Is Cauliflower Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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Vegetables are often ok on ketogenic diets but there are exceptions. Find out whether cauliflower is keto-friendly and ways to consume more.

First of all, you can eat cauliflower raw or boiled, on its own, with some sauce, as a low-carb pizza bottom, as a keto rice replacement, or as a part of a variety of other recipes.

100 grams of raw cauliflower contain around 3 grams of net carbs (total carbohydrates minus fiber).

You may still need to pay attention to your portions depending on the rest of your diet.

However, the amount above is relatively low-carb so in turn, you can say that cauliflower is very keto-friendly.

This vegetable stands out in that it can replace the texture of certain high-carb ingredients to some extent. In turn, you will have no issues finding keto-friendly cauliflower recipes.

How many carbs there are in cauliflower

How many carbs cauliflower per what amounts plays an important role in whether this food is keto and how much you can eat on top of the other foods in your diet.

100 grams of raw cauliflower is about one cup and contains the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 5 grams
  • Of which fiber: 2 grams
  • Net carbs: 3 grams

In theory, low-carb foods like cauliflower can still kick you out of ketosis in combination with the wrong foods and lifestyle habits.

That being said, 3 grams of net carbohydrates in 100 grams of cauliflower is relatively low. In turn, it is fair to call this food keto-friendly.

One ounce of raw cauliflower is about 28 grams, and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 1.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.6 grams
  • Net carbs: 0.8 grams

As you make your cauliflower portions smaller, you consume fewer carbs. In turn, it becomes even easier to stay in ketosis.

Other nutrients in cauliflower

Carbohydrates are important when following a ketogenic diet but cauliflower contains other nutrients too.

Things like fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals also influence whether you stay in ketosis and how healthy you will generally be.

100 grams of raw cauliflower contain the following nutrients (1):

  • Calories: 25
  • Protein: 1.9 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 2 grams
  • Fat: 0.3 grams
  • Vitamin C: 80% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 19% of the DV
  • Folate: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the DV
  • Potassium: 9% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Cauliflower is not just low in carbs. It also contains a variety of valuable nutrients in nice amounts.

This makes cauliflower a good food option for healthy ketogenic diets.

Is cauliflower rice keto?

One of the reasons cauliflower is such a popular vegetable for keto is that you can use it to replace rice.

Cauliflower rice is basically the raw version chopped into tiny pieces.

This means similar to the regular vegetable, cauliflower rice in normal portions is keto for most people.

If you plan to buy cauliflower rice in a store, it can be worth it to double-check the package for any non-keto added ingredients.

Is cauliflower pizza crust keto?

Another creative way to use cauliflower on keto is as the main ingredient of a low-carb pizza base.

The details vary from recipe to recipe but generally, a cauliflower pizza crust contains cauliflower, cheese, eggs, specific seasoning, salt, and pepper.

These additional ingredients make cauliflower even more keto-friendly.

Besides that, you do have to keep the toppings in mind. The base may be keto-friendly but whether a cauliflower pizza is keto or not ultimately depends on the toppings you use.

In general, if you stick to whole ingredients like tomato sauce without added sweeteners, vegetables, meat, fish, and similar options, your cauliflower pizza should be relatively keto-friendly.

It may be worth it to calculate the total amounts of carbs in the recipe you have in mind.

Something to keep in mind is that many store-bought tomato sauces have added sugars. These are not helpful on a ketogenic diet.

Why cauliflower is sometimes not keto-friendly

Cauliflower is not just always keto-friendly. To understand why this is and to approach keto in a smarter way it can be helpful to quickly go over the rules of this diet.

Any way of eating where you get and stay in ketosis is a ketogenic diet. Ketosis is a state where your body mainly uses fat as fuel (2). To achieve this, you need to keep your carb intake low enough.

How low and in turn, how much cauliflower fits in your keto diet varies from person to person.

For example, heavy people with a lot of muscle can typically eat more carbs than someone small and skinny while staying in ketosis.

That being said, to make things less complicated there are general recommendations. These are not perfect but do help you get an idea of what it takes to achieve a ketogenic diet.

A typical recommendation is that you want to get 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates to get and stay in ketosis.

This often means consuming around 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day.

Something important to note is that you typically don’t include fiber in these amounts. It is true that this is a category of carbohydrates but your body processes them in a more keto-friendly way.

With this information, you can estimate how much cauliflower and other foods you could eat while staying in ketosis.

Unique ways to eat cauliflower on keto

As mentioned, cauliflower stands out in its texture and preparation method options. There are a few high-carb foods you can mimic with this vegetable.

While these low-carb alternatives are not completely the real thing, they could satisfy your cravings for these dishes in a keto-friendly way. Some examples of dishes include:

  • Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes
  • Cauliflower rice instead of real rice
  • Chunks of cauliflower instead of pasta
  • Cauliflower pizza crust instead of dough

Keep in mind that the other ingredients you combine with these cauliflower preparation methods likely also contain carbs.

Substitutes for cauliflower on keto

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable option for keto diets but there are alternatives too. Many of these vegetables are even lower in carbs.

The values next to the vegetables are the amounts of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8):

  • Chicory: 0.9 grams of net carbs
  • Spinach: 1.4 grams of net carbs
  • Green leaf lettuce: 1.5 grams of net carbs
  • Celery: 1.8 grams of net carbs
  • Radishes: 1.9 grams of net carbs
  • Asparagus: 2.1 grams of net carbs

You may like these substitutes just as much as cauliflower. In that case, these vegetables could make it easier for you to stay in ketosis.

Additionally, you may simply want to switch up what vegetables you eat because of taste and nutrient reasons.

What is your goal with keto?

So even if cauliflower is low in carbs, the few extra net carbohydrates could potentially be the thing that kicks you out of ketosis.

Whether this is an issue and to what extent depends on your goals with keto.

You may need/want to stay in strict ketosis every minute of the day. In that case, you want to be very careful about the amounts of cauliflower and other carbohydrates you eat.

On the flip side, cauliflower can help weight loss and general health even if you would consume amounts of carbohydrates that are not considered keto.

This popular diet is often not the only way to lose weight and get healthier.

Related posts:


Is cauliflower high in carbs?

Raw cauliflower contains around 3 grams of net carbohydrates per 100 grams. This means cauliflower is relatively low in carbs.

Is broccoli or cauliflower better for keto?

Broccoli is generally just a bit higher in net carbohydrates than cauliflower. In turn, you can say that cauliflower is typically better for keto than broccoli.

How much cauliflower is keto?

How much cauliflower is keto depends on the other foods you eat and how many carbs you can eat while staying in ketosis. If you would only consume this vegetable, you could likely eat at least 500 grams of cauliflower while staying in ketosis.

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Matt Claes founded Weight Loss Made Practical to help people get in shape and stay there after losing 37 pounds and learning the best of the best about weight loss, health, and longevity for over 4 years. Over these years he has become an expert in nutrition, exercise, and other physical health aspects.