6 Delicious Keto Broccoli Recipes

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 05/15/2024

Broccoli is a versatile, nutrient-packed vegetable and a delicious low-carb addition to any keto diet.


Learn about the many health benefits of broccoli and discover six tasty keto broccoli recipes that boost nutrients while keeping you in ketosis.


Freshly cooked broccoli

Health benefits of broccoli 


Have you noticed that nutritionists and health experts constantly praise broccoli?


This low-carb superfood is packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients critical for promoting a healthy body and enhancing overall wellness.


Let's take a closer look at some of the top health benefits of broccoli.


1. Nutrient-dense superfood

Broccoli is abundant with nutrients, including vitamins C, E, and K, beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, iron, antioxidants, and other health-promoting bioactive compounds.


Research published in Frontiers in Pharmacology states that eating more cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, may reduce the risk of developing certain diseases, including cardiometabolic, neurological, and musculoskeletal conditions.


In addition, broccoli's high fiber and antioxidant content support the body's natural detoxification processes and help protect against oxidative stress.


2. Supports digestive health

Fiber, the non-digestible cell wall found in plant foods, plays a vital role in promoting healthy digestion. Regular fiber intake enhances the protective barrier in the digestive system and helps regulate bowel movements.


Broccoli is an excellent source of dietary fiber and, as a result, promotes a healthy digestive tract. Incorporating more broccoli into your diet can help remove toxins from the digestive tract and support the growth of beneficial gut microbes by providing a fuel source for probiotic bacteria.


Immune system concept

3. Strengthens immune defenses 

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen the immune system, heal wounds, and protect the body from harmful pathogens and diseases.


According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw broccoli contains 90 milligrams of vitamin C. This is nearly double the amount of an orange.


In addition, broccoli is a rich source of sulforaphane, a phytonutrient that has been shown to drastically improve immune system functions, according to research published in Molecules.


4. Potential anti-cancer properties

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are unique for their exceptionally high content of glucosinolates. These compounds, when eaten, transform into beneficial bioactive substances such as sulforaphane, which exhibits promising anti-cancer properties.


"Broccoli sprouts have the highest concentration of sulforaphane compared to any other food on the planet. Sulforaphane has been extensively studied for its potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and even anti-cancer properties," says Dr. Berg.


According to research published in Frontiers in Oncology, sulforaphane can target and inhibit cancer stem cells across various cancers, including leukemia, lung, breast, prostate, colon, gastric, and pancreatic cancer.


By inhibiting cancer stem cells, a type of cancer cell responsible for tumor initiation and growth, sulforaphane may help prevent the development and spread of cancer.


The authors also highlight the potential of combining sulforaphane with other natural compounds or chemotherapeutic drugs to enhance and amplify their anti-cancer effects.


Healthy women's strong skeletal structure

5. Promotes strong bones

Broccoli is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin K, essential for maintaining strong bones and lowering the risk of osteoporosis.


Additionally, broccoli's high vitamin C content helps promote the production of collagen peptides critical for joint, muscle, and bone health.


6. Aids in weight management

Broccoli is low in calories and carbohydrates, high in fiber, and scores just 15 on the glycemic index, indicating that it doesn’t significantly impact blood sugar or insulin levels.  


This makes broccoli a great addition to a low-carb diet and may help promote weight loss by improving satiety and reducing glucose-related cravings after meals.


7. Anti-inflammatory effects

According to evidence published in Antioxidants, broccoli’s high concentrations of sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, and diindolylmethane can help mediate inflammation.


The authors summarize, "Sulforaphane may help reduce inflammation by inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes that promote inflammation. It has also been found to stimulate the production of antioxidant enzymes that protect cells from inflammation-related damage."


Similar immune system regulatory effects were observed with indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane.


Watch this video to discover what form of broccoli you should eat to maximize nutritional benefits. 

 

The Best Form of Broccoli Is..

6 must-try low-carb broccoli recipes 


Whether you're in the mood for a comforting side dish or a savory appetizer. Here are six low-carb broccoli recipes to ensure you'll never grow tired of incorporating broccoli into your meal plan.


1. Broccoli Fritters 

These tasty broccoli fritters are a perfect way to provide a delicious savory appetizer while sticking to a low-carb keto diet. 


This recipe combines broccoli with curry powder, eggs, and coconut flour for a satisfying and nutritious meal.


