Which vegetables are okay on keto?

When following a ketogenic diet, it’s important to choose low-carb vegetables to stay in ketosis. Many common veggies like potatoes, carrots, and corn are too high in carbs for keto. But there are still plenty of delicious keto-friendly options to build your meals around.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It’s designed to get your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, where your body starts burning fat for fuel instead of carbs.

On keto, you want to keep your net carb intake very low, usually under 50 grams per day. To figure out net carbs, you take the total carbs and subtract fiber. Fiber doesn’t impact blood sugar levels like other carbs.

By drastically reducing carbs, your body eventually runs out of its preferred energy source (glucose from carbs) and transitions to burning fat and producing compounds called ketones for fuel. This shift into ketosis provides incredible benefits like:

  • Effortless weight loss
  • Reduced appetite
  • Stable energy levels
  • Improved mental focus

But in order to reap these rewards, you have to choose low-carb foods like non-starchy vegetables, high-fat dairy, meat, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils.

Why Are Some Vegetables Too High in Carbs for Keto?

All vegetables contain carbs, but some have significantly more than others. Vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, carrots, and peas are packed with starch and sugar. Here’s an overview of the main carbs found in vegetables:

  • Starches – Found in starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Composed of long chains of glucose molecules.
  • Sugars – Found naturally in all vegetables. Includes glucose, fructose, and sucrose.
  • Fiber – Indigestible carbs like cellulose, inulin, and pectin. Don’t raise blood sugar.

Starchy vegetables are very high in digestible carbs, so they can quickly knock you out of ketosis. Non-starchy veggies have fewer digestible carbs, so they make better choices on keto.

The Best Low-Carb Vegetables for Keto

When choosing vegetables on the ketogenic diet, opt for non-starchy, low-sugar options. Here are some of the top keto veggies and their net carbs per 1 cup cooked:

Vegetable Net Carbs
Broccoli 4 grams
Asparagus 4 grams
Kale 4 grams
Green beans 4 grams
Zucchini 3 grams
Cauliflower 3 grams
Spinach 1 gram
Lettuce 1 gram
Cabbage 3 grams
Brussels sprouts 4 grams
Celery 1 gram
Eggplant 3 grams
Tomatoes 3 grams
Bell peppers 3 grams
Cucumber 2 grams
Radishes 2 grams
Onions 5 grams
Garlic 6 grams
Mushrooms 2 grams
Green onions 3 grams

As you can see, almost all non-starchy vegetables have under 5 grams of net carbs per serving. Load up on these low-carb options at each meal to stay in ketosis.

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, and collard greens are staples on a ketogenic diet. They provide vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber with very few digestible carbs.

Leafy greens contain fiber, which doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. So you can subtract the fiber from the total carbs to get the net carbs.

For example, 1 cup of raw spinach has 0.7 grams of digestible carbs and 0.6 grams of fiber. So the net carbs are only 0.1 grams per cup.

Cruciferous Veggies

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are fantastic for keto. In addition to being low in net carbs, cruciferous veggies contain cancer-fighting compounds like sulforaphane.

Cauliflower is an amazingly versatile low-carb veggie. You can make cauliflower rice, cauliflower mash, cauliflower pizza crust, and so much more.


With only 4 grams of net carbs per cooked cup, asparagus is one of the best keto vegetables. It’s a great source of vitamin K, provides prebiotic fiber to nourish healthy gut bacteria, and contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Asparagus is delicious roasted, grilled or sautéed in olive oil.

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers, also known as capsicums, contain only 3 grams of net carbs per cooked cup. They come in a rainbow of colors like red, yellow, orange and green.

Red bell peppers are particularly high in antioxidants like lycopene and vitamin C. Add them to keto omelets, salads and stir-fries.


With its meaty texture and mild flavor, eggplant is an awesome low-carb veggie. A cup of cooked eggplant cubes has 3 grams of net carbs.

Try making Baba Ghanoush, a tasty eggplant dip, or use sliced eggplant as a keto pizza crust.


Cucumbers have a high water content, so they are low in carbs and calories. One cup of sliced cucumbers has just 2 grams of net carbs.

Cucumbers make a perfect keto snack when dipped in ranch dressing or tzatziki sauce. You can also slice them to make low-carb sandwiches or wraps.


Zucchini, also known as courgette, is a versatile summer squash with just 3 grams of net carbs per cup. grate zucchini or spiralize it to make low-carb noodles.

Try making zucchini lasagna by layering zucchini slices with tomato sauce and cheese. You can also make amazing zucchini bread or zucchini fritters.


