Among all the other vegetables out there, I find Asparagus to be my favorite. There are just so many recipes you can masterfully include to! There are crunchy yet soft and hence can be added to a variety of cuisines, be it American grill or Chinese.
When I began my keto diet, I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t leaving my favorite versatile veggie behind. After all, you can never be sure with keto, right? What may seem like an innocent addition to a conventional diet can end up ending your ketosis.
So, is asparagus keto? It is. As Asparagus has a very low concentration of net carbs in it, it classifies as a keto-friendly item.
But too much of anything is bad. Keep reading to learn how much Asparagus you should include in your diet, what nutritional profile it has and what creative ways you can introduce it to your keto journey.
Is Asparagus Keto?
Let’s further delve into this question, shall we? To understand whether Asparagus is keto (hint: it is) and why this is so, you need to first thoroughly understand what a keto diet is and what makes any food keto-friendly or un-friendly.
What Makes a Food Keto Friendly?
A keto diet’s effectiveness is derived from getting calories from protein and fat rather than via carbohydrates. When this happens, the body is forced to break down the two for energy rather than carbs. And doing so allows you to lose weight.
According to WebMD, this occurs at least three days after you limit your carb intake to less than 50 grams per day. So, it is a continuous battle. Within a keto diet, it is recommended that you get 70 percent of your daily calorie intake from fat, 20 percent from protein and 10 percent from carbs.
And even within the world of carbs, there is a specific type of carb value that you should measure. This is referred to as net carbs and is the carbs that remain after subtracting fiber. This is because it is not the total carbs available but the net carbs that are digested by the bloodstream that keto diets are interested in.
So, even an item that has a moderate amount of carbs can prove to be keto unfriendly because all of it is net carbs and hence might lead you to reach the daily carb threshold with just one meal.
Here comes, Asparagus!
Let me begin by quickly telling you what asparagus is, in case you aren’t familiar with the vegetable. This perennial flowering plant is naturally available in purple, green and white colors. In fact, you can tell if spring has arrived based on whether you can spot Asparagus!
This veggie has thin stalks and a classic grassy taste to it. Usually, the young shoots are all that people tend to consume. This is because once its buds start opening up, the taste turns too woody for the liking of many.
Depending on how you cook this veggie, it can be crispy and soft. Potential ways of preparing it include grilling, roasting, steaming, and sauteing. You can also choose to eat it as it is.
What makes Asparagus Keto Friendly?
Now that you know how a keto-diet works, can you pinpoint what makes asparagus keto-friendly?
It is the fact that it allows your body to break down fat and protein by limiting the number of carbs consumed. And you can use this same logic to identify what other food items are keto-friendly. Whenever in doubt, check the net carb amount.
Overall, Asparagus is very good for a keto diet. Its low net carb amount ensures that it is quite hard to overeat it.
The Limit: What level of Asparagus will pull you out of keto?
It is actually quite hard for Asparagus to kick you out of keto. This is because there is only so much grassy vegetable you can add to a recipe without it feeling overwhelming.
And since in approximately 6 spears of Asparagus, there are about two grams of net carbs, you don’t have to worry about reaching any limit.
Asparagus: Nutritional Profile
Apart from net carbs, it is also a good idea to know other nutrients that Asparagus has. This way, you can decipher just how beneficial eating this vegetable can be.
According to USDA, 100 grams of Asparagus is equipped with the following:
- 20 kcal of energy
- 2.2 grams of protein
- 0.12 grams of fat
- 2.8 grams of fiber
- 2.11 grams of net carbs
- 24 milligrams of calcium
- 14 milligrams of magnesium
- 52 milligrams of phosphorous
- 202 milligrams of potassium
- 2 milligrams of sodium
- 0.54 milligrams of zinc
- 0.2 milligrams of copper
- 0.16 milligrams of manganese
- Vitamins: A (14 percent RDI), C (18 percent RDI), E (10 percent RDI), E (42 percent RDI)
Breaking it down
While we now know the definite answer of “is asparagus keto”, there is still a lot to unpack from the nutritional profile mentioned above. This profile illustrates that Asparagus is quite healthy beyond its ability to satisfy the keto process.
For starters, the high fiber concentration accounts for 10 percent of the daily recommended intake of the nutrient. This ensures that your digestive system works well.
Additionally, it is equipped with a lot of antioxidants, which allows the body to continue functioning well. It also helps in lowering blood pressure as it includes a good concentration of potassium which helps in removing excess salt from the body.
How can you eat Asparagus on Keto?
You can eat Asparagus in a variety of ways on keto. But whether or not the dish you end up making is keto-friendly or not, depends on what ingredients you use other than Asparagus. Just like you are researching this grassy vegetable, make sure that every other component of your meal is keto-friendly.
Also, keep tabs on the total carbs included in the meal. While Asparagus itself may not have a lot of carbs, if it is added to different food items, each of which has a moderate amount of net carbs of its own, the total may exceed the daily intake requirement!
Overall, you can eat Asparagus by:
- Adding it as an addition to a keto-friendly stir-fry
- Roasting it along with salt and garlic to give it a crisp texture
- Blanching the vegetable and then adding it to a keto-friendly salad
- Wrapping it around your favorite protein
Keto Friendly Asparagus Recipes
Do you prefer having proper recipes so that you can correctly incorporate a given food item into your diet? If so, here are my favorite asparagus recipes to try. Do let me know how they pan out!
1. Bacon Asparagus Mini Frittatas
As someone who loves mini food, this dish surely has a soft spot in my heart. I also like how versatile it is. I have had it for breakfast, lunch as well a quick snack! For this keto recipe, you will need bacon, Asparagus, onions, milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
Begin by preheating your oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, put together all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Ensure that your bacon gets a crispy texture, and your Asparagus is well chopped into tiny chunks for easy cooking.
Whisk the egg and milk well into the other ingredients and then fill out a muffin pan with the created mixture. Try to strike a balance between each muffin pan in terms of the bacon and Asparagus received, or else some of them would just be egg, onion, milk and seasoning!
Bake the mixture in the oven for 30 minutes. Poke it with a cocktail stick right in the middle to ensure it is baked all the way through. How do you know if this is the case? The stick comes out without any goo!
And voila, your frittatas are ready.
2. Keto Turkey and Vegetable Skillet
As someone who despises washing dishes, this one-pot skillet recipe is my life-saver for days when I have a lot to do and don’t want dirty dishes to pile up on top of it all! From a keto perspective, this dish is quite healthy as it is rich in protein and has very low carbs.
The ingredients you would need include coconut oil, diced onion, bacon, turkey (either breasts or ground), spinach, Asparagus, thyme, salt and pepper.
To make it, you must first melt the coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Then, add the two proteins to your skillet and saute it for about five minutes. The meat should get a nice, slightly brown color through this step.
Then, add spinach, Asparagus, onion and thyme and further saute it for ten minutes. Your vegetables should get soft and your protein properly cooked. Keep checking to see when this occurs (this can take lesser or longer than ten minutes). In the end, season it with salt and pepper and get ready to enjoy a protein (and asparagus) packed meal!
3. Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus with Cream Cheese
Rather than a full-course meal, this one serves more like a starter. But depending on your appetite, it can as well be your dinner! The reason I like this recipe is that it has quite a variety of flavors and textures in it. For starters, you have the cream cheese for the rich creaminess, the grassiness of the Asparagus and the saltiness of the prosciutto. And surprisingly, all of them work well together!
The ingredients you will require for this dish include cream cheese, prosciutto and Asparagus.
Start by preparing the Asparagus by removing its thick woody ends. You might even want to boil them for up to two minutes if you are dealing with fresh Asparagus. If they are frozen, you just need to put them in the microwave for up to a minute. Make sure to take their thickness into account as well.
Take the cream cheese and spread a very thin layer of it on all of your prosciutto slices. Then, wrap these prosciuttos around the boiled Asparagus. Make sure to use only one slice per Asparagus.
Now, bake it until they are done and serve it while it is still warm.
4. Asparagus with Fried Eggs and Parmesan Cheese
10 minutes. That is all it takes to make this yummy breakfast! And all you need is eggs, parmesan cheese and Asparagus, along with salt and pepper for seasoning.
To make it, take a frying pan and add one inch of water in it along with a pinch of salt. Bring it to a boil and then add Asparagus in it and steam cook it for about 2-4 minutes on medium heat. Once cooked, drain the water and take the veggie out.
In the same pan, add olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, add an egg and fry it for two minutes before turning the heat to low and cooking it for additional two minutes while covering it. Put this egg on top of the Asparagus you just took out. Season it and add parmesan cheese on top.
Let’s take it from the top.
Is Asparagus keto? Yes, it is.
Why is it keto? This is because it has a low net carb count.
Can Asparagus ever take you out of ketosis? No, because it is hard to overeat it given how low the net carb concentration is.
Are there any other benefits to eating it? Yes! It is packed with much-needed minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, which help in ensuring your health.
How do you introduce it to your keto diet? You can add it to a salad, roast it, saute it or add it as one of the many items in a keto-friendly dish.
In case there are certain questions that my summary doesn’t cover, apologies but re-read the entire guide! And for the rest of you, I hope that you fall in love with this vegetable just as much as I have. Once you learn how to include it in a variety of dishes, there is no going back!
If you need help in deciding what to add to your asparagus dish, check some of my other guides out to see which other vegetables and ingredients are keto-friendly.
To learn more about keto friendly foods click on one of the links below: