Is Cabbage Keto-Friendly?

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Written by Brenda Peralta, Registered Dietitian and medically reviewed by Abby Courtenay

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Cabbage is a very common ingredient found in many kitchens. Its versatility allows you to use it in soups, casseroles, salads, and even meat dishes.

However, is cabbage keto-friendly? Or do you need to stay away from it? 

In this article, we will review everything related to this veggie. How many carbs in cabbage are there? Are you allowed to have it, and how much cabbage can you eat on keto? What kind can you eat? What can you eat with it? Finally, we will see some keto-friendly alternatives to have some variety in your diet.

Let’s talk about cabbage on keto!

 

What is cabbage?

This vegetable comes from the cruciferous family. That means that it comes from the same place as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale. It is thought to have been cultivated more than 4,000 years ago. 

You can find different types: green, savoy, red, and napa. While they might seem like they have nothing in common, they have very similar nutritional properties. 

The leaves are the parts that are usually eaten. They have a crunchy and waxy texture. On the other hand, the core is often removed since it can be hard to eat. 

One of the benefits of this cruciferous veggie is that you can eat it raw, cooked, fermented, or pickled. 

 

Cabbage nutrition facts

This veggie is packed with phytonutrients and has a good amount of vitamin C. Additionally, it offers some folate, potassium, and manganese, all of which are essential nutrients for a healthy lifestyle. 
 

Serving size: 1 cup (89 g) raw cabbage, chopped

  • Calories: 22 kcal
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Net carbs: 3.0 g 
  • Total carbs: 5.2 g 
  • Fiber: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g

Are there carbs in cabbage? Yes, although one of the benefits of this cruciferous veggie is that it is very low in carbs, ideal for those following a ketogenic diet. In 1 cup of shredded cabbage, you get only 3 grams of net carbs. 

Also, it has almost 9% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. Since one of the most common side effects of keto is constipation, consuming this veggie can help you relieve that side effect. 

One of the drawbacks is that it doesn’t have a lot of protein. However, you can easily compensate for this by including a high-protein source like chicken, fish, meat, or tofu. 

 

JUMPSTART YOUR KETO GOALS

 

Can you eat cabbage on keto?

Yes! Cabbage is low carb, so it is ideal for a ketogenic eating plan.

It helps you boost your vitamin C intake, which helps increase your immune system. Additionally, its high fiber content can increase your satiety levels and prevent you from getting constipated.  

Remember to increase your water intake whenever you are having more fiber! 

Keep in mind that while it is a very low-carb food, there are some carbs in cabbage, which means that you need to deduct it from your total carb intake. 

 

How much cabbage can I eat on keto?

Due to its low-carb nature, we could say that you can eat the amount of this cruciferous veggie that you want. 

For example, consuming 3 cups of this veggie would represent 9 g of net carbs. For somebody staying under 50 grams of net carbs per day, this is not a very significant amount. And let’s be honest, having 3 cups of cabbage is a lot! 

With that being said, remember that to avoid getting out of ketosis, it’s better to weigh out the portions of everything that you eat to ensure that you are staying below your carb budget. 

For those with a higher carb intake (above 50 g of net carbs per day), you can have any amount of it without worrying about exceeding your daily carb intake. 

 

What kind of cabbage can you have on keto?

Is red, purple, or napa cabbage keto-friendly? You can find this veggie in several forms and colors. Fortunately, when it comes to the ketogenic diet, you can have any one of them. 

  • Green. It’s great for using it raw, in slaws, salads, soup, or stir fry. It goes nicely with any herb, spice, or sauce of your choice. 
  • Red or purple. Can be pickled or mixed in a slaw. It goes great with keto fish tacos. To avoid making it turn blue when cooked, add some lemon or vinegar before cooking. 
  • Savoy. The leaves are looser than the regular kinds of this veggie. This means that it’s great for salads and stir-fry. 
  • Napa. They have a pepper flavor and looser leaves. These are great to use for spring rolls. 
  • Bok choy. Yes, this is a type of cabbage! It has a somewhat sweet flavor that goes along well with sweet sauces or stir-fry. 

