Is eggplant OK on keto diet?

The keto diet has become one of the most popular diets for weight loss and health improvement. This low-carb, high-fat diet puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, which causes you to burn fat for energy instead of carbs.

Many people wonder whether eggplant is keto-friendly or not. Eggplant is a common vegetable found in many dishes, so it’s an important question for those following a ketogenic diet.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about eating eggplant on keto, including:

  • What is eggplant?
  • Eggplant macronutrients
  • Is eggplant keto? Carbs in eggplant
  • Health benefits of eggplant
  • How to cook eggplant on keto
  • Keto eggplant recipes
  • Tips for buying/storing eggplant

By the end, you’ll know if you can safely eat eggplant on a ketogenic diet and how to incorporate it into low-carb meals if so.

What Is Eggplant?

Eggplant, also known as aubergine, is a popular vegetable belonging to the nightshade family. It’s believed to have originated in India, but is now grown in warm climates around the world.

There are many different varieties of eggplant, but the most common is the large, oval-shaped purple eggplant. Other types include:

  • White – has white skin and flesh
  • Green – smaller and oval shaped
  • Graffiti – small, spherical, and purple/white stripped
  • Chinese – longer and more slender
  • Thai – small and round

The most widely available eggplant is the common large purple variety. The skin is a deep purple hue and the flesh is cream-colored and spongy.

When raw, eggplant has a bitter taste and firm texture. But when cooked, it becomes very soft and absorbs surrounding flavors nicely.

Eggplant is popular in many cuisines around the world. It’s widely used in Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Thai, and Japanese cooking.

Some of the most common eggplant dishes include baba ghanoush, ratatouille, moussaka, caponata, and eggplant Parmesan. It’s a versatile veggie that can be baked, roasted, grilled, or sautéed.

Now let’s look at the carb content and see if it fits into a keto diet plan.

Eggplant Macronutrients

Here is the macronutrient breakdown for 1 cup (82g) of raw eggplant [1]:

  • Calories: 20
  • Protein: 0.8g
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Carbs: 4.8g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Net carbs: 2.4g

As you can see, eggplant is very low in fat, protein, and calories. The majority of the calories come from carbs.

However, with 2.4g of net carbs per cup, eggplant can easily be incorporated into a keto diet.

The keto diet typically limits net carbs to around 25g per day, so eggplant provides almost 10% of your daily allotment.

When cooked, the carb content of eggplant remains about the same. The fiber and water content decreases slightly when heated, but the net carbs are still around 2-3g per cup.

So eggplant only contains a small amount of digestible carbs and a decent amount of fiber.

Is Eggplant Keto?

Based on the carb content, eggplant is a keto-friendly food.

A 1 cup serving contains just 2.4g net carbs, so it won’t significantly impact ketosis. You can easily fit eggplant into your daily carb limit on a ketogenic diet.

Some people may need to be mindful of consuming higher carb vegetables like eggplant in large amounts. If you eat 2-3 cups per serving, the carbs can add up quickly.

But when eaten in moderation, eggplant makes a great addition to keto meals, snacks, side dishes, and more. It provides a nutritious, low-carb way to increase your vegetable intake.

Carbs in Eggplant

To recap, here are the carb counts in 1 cup raw eggplant:

  • Total carbs: 4.8g
  • Fiber: 2.4g
  • Net carbs: 2.4g

And the macros for 1 cup cooked eggplant:

  • Total carbs: 5.8g
  • Fiber: 2.2g
  • Net carbs: 3.6g

As you can see, the carb content is very low, especially when you account for fiber.

Cooked eggplant has slightly more carbs than raw, but they are still within keto limits. Whether raw or cooked, eggplant can be included on a ketogenic diet.

Health Benefits of Eggplant

Besides being low in carbs, eggplant offers an array of important nutrients and health benefits:

Rich in Antioxidants

Eggplants contain phenolic compounds like nasunin and chlorogenic acid [2]. These potent antioxidants protect cells from damage and reduce inflammation.

May Improve Heart Health

The fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and antioxidant content in eggplant all support heart health. Studies show eggplant extracts may reduce cholesterol and blood pressure [3].

Contains Anthocyanins

The purple pigment in eggplant skin contains anthocyanins. These flavonoids have antioxidant and anti-cancer effects [4].

