Last Updated on April 24, 2019 by Michael Joseph
Vegetables are one of the best ways to get beneficial vitamins and minerals into your diet.
But if you’re sticking to foods low in carbs, then some vegetables are better than others.
This article will list some of the best low carb vegetables, complete with nutritional information, and their health benefits.
In no particular order, let’s start with asparagus – my personal favorite.
Note: all nutrition data is per 100g.
As an above ground vegetable, asparagus is very low in carbs and contains only 3.9g carbohydrate, 2.1g of which is fiber.
Asparagus is also rich in vitamin K and A, containing 52% and 15% of the RDA respectively (1).
Unknown to some, asparagus comes in two different varieties — white and green. And one of the best benefits of this vegetable is the taste – it’s the most delicious veggie out there in my book.
Asparagus tastes delicious with (or in) anything — as a side for steak, wrapped in bacon, or as cream of asparagus soup — all are amazing.
But the absolute best is sauteed asparagus in butter; it’s very simple, tasty, and the fat ensures we absorb the fat-soluble vitamins.
Spinach made Popeye strong for a reason: it’s one of the most nutrient-dense veggies on earth.
There are 3.6 grams of carbs in spinach, with 2.2g coming from fiber. As a result, it’s one of the lowest carb vegetables (2).
Spinach also contains a wealth of nutrients, including:
- Vitamin K (604% RDA)
- Vitamin A (188% RDA)
- Folate (49% RDA)
- Vitamin C (47% RDA)
- Manganese (45% RDA)
Knowing how to cook spinach is key: steaming and boiling are the most popular methods but make sure you don’t cook it for too long.
Spinach only needs a few minutes before it absorbs too much water and becomes a soggy mess.
Broccoli: It’s one of those vegetables children love to hate.
However, it’s one of the most nutritious green vegetables and worth eating from time to time. Broccoli comes in at 7g carbohydrate (3g fiber) (3).
Similar to spinach, broccoli offers an impressive amount of various nutrients, notably:
- Vitamin C (149% RDA)
- Vitamin K (127% RDA)
- Folate (16% RDA)
It’s also easy to make some great tasty recipes with broccoli florets. Coupled with chicken/beef, mushrooms, and some sauce you can make delicious tasting stir-fries.
Tomatoes are a fruit botanically, but as most people use them like a vegetable they earn a place on this list. There are many different tomato varieties, but all have a similar nutritional profile.
Despite being sweet in taste, tomatoes have a relatively low carbohydrate content and only contain 4g, with 1g fiber content (4).
Regarding their nutrients, tomatoes offer a decent amount of:
- Vitamin C (21% RDA)
- Vitamin A (17% RDA)
Interestingly, this antioxidant is much easier to absorb in cooked tomato. So, if you’re looking for these benefits in full, then tomato paste, puree, soup or regular tomatoes in cooked dishes are the way forward.
One of the great things about tomatoes is that they are so versatile. Case in point: pizza, salad, curry, BLT; they feature in some of the tastiest foods around.
Mushrooms are low in carbs and one of the tastiest foods on the planet.
They contain approximately 3.3 grams of carbs and 1g of fiber, but this can vary depending on the particular type of mushroom (5).
Again, while not technically a vegetable, mushrooms have many culinary uses and cooks use them like traditional veggies.
In fact, for those that don’t know — mushrooms are not even a plant — they’re a fungus (6).
There are many different varieties of mushrooms, but I recommend shiitake, portabello and oyster mushrooms in terms of taste — they’re delicious.
Mushrooms also have a wealth of health benefits; they are exceptionally high in selenium and — if grown outdoors — vitamin D.
Lettuce is one of the most popular low carb vegetables.
There are many different varieties of lettuce, but iceberg lettuce — the most common — contains 3.3g carbs, which includes 1.2g fiber (10).
Iceberg lettuce isn’t so impressive concerning nutritional value, and the standout nutrient is:
- Vitamin K (30% RDA)
In recent years, fast food is becoming slightly healthier due to changing consumer demands, and lettuce is playing a significant role in this. Lettuce wrap burgers, for example, are everywhere as people move away from bread.
And lettuce plays a prominent role in international cuisine too, with Thai lettuce wraps and Korean pork belly being especially delicious.
In my book, chives are another contender for the tastiest vegetable.
Chives have 4.4 grams of carbohydrate per 100g and 2.5 grams of fiber. With their net carb content coming under 2g, they are one of the lowest carb veggies (11).
Another positive point is that chives are very rich in nutrients. Here are some of the most impressive:
- Vitamin K (266% RDA)
- Vitamin C (97% RDA)
- Vitamin A (87% RDA)
- Folate (26% RDA)
- Manganese (19% RDA)
In addition to their nutritional benefits, chives are incredibly versatile and taste great with almost everything.
