You already know that on keto, you should choose foods that are lower in carbs. That may be easy to do with animal products like meat and seafood, yet tricky when it comes to vegetables.
A lot of vegetables aren’t great for keto dieters since they can sabotage your weight loss goals. But why? These veggies contain starch which is a complex carbohydrate(1). Complex or not, carbs are carbs. Our advice: Be very careful.
To keep things simple, we’ve put together a list of keto vegetables that you should eat. Not only are they full of vitamins and minerals, but they can also be enjoyed in many different ways ― sautéed, roasted, steamed, and more.
What Vegetables Can I Eat On Keto?
Here’s how you identify keto-friendly vegetables: They grow above the ground. Common examples are leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. These options are usually lower in carbohydrates.
On the contrary, vegetables that grow underground such as carrots, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are higher in carbs and are therefore not allowed on keto.
Recall that on the keto diet, you’re only allowed to eat 20-50 grams of carbs per day. When consuming vegetables on keto, we recommend double-checking a veggie’s net carb count per 100 grams. That’s how you’ll know whether it’s okay to consume it in abundance or not.
11 Best Vegetables for the Keto Diet
I know that it can be daunting to check the net carb counts of every vegetable you can find. To help you save on time, we’ve compiled the best vegetables for keto that you should add to your shopping list and other stuff to know.
Unless you’re following a largely meat-based keto diet, feel free to incorporate these veggies into every meal! After all, vegetables provide dietary fiber and important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect you from disease(2).
This green leafy vegetable has been called a superfood because of its nutrient content. While it’s low in calories, it’s rich in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, niacin, and zinc.
You can use it to make a keto-friendly spinach dip to be served with cheese crisps, pork rinds, or chicken breasts. You decide! Or if you’re out of kale, use spinach to make baked chips with parmesan.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 1.4 grams
Lettuce deserves a place on this keto vegetable list. As you may already know, lettuce is best for salads and sandwiches!
There are also different types of lettuce to explore. If you like crunchy lettuce, go for iceberg or crisphead. If you want something soft and buttery, choose butterhead lettuce.
Research shows that lettuce has bioactive compounds with anti-diabetic and cholesterol-lowering properties(3).
Net carbs per 100 grams: 1.6 grams
Although it’s technically a fruit, zucchini is being treated by most people as a vegetable. If you miss noodles or pasta on a keto diet, zucchini can become a replacement. Ever heard of zoodles (zucchini noodles)? Make them using a spiralizer or julienne peeler.
Zucchini is high in fiber and water. It’ll fill you up quickly and improve your digestion.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 2.1 grams
Cucumbers can be eaten alone, paired with sour cream, or added to various low-carb salads. Not only are cucumbers versatile, but they’re also high in potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that helps with proper muscle and nerve function.
Try this refreshing cucumber electrolyte drink: Blend cucumbers, lime juice, ginger, fresh mint, and your keto sweetener of choice. Strain the blended mixture through a sieve and discard the pulp. Refrigerate the drink and serve cold!
Net carbs per 100 grams: 3.1 grams
Crunchy and with a slightly bitter taste, kale is one of the healthiest low-carb veggies ― thanks to its vitamin A, C, potassium, and calcium content. That is why if you’re looking to increase your nutrient intake through a plant-based keto diet, choose kale.
Kale also contains protein, about 4.3 grams per 100 grams. To get more protein, blend it with peanut butter to make a healthy smoothie.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 0.3 grams
One of the most versatile and delicious low-carb vegetables you can have on keto is cabbage. Depending on your preference, you use raw cabbage for keto coleslaw or cook it with butter and bacon to boost your fat intake.
Between green cabbage and purple cabbage, green cabbage has fewer carbs and more dietary fiber which makes it the better choice. Cabbage is also packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 3.5 grams
What’s not to love about broccoli? This cruciferous vegetable has been shown to possess anti-cancer and antioxidant activities, according to multiple studies(4). Therefore, including broccoli in your plant-based keto diet can protect you from many health problems.
Need a yummy recipe idea? Here’s a side dish you’ll love:
Steam broccoli florets. While they’re still cooking, prepare a dressing of fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Then pour that dressing over the cooked broccoli florets.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 4.4 grams
Missing rice on a keto diet? Cauliflower can replace rice to increase your energy and satiety without kicking you out of ketosis! It contains sulforaphane, a compound that protects the body from various cancers(5).
Here’s how to make cauliflower rice: Cut cauliflower into smaller chunks, grate or place in a food processor, and sauté.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 3 grams
Next on our list of keto veggies is asparagus. This low-calorie and low-carb perennial vegetable can be pan-roasted or baked, then paired with beef, chicken, turkey, or fish.
Asparagus contains folate and vitamin K. Both nutrients are beneficial for pregnant women to help prevent birth defects.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 1.8 grams
Yes, eggplant is low-carb and keto-friendly! It makes a great side dish, casserole recipe, and even pasta.
Here’s a simple recipe to try:
Slice eggplant into bite-sized pieces. Season them with salt, pepper, and minced garlic. Next, dip the slices in beaten egg then coat with almond meal. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Finally, top the baked eggplant with cheese!
Net carbs per 100 grams: 1.8 grams
11. Bell peppers
Bell peppers add aroma and a slightly sweet flavor to any keto dish. These keto vegetables have high levels of vitamin C. They also come in different colors like green, red, and yellow.
Have you tried keto stuffed bell peppers? Slice off the top of a bell pepper, remove the seeds, and fill it with cooked ground beef, cheese, and parsley. Then bake for 30 minutes.
Net carbs per 100 grams: 3.9 grams
Vegetables to Avoid on Keto
You already know which vegetables for keto diet you should eat. Meanwhile, take note of these high-carb veggies and steer clear of them:
- Sweet potatoes
Garlic, onion, and ginger also grow underground. However, these veggies are commonly used to spice up keto recipes. So, to stay within your carb limit, make sure to add them only in small amounts.
I hope that this keto-friendly veggies guide has inspired and motivated you to stay in ketosis while enjoying keto to its fullest. Feel free to experiment with various veggie recipes — we’ve suggested a few above! All of the vegetables on our list are full of nutrients. So, there’s no reason why you can’t be healthy on a low-carb diet.