Are Tomatillos Keto-Friendly? (& Substitutes)

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Tomatillos can be tasty and healthy additions to your diet but that does not mean they are keto-friendly. Find out how many carbs they contain.

Also known as Mexican husk tomatoes, tomatillos are a type of fruit that you can eat raw, as an ingredient in a variety of dishes, or as part of sauces.

The net amount of carbs, which comes down to total carbs minus carbs from fiber, in 100 grams of raw tomatillos is around 3.9 grams per 100 grams.

That they are fruits may scare some people away but tomatillos are actually relatively keto-friendly.

You do still need to keep the carbs in the rest of your diet in mind to actually stay in ketosis while eating tomatillos.

Additionally, if you don’t like the taste of tomatillos, there are a variety of other food options that are also low-carb. You don’t necessarily have to eat this food.

Carbs in tomatillos

To figure out whether food options like tomatillos are keto-friendly or not and in what amounts, you need to know how many carbohydrates they contain.

100 grams of raw tomatillos contain the following amounts of carbs (1):

  • Total carbs: 5.8 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Net carbs: 3.9 grams

Because tomatillos are relatively low in carbs, you can say that they are relatively keto-friendly.

At the same time, you will later see that you may also have to look at the rest of your ketogenic diet to tell for sure.

One medium tomatillo is about 34 grams and contains the following amounts of carbs:

  • Total carbs: 2 grams
  • Of which fiber: 0.7 grams
  • Net carbs: 1.3 grams

Since the amount of food is smaller, it will be even easier to fit the 1.3 grams of net carbs in one medium tomatillo into your keto diet.

Whether tomatillo is ultimately keto-friendly depends on how much you want to eat, your personal body, and what other foods you eat.

Other nutrition information tomatillos

While carbohydrates are generally the most important nutrient to be able to tell whether a food is keto, other nutrients like fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals still matter on this diet.

These do not only influence whether you stay in ketosis but also how good your general health is and how good tomatillos are for goals like losing weight.

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

  • Calories: 32
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Carbs: 5.8 grams
  • Part of the carbs that is fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Fat: 1 gram
  • Vitamin C: 20% of the DV (Daily Value)
  • Vitamin K: 13% of the DV
  • Niacin: 9% of the DV
  • Potassium: 8% of the DV
  • Manganese: 8% of the DV

And some other vitamins and minerals in smaller amounts.

Tomatillos mostly stand out for their low calorie count and their low number of carbs.

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, tomatillos are not the most impressive. However, they still add some extra nutrients to your ketogenic diet.

How many carbs are there in tomatillos salsa verde?

A popular way to consume tomatillos is mixed into a salsa verde with green chili peppers.

The nutrition information can vary from recipe to recipe but one example of salsa verde contains the following amounts of carbs per 100 grams (2):

  • Total carbs: 6.4 grams
  • Of which fiber: 1.9 grams
  • Net carbs: 4.5 grams

This example of salsa verde is a bit higher in carbs than regular tomatillos but it is still reasonable in this area.

Why tomatillos are not always good for keto

To realize why relatively keto-friendly foods like tomatillos do not always keep you in ketosis, it is helpful to recap the ketogenic diet basics.

The ketogenic diet comes down to reducing your carbohydrate intake to the point where you get into ketosis. Ketosis is when you mainly start burning fat as fuel (3).

What macronutrient ratios are exactly needed will vary from person to person. For example, if you exercise a lot and have a lot of muscle, you will likely be able to consume more carbs before getting kicked out of ketosis.

That being said, some imperfect general recommendations include 55%-60% of your macronutrients from fat, 30%-35% from protein, and 5%-10% from carbohydrates.

If you do the calculations, these keto numbers will likely come down to eating around 20g – 50g of carbohydrates per day in your situation.

These amounts of carbohydrates typically exclude the fiber in tomatillos and other foods since fiber does not really get absorbed the same as other types of carbohydrates.

In fact, fiber will reduce how much other carbohydrates in your diet raise your blood sugar.

Is tomatillo salsa verde keto-friendly?

As mentioned, tomatillo salsa verde can vary in nutrition details but one example contains around 4.5 grams of net carbs per 100 grams (2).

This is still somewhat keto-friendly in smaller amounts.

However, as the ketogenic diet fundamentals above imply, you may need to limit your portions of tomatillo salsa verde to stay in ketosis. Especially if you already ate a lot of carbs.

How to avoid eating too many tomatillos

You should be able to fit a nice amount of tomatillos into your ketogenic diet.

At the same time, there are cases where you want to limit how many grams you eat. For example, when you already had a carb-heavy day.

Preparing a big bowl of tomatillos in your favorite way is a (delicious) recipe for disaster.

Some of the tips below can help you keep your tomatillo consumption in keto-friendly amounts:

  • Think about how many tomatillos would fit into your keto plans
  • Prepare this planned amount (or less) or put a portion of a bigger batch in a separate bowl.
  • Don’t eat unlimited amounts of tomatillos during other activities like watching TV
  • Consider not preparing or buying tomatillos in big amounts or at all if you crave them too much

If you notice that you still get kicked out of ketosis while eating a diet with tomatillos you have two options.

You can either look at the rest of your diet since this is likely the main cause or reduce how many grams of tomatillos you eat.

Substitutes for tomatillos on keto

Similar to tomatoes, tomatillos are a fruit that is typically used as a vegetable in the kitchen. They are definitely not the only vegetable-like food options on keto.

These substitutes do have a completely different taste than tomatillos. Even so, they can offer a variety of important nutrients while keeping your carb intake low.

The numbers next to these vegetables are the amounts of net carbohydrates per 100 grams (4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9):

  • 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

These vegetables can help you fuller, help you hit your micronutrient intakes, and simply add some variety to your diet. You can choose these instead of tomatillos or add multiple options to your diet.

At the same time, the rules of the ketogenic diet still apply. Even if the examples above are low in carbs, you may still need to exercise portion control and look at the rest of your diet to stay in ketosis.

What is your reason for staying in ketosis?

If the rest of your diet and other lifestyle habits are suboptimal, even small amounts of tomatillos could put you over the carbohydrates border and out of ketosis.

Depending on your reasons for wanting to stay in ketosis this could be an issue or not.

For example, there are people who need/want to stay in ketosis every minute of the day. These individuals want to be very careful about their carbohydrate intake and thus tomatillo consumption.

On the flip side, for popular health goals like losing weight and good general health, tomatillos can still help even if they increase your carb intake too much to stay in ketosis.

The keto diet is not the only way to get in shape and get healthier.

Are tomatillos low in carbs?

100 grams of tomatillos contain around 5.8 grams of carbohydrates (including 1.9 grams of fiber). There are better food options too but tomatillos are reasonably low in carbs.

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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.