Chives and cream cheese — or just any cheese and chives — makes an especially tasty combination.
8. Bell Peppers
Like tomatoes, bell peppers are also technically a fruit. But most people view them — and use them — like a vegetable.
Bell peppers come in a variety of colors, and the most common include green, yellow, orange, and red. Although less common, you can also find brown, purple and vanilla-white bell peppers.
All these bell peppers have a similar taste except for green ones, which are not ripe and taste a little more bitter.
Regarding their carb count, red bell peppers contain 6.3 grams of carbohydrate, of which 2.1g is fiber (12).
Standout nutrients include:
- Vitamin C (213% RDA)
- Vitamin A (63% RDA)
- Vitamin B6 (15% RDA)
Bell peppers are also often called ‘sweet peppers’ because they don’t have a spicy taste like most other peppers do.
They are great either raw or cooked, but if you’re ever short on ideas give stuffed bell peppers a try.
All you have to do is add ground beef, grated cheese, and a few veggies of your choice and bake them.
9. Brussels Sprouts
Do you like sprouts?
Despite having a reputation for not tasting so good, I love sprouts.
They’re also relatively low in carbs and full of beneficial nutrients. On a per 100g basis, they have 9g total carbohydrate and 4g fiber (13).
Sprouts contain a broad range of vitamins and minerals, with the following nutrients being the most significant:
- Vitamin K (221% RDA)
- Vitamin C (142% RDA)
- Manganese (17% RDA)
- Folate (15% RDA)
- Vitamin A (15% RDA)
Sprouts are well known for having cancer-protective effects, and a controlled human intervention trial shows that they protect against oxidative DNA damage (14).
Tasty Ways to Cook
One of the most delicious ways to cook sprouts is to saute them in some butter with a few slices of chopped bacon. When almost done, add a touch of balsamic vinegar and cook for a minute or two longer.
This recipe tastes great and makes a perfect side for some steak. Or you can also roast them alongside some meat — that tastes pretty good too.
Zucchini is a summer squash, and it is also known by the name of ‘courgette’ in Britain.
This vegetable only contains three grams of total carbohydrate, with 1g being fiber (15).
While not as high in nutrients as other vegetables, it’s a decent source of vitamin C (28% RDA).
As one of the most popular low carb and keto veggies, zucchini is so versatile and has many different uses.
What We Can Do With Zucchini
Here are just a few of the things you can use zucchini for – it’s quite surprising!
- Zoodles (low carb noodle substitute)
- Lasagna (pasta sheet substitute)
These may sound rather odd, but they work well and have a decent taste.
Of course, we can also cook zucchini as part of a traditional meal — and they taste great whether fried or grilled.
Onions are a below-ground root vegetable that contain nine grams of carbohydrate, two grams of which is fiber (16).
While onions don’t contain any vitamins or minerals in a significant amount, they do have other health benefits.
One of the reasons onions are good for you is that they contain prebiotics. These prebiotics are a form of indigestible carbohydrate that feeds our friendly gut bacteria, which help to improve our overall health (17, 18, 19).
Another ‘benefit’ of using onions is that they taste amazing. Whether grilled, roasted, or pickled, they make a great tasting side dish to just about any food.
Carrots are another below ground root vegetable, and their carb content comes to ten grams — three grams of fiber (20).
Carrots also provide a decent amount of:
- Vitamin A (334% RDA)
- Vitamin K (16% RDA)
Regarding this point, some people believe that carrots can improve your eyesight.
But is it true?
While improved vision is a stretch, getting enough vitamin A is essential for supporting and protecting our vision.
However, it’s also important to realize that there are two different forms of vitamin A: preformed vitamin A and provitamin A.
Vegetables contain provitamin A, and this compound needs to convert (form) into vitamin A inside the body.
On the other hand, pre-formed vitamin A requires no such conversion and is the best source of vitamin A. We can find preformed vitamin A in animal foods like liver, fish, and eggs — as long as you eat the yolks.
Turnips are a below ground root vegetable that contains 6.4 carb grams (1.8g fiber) (23).
Similar to onions, they don’t contain vitamins and minerals in any significant amount other than vitamin C — 35% RDA. However, turnips also contain some beneficial prebiotics.
Turnips have a refreshing taste and can be sweet tasting, or sometimes slightly bitter or woody. Generally speaking, the smaller turnips tend to have a sweeter flavor.
There are many different ways to cook turnips, but my favorite is by roasting. Roasted turnip seasoned with a bit of butter and salt tastes great.
14. Beets (Beetroot)
Beets are certainly an interesting vegetable and have a low-to-moderate carb count. Overall, there are 13 grams of carbohydrate which includes 3.8g fiber (24).
Regarding nutrients, beets provide:
- Folate (37% RDA)
- Manganese (22% RDA)
You can often see beets referred to in the media as a ‘superfood.’ While the claims are somewhat over-exaggerated, there are some science-backed benefits to this root veggie.
For example, beets are one of the most significant dietary sources of nitric oxide. Notably, nitric oxide can improve blood flow, protect the cardiovascular system, and enhance sporting performance (25, 26, 27).
However, there are lots of synthetic beet-based supplements around which are probably overpriced and no more effective than the real thing.
15. Rutabaga (Swede)
Rutabaga is also a vegetable that grows underground.
Containing 8g of total carbs (3g fiber), this low carb vegetable is similar to carrots and turnips but not quite as sweet (28).
Botanically speaking, rutabaga is a cross between cabbage and turnips (29).
Similar to turnips, rutabaga doesn’t contain many nutrients in any significant amount. However, it does provide some vitamin C (42% RDA).
Rutabaga can be roasted or boiled and mashed with some butter. And we can also use it to make low-carb healthy chips.
Artichoke is one of the best-tasting vegetables and provides 10.5g carbohydrate (and includes a high 5.4g fiber) (30).
Also, artichokes contain the following per 100g:
- Vitamin C (20% RDA)
- Vitamin K (18% RDA)
- Folate (17% RDA)
- Magnesium (15% RDA)
Despite many people believing that the edible portion of artichokes is the flower bud — we can eat the stems too.
As previously mentioned, artichokes have an amazing taste, and roasted artichokes are particularly nice.
First of all, garlic is not so low in carbs on a per 100g basis and contains 33.1g carbohydrate (2.1g fiber) (31).
Garlic also contains quite a few beneficial nutrients in reasonable amounts:
- Manganese (84% RDA)
- Vitamin B6 (62% RDA)
- Vitamin C (52% RDA)
- Selenium (20% RDA)
- Calcium (18% RDA)
- Copper (15% RDA)
- Phosphorus (15% RDA)
In addition to the nutrients, garlic contains a broad range of chemical compounds that appear extremely beneficial to overall health (32).
Smaller studies even show that garlic may help reverse arterial plaque progression, but further research is needed (35).
The best thing about garlic is that it makes almost anything taste better. As a result, many cuisines around the world use it to improve the flavor of food. Garlic butter is especially tasty.
Radishes contain a minimal amount of carbs, with only 3 grams per 100g — and 2g of this is fiber (36).
Nutrients wise, radishes provide a decent amount of vitamin C (29% RDA). As an ancient food popular for thousands of years, radishes have a lot of history.
Notably, they were viewed as a medicinal food by the Romans, as well as playing a role in Chinese medicine for centuries.
Radishes are a root vegetable and grow underground.
Here’s one that you may not have heard of: kohlrabi.
Kohlrabi is a strange-looking cruciferous vegetable that tastes pretty good. It’s also a low carb vegetable, providing only 6.2 grams of carbohydrate per 100g — and 3.6 grams of this is fiber (37).
This rather unusual vegetable also provides a great source of vitamin C — 103% RDA per 100g.
As with many other healthy vegetables, there are many “superfood” claims about kohlrabi, which you’re probably better ignoring.
However, it’s a reasonably nutritious vegetable, and like other members of the cabbage family, it’s very versatile.
You can cook it almost any way you want, and making kohlrabi chips, fritters, or fries doesn’t take too much work.
Parsnips are not low in carbs, so if you’re sticking to a very low carb diet, it’s probably better to avoid them.
However, for those who aren’t too strict with their carb intake, then parsnips are one of the tastiest vegetables going.
On a per 100g basis, parsnips contain 18 grams of carbohydrate, which includes 5g fiber (38).
Parsnips also provide a few vital nutrients in reasonable amounts, namely;
- Vitamin C (28% RDA)
- Vitamin K (28% RDA)
- Manganese (28% RDA)
- Folate (17% RDA)
Parsnips are similar in appearance to carrots, but they taste much sweeter. They are very adaptable, and we can bake, boil, mash, fry, grill or roast them — as well as using them for stews and soups.
For me, none of these methods taste better than roasted parsnips done in the oven with a bit of butter and salt.
Some of these vegetables are extremely low in carbs, and others contain a moderate amount.
However, for most people, there’s no need to be too concerned with your carb count from vegetables.
It’s important to have some context; health problems come from excessive carbohydrate intake, not from a few carbs in veggies.
Generally speaking, all of these vegetables are suitable for a low carb diet. But if you are looking to stay very low carb, emphasize the leafy greens over root vegetables.
Also, if you are looking for fibrous foods, here is a guide to high-fiber, low carb foods.
If you also wish to see information on the best low carb fruit, then see this guide here.