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Are Brussels Sprouts Keto Friendly?

To be on a keto diet means you turn into quite a detective yourself. You are always on the lookout for which food items are keto and which are not. Suddenly, you see everything with an eye of suspicion! To reduce this feeling for my fellow dieters, I embarked on a mission to document all my findings.

This way, only one of us (read: me) has to go on a research hunt about everything I eat something. If you love your veggies, you might have wondered if Brussels sprouts are keto or not. Today, I'll answer this question.

Are Brussel Sprouts Keto Friendly

Are Brussels sprouts keto? Yes, this healthy vegetable meets the keto restrictions as well. This is because they contain quite a low amount of carbs and hence are classified as keto-friendly.

Caution should still be taken to eat it in moderation so that a single meal doesn't end up surpassing your daily carb intake limit.

Let's dive deeper into the world of Brussel Sprouts, shall we?

What are Brussels Sprouts?

Brussel Sprouts get their name from a city in Belgium called Brussels. It is widely believed that Brussel Sprouts were first cultivated here back in the 16th century.

Often called “mini cabbages”, they are in the same cruciferous vegetable family as cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage and collard greens.

Brussel Sprouts are notorious for having a very distinct bitter flavor. This is because it contains sulfur containing compound called glucosinolate.

Yet, they are also very healthy and are equipped with a variety of benefits.

The leafy green veggie has small heads, much like cabbage, and has a very earthy flavor. You can find the heads of the plant growing on thick stalks on the crop, which is then harvested manually or via machine by cutting the stalk from the root.

While the vegetable is cultivated year-round, the peak season of availability is from August to March.

The Typical Way of Consumption

For people who are relatively new to the world of Brussel Sprouts, you may wonder, how am I supposed to eat this bitter green vegetable? They are usually prepared by either roasting, pan-frying, grilling or sautéing.

To prepare them, begin by slicing them in half all the way through the stem. If you wish to stir-fry or use the vegetable in a salad, you can choose to shred their leaves instead as well.

Make sure to rinse the Sprouts under cold running water to remove any dirt and debris that may exist. Also, cut off the tough stems at the bottom, as well as remove any discolored leaves.

Are Brussels Sprout Keto?

Are you still hung up on the question, “Are Brussels Sprouts Keto?” Rightfully so! Just because I said they're keto friendly doesn't mean you have to believe me, right? Here, I'll mention why Brussel Sprouts are keto friendly. See if it makes sense to you.

keto brussel sprout

But First, What's Keto?

To understand why Brussels Sprouts (or any other food item for that matter) is keto, you must know the science behind a keto diet. How does it work?

Well, in a keto, you are told to meet your daily calorie intake requirement, which should be an average of 1800 calories, through 70 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 10 percent carbs. This is done to change the way your body works.

Usually, your body breaks down carbohydrates to get energy. But, since keto limits the consumption of carbs, your body is unable to meet its energy needs through carbs alone. This is when it switches to breaking down fat for energy! And this way, you lose weight.

Hence, in a keto diet, you need to eat meals that are rich in fat and protein but low in carbs. Here, the important type of carbs is net carbs, i.e., total carbohydrates minus fiber. This is because the latter is not digested by the body for energy breakdown.  

Brussel Sprouts and Keto: Why and How Much?

Now, let's talk Brussel Sprouts. This green vegetable has low net carbs, i.e., approximately 4.8 grams per 100 grams of serving. Hence, it satisfies the low-carb requirement of keto.

Additionally, Brussel Sprouts are quite good for the keto process because they are equipped with a high concentration of fiber as well. This, in turn, reduces the rate of absorption of sugar, which further discourages the body from producing insulin for breaking down carbs.

However, at the same time, they also don't have a lot of fat either. This means that you shouldn't get a lot of your calories from Brussels Sprouts either because then you won't be able to meet your daily fat intake requirement.

Even though Brussel Sprouts have low net carbs, they can still add up to a lot if you eat them excessively.

This is the case with any food item. Hence, you need to ensure that you consume the veggie in moderation to avoid getting out of ketosis. Try to limit its consumption to 2 cups a day. This way, you will also have enough calorie counts remaining to meet your fat consumption requirements.

Brussel Sprouts: Nutritional Profile 

While I have mentioned some of the nutrients above, it's always a good idea to know your numbers when eating a meal on a keto diet. As per USDA, one cup of Brussel Sprouts, which approximately has 156 grams of the vegetable, has the following composition of nutrients:

Brussel Sprout Keto
  • 56 calories
  • 11 grams of carbs, including 6.9 grams of net carbs
  • 0.8 grams of fat
  • 4 grams of protein
  • 2.7 grams of sugar
  • 16 milligrams of sodium
  • 4.1 grams of fiber
  • 219 micrograms of vitamin K
  • 97 milligrams of Vitamin C
  • 93.6 micrograms of folate

The Profile Breakdown

If you are alarmed by the 11 grams of carbs, you don't need to worry about that number. Instead, focus on the net carb figure. And that isn't high, considering the entire vegetable makes up 156 grams! Yet, as mentioned above, limit the intake to two cups.

The negligible amount of fat included in Brussel Sprouts comes primarily from unsaturated fat, which is considered to be a healthy type of nutrient. But, it isn't much to be regarded as being a beneficial aspect.

Brussel Sprouts are a good source of plant-based protein but cannot be an ultimate source of the required amino acid.

Instead, where the veggies shine is in the vitamins and minerals section. It contains 24 percent of the daily requirement of Vitamin A and contains the much-needed B vitamins that are essential for cellular energy production.

Keto and Brussel Sprouts: The Right Way 

For your keto, you can eat Brussel Sprouts by roasting, steaming or shaving them. Here is the quick process for each!

1.      Roasted

Begin by cutting the Brussel Sprouts in half and put the side that has been cut facing down on a baking sheet. Make sure to place parchment on it beforehand. Put a drizzle of olive oil as well as a pinch of salt.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven and once done, put your Brussel Sprouts in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The vegetables should be brown on the outside and still soft on the inside.

While smaller Brussel Sprouts take approximately 18 minutes, larger ones may take as long as 25 minutes. So, keep checking.

2.      Steamed

For steaming the Brussel Sprouts, first, fill a pot with up to 2 inches of water. Bring it to a boil by placing a lid on it and turning the heat to high. Meanwhile, trim and clean the Brussels Sprouts. Put them in a steamer basket and insert them in the pot with boiling water.

After doing so, reduce the heat to medium and recover the pot with a lid. Let it steam for approximately 8 minutes or as long as it takes for the vegetables to get tender. Remember to let the steam escape after every two minutes. This will help release the sulfur within the Brussel Sprouts.

3.      Shaved

Now, this method of eating Brussel Sprouts includes sauteing as well as in addition to salads. Here, you need to cut the Brussel Sprouts along their length in half. Put the cut side down on the cutting board and proceed to slice thin rounds of the vegetable. Keep separating the leaves and converting them into shreds via your fingers. You can then use these shredded Brussel Sprouts for sauteing using olive oil or simply adding it to a keto salad.

Keto-Friendly Brussel Sprout Recipes 

Once you know how to properly prepare your Brussel Sprouts, making any recipe would seem like a piece of cake. Here are three of my all-time favorite keto recipes that contain Brussel Sprouts.

brussels sprouts keto friendly

1.      Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

For this, you will need approximately one pound of trimmed Brussel Sprouts, 3 slices of bacon, two tablespoons each of balsamic vinegar and avocado oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper.

Start by preheating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Slice the trimmed Brussel Sprouts in half and place them with the cut side facing down on the baking sheet. If any of the leaves fall off, save them for later use.

Also, cut the slices of bacon into small strips and put them on the baking sheet as well. Add oil, vinegar, pepper and salt on top of the protein and vegetable and use your hands to ensure that the ingredients are mixed well onto them. Also, ensure that the meat and veggies are evenly spaced from one another.

Bake this for up to 30 minutes or until the bacon and Brussel Sprouts get crispy. Garnish with the fallen leaves and serve (or eat) hot.

2.      Garlic and Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

The ingredients you will require for this include six bacon slices, 4 cups of Brussel Sprouts (which have been cut down the middle, with their bottoms removed), 1 tablespoon of butter, half a cup of minced onions, 4 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and a teaspoon of Italian seasoning along with a half cup of shredded parmesan and shredded mozzarella cheese each and one cup of heavy cream.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. And cut the sliced bacon into small pieces. Then, take a skillet and heat it up on medium-high heat. Add bacon to it and cook for four minutes or as long as it takes for the meat to get crispy.

After setting the bacon aside, on the same skillet, add butter, onion and Brussel Sprouts. Season it all with the mentioned three seasonings and cook it for five minutes. Don't forget to stir after every other minute. Then, add garlic cloves to it all and cook for further two minutes.

Proceed by adding the heavy cream and stirring it until it starts to simmer. You can choose to re-add some seasoning if you think it's not to your liking. Then, add cheese and bacon to the mixture, and bake it in the preheated oven for up to fifteen minutes, and viola, you are done.

3.      Keto Salad with Brussel Sprouts

Are you looking for a keto salad that has beneficial vegetables?

Take 500 grams of Brussel Sprouts, a quarter cup of pomegranate seeds, 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, one teaspoon of fennel seeds, one-third cup of sunflower seeds, half cup of parmesan cheese and one-third cup of almonds.

To make the dressing, take 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, 1 lemon, half a cup of extra virgin olive oil, as well as salt and pepper.

Slice the Brussel Sprouts finely, beginning from the top and after being laid sideways. Break them up into thin shreds and rinse them thoroughly to remove any dirt that may persist. Take a pomegranate and roll it on the countertop to loosen the seeds, then cut it in the middle to tear it apart and take out the seeds.

Proceed by heating a frying pan on medium heat and adding fennel seeds and chili flakes to it for dry roasting for half a minute. This will help in releasing its flavors. Also, add sunflower seeds as well as chopped almonds and dry roast for a further minute before setting it aside.

For the dressing, add the dressing ingredients into a small ball and whisk thoroughly until they are well combined. Add seasoning as per your taste.

Finally, take a large mixing bowl to assemble the salad. Begin by adding the Brussel Sprouts. Then, add your roasted ingredients and, finally, your dressing. Ensure that the dressing covers all of the salad. Shave some parmesan over it and mix it. Leave it be for ten minutes to allow the dressing to soften up the Brussels sprouts before eating it.

Wrapping Up

Who knew there was so much to talk about Brussels Sprouts? In short, Brussel Sprouts are keto. You can eat up to two cups of it safely without compromising your keto diet.

If you aren't a fan, give the poor veggie a try by adding it to the mentioned recipes. And if you are looking for other food items to mix the Brussel Sprouts with, head on to some of my other keto-related guides for some inspiration.

Till then, happy keto!

If you want to learn more about keto friendly foods, click on one of the links below:

Is Tomato Soup Keto Friendly?

Is Almond Butter Keto Friendly?

Are Black Olives Keto Friendly?

Are Pita Chips Keto Friendly?


Founder of The Art Of Keto.

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