Update 7/7/15: Clarification on carbohydrate values.

Have you just started off on your low-carb lifestyle and are wondering what vegetables are the best to eat? Or maybe you’ve been doing it for a while now and are looking for some inspiration and something a little different. I’ve put together the below list of 50 of our favourite low-carb vegetables in order from highest carb, down to lowest per 100g.

You may notice the numbers overall are slightly lower than you see elsewhere on the Internet, or on apps such as MyFitnessPal. This is because the values we’ve listed below are the available carbohydrates per 100g, ie: not including soluble or insoluble fibre.

Each of the vegetables below has less than 10% carbohydrate content. All values are per 100g of the raw product. I prefer raw vegetables where possible, or slightly blanched, but some (such as potato) shouldn’t be eaten raw.

Now before we get into it, keep in mind that it’s easier to eat 200g of pumpkin for example, than 200g of ginger, so keep things in perspective 🙂

If you have a few minutes, have a read through and look at the pretty pictures 🙂 you may just learn something new!

#50 – #41, Reasonably Low-Carb Vegetables

 

Lima Bean

50. Lima Beans – 9.8 g

Kicking off this list are the delicious lima beans. Now these are technically a legume, as are a few of the other items on this list, but you can use them as vegetable in your cooking. Lima beans are also known as as butter beans.

Water Chestnuts

49. Water Chestnuts – 9.3 g

These wonderful little treats add a delicious crunch to any salad or stir-fry. The flavour is quite mild, but the crispy fresh texture is not. They’re sometimes referred to as Chinese Water Chestnuts and can most commonly be found canned rather than fresh.

Kidney Beans

48. Kidney Beans – 9.1 g

The backbone of the deliciously British baked-beans. They’re available both canned and dried in most supermarkets. They’re packed with potassium and magnesium and are quite high in fibre too.

Jicama

47. Jicama – 9 g

Pronounced HEE-kuh-muh, this brown, potato-looking turnip is sometimes known as the Mexican Turnip. It’s a great source of potassium and fibre.

It’s a relatively new vegetable to Australia, but can be found in some fruit and vegetable grocery shops around the place.

Beetroot

46. Beetroot – 7.7 g

Sometimes known as “beets”, the beetroot is the root portion of the beet plant. Famous for their deliciously sweet and rich flavour and their ability to stain your hands purple.

Pumpkin Butternut

45. Pumpkin (Butternut) – 7.2 g

Known in other countries as Butternut squash, these are fantastic roasted with a leg of lamb, or in a beautiful creamy butternut pumpkin soup – the perfect thing for the colder winter months. Just be careful with your portion size! Try dipping some Low-Carb Garlic Bread in your soup.

Lentils

44. Lentils – 7.1 g

The lentil is a wonderfully versatile legume, that’s right, it’s not a vegetable either! Despite the widespread prominence of horrible bland vegetarian dishes, there are a myriad of actually-delicious recipes containing this high-in-fibre treat.

Carrots

43. Carrots (Orange) – 5.0 g

The food of choice for our friend Buggs Bunny. Whilst we generally only see orange carrots in supermarkets, these root vegetables come in hundreds of different varieties and a number of colours including purple, red, white, and yellow ones. They’re fun and easy to grow yourself at home, a great weekend project with the kids.

Have you checked out our Keto Carrot Cake Recipe? It is by far our most popular recipe and never lasts long in the office!

snow peas

42. Snow Peas – 4.8 g

Snow peas can add a delicious crunch to any salad or stir fry. These peas are usually eaten whole in their pod, though you can open them up and take out the peas if you want, why would you when they’re so delicious straight off the vine. These are another great plant you can grow at home easily.

Ginger

41. Ginger – 4.8 g

This spicy root vegetable is indigenous to south China which subsequently spread out to much of Asia and eventually the rest of the world. Today, India is the largest producer of Ginger in the world. Turmeric and Galangal are actually in the same family of plants. Ginger is a wonderfully versatile plant. It can be used in all sorts of cooking, can be used in a delicious honey and lemon tea, and is even commonly used in eastern medicine.

 

#40 – #31, Vegetables with under 5g of carbs

 

Onion Brown

40. Onion – 4.6 g

If you put aside their ability to make you cry (I’m sure they don’t mean it), onions are a fantastic addition to many dishes. Oven roasted with a leg of lamb, sliced and caramelised on the bbq with a good dash (or three) of beer, or sliced very finely and put into a salad raw for a bit of extra zing.

Not just for flavouring, onions have many health benefits too. They contain chromium which can assist your body in regulating blood sugar. Onions have been used for many hundreds of years to help heal infections and reduce inflammation.

kohlrabi

39. Kohlrabi – 4.2 g

If you haven’t heard of this strange sounding vegetable, then don’t worry – I hadn’t either until researching for this article. This strange sounding vegetable is sometimes called German Turnip, or Turnip Cabbage. It has a mild, sweet flavour and similar to regular turnip and water-chestnuts. Try thinly slicing, blanching, and adding it to a salad. Or try cutting into wedges and roasting for low-carb wedges to go with your nice wintery roast lamb.

green beans

38. Green Beans – 4.0 g

Green beans are a delicious fresh snack, or can be used in a tonne of different dishes from salads, to stir fry’s, stews and more. They’re a good source of fibre and are high in Vitamin C too. A great healthy snack for the kids (or adults). Green beans are also known as string beans in the US – I’m not sure who’s name is more obvious!

Swede

37. Swede – 3.7 g

Not to be confused with the blonde-haired blue-eyed people native to Sweden, the swede is a root vegetable also known as Rutabaga (you can see why people call them swede’s.)

This particular variety of turnip is fantastic for roasting along side your sweet potatoes or roast vegetables. 100g of swedes has 41% of your daily intake of Vitamin C to help keep colds at bay.

turnips

36. Turnips – 3.4 g

The turnip is very similar to the Swede above, but with white flesh instead of yellow. Like me, you probably hated these as a kid, but give them another chance. The turnip was the staple vegetable of Europe before the potato came along, so it can’t be too bad!

When shopping, pick the younger, smaller turnips as these have a sweeter and more delicate flavour. Their beautiful white and purple skin will look really good on your Instagram pictures 🙂

Fennel

35. Fennel – 3.3 g

Did you know: Fennel is a flowering plant closely related to the carrot family!

Fennel is a crunchy vegetable with a slightly sweet flavour. It’s great at adding some texture to a salad, or braised with a stew or thick soup.

You might find that a lot of Italian recipes will call for this vegetable which gives hints at it’s Mediterranean origins.

Leeks

34. Leek – 3.3 g

These are such an under-rated food. They’re cheap to buy, contain a heap of great nutrients, taste amazing and are easy to cook with. What more could you want!

When you buy your leeks, make sure to give them a good wash as dirt can sometimes get into the inner leaves which might give your dish an unsatisfactory ‘crunch’ (speaking from experience).

And if you don’t feel like cooking your leek, maybe take it for a walk.

Radish

33. Radishes – 2.9 g

The colour of these amazing vegetables is reason enough to love them, let alone for the fact they are super-low in carbs!

Radishes are a winter vegetable which means you’re probably seeing oodles of them in your fruit and vegetable grocer at the moment, and for quite a good price too.

Radishes are grown and consumed throughout the whole world, generally eaten raw as a crunchy addition to a delicious salad.

Okra

32. Okra – 2.9 g

Another vegetable you’ve probably never heard of is the wonderful Okra. These are sometimes called colloquially as ‘ladies fingers’, or by region as bhindi, ochro, or gumbo (my favourite).

They’re most widely used in the Middle East, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and India.

Okra, when cooked, release a glutinous substance (not gluten), which will help to thicken stews, curries or soups.

When buying Okra, choose the smaller, younger pods with a vibrant green skin, no longer than 10cm.

Still unsure? Check out these great Okra recipes from taste.com.au.

celeriac

31. Celeriac – 2.8 g

This ugly looking vegetable is actually the edible root stock from the celery plant!

It has a mild, yet quite distinctive flavour similar to celery (for obvious reasons) and parsley. Celeriac can be eaten raw in salads, or roasted, or even mashed as a low-carb replacement for mashed potato!

 

#30 – #21, Vegetables with under 3g of carbs

 

Cabbage Red

30. Cabbage (Red) – 2.7 g

This awesome vegetable is a staple of many Northern European countries.

For me, it’s associated with Christmas was this is when we’d get together with my Grandparents and have a traditional Danish feast.

In Danish, this pickled dish is called Rødkål. It has a very strong particular flavour which you’ll either fall in love with straight away, or will grow on you (it took me a few years).

If you’re interested, check out the recipe for Rødkål here.

Capsicum Green

29. Capsicum (Green) – 2.5 g

We’ve specified the green variety of capsicum as it’s generally lower in carb than the red or orange varieties which are usually much sweeter. Don’t be afraid of them though, the red capsicums only contain 3.5g of carbs per 100g so are still very low carb!

