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What are vegetable superfoods? Superfood is a term that doesn’t mean anything nutritionally. It’s used by food marketers to encourage you to buy certain foods. But, Vegetable Superfoods are often nutrient-dense foods that could positively affect your health.
Please note: All the vegetable superfoods listed here are okay for the Paleo diet and Whole30. Each vegetable has information about the Keto diet. Not all the recipes will work for every diet. Check before using one. If you’re looking for more diets, try this comparison of 13 popular diets.
Vegetable Superfood #1: Spinach
Spinach is part of the dark green leafy vegetable group of vegetable superfoods. Not everyone likes spinach, but if you dislike the taste it’s easily hidden in smoothies, soups, and sauces. Spinach is a powerhouse of nutrition and you should definitely be consuming some.
Spinach Carbs: Is Spinach Keto?
With a net carb count of 0.4g per cup, Spinach is definitely a keto-friendly option.
Should I Buy Organic Spinach?
Look, you’re better off eating non-organic spinach than no spinach at all. But with that said, if you can afford it then you should definitely be choosing organic spinach.
Spinach ranks second on the 2019 Dirty Dozen list.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests you “Wash spinach thoroughly. California tests of unwashed spinach found higher concentrations of pesticides. The USDA washed all of the spinach samples vigorously before testing. The USDA has also detected pesticides on frozen and canned spinach, which suggests that washing and cooking reduces but does not eliminate pesticide levels.”
4 Spectacular Spinach Recipes
Here are four fabulous spinach recipes you could try.
- We Know Stuff has a banana spinach smoothie recipe that even kids will love.
- Nellie Bellie has a spinach pesto recipe. While basil is the traditional pesto ingredient, it’s delicious with spinach instead.
- A Family Feast offers a mashed cauliflower and spinach recipe. This is a two-for-one superfood recipe and it’s delicious.
- And the surprise recipe? Brooklyn Farm Girl has a recipe for chocolate spinach brownies. You’re welcome.
Vegetable Superfood #2: Kale
Kale is another member of the dark green leafy vegetable group of superfoods. Kale is often called the most nutritious vegetable. It contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than any other vegetable. But, many people find the taste unpleasant. Like spinach, you can sneak kale into many foods to hide the taste.
Kale Carbs: Is Kale Keto?
You’ll have to be careful. With 5.4 grams of net carbs in a cup of Kale, you’ll have to eat less kale.
Should I Buy Organic Kale?
If you can only afford non-organic kale, buy that. It’s better than eating no kale at all.
If you can afford it, you should buy organic kale. Kale ranks third on the 2019 Dirty Dozen list.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “Nearly 60 percent of kale samples sold in the U.S. were contaminated with residues of a pesticide the Environmental Protection Agency considers a possible human carcinogen, according to EWG’s analysis of 2017 Department of Agriculture test data.”
4 Fantastic Kale Recipes
I usually eat kale raw, as a salad. I like this Sweet Kale Salad Kit, although I eat it with a vinaigrette (pomegranate being my favorite).
- Quick Asian Recipes offers 10 Kale Smoothies for Weight Loss.
- Veggie Desserts has a great recipe for Apple Kale Cake with Apple Icing. The cake has a gorgeous green color.
- Kristine’s Kitchen has a superfood Kale Quinoa Salad with Blueberries recipe.
- Recipe Tin Eats has a side dish recipe for Garlic Butter Rice with Kale.
Vegetable Superfood #3: Bok Choy
Bok Choy is also a dark green leafy vegetable. Depending on where you are Bok Choy might have a different name. Chinese Cabbage, Shanghai Bok Choy, Bok Choy Jr, Pak Choi, and Pok Choi are some of the many alternative names for Bok Choy.
Bok Choy might be my favorite vegetable. You can add it to anything. It’s so tasty. If celery, cabbage, and spinach reproduced, Bok Choy would be their baby.
Bok Choy Carbs: Is Bok Choy Keto?
Yes, it is!
With a mere 0.8 grams of net carbs per cup, you should be able to enjoy Bok Choy freely on a keto diet.
Should I Buy Organic Bok Choy?
Maybe? If you can find it. My research indicates that Bok Choy doesn’t have as many pests as other crops so may not be sprayed as much.
But, I did not find any research on pesticide residue tests of Bok Choy. This isn’t surprising because Bok Choy isn’t (yet) a mainstream vegetable. Furthermore, I’ve never seen organic Bok Choy for sale in Canada.
4 Fun Bok Choy Recipes
Bok Choy is usually considered an Asian vegetable but I put Bok Choy in pretty much everything.
- Bon Aippetit has Chicken and Bok Choy Turmeric Stir Fry recipe. Toss in extra vegetables in to make it yours.
- The Cents’Able Shoppin has a Keto Asian Glazed Shrimp with Bok Choy recipe. This is another stir-fry that you could easily customize.
- Power Hungry has a Baby Bok Choy Chopped Salad with Ginger-Sesame Dressing recipe. Raw Bok Choy is as good as cooked Bok Choy so you should give this a try.
- And for the breakfast lovers out there – Sara Scoop has a Bacon Bok Choy Breakfast Recipe.
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Vegetable Superfood #4: Garlic
Is Garlic a vegetable? Not really, but it’s vegetable-like. Unlike most vegetables though, I don’t recommend eating it raw or consuming vast quantities of it.
Garlic Carbs: Is Garlic Keto?
Garlic is surprisingly high in net carbs. Three cloves contain 2.8 grams of net carbs! If you’re doing a maximum of 20g a day, that’s a huge chunk of your net carbs for something that’s nutritious but not filling.
Should I Buy Organic Garlic?
If you have unlimited amounts of money, by all means, buy organic. But organic garlic isn’t necessary.
Garlic grows underground so it’s exposed to fewer pesticides. Furthermore, garlic gives off an odor that most pests find unpleasant. Spraying garlic is pretty unnecessary.
4 Great Garlic Recipes
Garlic can go in so many things it’s unreal.
- Host the Toast has an amazing recipe for Homemade Garlic Naan.
- Crunchy Creamy Sweet has a Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower recipe.
- The Forked Spoon has a quick and easy recipe for Garlic Butter Steak Bites.
- Simply Recipes will teach you how to make Roast Garlic which you can use in so many ways.
Vegetable Superfood #5: Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great starch choice. They have more nutrients than a regular potato and can be used in place of potatoes in most ways.
Sweet Potato Carbs: Are Sweet Potatoes Keto?
No. Unfortunately, sweet potatoes are high in carbs. 1 cup of sweet potato has 22.8 grams of net carbs. If you’re doing keto, you should avoid sweet potatoes.
Should I Buy Organic Sweet Potatoes?
If you peel your sweet potatoes, then no. You’ll be fine with non-organic ones.
If you like to eat the peel (and it’s packed with nutrition), then you should consider organic sweet potatoes.
While sweet potatoes are growing, they’re rarely sprayed with pesticides. But after harvest, they’re often dunked in dicloran to prevent fungal growth. Dicloran is considered a possible carcinogen. The levels on sweet potatoes are well below the upper limit of human consumption so you can eat non-organic sweet potatoes. But, if you’re eating the peel you will be consuming some dicloran.
Consider organic but remember – you’re better off eating non-organic sweet potatoes (including the peel) than no sweet potatoes at all.
4 Satisfying Sweet Potato Recipes
- Gimme Some Oven has a wonderful recipe for Baked Sweet Potato Fries. Try these as a nutritious side the next time you’re craving French fries.
- Hello Spoonful has a great recipe for Salted Chocolate Chip Sweet Potato Muffins. Who said a muffin for breakfast couldn’t be good for you?
- Lemon and Zest makes Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes.
- Looking for a vegan tortilla? Look no further than Blooming Nolwenn who has a Vegan Sweet Potato Tortillas recipe.
Vegetable Superfood #6: Cauliflower
Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in the low-carb world as it’s often used as a substitute for things like rice. But it’s also a delicious and nutritious vegetable in its own right.
Cauliflower Carbs: Is Cauliflower Keto?
If you’re careful.
Cauliflower has 2.8 grams of net carbs per cup. It’s a high amount. But, cauliflower packs a nutritional punch and it’s filling so it’s worth eating.
Should I Buy Organic Cauliflower?
It’s not necessary. Cauliflower is pretty pesticide free and you can safely consume non-organic cauliflower.
Cauliflower ranks eleventh on the 2019 Clean Fifteen list.
4 Captivating Cauliflower Recipes
- Ev’s Eats has a Loaded Cauliflower Broccoli Casserole recipe.
- Vegan Heaven has a recipe for Cauliflower Hot Wings.
- Pinch of Yum has a tasty Roasted Cauliflower Burrito Bowls recipe.
- Kirbie Cravings has a recipe for Cauliflower Bagels.
Vegetable Superfood #7: Asparagus
I love asparagus. Almost as much as I love Bok Choy. You can eat asparagus in many ways – including raw. But, asparagus is one of the few vegetables that are more nutritious (and tastier) cooked.
Asparagus Carbs: Is Asparagus Keto?
Asparagus is another careful keto vegetable.
Asparagus contains 2.5 grams of net carbs per cup. But, a cup of asparagus is a lot! You could definitely eat only a quarter of a cup (and thus only have 0.63 grams of net carbs) and be satisfied.
Should I Buy Organic Asparagus?
Organic asparagus tends to be outrageously expensive. Luckily, you don’t have to buy organic asparagus.
Asparagus is one of the cleanest non-organic vegetables around. Asparagus ranks eighth on the 2019 Clean Fifteen list.
Like always, if you have the money feel free to buy organic. But if you don’t, don’t sweat this one at all.
4 Appetizing Asparagus Recipes
- Ella Claire Inspired will teach you to make the Best Asparagus in Under 10 Minutes.
- Evolving Table has a recipe for Cream of Asparagus Soup.
- Fox and Briar has a recipe for Ginger Chicken Asparagus Stir Fry.
- Salty Side Dish has an Asparagus Quiche recipe that’s quick and easy to make.
Eat More Superfood Vegetables
Everyone should be eating more vegetables and superfood vegetables are the best.
Try some of the above recipes – or make your own – and share in the comments how it goes!
Ready for more? Learn 5 Reasons to Lose Weight in a Healthy Way next.
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