There's no way to sugarcoat it—being on the keto diet is tough and even more so if you’re also trying to live a meatless lifestyle. After all, the goal is to replace carbs with protein and fat to kick off ketosis, and the easiest way to do that is to stock up on tons of chicken breasts and steaks. But that doesn't mean keto is off the table for vegetarians. You just need to do some planning ahead and have a couple of keto vegetarian recipes at the ready.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel from the get-go—start with the supplies that are already in your kitchen. "Over the weekend, take inventory of what you have on hand," says Roxana Ehsani, RD, a nutritionist in Miami, Florida. "Check to make sure you have enough protein sources, veggies, fruits, and nuts and seeds on hand to make balanced meals for the week."
Finding the right type of protein is often the main challenge for those who are meat-free. "If you're vegetarian, your main protein sources are beans, lentils, and whole grains," Ehsani says. "These are excellent sources of plant-based protein, but they also contain carbohydrates, which could be more than the keto diet allows."
The good news is there are still lots of plant-based sources of protein that are keto-friendly, including tofu, eggs, seitan, tempeh, full-fat Greek yogurt, full-fat cottage cheese, and nuts and seeds.
You'll also want to fill your plate with low-carb fruits and veggies, such as leafy greens like kale, romaine, arugula, and celery, cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, and berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. And opt for healthy sources of fat whenever possible, says Ehsani. Think: olives, avocados, nuts, seeds, canola oil, avocado oil, and olive oil, over butter and coconut oils.
Since it’s not easy to put together meals that meet the restrictions of more than one diet, these dietitians and recipe developers have gone ahead and done the legwork for you and come up with 30 healthy vegetarian keto recipes. Time to get cooking!