Is broccolini keto friendly?

Broccolini is a green vegetable that looks like a cross between broccoli and asparagus. It has long, thin stalks like asparagus, but with bushy, florettes like broccoli on the top. Broccolini has been gaining popularity in recent years as a healthy vegetable option. But is it a good choice for people following a ketogenic or “keto” diet? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Broccolini?

Broccolini is actually a hybrid of broccoli and gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli. It was developed in the 1990s by growers in California by cross-breeding these two vegetables. Broccolini was designed to have a longer growing season compared to traditional broccoli. It also has a more mild and sweet flavor.

Broccolini can be eaten raw or cooked by steaming, sautéing, roasting or stir-frying. It has slightly thicker stems than asparagus that are edible along with the florets. The small florets and tender stems make broccolini easy to eat as a veggie side dish or add to other recipes.

Nutrition Facts for Broccolini

Here is an overview of the nutrition profile of broccolini based on a 1 cup serving (1):

  • Calories: 27
  • Fat: 0.3g
  • Carbs: 5g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Protein: 2.4g
  • Vitamin C: 89% DV
  • Vitamin K: 131% DV
  • Folate: 14% DV
  • Potassium: 8% DV

Broccolini is very low in calories and fat. It provides a few grams of digestible carbs and fiber per serving. Broccolini is an excellent source of vitamins C and K. It also contains vitamin A, manganese, chromium and other antioxidants.

Is Broccolini Keto-Friendly?

When following a keto diet, the goal is to get into a metabolic state called ketosis. This involves reducing carb intake significantly so the body can burn fat for fuel. Typically keto diets restrict net carbs to 20-50g per day.

With only around 3g net carbs per cup when fiber is subtracted, broccolini can easily fit into a keto eating plan. It provides a very low amount of carbs per serving compared to many other veggies.

In addition to being low carb, broccolini offers great nutrition to support overall health on keto:

  • Rich in antioxidants: Broccolini provides antioxidant vitamins A, C and K. These help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • High in fiber: The 2.4g of fiber per serving aids digestion and helps maintain regularity.
  • Supports bone health: The vitamin K in broccolini helps with proper calcium absorption for healthy bones.
  • Helps regulate blood sugar: The fiber content helps moderate the impact of carb-containing foods on blood sugar levels.

So not only is broccolini low enough in carbs to work for keto, it provides great health benefits as well.

How to Cook Broccolini for Keto

One of the nice things about broccolini is that it only takes 3-5 minutes to cook. So it’s a quick vegetable to add to keto-friendly meals.

Here are some simple ways to cook broccolini:


Steaming is a fast and healthy way to prepare broccolini. It takes just 3-4 minutes to reach tender crispness. To steam:

  1. Cut or snap off the thick ends of the stems.
  2. Use a steamer basket in a pot with 1 inch of boiling water.
  3. Place broccolini in basket and cover to steam 3-4 minutes.
  4. Toss with olive oil or butter and season as desired.


Sautéing broccolini in olive oil or avocado oil adds delicious flavor. Sauté over medium heat:

  1. Heat 1-2 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add broccolini and sauté 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder or other spices.


Roasting brings out the sweet, nutty flavor of broccolini. To roast:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Toss broccolini florets with 1-2 Tbsp olive oil on a baking sheet.
  3. Roast 15 minutes, tossing halfway through.
  4. Finish with lemon juice and parmesan cheese if desired.

Keto-Friendly Recipes with Broccolini

Here are some delicious keto recipes that feature broccolini:

Broccolini Breakfast Scramble

This veggie scramble with broccolini, mushrooms, and cheese makes a filling low carb breakfast:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups broccolini florets, chopped
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion 2 minutes.
  2. Add mushrooms and broccolini. Sauté 5 minutes until tender.
  3. Push veggies to the side. Add 1 Tbsp oil and pour in eggs. Scramble eggs until set.
  4. Mix veggies and eggs. Top with feta and parsley.