Technically a fruit, avocados are a nutritional powerhouse perfect for the ketogenic diet. A whole avocado has around 13 grams of net carbs, most of which is fiber.

Avocados are an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Mash some up to make keto guacamole or add slices to burgers or salads.

Green Beans

Also known as French beans or snap beans, green beans contain 4 grams of net carbs per cooked cup. They go great in soups, stir-fries and casseroles.

For a simple side dish, sauté green beans in olive oil with garlic and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


Lettuce varieties like romaine, iceberg and green leaf contain less than 1 gram of net carbs per cup. Use lettuce leaves for keto tacos or wraps.

Spinach and kale leaves can also be used as wrap alternatives but contain a few more carbs than lettuce.


All types of mushrooms including white, cremini, Portobello and oyster are great for keto. They provide several important nutrients and just 2 grams of net carbs per cooked cup.

Sauté mushrooms in butter or olive oil and add them to omelets, stir-fries and keto pizza.


Radishes have a spicy, peppery taste that pairs well with creamy dips and dressings. There are just 2 grams of net carbs in 1 cup of sliced radishes.

Try making keto radish chips by slicing radishes thinly, tossing with oil and baking until crispy.


Technically a fruit, tomatoes are used more like vegetables in cooking. They provide 3 grams of net carbs per 1 cup serving.

Cherry and grape tomatoes make an easy keto snack. Tomatoes are also great in salads and salsa.


Onions are relatively high in carbs compared to other veggies, with 5 grams of net carbs per cooked cup. But they add so much flavor that they are worth including in moderation on keto.

Use onions to add an earthy, sweet flavor to soups, sauces and meat dishes.


Garlic has significant health benefits, including antimicrobial and immunity-boosting properties. However, it’s moderately high in carbs with 6 grams of net carbs per clove.

Use garlic sparingly to add a pop of flavor. A little goes a long way!

Vegetables to Avoid on Keto

To stay in ketosis, there are some high-carb veggies you’ll need to avoid. Steer clear of these options:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Parsnips
  • Pumpkin
  • Squash
  • Turnips

These vegetables get most of their carbs from starch and sugar, so they can rapidly raise blood sugar levels and interrupt ketosis.

Other Tips for Low-Carb Vegetables on Keto

Here are some other tips to get the most from low-carb vegetables while following a ketogenic diet:

  • Focus on leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, green beans, asparagus, peppers, eggplant and zucchini.
  • Weigh veggies raw for the most accuracy in carb counts.
  • Steam or sauté vegetables in olive oil, butter or coconut oil to boost absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
  • Add vinegar or lemon juice to help balance vegetable alkalinity.
  • If you eat higher-carb veggies, try to keep portions under 1 cup per meal.
  • Save higher-carb veggies for when you are more active.
  • Avoid ketchup, sweet dressings, and sugary dips.
  • Read labels to check for added sugars in packaged veggies like roasted red peppers.

Sample Keto Vegetable Recipes

Keto Creamed Spinach

A delicious way to eat your leafy greens! Sauté spinach in butter or oil over medium heat until wilted. Add heavy cream, Parmesan, crushed garlic, and nutmeg, then simmer until thickened. Garnish with more Parmesan.

Keto Green Bean Casserole

In a skillet, cook chopped bacon until crisp. Remove and sauté sliced mushrooms in the bacon fat. Add green beans and cook until bright green. Mix in cream sauce of broth, cream cheese, and seasonings. Top with crispy bacon and fried onions.

Keto Brussel Sprouts Gratin

Cut Brussels sprouts in half and pulse in a food processor into small chunks. Transfer to baking dish and pour over heavy cream mixed with Dijon mustard. Top with Parmesan and bacon bits then bake until browned and tender.

Keto Zoodles Bolognese

Spiralize zucchini into noodles. Cook ground beef in a skillet with onions, garlic, and seasonings until browned. Add tomato sauce and simmer. Pour sauce over zoodles and garnish with Parmesan and basil.

Keto Cauliflower Fried Rice

Pulse cauliflower florets in a food processor until they resemble rice or couscous. Cook cauliflower rice in a skillet with oil, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, eggs, and vegetables. Garnish with scallions.


Following a low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet offers many benefits but requires limiting high-carb foods like grains, legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables. Fortunately, there are still plenty of delicious keto vegetables you can eat to stay in ketosis.

Focus on low-carb options like leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini. Avoid potatoes, corn, carrots and other starchy veggies. With the right vegetable choices, you can thrive on the keto diet.

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