Capsicums are so versatile and are one of my favourite vegetables to keep on-hand. Used in a stir fry, or fresh in a salad, sliced on a pizza, or halved and stuffed with all sorts of good things, they’re a very welcome addition to any low-carb kitchen.

Squash

28. Pattypan Squash – 2.5 g

These are a summer variety of squash and are an adorably small size and shape, looking like little flying saucers.

Squashes can be used as a replacement for almost any recipe that calls for Zucchini as a way to mix things up.

My favourite way to cook these little UFO’s is sautéed with a lot of butter and basil. Yummm!

eggplant

27. Eggplant – 2.4 g

These beautiful dark vegetables are known as Aubergine in many parts of the world, or in many Asian countries as Brinjal.

They’re great sliced in a Moussaka, or cut in half length ways, stuffed with whatever pleases you, covered in cheese and roasted in the oven.

If you’re entertaining, why not whip up some babaganoush. It’s an amazing zip and is incredibly easy to make at home.

Tomato Roma

26. Tomato (Roma) – 2.4 g

This particular variety of tomato’s is my favourite. Sweet, fragrant and delicious in so many ways. They’re slightly firmer than other varieties which means they’ll hold up well in sandwiches.

Like all tomato varieties, the Roma Tomato is incredibly low in carbohydrates. Whilst they might taste incredibly sweet, the contain very little sugar.

Cabbage Savoy on a table

25. Cabbage (Savoy) – 2.4 g

Savoy cabbage is the name of this particular variety of cabbage not to be confused with the widely available “green cabbage”. The leaves have a very distinctive contrasty, rough look to them.

Despite the appearance, the leaves are quite tender, even when eaten raw. They’re a great choice for salads or blanched and used as a bed for rice or other dishes.

Savoy cabbages are the sweetest and most tender variety of cabbage.

Kale

24. Kale – 2.3 g

The superfood poster-child of 2014 and favourite of beard-toting hipsters everywhere. This nutrient-dense leafy vegetable is very low in carbs and incredibly high in beta carotene, vitamin K and vitamin C. It’s also a good source of calcium and carotenoids.

If you’re still wondering how to make a delicious meal out of this vegetable, check out this great list of kale recipes on allrecipes.com

Rocket

23. Rocket – 2.2 g

A delicious peppery salad vegetable. Rocket has a different name in almost all languages such as rucoli, rucola, colewort, roquette (how fancy) and in the US, arugula.

It’s strong and fibrous stem is fantastic as flicking couscous all over the table when you’re trying to eat it. If you’re going to mix these two together, try blanching the rocket very quickly first 🙂

Brussel Sprouts

22. Brussels Sprouts – 2.1 g

The vegetable everyone loves to hate. Whilst these were probably forced upon you as a child and you’ve hated them ever since, you really shouldn’t. Brussels sprouts are really low in carbs and packed full of nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin K, and moderate amounts of folic acid and vitamin B6.

Whilst on their own they leave a lot to be desired for, sautéed in a fry pan with oodles of butter, garlic and even bacon, these little miniature cabbages really come into their own.

If you haven’t had these since you were a kid, it’s probably time to give them another chance.

Hairy melon

21. Hairy Melon – 2.0 g

What a great name. So many puns and double entendres could be made here but I’ll do my best to resist.

Whilst technically a fruit, this is mostly used as a vegetable due to it’s flavour. It’s sometimes called the Winter Melon or Ash Gourd.

These fruits grow incredibly large and in all sorts of shapes.

 

#20 – #11, Super low-carb Vegetables with under 2g of carbs

 

cauliflower

20. Cauliflower – 1.9 g

These an amazingly under-rated vegetable. They’re incredibly low in carbs despite having a rich creamy texture, and potato-like flavour.

They’re super delicious in a cheesy cauliflower bake, roasted and mashed as an incredible low-carb mashed potato-like dish or even used to make a Low Carb Fried Rice! (check out the recipe here)

The perfect winter vegetable.

Bean-Sprouts_180px

19. Bean Sprouts – 1.6 g

These are actually a really great vegetable sprout to grow at home yourself.

Bean sprouts remind me of the delicious Asian dish Laksa, which is certainly not a bad thing! They’re really low in carbs and have an amazing fresh sweet flavour to them.

Cabbage White

18. Cabbage (White) – 1.6 g

This is the most common variety of cabbage available in Australia and is not to be confused with Savoy Cabbage (number #25).

This particular variety has slightly tougher leaves than savoy cabbage but is still a great option for many dishes.

Zuchinni

17. Zucchini – 1.6 g

There are so many things you can do with the amazing low-carb vegetable that is the Zucchini!

