Carbs in Cauliflower: Is Cauliflower Keto?

fact-checked article

Cauliflower | Health Benefits | Carbs | Keto | Cauliflower Rice | Mash | Pizza | Chips | Recipes | Conclusion | FAQ | Studies

If you’ve been following a ketogenic or low-carb diet for a while, you’ve probably noticed cauliflower recipes flooding the internet.

intermittent fasting for beginners book

The cruciferous vegetable has taken the keto and gluten-free community by storm.

However, as with other vegetables, not every product is immediately compatible with a low-carb lifestyle without problems.

That’s why you can learn more about the net carbs in cauliflower here, as well as keto cauliflower recipes that will help you enjoy it deliciously and guilt-free.

Is Cauliflower Keto?

Cauliflower belongs to the cruciferous family, also known as Brassica oleracea. This family includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, or arugula, to name a few examples.

Since cauliflower, like other cruciferous vegetables, is a particularly sulfur-rich food, many of its beneficial health effects are due to sulfur-containing compounds. For this reason, researchers also recommend regular consumption of these vegetables (Doleman et al. 20171).

That cauliflower is also extremely popular among low-carb enthusiasts is probably no big secret. However, when we look at the vegetable’s nutritional values later, we will find that the vegetable is neither rich in proteins nor healthy fats.

Therefore, can cauliflower be suitable for a high-fat-low carb diet, such as the keto diet?

I will answer this question in detail in this article for all conceivable recipe variations of cauliflower. Before we do that, though, let’s take a look at why cauliflower might be healthy in the first place.

Cauliflower Health Benefits

Cruciferous vegetables provide natural antioxidants, carotenoids, fiber, phenolic and sulfur compounds, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Accordingly, the following micronutrients stand out for their exceptionally high levels in cauliflower’s nutrient profile (*):

However, the genuine health potential of cruciferous vegetables is not as obvious (Grimble 20062Lee et al. 20123Keck et al. 20044Jaafaru et al. 20185Martín-de-Saavedra et al. 20136Butawan et al. 20177Zhang et al. 20118):

  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect: Organic sulfur compounds help synthesize glutathione and prevent the formation of tumors.
  • Anti-cancer properties: Compounds in cauliflower can help interrupt the cell cycle and induce cell death in cancer cells.
  • Protection of cognitive abilities: Researchers showed that glucosinolates reduce neurodegenerative diseases risks such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
  • Antidepressant properties: Like Alzheimer’s disease, researchers link depression to inflammation in the brain. They claim that curbing this inflammation alleviates patients’ anxiety and depression.
  • Pain relief: The sulfur compound methylsulfonylmethane can reduce inflammation and relieve joint and muscle pain.
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease: One study found a low mortality rate in those who ate a diet of sulfur-containing foods such as cauliflower in particular. The researchers attribute the protective effect to glucosinolates in cruciferous vegetables.

Now we know that cauliflower can be pretty healthy. But this does not fully answer whether it is also suitable for a low-carbohydrate diet such as the keto diet.

what to drink during intermittent fasting book on amazon

Carbs in Cauliflower

As in other vegetables, carbohydrates predominate in cauliflower. So why is this low-protein, low-fat food so popular in the keto and low-carb community?

How Many Carbs Are in Cauliflower?

100 grams of cauliflower provide the following average nutritional values (*):

  • Energy: 25 calories
  • Protein: 2.0 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5.3 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Net Carbs: 2.8 grams

Thus, cauliflower has a fat to net carbohydrate ratio of about 0.036. At first glance, that may not look so rosy. Furthermore, cauliflower is fat-free.

Therefore, on paper, cauliflower is rather high than low-carb food. Nevertheless, the absolute amount of net carbohydrates in cauliflower is low.

Is Cauliflower Keto-Friendly?

If we look at a maximum serving amount of 150 grams of cauliflower as a side dish, we get only 5.2 grams of net carbs (*).

This low amount in no way exceeds the average tolerance limit for maintaining ketosis of 25-50 grams of net carbohydrates per day. Instead, you’d have to eat about 1.5 kilograms of cauliflower a day to do so.

For this reason, cauliflower can be considered a 100% keto-friendly food. Even though it’s not exactly the best source of fat or protein, it represents a low-calorie and low-carb vegetable that can deliver health benefits as well.

In addition, cauliflower is an excellent substitute for high-carb foods in otherwise non-keto-friendly dishes like rice, mashed potatoes, or even pizza.

Roasted keto cauliflower is low in carbs

Carbs in Cauliflower Rice

100 grams of cauliflower rice serve us with the following nutritional values  (*):

  • Energy: 25 calories
  • Protein: 2.0 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5.3 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 2.5 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.8 grams

If these nutritional facts sound familiar, you’re right. Organic cauliflower rice from the grocery store and the homemade variety should always consist of 100% cauliflower.

For this reason, the same information applies here as for the vegetable itself above.

