Our top 20 best low-carb vegetables
Watching your carb intake? While vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, their carb levels vary greatly. Check out our favourite low-carb veggies, plus tasty ways to eat them.
If there’s one thing a lot of us could probably use more of in our diet, it’s vegetables. They’re bursting with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. But each vegetable is different, and that means very different levels of carbohydrates. For example, a sweet potato contains 21.3g of carbs per serving, while broccoli contains 3.2g.
When reducing anything in your diet, it's important to make sure you're not missing out on any vital nutrients. As such, if you're conscious of carbs in your diet, consider trying some of these low-carb vegetables listed below.
Carb levels are based on net carbohydrate value of raw food per serving.
1. Watercress – 0.1g
Watercress offers a distinct, peppery note to dishes, as well as providing an impressive nutrient profile including vitamin A (beta-carotene), folate, iron and vitamin C.
Why not try our bean, tomato and watercress salad for a light summer lunch?
2. Rocket – 0.1g
Like watercress, rocket (or arugula) offers pepperiness to dishes, as well as a slight spice and mustard note. The green leaves are rich in chlorophyll, amino acids and vitamins C, B, E and K.Try our warm squash & rocket salad or check out our rocket recipe collection for inspiration.
3. Button mushrooms – 0.3g
4. Cavolo nero – 1.3g
Cavolo nero (also known as black kale) is the deeply pigmented cousin of curly kale. It adds bite and a compelling depth of colour to most dishes, as well as an impressive nutrient line-up including lutein and vitamins A, C and K. Give it a try with our cavolo nero caesar salad with tuna steaks.
5. Curly kale – 1.4g
Offering slightly less 'bite' than its cousin above, curly kale equally offers a nutritious hit to stews, salad, soups and sauces. Try this puy lentils with squash & kale as a cold salad for a picnic or serve warm in colder months.
6. Lettuce – 1.4g
As lettuce is packed with water, it’s super-hydrating, as well as offering plenty of calcium, magnesium and potassium. If you're after a change from your usual salad or searching for a low-carb ‘sandwich’ option, try our spicy mince lettuce cups.
7. Celery – 1.4g
Stalks of crisp celery are delicious as a low-carb snack dipped in some peanut butter, but if you want a slightly more dressed up way of enjoying it, try our waldorf slaw. Offering plenty of fibre, potassium and sodium, this is a great option for those wanting hydration.
8. Courgette – 1.4g
Courgettes offer a slightly sweet, creamy flavour and lots of vitamin A (beta-carotene) and manganese. Try our stuffed courgette rolls for a simple, yet impressive bite at your next picnic.
9. Radish – 1.4g
Radishes are crisp and peppery, making them great for salads or a garnish. They're also low in calories and offer small amounts of nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium and B vitamins. Why not try our radishes with whipped goat's butter for a low-carb snack?
10. Spinach – 1.6g
Spinach is not only nutritious, offering iron, calcium and magnesium, but it's also very versatile thanks to its mild flavour. Try our sesame spinach as a side, or check out our spinach recipe collection for more inspiration.
11. Fennel – 1.8g
Perhaps less popular than it should be, fennel is rich in fibre and vitamin C. It has a mildly sweet note with a distinct anise-like flavour. Give it a go with our barbecued fennel with black olive dressing.
12. Pak choi – 1.9g
Pak choi adds a delicious fresh crunch to dishes, as well as a decent amount of iron and calcium. Try these Asian greens as a side in a Chinese meal, or check out our pak choi recipes for more tasty ways to use this vegetable.
13. Asparagus – 2g
Asparagus season is relatively short in the UK, spanning from April to mid June, so take advantage of this delicious green when you can. It offers folate, chromium and vitamins A, C, E and K. Try it grilled or as a low-carb breakfast in our soft-boiled duck egg with bacon & asparagus soldiers.
14. Aubergine – 2.2g
Aubergines are super-versatile. Their creamy, meaty flesh offers a range of nutrients, from vitamins B1 and B6, to minerals magnesium and manganese, while their deep purple skin provides the antioxidant nasunin. These miso aubergines are a satisfying, umami-packed vegan main. Check out our aubergine recipe collection for more inspiration.
15. Purple sprouting broccoli – 2.6g
Purple sprouting broccoli offers an impressive nutritional profile of vitamins and antioxidants. Its long, elegant stems sit beautifully as a side to most dishes. Why not try this purple sprouting broccoli with eggs hollandaise for your next brunch?
16. Green beans – 3.1g
Green beans are in season July until the end of September and are a great choice for late summer salads or sides. They’re fibre-rich and offer a variety of nutrients including B vitamins, K and E. These green beans with mustard, lemon & mint are perfect for a picnic or barbecue.
17. Broccoli – 3.2g
Roasted broccoli, Puy lentils & tahini yogurt anyone? This is a far cry from the over-boiled broccoli of many of our childhoods. Grilled, roasted, fried or steamed broccoli offers iron, folate and vitamin K, and can add wonderful flavour and texture to a dish. Check out our broccoli recipes for some ideas.
18. Savoy cabbage – 4.1g
Whether cooked or raw, cabbage offers a tasty crunch and healthy dose of magnesium, calcium and iron. This savoy cabbage with almonds is a great accompaniment to a main dish, or why not enjoy leftovers cold the next day?
19. Brussels sprouts – 4.1g
Brussels sprouts are high in fibre, while also offering plenty of vitamin K and C. Try this cranberry, sprout & pecan pilaf for a substanial side, or why not try our chilli-charred sprouts for a low-carb side?
20. Cauliflower – 4.4g
The resurgence of cauliflower has seen it appear in everything from roasts to pizzas – and for good reason. Not only does it's creamy flesh offer plenty of versatility, it's also low in calories, while providing plenty of fibre, vitamin C and choline. Try our cauliflower steaks with roasted red pepper & olive salsa for a satisfying veggie main.
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This page was published on 25 June 2020.
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