If you visit the cooking section at any local bookstore you’ll find a slew of keto diet books. Same with the special diet or nutrition section at your local health food store… shelf upon shelf of keto-friendly powders, mixes, and meals.
This “trend” has quickly taken steam and become a full-blown lifestyle to match the popularity of plant-based living.
The keto diet — short for ketosis — refers to a somewhat simple diet regimen that requires incredibly low carbohydrate intake paired with a moderate protein and very high healthy fat intake. This combination forces the human body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a “metabolic state” in which fat is turned into “ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.”
First, Why would anyone want to reach ketosis?
Turns out that burning fat over sugar for energy may actually be way better for us. The human body prefers to use glucose — sugars — for energy, yet, once all that sugar is used up it turns to fat. Recent studies have discovered that burning fat for energy actually provides a longer, more sustainable energy source.
The keto diet focuses on reducing your carbohydrate consumption — reducing glucose (ie. sugar) — to achieve ketosis. This not only provides a better source of energy, but it also burns adipose fat quicker. Along with burning more fat, the ketogenic diet “can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels” and has been linked to “numerous health benefits.”
With that said, while many keto dieters focus only on high-fat items such as nuts, seeds, and coconut, there is still a slew of benefits you can gain from eating a high amount of veggies. Not only are veggies nutrient-dense and filled with antioxidants, but there is a handful that is super low in carbs!
Take a look at these 15 Plant-Based Keto Recipes:
1. Kale, Beet, and Pecan Salad With Ginger Dressing
When it comes to keto-friendly veggie fare, you can’t really do much better than kale. It’s loaded with nutrients, yet low in carbs. This Kale, Beet, and Pecan Salad With Ginger Dressing recipe by Jesse Lane Lee combines that nutrient-kale with naturally sweet beets and a dose of healthy pecan-sourced fat.
Eggplant isn’t necessarily loaded with nutrients, but that also means it’s not loaded with carbs. This Mini Eggplant Mushroom Pizzas recipe by Ella Suihko is the perfect way to enjoy this versatile veggie alongside mushrooms, cabbage, and tomatoes.
3. Butter-Braised Radishes and Turnips
If you thought radishes were only good for a salad, think again! This Butter-Braised Radishes and Turnips recipe by Rachel Hanawalt takes those low-carb veggies douses them in delicious mint oil and braises them for a great side dish or snack!
Greens beans are hardy, semi-sweet, super easy to cook, and low in carbs making them a great keto-friendly veggie to have on hand. This Turkish-Style Green Beans recipe by Deniz Kilic takes the traditional side dish veggie puts it center stage with a savory tomato, veggie broth, mint, and olive oil sauce.
Cauliflower is hardy, filling, and incredibly versatile in the kitchen — from mashed cauliflower to soup to rice! This Curried Cauliflower Rice Pilaf recipe by Lisa Lotts is a simple, flavor-filled recipe featuring low-carb, keto-friendly cauliflower in the place of high-carb rice mixed with savory onion, turmeric, and olive oil.
Looking for that perfect mid-day snack? How about a great ket-friendly appetizer for a dinner party? This Summer Daikon Rolls With Avocado and Micro Greens recipe by Vegan: The Cookbook sources multiple low-carb, keto-friendly ingredients including avocado, microgreens, cucumber, peas, and radish sprouts. These little summer rolls are bursting with flavor and nutrients!
When it comes to keto-friendly veggies, you can’t go wrong with dark leafy greens. Yet, instead of going straight for spinach or kale, how about giving swiss chard a try? This Swiss Chard Enchiladas With Avocado Cream recipe by Meghna Purandare uses hardy and incredibly nutrient-dense swiss chard, along with keto-friendly avocado. Swap out the sweet potato for carrots or cauliflower to really make this super low carb!
8. Zucchini Gazpacho
We’re still in the throes of winter, so how about some keto-friendly soup? This Zucchini Gazpacho recipe by Dana Sandonato uses a keto classic veggie, zucchini, along with flavorful scallions, mint, and sweet bell pepper.h
9. Asparagus and Pea Soup
Zucchini not quite your thing? How about trying this low-carb asparagus and pea soup? This Asparagus and Pea Soup recipe by Harriet Emily sources two keto-veggie classics — asparagus and peas — yet bulks up the creaminess value with vegetable stock and celery.
Alright, one more soup to round out this keto-friendly winter season! This Cleansing Detox Soup recipe by Shannon Leparski opts for a combination of low-carb ingredients including onion, celery, broccoli, kale, and cabbage to achieve a keto-friendly nutrient-dense meal to give your detox system a boost.
While you may love bell peppers, it’s oftentimes difficult to find creative ways to use these naturally sweet, low-carb, and nutrient-rich veggies. This Cheesy Cauliflower Rice Stuffed Peppers recipe by Melanie Sorrentino is the perfect delicious mixture of keto-friendly bell peppers and cauliflower. Plus, it’s super simple with only six ingredients and five easy steps.
Yet, another creative way to use those tasty and low-carb bell peppers! This Roasted Red Pepper Pesto recipe by Kristen Genton takes red bell peppers and soaked cashews, along with a slew of flavorings, and purees them into a tasty sauce that can be applied to any other keto-friendly dish for an extra dose of nutrients and tastiness.
13. Seeds and Greens Kaniwa Salad
Incredibly simple and easy to prep for a healthy and low-carb work lunch, this Seeds and Greens Kaniwa Salad recipe by Viktoria Radichkova uses keto-friendly avocado, asparagus, peas, arugula, zucchini, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Filled with healthy fat and nutrients, this is a great mid-day meal.
Craving a crispy, delicious side dish or snack? This Super Flax Green Bean Fries recipe by Renee Press takes low-carb, keto-friendly green beans and fries them up with fiber-rich flax meal for a healthy treat!
If you’re practicing the keto diet, you may be craving some of those carb-filled classics, such as lasagna. This Raw Zucchini Tomato Lasagna With Cashew Herb Cheese recipe by Emily von Euw may help fill that craving void using keto-friendly zucchini and healthy fat-filled cashew-based cheese to recreate this classic dinner staple!