Steak Salad with Broccolini

Marinated steak pairs perfectly with broccolini, avocado and greens in this main dish salad:

  • 8 oz flank steak
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 4 cups broccolini florets
  • 4 cups mixed greens
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  1. Marinate steak 30 minutes in oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  2. Grill or pan sear steak to desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  3. Steam broccolini florets 5 minutes until bright green.
  4. Slice steak. Serve over greens and broccolini. Top with avocado.

Garlic Butter Shrimp and Broccolini

Buttery garlic shrimp is paired with broccolini in this easy keto dinner:

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups broccolini florets
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, sauté 1 minute.
  2. Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes until pink.
  3. Add broccolini and lemon juice. Sauté 3-4 minutes until broccolini is tender crisp.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Can You Eat Broccolini Raw?

Broccolini can absolutely be enjoyed raw for a crunchy, juicy texture. The stems in particular take on a pleasant snap when eaten raw.

Raw broccolini makes a great addition to salads or can be dipped in keto-friendly dressings and dips like guacamole.

When eating broccolini raw, cut the bottom 1-2 inches off the stems which tend to be more fibrous. The rest of the stem and florets can be chopped up for salads or cut into sticks for dipping.

Some delicious recipes using raw broccolini include:

  • Broccolini salad with chopped broccolini, feta, red onion, olives and an olive oil lemon dressing
  • Antipasto skewers with raw broccolini, cheese, salami and olives
  • Broccolini sticks with guacamole, ranch dip or hummus

The vitamin C content of broccolini begins to degrade when it’s cooked, so eating raw captures more of the immune-boosting vitamin C benefits.

However, the lycopene antioxidants in broccolini become more absorbable after cooking. So enjoy broccolini both raw and cooked to maximize its nutritional value.

Other Low Carb Broccoli Alternatives

In addition to broccolini, other low carb vegetables in the brassica family can round out keto meal plans:


Basic broccoli provides just 6g net carbs per 1 cup raw chopped broccoli florets. It has a very similar nutrition profile to broccolini.

Broccoli Rabe

Also called rapini, broccoli rabe has 4g net carbs per 1 cup raw. It has a more bitter flavor than broccolini or broccoli.

Brussels Sprouts

With 3g net carbs per 1 cup chopped brussels sprouts, these mini cabbages are perfect for keto. Roast them for a delicious side dish.


Cauliflower is the staple low carb substitute for rice and mashed potatoes, providing just 5g net carbs per cup. It’s very versatile for keto meal prepping.


Kale chips and salads are popular low carb options. Kale has just 4g net carbs per 1 cup raw chopped leaves.

Potential Concerns

Broccolini is safe for most people to eat raw or cooked as part of a vegetable-rich diet. There are just a couple things to keep in mind:

Thyroid Issues

Like other cruciferous veggies, broccolini contains goitrogens, compounds that can interfere with thyroid function by blocking iodine absorption. For most people eating moderate amounts of broccoli-family veggies, this is not an issue.

However, those with hypothyroidism should limit intake of raw broccolini and other goitrogenic veggies to about 1-2 servings per day cooked instead of eating large quantities raw.

Blood Thinning Medications

The vitamin K content of broccolini may interfere with the effectiveness of blood thinning medications like warfarin. Check with your healthcare provider about consuming broccolini if you take these types of medications.

Digestive Issues

Some people may experience bloating and gas from eating broccolini and other cruciferous vegetables raw. Lightly cooking broccolini can make it more easily digestible.

The Bottom Line

With its mild flavor, crunchy texture and stellar nutrition, broccolini is a great addition to the keto diet. It provides just 3g net carbs per serving along with antioxidants, fiber and vitamins.

Enjoy broccolini steamed, sautéed, roasted or raw. It can be added to keto breakfasts, salads, main dishes, sides and snacks.

At only 5 calories per cup, broccolini provides bulk and nutrition without adding a lot of extra calories from carbs to your daily intake.

Along with broccoli, cauliflower and other low carb brassica vegetables, broccolini is a veggie superstar for the ketogenic diet.

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