Is Cauliflower Rice Keto?

If you make it yourself, cauliflower rice is 100% keto-friendly. If you add grass-fed butter, fat to net carbohydrates improves dramatically.

Then there’s no doubt that homemade cauliflower rice is 100% keto. You can find my favorite homemade cauliflower rice recipe below.

Keto Cauliflower Rice to Buy

However, for the lazy among us, there is now ready-made organic cauliflower rice, also made from 100% cauliflower, which is keto-friendly.

Here’s the affiliate link to my current favorite product on the market: Buy Riced Cauliflower.

Carbs in Mashed Cauliflower

Homemade mashed cauliflower should consist only of cauliflower and butter. Therefore, 100 grams of cauliflower puree can also contain no more than 2.8 grams of net carbohydrates.

Is Mashed Cauliflower Keto?

In any case, if you make the cauliflower mash yourself according to my recipe (see below), it will be 100% keto-friendly.

The fat-to-net carbohydrate ratio turns positive thanks to the grass-fed butter in the mashed cauliflower. It, therefore, makes the puree even more keto-friendly than the vegetable alone.

I have yet to come across a ready-made keto-friendly mashed cauliflower. However, this shouldn’t be a hurdle since you can easily make keto mashed cauliflower yourself with my recipe.

Nonetheless, you can get the main ingredient online using this promotional link: Buy Cauliflower Fresh.

fresh cauliflower for keto is low in carbs

Carbs in Cauliflower Pizza Crust

This delicious, low-carb version of the ever-popular pizza has also taken my heart by storm. Cauliflower pizza crust not only tastes fantastic, but it’s also low in carbs and high in fat.

Even if you resort to ready-made cauliflower pizza crust, some variations leave the net carbohydrate content down in the basement as follows (*):

  • Energy: 183.5 calories
  • Protein: 15.3 grams
  • Fat: 11.1 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 7.24 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 4.84 grams
  • Net carbs: 2.4 grams

However, I still recommend going with a non-processed homemade version. My recipe for cauliflower pizza crust (see below) only adds parmesan and mozzarella to the veggie.

Is Cauliflower Pizza Crust Keto?

The cheese turns the cauliflower into a high-fat, low-carb meal. So homemade cauliflower pizza crust is 100% keto-friendly.

The best ready-made version I could find on the U.S. market uses fresh cauliflower, parmesan cheese, cage-free eggs, pure nutritional yeast, garlic, basil, and oregano (*).

Therefore, it scores with a similar good fat-to-net carbohydrate ratio as the homemade keto pizza crust.

Best Keto Cauliflower Pizza Crust to Buy

In my opinion, the best ready-made cauliflower pizza crust on the market is keto-friendly and comes without unnecessary additives.

Here is the promotional link to the best keto cauliflower pizza crust: Gourmet Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

Carbs in Cauliflower Chips

Some cauliflower chip variants have a favorable ratio of fat to net carbohydrates. But what about the ingredients?

Are Cauliflower Chips Keto?

Unfortunately, all ready-made cauliflower chips have a catch. That’s why I don’t want to recommend any of these products, even if it means I could earn a commission.

Not a single keto variety of cauliflower chips comes without highly refined vegetable oils. These industrially produced soy, canola, rice bran, and sunflower oils have been found to promote inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and mortality in general (Ramsden et al. 20139).

For this reason, cauliflower chips are neither healthy nor keto-friendly, in my opinion.

proofread by grammarly

Low-Carb Cauliflower Keto Recipes

As already announced, here you will find the best low-carb recipes with cauliflower for a keto diet – from rice to puree to pizza.

To maximize the health benefits when frying cauliflower, I use Organic Grass-Fed Ghee Butter (buy on Amazon).

Best Keto Cauliflower Rice

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head big
  • 3.5 oz grass-fed ghee butter
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt

Instructions

  • Cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets. Either process the florets into rice with a kitchen grater (medium holes) or place in a blender. When doing so, fill only half of the bowl at a time.
  • If you chose the blender, puree the cauliflower on the pulse setting. Continue to pulse until it resembles rice. If there are individual large pieces left over, you can puree them again separately.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add butter and Himalayan salt. Let the butter melt. Then add the cauliflower.
  • Stir fry the cauliflower for 5-8 minutes.
  • Then serve.

Best Keto Mashed Cauliflower

Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head big
  • 1/2 cup grass-fed butter
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper grated

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  • Cut the cauliflower into evenly sized florets.
  • Carefully add the cauliflower to the boiling water and cook for 5-8 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Drain the cauliflower well and return it to the warm pot.
  • Add grass-fed butter, Himalayan salt and pepper.
  • Puree the cauliflower with a hand blender until no lumps remain.
  • Serve the finished dish.

