes that incorporate low carb vegetables:

Crack Keto Broccoli Cheese & Bacon (broccoli)

Keto Coleslaw (cabbage)

Keto Cauliflower Mash (cauliflower)

Garlic Brussels Sprouts Bake (Brussels sprouts)

Thai Chicken Salad (peppers, cabbage)

Keto Caesar Salad (romaine)

Keto Lasagna (zucchini)

Arugula Tri Tip Salad (arugula)

Asian Chicken Collard Wrap (collard greens)

Keto Chicken Thighs with Creamy Mushroom Sauce (mushrooms)

Keto Asparagus, Avocado, and Tomato Salad (asparagus)

Garlic Butter Cabbage Noodles (cabbage)

Keto Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (cauliflower)

Crispy Zucchini Fries (zucchini)

Tuna Cucumber Rolls (cucumber)

Are There Any Veggies That Have No Carbs?

There are no absolutely zero carb vegetables. If you want to load up on as many vegetables as possible without worrying about portion size, your best bet is to make a big salad. Stick to leafy greens like spinach, arugula, and romaine, which have the lowest carb amount, coming in at only 1 net gram of carbs per cup, and supplement with your favorite low carb vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats.  

The Last Word on Keto Friendly Vegetables

Going keto doesn’t mean giving up vegetables. Stick with these low-carb options that I’ve described, and you’ll help keep your diet balanced while striving for ketosis. You can mix in different vegetables to experiment with flavor and maximize nutrients — and if you must, you can always top everything off with bacon or cheese!

8 keto friendly vegetables

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Carina Wolff
Carina Wolff is a health and wellness writer and food blogger based out of Los Angeles. She graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism and psychology. She writes for a number of websites, including Bustle, FabFitFun, Reader's Digest, and more. She also runs a healthy food blog called Kale Me Maybe, where she develops clean-eating recipes.

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