2. Keto Cheese & Broccoli Salad 

This refreshing cheese and broccoli salad combines fresh broccoli florets, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and your preferred dressing. Add parmesan cheese for an extra boost of flavor and healthy fats!


It's an excellent option for those looking for a keto broccoli recipe that's delicious and easy to prepare.


Cheesy broccoli casserole

3. Keto Broccoli Cheddar Casserole

Indulge in this broccoli cheddar casserole featuring broccoli and cheese served in a creamy sauce. 


The recipe combines fresh or frozen broccoli, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and a hint of garlic powder for a comforting and satisfying low-carb dish.


4. Keto Grilled Summer Vegetables

Fire up the grill and enjoy a colorful array of summer vegetables, including roasted broccoli. 


This keto-friendly broccoli recipe is enhanced with grill seasoning, olive oil, and onions for a burst of flavor. Perfect for backyard barbecues or weeknight dinners.


Try experimenting with alternate seasonings such as Cajun, Za'atar, or Italian seasoning for a different flavor profile.


5. Keto Broccoli Cheese Bites

Another delicious variation of broccoli cheese bites, this recipe combines fresh broccoli, cheddar cheese, and scallions for a savory and satisfying side dish. Perfect for parties or as a quick and easy low-carb appetizer.


6. Keto Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad with Bacon

This flavorful salad is made with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and crispy bacon crumbles tossed in a tangy dressing. It's a great way to enjoy broccoli and cheese on a keto diet while incorporating additional low-carb vegetables.


For even more delicious options, here are some other low-carb broccoli recipes to choose from: 


Young man touching stomach

Potential downsides of broccoli 


While broccoli is generally safe and well tolerated by most people, it does have some potential downsides.


The way broccoli is prepared can significantly impact its nutritional value. Certain cooking methods, such as boiling, microwaving, and stir-frying, can substantially decrease beneficial nutrients and glucosinolates.


A study published by the Journal of Zhejiang University Science B investigated how cooking affects broccoli’s nutritional value. 


The authors summarized, "All cooking treatments, except steaming, caused significant losses of chlorophyll, vitamin C, and glucosinolates. Steaming appears to be the best method for nutrient retention in cooked broccoli."


In addition, while cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli are nutrient-dense, consuming excessive amounts of dietary fiber can lead to adverse effects. 


Contrary to popular belief, fiber can trigger gas and abdominal pain and may worsen constipation, especially in particularly sensitive individuals with digestive conditions. 


In addition, broccoli is a rich source of vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in blood clotting. 

Consuming large amounts of broccoli may increase the risk of excessive bleeding in individuals with blood clotting disorders and those taking certain blood-thinning medications.


If you are taking blood thinners, it’s recommended that you consult a healthcare provider to discuss appropriate dietary intake.


Broccoli and broccoli sprouts

Key takeaways


Broccoli is a nutrient-dense superfood found beneficial for digestive health, immune function, and strong bones while offering anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. 


In addition, broccoli is low in carbs and high in fiber, making it an excellent addition to ketogenic diets. There are several delicious keto broccoli recipes that help promote nutrient stores while maintaining ketosis. 



FAQ


1. How many carbs are in broccoli?

One cup (91 grams) of raw broccoli contains approximately 6 grams of total carbohydrates, including 2.3 grams of dietary fiber and 1.5 grams of sugar. This equates to about 3.7 grams of net carbs per cup.


2. Can I have broccoli on keto?

Yes, broccoli is a low-carb, nutrient-dense vegetable that can be enjoyed on a ketogenic diet. It's high in fiber and low in net carbs, making it an excellent choice for those looking to maintain ketosis while incorporating nutritious vegetables.  


3. Who shouldn’t have broccoli? 

While broccoli is generally safe for most people, some individuals may experience digestive issues due to its high fiber content, particularly those with gastrointestinal disorders. 


Additionally, people taking blood-thinning medications should monitor their vitamin K intake, as broccoli is a rich source of this fat-soluble vitamin.  


4. What is the healthiest way to cook fresh broccoli? 

Steaming is considered the best cooking method for preserving the nutritional value of broccoli. 


Boiling, microwaving, and stir-frying can lead to significant losses of beneficial compounds such as chlorophyll, vitamin C, and glucosinolates.



Sources


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8575925/ 

  2. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170379/nutrients 

  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33535560/ 

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9909961/ 

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10376324/ 

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2722699/ 

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