What happens to those classic meat and potatoes meals when they go keto? The good news is there’s a whole new selection of low-carb vegetables to add variety and flavor without the sugars and starches!
There’s more to low-carb potato substitutes than cauliflower mash. Here are some low-carb vegetables that add variety, vitamins, minerals, and fiber to a well-rounded keto diet that you can use to replace the classic staple of mashed potatoes and other carb-heavy dishes.
Radishes are often eaten raw, but they can also be cooked. If you’ve never eaten a cooked radish, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Radishes become mild and tender when cooked and will take on the flavor of foods they are cooked with.
Red radishes are the most common variety in the grocery store, but look for daikon (a large, white variety), black radishes, watermelon radishes, and more. They can be roasted, fried, sauteed, steamed, boiled, or shredded to make hash browns. Add radishes to soups, stews, and sautés as well. One cup of raw red radishes has 4.5 grams total carbs.
Turnips are a root vegetable that are part of the cabbage family. They have purple and white skin and white flesh. The skin doesn’t have to be peeled but should be scrubbed well. Their raw flavor can be strong, but they become more mellow when cooked.
They can be steamed, boiled, roasted, and fried. They work well in soups and stews and can be used in dishes like this turnip gratin. They aren’t ideal for mash due to their strong flavor, and high water content. One cup of raw turnip has 8 grams total carbohydrates.
Rutabagas are closely related to turnips and are even referred to as a Swedish or yellow turnip by some. They are typically about softball size. Their skin is magenta or purple and yellow with butter yellow flesh underneath. They are almost always waxed for storage, so they need to be peeled before use.
They have a unique flavor that is slightly sweet, and a bit brassy. They make a delicious mash, and can be used in very similar ways to radishes and turnips. One cup raw rutabaga has 11 grams total carbohydrates.
Kohlrabi is another vegetable from the cabbage family. Although it looks like a root vegetable and is sold as one, it is a large stem, and in fact tastes very similar to the sweet, crisp interior of broccoli stems. It has a tough, fibrous outer skin that must be peeled whether eaten raw or cooked. It is often sold with the leaves attached (which are also edible) and is delicious raw.
Try adding kohlrabi to soups, stews, and stir-fries. Steam it, boil it for about ten minutes, then fry it or roast it. One cup raw kohlrabi contains 5 grams total carbohydrates.
Cauliflower is in the cabbage family, it has a mild flavor, and the white color lends itself to a convincing mashed potato substitute. For the best cauliflower mash, be sure to cook the cauliflower until it is tender enough to mash with the back of a spoon, then puree it in a food processor or blender.
To keep it from becoming too watery, use butter, sour cream, heavy cream, Greek yogurt, cream cheese, or mascarpone to add creaminess and body to the puree. One cup raw cauliflower has 5 grams total carbohydrates.
Celery root (also known as celeriac) is a root vegetable related to celery. It has an unusual gnarled exterior and has to be peeled well before cooking. The interior is white to light green. It cooks into a soft, creamy texture that makes excellent mash.
Mix it with cauliflower for a more luxurious mash with less carbs. Add celery root to soups and stews, and casseroles. Grate it and fry it like hashbrowns for a treat. One cup raw celery root contains 14 grams total carbohydrates.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of vegetables that can be enjoyed on a keto diet! There are many ways to replace potatoes in keto cooking and there are endless ways to enjoy vegetables. Visit your local farmer’s market or find the nearest specialty grocer and make trying new vegetables a regular event. It’s nearly impossible to lose by including low-carb, high-fiber vegetables in your diet.