High in Fiber

With 5 grams of fiber per cup, eggplant can improve digestive health and promote weight loss. The skin contains the highest concentration of fiber.

May Benefit Blood Sugar Levels

Eggplant is low glycemic and rich in fiber. Some research indicates it may help regulate insulin secretion and blood sugar levels [5].

Provides Vitamins and Minerals

Eggplant contains vitamin K, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, copper, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and niacin.

Contains Choline

Eggplant provides a useful amount of choline, an essential nutrient for brain, muscle, liver, and nervous system health.

How to Cook Eggplant on Keto

One of the best things about eggplant is its versatility. There are so many different ways to cook eggplant that fit into a low-carb keto diet:

Bake It

Baking eggplant makes it melt-in-your-mouth soft and brings out its natural sweetness. Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds, brush with oil, and bake at 425°F for 15-20 minutes. Season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Grill It

Grilling adds delicious smoky flavors. Brush eggplant slices with oil and grill for 4-5 minutes per side. Try making keto eggplant stacks for a main dish.

Roast It

Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in eggplant. Dice into 1 inch pieces, toss with oil, and roast at 400°F for 20 minutes until browned. Add roasted eggplant to salads, grain bowls, pasta dishes, etc.

Sauté It

Pan frying or sautéing eggplant gives it a nice crispy texture on the outside while being soft inside. You can sauté eggplant in olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil. Add seasonings like garlic, Italian herbs, onion, etc.

Bread It

For a low-carb take on eggplant Parmesan, cut eggplant into slices, coat with an egg wash and Italian seasoning almond flour, then bake or pan fry until crispy. Top with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.

Puree It

To make baba ghanoush, roast eggplant until soft, then scoop out the flesh and puree with tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic. Serve as a dip with keto crackers and veggies.

As you can see, eggplant can be prepared in so many ways that add flavor without too many carbs on a keto diet.

Keto Eggplant Recipes

Here are some delicious keto recipes featuring eggplant:

Keto Eggplant Lasagna

Layers of roasted eggplant, marinara sauce, ricotta cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Italian herbs for an easy low-carb lasagna.

Keto Eggplant Pizza

Use thick slices of eggplant as the pizza crust, topped with sauce and melted cheese for a vegetarian pizza option.

Eggplant Caprese Stacks

Grilled eggplant, sliced mozzarella, tomato, basil, and balsamic glaze stacked into

Ingredients Macros per Serving
2 medium eggplants, sliced into 8 rounds Carbs: 4g
Olive oil Protein: 12g
16 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced Fat: 21g
2 large tomatoes, sliced Calories: 289
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil
Balsamic glaze

Eggplant and Sausages Skillet

Sautéed eggplant and Italian sausages tossed in tomato sauce makes a fast and simple dinner.

Eggplant Hummus

For an alternative to chickpea hummus, blend tahini and roasted eggplant with garlic, lemon, and olive oil for a creamy, lower carb dip.

Eggplant Stir Fry

Combined with zucchini noodles, chicken, and coconut aminos for a fresh, flavorful stir fry.

Tips for Buying and Storing Eggplant

Follow these tips to select fresh eggplant and keep it fresh longer:

  • Look for eggplants that are heavy, smooth-skinned, and feel firm.
  • Avoid those with soft or brown spots.
  • Smaller eggplants tend to be less bitter and fewer seeds.
  • Use eggplant within 2-3 days of purchasing.
  • Store unwashed in the refrigerator crisper drawer.
  • If cut, rub with lemon juice and store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Proper storage keeps eggplant fresh and prevents browning. Wash just before using.

Make Eggplant Part of Your Keto Diet

Eggplant is a versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed in many ways on a ketogenic diet.

With only 2-3g net carbs per serving, eggplant delivers beneficial nutrients and health benefits without disrupting ketosis.

It can be baked, grilled, sautéed, or added to all sorts of delicious keto recipes like pizza, lasagna, appetizers, and more.

Eggplant requires very little preparation beyond slicing and cooking with healthy oils and seasonings.

This makes eggplant a simple way to increase your vegetable intake and obtain antioxidants to protect overall health.

So don’t fear the eggplant on keto. Embrace this amazing veggie and all the possibilities it provides for staying in ketosis.







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