Best Keto Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cauliflower head medium
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
  • 1 pastured egg
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 500°F.
  • Remove the stems from the cauliflower and cut into small pieces. Then place in a blender and pulse until it has the consistency of rice. If you don't have a blender, you can use a cheese grater or chop the cauliflower very finely.
  • Microwave the processed cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl on high for about 4 minutes. Take the cauliflower out of the microwave and then let it cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer the cooled cauliflower to a kitchen towel and squeeze out all the liquid from the cauliflower.
  • Combine the cooked cauliflower, egg, garlic, 1/2 a cup of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and seasonings. Stir until a dough forms. Spread the cauliflower mixture on lightly greased baking paper or in a pizza pan in the shape of a pizza crust.
  • Bake the crust for about 10-15 minutes (depending on your oven) or until the crust is golden and crispy. Once the crust is golden, remove from the oven, spread with the marinara and top with the remaining mozzarella.
  • Place the pizza back in the oven, but this time turn on the broil function and bake for about 2-5 minutes until the cheese melts.
  • Slice and serve.

Cauliflower is Keto-Friendly

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable. Unlike nightshade vegetables or legumes, this vegetable family comes without a high content of antinutrients, such as lectins, in the refrigerator.

Accordingly, we can describe cauliflower as healthy, low in calories and carbohydrates, and high in fiber.

These characteristics make it ideal for a keto diet.

Accordingly, numerous keto cauliflower recipes exist. Cauliflower can be used as a keto substitute to make pizza bases, purees, casseroles, and even rice keto-friendly. Moreover, these keto recipes are just as delicious as the classic versions.

Is Cauliflower Keto FAQ

Can you eat cauliflower on keto?

Yes, you can eat cauliflower on keto. Although cauliflower contains carbs, you would have to eat about a whole kilogram a day to exceed carbohydrate limits for ketosis.

Is cauliflower high in carbs?

There are carbohydrates in cauliflower. However, the amount of net carbohydrates is low because of fiber.

What vegetables are forbidden on keto?

Especially starchy vegetables like potatoes or corn are forbidden on keto.

Studies Click to expand!

#1-7

1Doleman JF, Grisar K, Van Liedekerke L, Saha S, Roe M, Tapp HS, Mithen RF. The contribution of alliaceous and cruciferous vegetables to dietary sulphur intake. Food Chem. 2017 Nov 1;234:38-45. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2017.04.098. Epub 2017 Apr 18. PubMed PMID: 28551250; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5460521.

2Grimble RF. The effects of sulfur amino acid intake on immune function in humans. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6 Suppl):1660S-1665S. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.6.1660S. Review. PubMed PMID: 16702336.

3Lee DY, Li H, Lim HJ, Lee HJ, Jeon R, Ryu JH. Anti-inflammatory activity of sulfur-containing compounds from garlic. J Med Food. 2012 Nov;15(11):992-9. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.2275. Epub 2012 Oct 11. PubMed PMID: 23057778; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3491620.

4Keck AS, Finley JW. Cruciferous vegetables: cancer protective mechanisms of glucosinolate hydrolysis products and selenium. Integr Cancer Ther. 2004 Mar;3(1):5-12. doi: 10.1177/1534735403261831. Review. PubMed PMID: 15035868.

5Jaafaru MS, Abd Karim NA, Enas ME, Rollin P, Mazzon E, Abdull Razis AF. Protective Effect of Glucosinolates Hydrolytic Products in Neurodegenerative Diseases (NDDs). Nutrients. 2018 May 8;10(5). doi: 10.3390/nu10050580. Review. PubMed PMID: 29738500; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5986460.

6Martín-de-Saavedra MD, Budni J, Cunha MP, Gómez-Rangel V, Lorrio S, Del Barrio L, Lastres-Becker I, Parada E, Tordera RM, Rodrigues AL, Cuadrado A, López MG. Nrf2 participates in depressive disorders through an anti-inflammatory mechanism. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Oct;38(10):2010-22. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2013.03.020. Epub 2013 Apr 23. PubMed PMID: 23623252.

7Butawan M, Benjamin RL, Bloomer RJ. Methylsulfonylmethane: Applications and Safety of a Novel Dietary Supplement. Nutrients. 2017 Mar 16;9(3). doi: 10.3390/nu9030290. Review. PubMed PMID: 28300758; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5372953.

#8-10

8Zhang X, Shu XO, Xiang YB, Yang G, Li H, Gao J, Cai H, Gao YT, Zheng W. Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;94(1):240-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009340. Epub 2011 May 18. PubMed PMID: 21593509; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3127519.

9Ramsden CE, Zamora D, Leelarthaepin B, Majchrzak-Hong SF, Faurot KR, Suchindran CM, Ringel A, Davis JM, Hibbeln JR. Use of dietary linoleic acid for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and death: evaluation of recovered data from the Sydney Diet Heart Study and updated meta-analysis. BMJ. 2013 Feb 4;346:e8707. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e8707. PubMed PMID: 23386268; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4688426.

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating