The Best Low-Carb Vegetables for Keto
A to Z, keto-friendly veggies.
Our bodies rely on carbohydrates as their primary source of energy, but when you "go keto," fat becomes the main macronutrient. Fortunately, a bounty of low-carb vegetables is available to you on the ketogenic diet. There is a whole rainbow of keto-friendly veggies — just try to avoid starchy, carb-heavy ones like potatoes, corn and squash and ones with higher sugar content like carrots and beets.
Here are 15 nutrient-packed, low-carb veggies that you can eat with abandon:
1. Artichokes come from the thistle family. The Globe variety is the most popular. They're best steamed and roasted.
Nutrition Facts: Loaded with fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of potassium and magnesium.
Recipe: Try making classic Steamed Artichokes with melted butter for dipping.
2. Asparagus can be snapped instead of cut. Hold a spear between your hands and bend it — it will break at the weakest point.
Nutrition Facts: A significant source of vitamin B6 and C, and a good source of potassium and fiber.
Recipe: Eggs Benedict lends its creamy, yolky sauce to Roasted Asparagus with Hollandaise.
3. Avocados brown quickly after cutting. Sprinkle with a little acid like lime juice and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
Nutrition Facts: A good source of vitamin K and fiber, and an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats — super important in the keto diet. So, avocados are basically your best friend.
Recipe: Just eat this Chunky Guacamole by the spoonful.
4. Bell peppers come in a rainbow of colors, green being the most common and affordable. They can also mature on the stem into yellow, orange, red, purple and even white, all of which have a sweeter flavor.
Nutrition Facts: Loaded with vitamin C.
Recipe: This Bell Pepper-Tomato Salad celebrates the humble green pepper.
5. Broccoli is most people's go-to vegetable side dish and favorite dip vehicle. Look for Chinese broccoli, broccolini and broccoli rabe, which all have varying levels of mustardy flavor.
Nutrition Facts: Loaded with vitamin C, and a good source of vitamins A and B6 and potassium.
Recipe: Asiago Roasted Broccoli is perfect for snacking.
6. Brussels sprouts are great raw — just shred them and use in slaws or salads.
Nutrition Facts: Loaded with fiber and vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin K, potassium and iron.
Recipe: Eat them cooked too — try Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Mint Pesto.
7. Cabbage has long been typecast as the star of three dishes: coleslaw, sauerkraut, and boiled cabbage that's paired with corned beef. But there are many varieties of cabbage, like red, green, Napa and Savoy, and they offer endless cooking options.
Nutrition Facts: Green cabbage is a good source of vitamin C, and red cabbage is high in the antioxidant pigment anthocyanin.
Recipe: Charred Caraway Cabbage is pleasantly crispy and tender.
8. Cauliflower has proven to be a very versatile veggie — just look at cauliflower pizza crust and rice as evidence. Did you know the leaves are delicious too?
Nutrition Facts: Packed with vitamin K and C. Good source of potassium and fiber.
Recipe: Miss mashed potatoes? Try Cauliflower Mash.
9. Cucumbers come in different varieties: Kirbys are thinner-skinned, English cucumbers are long and seedless, and Persian cucumbers are small and smooth and don't need to be peeled.
Nutrition Facts: Good source of vitamin K and water.
Recipe: Creamy Cucumber Salad goes great with salmon.
10. Eggplant is really a fruit and also a member of the nightshade family (tomatoes and peppers are among its relatives). The large, dark purple variety is most common. But there are also the long, thin and purple Japanese eggplant, the mini or Italian eggplant and the green, golf-ball-sized Thai eggplant.
Nutrition Facts: Good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Recipe: Consider Eggplant Chips if you're craving crunchy potato chips.
11. Kale stems are as edible and delicious as the leaves. Chop them into small pieces and add as you would celery to stews or dishes that cook for a long time.
Nutrition Facts: Packed with vitamins A, C and K.
Recipe: Sauteed Kale with Garlic has nice heat and zing from red pepper flakes and vinegar.
12. Mushrooms should be plump and unblemished. Remove dirt with a brush, a damp paper towel or your fingers.
Nutrition Facts: Good source of vitamin D2, riboflavin and potassium.
Recipe: Mushroom Salad celebrates the raw mushroom.
13. Radishes in their raw form can be a simple crunchy snack or enjoyed dipped in soft butter and sea salt. But these round red veggies are also great braised, roasted, sauteed or steamed (their color will fade a bit).
Nutrition Facts: Good source of vitamin C.
Recipe: Sauteed Radishes and Spinach make great friends with grilled chicken or pork.
14. Spinach is a true culinary workhorse. It's the most-popular cooking green as well as a common salad green (thank you, Popeye).
Nutrition Facts: Rich in vitamin A, C, K, lutein and iron.
Recipe: Your favorite protein could easily make this Warm Spinach Salad a main course.
15 Zucchini is probably the best-known member of the summer squash family. Look for smaller squash that feel heavy for their size.
Nutrition Facts: Loaded with potassium and vitamin C, and a good source of vitamin A, magnesium and fiber.
Recipe: Skillet Eggs with Squash make a great keto breakfast or brunch.