Low-carb keto vegetables – the best and the worst

Keto diet

What vegetables are low carb? There’s a very simple rule:

  • Vegetables growing above ground are usually low carb and can be eaten freely.
  • Vegetables growing below ground contain more carbs, so you’ll have to be more careful with them (especially potatoes).

Like any rule it is not perfect, so have a look below.

Above ground

All numbers are net carbs per 100 grams (3½ ounces).

Below ground

Medication with warfarin and vegetable intake: Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven) is a medication that is sometimes used to treat or prevent blood clots, and it can be affected by changes in your vegetable intake.

Top 10 low-carb vegetables

Here are ten great low-carb vegetables, tasty and rich in nutrients but with very few carbs. We’ve attempted to sort them by how popular and useful they are in low-carb cooking.

All numbers are net carbs per 100 grams (3½ ounces).

  1. Cauliflower – 3 g. Perhaps the most classic and iconic of all low-carb vegetables. The base of cauliflower rice and cauliflower mash. Check out our top cauliflower recipes 
  2. Cabbage – 3 g. Another great low-carb vegetable. Who doesn’t love butter-fried green cabbage or the simply amazing Asian cabbage stir-fry? For more, here are our top cabbage recipes 
  3. Avocado – 2 g. Not just low carb, but also full of nutritious fat. Technically a fruit, but most people likely think of it as a vegetable. Avocado can be eaten in all kinds of ways, including on its own, in salads, or it can be used to make guacamole. But that’s just the start, here are other awesome avocado recipes 
  4. Broccoli – 4 g. Another great option that can replace pasta, rice or potatoes. Just fry it in butter or add some cheese for great-tasting side dishes.
  5. Zucchini – 3 g. Try our zucchini fries or zucchini chips. Zucchini can also be used to make low-carb pasta, like in this low-carbonara.
  6. Spinach – 1 g. An extremely low-carb vegetable, spinach is full of vitamins and minerals and can be used many ways. It pairs beautifully with eggs, such as in our popular frittata.11 Check out that spinach recipe.
  7. Asparagus – 2 g. Revered as both a food and medicine – and aphrodisiac – by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans up to medieval times, asparagus is one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables. Nutritious and delicious! Try it wrapped with prosciutto and grilled.
  8. Kale – 3 g. Hardier than spinach, less watery, but just as nutrient-rich, kale can stand up to mincing, sautéing, baking, and much more. Cut into ribbons, it makes a great noodle substitute for zesty sauces.
  9. Green beans – 4 g. Frenched, diced and tossed in a salad, fricasseed and more, green beans taste great especially with added fats like butter, an olive-oil vinaigrette, or bacon.
  10. Brussels sprouts – 5 g. Nutty, filling and nutritious, they are especially good roasted with olive oil and garlic, or with bacon. Or steam and serve with a cheese cream sauce.

Vegetable sticks and dip

Numbers are digestible carbs per 100 grams (3½ ounces).

Vegetable sticks are relatively low carb, except for carrots that have slightly more carbs.

Dip: Add cream cheese or any really low-carb and high-fat dip sauce

Peas, corn, beans, etc.

Peas, corn, beans, lentils and quinoa are relatively high in carbs, and so are not good options on a keto low-carb diet. On a more moderate or liberal low-carb diet, you may be able to include some peas and lentils.

On a side note, grains like corns and quinoa are usually not considered vegetables.

Refined grains and sugar

Wheat is not considered a vegetable, it is a grain. And anything made with wheat flour contains lots of rapidly digested carbs. Avoid this when on a low-carb diet. When it comes to their effect on blood sugar, whole-grain products have a slightly slower impact than refined grains, but the difference is surprisingly small.

Bread, pasta, rice, cookies etc. are not vegetables, and they are full of carbohydrates.

High-fructose corn syrup – the sweet ingredient in many sodas – comes from plants (corn), but it is not a vegetable and it is certainly not low carb.

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