They can be sliced and grilled on the barbeque, grated and made into delicious low-carb fritters, or grated and hidden in Bolognese sauce to sneak them into your kid’s meals.

Did you know: Some varieties of Zucchini grow up to a meter in length!

Asparagus

16. Asparagus – 1.4 g

These are a fantastic vegetable for occasional accompanying many dishes. You can steam them, barbeque them, slice them and bake them!

There’s a tonne of reported health benefits from eating asparagus, such as healthier skin, regulation of blood sugar, and more.

However you choose to enjoy them, just don’t enjoy them too often. Asparagus is the only vegetable known to contain asparagusic acid which when broken down in the body, turn into sulfur-containing compounds, which don’t smell the best!

Artichoke Hearts

15. Artichoke Hearts – 1.3 g

The edible portion of this plant is actually the flower bulb before it’s flowered into fool bloom!

They’re amazingly low in carbohydrates and pack a good amount of fibre and magnesium.

I think they’re the best part of a nice antipasto platter or are amazing on a pizza too 🙂

Bamboo Shoots

14. Bamboo Shoots – 1.3 g

What can’t this amazing plant do! Bamboo is used for so many things around the world, around the house and in the kitchen!

You’ve probably experienced the deliciousness of bamboo shoots in a stir-fry before, but they can be used in other dishes such as salads, or appetisers.

Most commonly found in a small can in the tinned vegetable section of your local supermarket. They can also be purchased in some places fresh.

celery

13. Celery – 1.2 g

Famous for reportedly using more calories to digest than you get from eating this vegetable. Regardless of is this is fact or fiction, celery is a great addition to any diet.

It’s a great base for the start of many Bolognese recipes, can be added to a delicious Waldorf salad, or is great just covered in peanut butter and snacked on!

Silverbeet

12. Silverbeet / Chard – 1.1 g

This Mediterranean vegetable is often confused with Rhubarb due to its brightly coloured stems. Make sure you don’t make this mistake as they are two very different tasting plants!

100g of Silverbeet contains a whopping 120% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, so if you’re low, this is the way to go.

This amazing plant also has a good solid punch of Vitamin C and Potassium. Basically, if you’re not yet eating Silverbeet, you should!

chinese broccoli

11. Chinese Broccoli – 1.1 g

A favourite of mine at Yum Cha smothered in oyster sauce, Chinese Broccoli is incredibly good for you thanks to it’s fibre content and nutrient dense foliage.

There are so many ways to prepare Chinese Broccoli you could have it every day of the week and not get bored! How does Chinese Broccoli with Garlicky Ginger Miso sound 🙂

#10 – #1, Vegetables with less than 1g of carbs per 100g

 

red chilli

10. Chilli – 1.0 g

Unless you’ve got an iron tongue or a penance for pain, I wouldn’t suggest using this one as the major vegetable in your dish. There are many different varieties of chilli’s ranging from ‘barely a tingle’, all the way through to ‘intolerably painful’.

spinach

9. Spinach (English) – 0.9 g

A favourite dish of Popeye’s, this leafy vegetable won’t turn you into the incredible hulk, but it is incredibly healthy!

It’s extremely nutrient-dense and high in antioxidants, vitamins A, B2, C and K. It also has a good serve of magnesium, folate and potassium.

It’s available all year round and is quite cheap to buy in bulk. Check out our Low Carb Savoury Muffin Mix and make our easy Feta and Spinach Protein Muffins. Start packing some spinach into your diet!

Avacado

8. Avocado – 0.6 g

One of my favourite vegetables (fruit) on this list, I love them so much I have written another whole blog about why avocados are amazing, check it out here.  The sound of the word avocado makes me happy, not as happy as cutting into the perfect avocado though. There’s not much that beats that!

Guacamole, on toast, in pasta, on steak, in salads, there’s almost no bad way to have an avocado!

They pack a good hit of calories due to their high-fat content but are really low in carbs so are a great addition to your HPLC or HPHF diet.

Bok Choy

7. Bok Choy – 0.6 g

What’s a stir fry without Bok Choy!

This vegetable is also known as Chinese Cabbage and makes an absolutely delicious addition to any stir fry and is a great way to get more of that delicious stir-fry flavours into your mouth at once.

It’s a very light textured and flavoured vegetable due to its high water content. That doesn’t mean it’s not high in nutrients though, with a good dose of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Alfalfa Sprouts

6. Alfalfa Sprouts – 0.5 g

These are the young shoots of the alfalfa plant, picked before they continue to grow. Because of their small size, they’re condensed full of certain minerals and vitamins.

They’re probably one of my favourite things to add to a salad sandwich giving it a delicious fresh, slightly nutty flavour.

Cress

5. Cress – 0.5 g

This one is sometimes referred to as garden cress to distinguish it from other plants called cress. Like a more mature version of alfalfa and bean sprouts, it’s really easy to grow at home.

It’s more often that not used as a garnish or flavoursome fresh addition to salads.

 

broccoli

4. Broccoli – 0.4 g

The staple of body-builders all across the world, and for good reason! This amazing vegetable is delicious, nutritious, and super low carb. It’s almost always in my fridge ready to add to any dish that needs some green added to it.

Hot Tip: If your broccoli is looking a little sad and wilted, don’t throw it away, chop it up into pieces and put it in a bowl of iced water and in the fridge for half an hour or so. It will come out looking better than the day you bought it!

Looking for a different way to eat those greens? Check out our delicious Low Carb Cheesy, Broccoli & Bacon Savoury Muffin recipe here.

Mushroom

3. Mushrooms – 0.3 g

These are a wonderful addition to so many dishes, or as the feature of the dish itself. Eaten raw or cooked, you’ll never get bored with finding new ways to eat mushrooms.

They’re a great food to incorporate into your diet if you’re avoiding carbs due to their incredibly low carbohydrate content.

Mushrooms come in so many different varieties of all shapes and sizes, but play it safe and buy them from a shop as many wild mushrooms are extremely poisonous but can look really similar to safe, edible mushrooms.

Vine Leaves made into Dolma

2. Vine Leaf – 0.2 g

These are actually grape vine leaves, usually served as Dolma.

These are a typically Middle Eastern cuisine which has spread all around the world today with many local seasonal varieties.

The leaves themselves are really low in carbs, but common stuffings in Dolma include rice, so don’t go too nuts on them. You can make your own Dolma’s at home and is quite easy apparently.

What high protein, low carb filling could you stuff in a Dolma?

Seaweed

1. Seaweed – 0.1 g

The lowest-carb ‘vegetable’ on this list is the only one that’s not grown on the land – well on the land, but underwater!

Whilst seaweed is technically an algae, unlike most algae’s it’s a delicious food! It’s more commonly consumed in Asia than in Australia but it’s popularity down under is growing.

There’s so much more to seaweed than Sushi. You can have it in tea, soup, salads and much more.

There are a few main types of seaweed which you can readily purchase in Australia, these are:

Nori: The most common form, sold in sheets and used to wrap sushi.

Wakame: A darker green colour seaweed, often used in miso soup.

Hijiki: A black variety of seaweed, usually sold dried.

Konbu: This variety (pictured), is darker green and has a slightly rubbery texture. Used to make stocks and soup bases.

From a nutritional perspective, this super green food is high in magnesium, calcium and many other vitamins and minerals. What it isn’t high in, is carbohydrates which put it at the very top (bottom) of this list of the 50 Lowest Carb Vegetables!


Need a quicker way of selecting your low-carb vegetables?

Shortcut #1 – Lighter or Darker?

You may have noticed, that as a general rule of thumb, the darker and greener the vegetable (spinach, rocket, kale), the less carbs it has, whilst the whiter and lighter (potato, carrot, squash) the more carbs it has. This rule doesn’t work for all vegetables, but can help you make a quick educated decision if you’re at the shops and can’t look it up.

Shortcut #2 – Above ground or below ground?

Our second shortcut to figure out if a vegetable is low-carb or not, is to ask yourself “what part of the plant is this?”. Looking at a plant from top to bottom, the lowest carb part of the plant is generally at the top, namely the leaves and stems, whilst as you work your way down the plant, you get higher in carbs, until you get to the highest-carb part of the plant which is generally the roots of the plant, like potatoes, carrots, etc.

So what about flowers & fruits? Well most edible flowers are quite low in carb and delicious (think stuffed Zucchini flowers). Meanwhile, fruits range from super low-carb like Raspberries and Cranberries, up to super high-carbs such as Oranges, Mango and Grapes, so make sure you do your research before you go to town on the fruit section at the local deli. We’ll be doing an article on that shortly so stay tuned.

Continue reading to learn more…


Sources: All the nutritional information for this article was sourced from the nutrition data provided by the Food Standards Australia food nutrient database found here: http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/monitoringnutrients/nutrientables/pages/default.aspx

In doing research for this article, I did notice some minor discrepancies and fluctuations on some of the items. There were all relatively minor and could be put down to seasonal and geographical available varieties of the vegetable plants listed.

Feature Image: Original by Denish C via Flickr

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