You’ve been hearing all about the ketogenic diet and how it can transform your health, but you’re also committed to a plant-based lifestyle. Many people assume the two are mutually exclusive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a vegan keto, you know that there are plenty of options to create delicious high-fat, low-carb keto vegan foods without any animal products.
Whether you’re a long-time vegan looking to go keto or vice versa, we’ve got you covered. This ultimate list of keto vegan foods will ensure you never run out of inspiration. Get ready to enjoy creamy coconut curries, hearty veggie burgers, chocolatey fat bombs and more – all 100% plant-powered and keto-friendly. Your healthy, sustainable diet just got a whole lot tastier.
What is the vegan Keto Diet?
The vegan keto diet combines the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet with veganism. It’s a plant-based diet that cuts out all animal products and gets most of its calories from fat.
Foods to Focus On
The bulk of your calories will come from foods high in plant-based fats, like:
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pumpkin, chia and flax seeds are all great options.
- Avocados: Creamy avocados are loaded with healthy fats and potassium. Mash them on toast, make guacamole or add to salads.
- Coconut: Coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut butter and coconut flakes contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are easily converted into ketones.
- Olives and olive oil: Look for high-quality extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on salads or use for low-heat cooking. Olives also make a great snack.
You’ll also want non-starchy veggies, low-glycemic fruits and plant-based proteins like tofu or tempeh. Some other options include:
- Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, swiss chard, etc.
- Cruciferous veggies: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc.
- Berries: Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries in moderation.
- Nutritional yeast: Adds a cheesy, savory flavor and B vitamins.
- Plant-based protein powders: Look for low-carb, unsweetened options made from pea protein, rice protein or hemp protein.
By focusing on these whole foods and keeping carb counts low, you can achieve ketosis and all the benefits of the keto diet while following a vegan lifestyle. Pretty great, right? Let the plant-based keto journey begin!
Does a vegetarian keto diet work?
A vegetarian keto diet is absolutely possible. Many plant-based foods are naturally low in carbs and high in fat, making them perfect for a keto diet. The key is focusing on foods that fit into both a keto and vegan diet.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are keto-friendly powerhouses for vegans. Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are great options. They’re high in healthy fats and protein to keep you full, with minimal net carbs. Add them to salads, yogurt, or enjoy as a snack.
Coconut milk, oil, and butter contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which help boost ketone production. Use coconut milk in curries, smoothies or as a dairy substitute. Coconut oil is great for high-heat cooking or baking.
Low-carb veggies like broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, cucumber, and bell peppers are perfect for a keto vegan diet. Sautee them in coconut oil or add to salads and frittatas.
Tofu, tempeh, and seitan contain protein and little to no carbs. Choose extra-firm tofu and press out excess moisture before cooking. Tempeh and seitan can be breaded and pan-fried as vegan meat substitutes.
Fats and Oils
In addition to coconut oil, use olive oil, MCT oil, avocado oil, and nut butters for fat. Add MCT oil to coffee, smoothies or oatmeal for an energy boost. Nut butters are delicious on low-carb bread.
A vegetarian keto diet absolutely requires some extra planning but can be a healthy way of eating when you focus on the right plant-based foods. With the variety of options, you’ll never feel deprived following a keto vegan diet
Benefits of Combining Keto and Vegan Diets
Combining the keto and vegan diets provides some excellent benefits. Here are a few of the main pros:
Improved Heart Health
Following a keto vegan diet can significantly lower your risk of heart disease. It emphasizes foods low in saturated fat and high in nutrients that are good for your heart like fiber, antioxidants and plant-based fats.
Potential for Weight Loss
By limiting high carb, high sugar vegan foods and focusing on healthy fats and plant-based proteins, the keto vegan diet creates an environment for your body to burn fat for fuel. Many people are able to lose excess weight following this diet. However, weight loss may slow down or plateau after the initial drop in water weight. Adding exercise and watching your portion sizes can help.
A keto vegan diet is naturally anti-inflammatory due to its emphasis on whole, plant-based foods. It limits or eliminates inflammatory animal products and byproducts as well as high sugar, highly processed vegan junk food. Following this diet can help reduce inflammation in the body and lower disease risk.
- Improved blood sugar control. By cutting out high carb and sugary vegan foods, the keto vegan diet can help stabilize blood sugar levels and may even lower risk of type 2 diabetes or benefit those with predabetes.
- Environmental sustainability. A plant-based keto diet is better for the planet since it does not rely on industrial animal agriculture. It has a much smaller carbon footprint and is less taxing on natural resources like land, food, and water.
- Higher nutrition. The keto vegan diet focuses on whole, unprocessed plant foods that provide more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other beneficial plant compounds. You’ll get more nutritional bang for your buck.
While challenging, the rewards of a keto vegan diet can be well worth the effort for many. Give it a try and reap the benefits of improved health, weight loss, and sustainability. Your body and the planet will thank you!
Best Vegan Proteins for Keto
When following a keto vegan diet, finding good sources of protein can be challenging. Here are some of the best vegan proteins to include in your keto meal plan:
Tofu is made from soy and contains about 10 grams of protein per half cup. Look for extra-firm tofu that contains little to no carbs and pan-fry it or add it to stir fries. Silken tofu can also be blended into vegan keto smoothies.
Seitan is made from wheat gluten and packs about 30 grams of protein per half cup. Buy pre-made seitan strips to add to salads or sandwiches, or make your own seitan at home with vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast. Seitan has a chewy, meaty texture that works well for keto.
Nut butters like almond butter, peanut butter, and sunflower seed butter contain 7-10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoon serving. Look for unsweetened nut butters with no added sugar. Enjoy them as a spread, in smoothies, or by the spoonful.
Plant-Based Protein Powders
Powders made from pea protein, hemp protein or sacha inchi protein contain 15-30 grams of protein per scoop with little to no carbs. Add a scoop to almond milk or nut milk for a quick keto protein shake.
When cooked, jack fruit has a texture similar to pulled pork. A one cup serving of cooked jack fruit contains about 3 grams of protein. Season and cook jack fruit in your favorite BBQ spices or taco seasoning for a hearty, protein-rich meal.
The key is to consume a variety of these vegan proteins every day to meet your needs. Also aim for eating protein at each meal, especially breakfast, to keep you feeling satisfied while in ketosis. With some creativity, you can enjoy a high-protein keto vegan diet full of nutritious and delicious foods.
Top 10 Keto Vegan Vegetables
When following a keto vegan diet, vegetables are a key source of nutrients. Here are the top 10 keto-friendly vegan veggies to add to your diet:
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s high in vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Enjoy it raw in salads, sautéed with coconut oil, or blended into sauces and pestos.
Broccoli is loaded with vitamins K, C, and B9. It’s also high in compounds that may help reduce the risk of some cancers. Steam or stir fry broccoli with garlic and serve it as a side dish, or chop it up and add it to soups, stews, and omelets.
Asparagus is a great source of folate, vitamins A, C, E and K. It’s also high in antioxidants. Asparagus has a mild flavor, so it works well in many recipes. Try grilling, roasting or steaming asparagus and season with lemon juice, sea salt, and pepper.
Cauliflower is extremely versatile and can be used as a substitute for rice, potatoes, and grains. It’s high in vitamins C, K, and B6 and contains compounds that may help fight inflammation and boost brain health. Rice cauliflower, mash cauliflower, or chop cauliflower to make cauliflower pizza crust.
Zucchini is high in potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Spiralize zucchini into noodles, grate into muffins and quick breads, or slice and grill as a side. Zucchini has a mild flavor and works well in both sweet and savory recipes.
- Bell Peppers – High in vitamin C, folate, and antioxidants. Chop or slice peppers to add to salads, fajitas, and stir fries.
- Cabbage – An excellent source of vitamins K and C. Use cabbage to make coleslaw, add to soups, or wrap fillings in the leaves.
- Green Beans – High in folate, manganese, and vitamins C and K. Blanch, steam or stir fry green beans.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms provide B vitamins, copper, potassium, and antioxidants. Sauté mushrooms to add to dishes or serve on their own.
- Tomatoes – High in lycopene, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Cherry tomatoes are great for snacking, while larger tomatoes work well in salads, sauces, and stews.
Delicious Keto Vegan Fats and Oils
When following a keto vegan diet, the fats and oils you choose are critical for providing energy and helping you feel satisfied. Some of the best options include:
Coconut oil is a staple for keto vegans. It has a mild coconut flavor and contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are easily converted into ketones for fuel. Use it for cooking, baking, or add it to coffee, tea or smoothies.
Olive oil is a heart-healthy fat that works well in keto vegan diets. Look for high-quality extra virgin olive oil to use in salad dressings, for cooking, or dipping bread. Olive oil has a strong flavor, so you may want to combine it with a neutral-flavored oil when cooking at high heats.
With a mild flavor and high smoke point, avocado oil is a versatile option for keto vegans. You can use it for cooking methods like sautéing, stir-frying, and searing without it burning. Avocado oil is also rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
MCT oil is comprised of medium-chain triglycerides that quickly convert to ketones for energy. Add MCT oil to coffee, smoothies or yogurt for an extra dose of brain-boosting fats.
- Nut Oils – Walnut, almond and macadamia nut oils provide healthy fats and rich flavors for dressings, sauces and marinades. However, their low smoke points make them unsuitable for high-heat cooking methods.
- Flaxseed Oil – Flaxseed oil contains anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats, but it has a strong nutty flavor and low smoke point. Use in small amounts in dressings, sauces, smoothies or yogurt.
By focusing on these healthy fats and oils, you’ll have plenty of options to create delicious and satisfying keto vegan meals. Be sure to aim for 3 to 4 tablespoons of added fat with each meal to meet your needs.
Keto Vegan Dairy Substitutes
When following a keto vegan diet, dairy products are off the table. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on creamy and cheesy alternatives. There are plenty of plant-based substitutes for milk, butter, cheese and more that fit into a keto vegan lifestyle.
Opt for unsweetened nut milks like almond or coconut milk. Both contain little to no carbs and provide a creamy base for smoothies, coffee, and cereal. You can also make your own nut milks at home using a high-powered blender.
For a richer, thicker milk, try cashew milk or macadamia milk. They provide a buttery, decadent mouthfeel closer to whole dairy milk. Look for plain, unsweetened versions with no added oils or gums.
Rather than margarine which contains unhealthy trans fats, choose a vegan butter made from coconut oil or avocado oil. These options have no carbs and a neutral flavor, working well as a spread or for high-heat cooking and baking. Brands like Miyoko’s Creamery and Nutiva make vegan butters with simple, whole-food ingredients.
It may take some experimenting to find vegan cheeses you enjoy. Many are made from coconut oil, nuts or nutritional yeast and can be grainy, slimy or just not quite capture the taste and texture of real cheese. A few brands doing it right are:
- Miyoko’s Creamery – Made from cashews, their soft cheeses, mozzarella and cheese wheels are amazingly realistic. A bit pricey but worth it.
- Violife – Their Just Like Parmesan and Feta are made from coconut oil but you’d never know it. Also make cheddar and mozzarella style shreds.
- Nutritional yeast – Not a substitute for melted cheese but provides a savory, cheesy flavor. Mix into mashed cauliflower or sprinkle on popcorn. Contains protein and B vitamins.
With all these dairy-free alternatives, you can create keto vegan comfort food, from mac ‘n’ cheese to lasagne, all while staying in ketosis. Your taste buds may not even miss the real thing!
Making Keto Vegan Desserts
Making delicious keto vegan desserts is totally possible. Here are some tips to satisfy your sweet tooth the plant-based, low-carb way:
Use Natural Sweeteners
Skip the sugar and use keto-friendly sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, or erythritol instead. These have very little impact on blood sugar and are vegan. You can find them as powders or liquids to use in place of sugar in recipes.
Focus on Chocolate and Nut Butters
Chocolate and nut butters are vegan and naturally low in carbs, so they make a great base for keto vegan desserts. Try making chocolate nut butter mousse, chocolate peanut butter fat bombs, or chocolate almond butter brownies.
Coconut milk, cream, and oil are high in healthy fats but dairy-free. Use them to make coconut milk ice cream, whipped coconut cream, or coconut oil fat bombs. Shredded or flaked coconut also adds texture and natural sweetness to desserts.
Use Flours Wisely
For the best results, choose low-carb, vegan-friendly flours like almond flour, coconut flour or flaxseed meal. They provide structure without the grains. Blend multiple flours for more versatility. These flours can be used to make cookies, cakes, and other treats.
Nuts, nut butters, seeds, berries and dark chocolate chips make great add-ins for keto vegan desserts. They boost nutrition, texture, flavor, and natural sweetness. Other extras include coconut, nut milks, nut oils, and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.
With some creativity and the right ingredients, you can make delicious low-carb, plant-based desserts. Keep experimenting—you’ll be whipping up everything from double chocolate brownies to pecan pie fat bombs in no time! Focus on real, whole foods as much as possible for the healthiest options. Most of all, have fun with it!
Meal Plans and Recipes for Keto Vegans
Once you’ve stocked your pantry with keto vegan staples, it’s time to put them to use! Here are some meal plans and recipes to get you started:
For breakfast, try a tofu scramble with veggies, vegan protein powder pancakes or a smoothie made with nut milk, greens, and berries. Some other options include:
- Coconut yogurt parfait: Layer coconut yogurt, granola, and fresh berries.
- Tofu scramble: Sauté extra-firm tofu with spinach, mushrooms, and turmeric. Season with nutritional yeast, garlic and chili powder.
For lunch, you can’t go wrong with a big salad, veggie-packed stir fry over shirataki noodles or a burrito bowl. Some easy options include:
- Kale Caesar salad: Massage kale with vegan Caesar dressing and top with chickpeas, avocado and hemp seeds.
- Zucchini noodle pad thai: Sauté zucchini noodles with tofu, bean sprouts, lime and Thai chili sauce.
- Burrito bowl: Rice, black beans, salsa, guacamole, lettuce and your favorite keto vegan protein like seitan.
For dinner, try plant-based burgers, vegan keto pizza, eggplant Parmesan or Thai curry over cauliflower rice. Some other delicious options are:
- Jackfruit carnitas tacos: Shredded jackfruit, coleslaw, guacamole and salsa in lettuce cups.
- Vegan keto pizza: Coconut flour crust, tomato sauce, vegan cheese and your favorite toppings.
- Thai red curry: Sautéed bell peppers, broccoli and tofu in coconut red curry over cauliflower rice.
For snacks, enjoy nuts, nut butter, olives, coconut chips or vegan protein bars. Some satisfying snack options include:
- Nutty pumpkin seed snack mix: Pumpkin and sunflower seeds, coconut chips, cacao nibs and nut butter.
- Olive tapenade: Black olives, olive oil, lemon juice, and fresh herbs. Serve with veggie sticks.
- Vegan protein bar: Look for a bar with around 15-20 grams of plant-based protein and less than 10 grams net carbs.
Following a keto vegan diet may seem challenging at first, but with some meal planning you’ll be thriving in no time. Focus on nutritious whole foods, lean proteins and healthy fats at each meal to stay satisfied and meet your macronutrient needs. You’ve got this!
FAQ About Keto Vegan Foods
A vegan keto diet may seem challenging at first, but with some planning it can be done. Here are some common questions about keto vegan foods:
What foods can I eat? Some great options include:
- Non-starchy veggies: spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, etc. These are low in carbs but high in nutrients.
- Plant-based proteins: tofu, tempeh, seitan, nut butters, and protein powders.
- Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. These are high in healthy fats and protein.
- Avocados: creamy and delicious, avocados are the perfect keto vegan food.
- Coconut oil and coconut butter: high in medium-chain triglycerides which boost ketone production.
- Nut and seed flours: use for low-carb baking.
- Nut milk: unsweetened nut milks are keto-friendly alternatives to dairy milk.
What about carb-heavy veggies and fruits?
Limit starchy veggies like potatoes, corn, carrots and legumes which are too high in carbs for keto. Most fruits are also too sugary, so consume in moderation or avoid.
How do I meet my macros?
Aim for 70-80% of calories from fat, 15-25% from protein and 5% or less from carbs. Use an app to track your macros and make sure you’re staying under 20-30 grams of net carbs per day.
Supplements? You may want to consider supplements like B12, D, algal oil, and possibly protein powder. Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you based on your needs.
Can I do vegan keto long-term?
Yes, a vegan keto diet can be sustainable long-term with proper planning and nutrition. Be sure to eat a variety of whole foods for optimal health. Some people may transition to a more moderate low-carb vegan diet for maintenance. Always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
In summary, a vegan keto diet is absolutely possible by focusing on low-carb, high-fat plant-based foods and meeting your nutritional needs. With some experimenting, you’ll be enjoying delicious keto vegan meals in no time!
That covers the ultimate list of keto vegan foods. As you can see, following a keto vegan diet doesn’t have to be boring or repetitive. There are so many delicious whole foods you can enjoy that will keep you in ketosis and provide all the nutrients you need.
So ditch the notion that vegan keto is too restrictive. With a little creativity, you’ll be whipping up exciting new recipes in no time and reaping all the benefits of ketosis along with a clear conscience. Now that you have all these options, get out there and start experimenting. Your taste buds and your body will thank you for it!