Besides having different types, you can also have them in several other cooking methods. 

  • Fried. Is fried cabbage keto? Yes, it is! Add some bacon to have the ultimate fried cabbage and bacon treat. 
  • Raw. Having it raw can be a great way to add variety to your salads. However, some people might have some problems digesting the raw version of this veg. This can be prevented by cooking it. 
  • Cooked. To avoid having any stomach problems, you can cook it by sautéeing it in a pan, blanching it, steaming it, or boiling it. Any cooking method can make it easier to digest. 
  • Soup. If you are looking for comfort food, soup is a great way to have a low-carb option for this hot dish. 
  • Fermented. Kimchi is a fermented way to have this tasty veggie. The best part is that it’s keto-friendly, and it can also improve your gut health. 
  • Casserole. Adding cheese and sauce can help you make a quick and easy dinner for your family. The best thing is to create a large batch and have it for several days. You can keep leftovers in the freezer!
  • Rice. If you are missing rice during your low-carb diet, make an alternative version using this vegetable. Add salmon, avocado, and sesame seed oil for a delicious keto bowl.
  • Lasagna. Finally, you can use the whole leaves to make low-carb lasagna.

Any option that you choose, make sure to measure the portion size to check how many carbs you are having in each meal. This way, you can ensure that you are not surpassing your daily carb limit. 

 

BUILD YOUR KETO DIET PLAN

 

What can you eat with this veggie? 

Thanks to it being a low-carb option, you can have it with any other food of your choice.

Add some protein to help maintain your muscle mass. Also, you can add healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, nuts, or seeds) to provide you with the energy you need during the day. 

There are different foods that you can eat this veggie with.

For example, you can add several veggies and ground beef to make a tasty soup. 

Also, you can use the leaves as a wrap to create spring rolls. Add some shrimp and veggies and a keto peanut butter sauce to go along with it. 

Finally, layer it along with beef, tomato sauce, and cheese to make the ultimate cabbage lasagna or a delicious hot and fresh casserole. 

 

Keto-friendly cabbage alternatives

While cabbage is keto-friendly, some people might prefer to have other varieties of veggies throughout the day. Here are some other keto-friendly alternatives that you can include. 

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts 

Any other veggies from the cruciferous family are a great choice to include as a substitute. Keep in mind that for some people, it might produce some bloating or gas. To prevent this, make sure that you slightly cook any of them before eating. 

If you don’t want to add any of the previous veggies, you can add any other non-starchy veggie. Add mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, or any leafy green to add nutritious foods that are very low in carbs. 

 

FAQ about cabbage on keto

If you still have questions about cabbage and a ketogenic lifestyle, here are the most frequently asked questions to help you out. 
 

There are several ways to have this veggie added to your diet. Here is a list of popular recipes that you can make:

  • Keto rolls
  • Fried with bacon
  • Casserole 
  • Stir fry
  • Summer salad

To turn it into rice, place the veggie in a food processor and blend it until you get a rice-type texture. You can sauté it with spices to add extra flavor (like onions, garlic, or bell peppers). 

Using this veggie as a substitute for rice paper is a great way of making spring rolls without having to add any carbs to your meals. You can also use it as a replacement for the pasta in lasagna. 

To make the perfect soup, you can mix this cruciferous veggie with tomatoes, ground beef, onions, garlic, bone broth, and any spice of your choice to add some flavor. 

My favorite flavors to add are thyme, salt, pepper, oregano, and paprika. 

Yes, it is a great keto-friendly option that only offers 3 g of carbs per cup. This makes it an excellent choice for people following a ketogenic diet. It is also high in fiber, which can help you fight constipation. 

Yes, it has a low glycemic index thanks to its high fiber content and low net carbs. This means that it won’t spike your glucose levels a lot.