Quinoa is a popular superfood in the health community. It’s packed full of copper and manganese, and the high fiber content aids digestion.
But is quinoa keto-friendly?
Well, in this post, I’ll go over if you can eat quinoa on keto and some keto-friendly alternatives.
Can You Eat Quinoa On A Ketogenic Diet?
No, you can’t eat quinoa on a keto diet. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 39 grams of carbs, the same as brown rice. This serving will easily kick you out of ketosis.
It has a glycemic index or GI score of only 53, but it still spikes blood sugar due to the high carb intake.
Quinoa is gluten-free, so it won’t cause any adverse reactions in celiac disease patients. But keep in mind it’s usually processed in factories that make bread. So it can be exposed to wheat before you buy it.
But if you want to introduce quinoa into your low-carb diet, eat it in tiny amounts. I’d suggest sprinkling a spoonful over a salad or stew. It’s also essential to avoid consuming it regularly. You want to stick to enjoying quinoa once a week or once every two weeks. This ensures you’re always in ketosis.
If you’re eating small amounts of quinoa, get some keto strips. This way, you can quickly test if you’re still in ketosis. If you aren’t, you’ll want to reduce the amount of quinoa and other carbs in your diet.
But your best bet is to just avoid it altogether.
Quinoa Nutritional Facts
One cup of cooked quinoa contains:
- 39 grams of carbs
- Eight grams of protein
- 22 calories
- 3.55 grams of fat
- Five grams of dietary fiber
- 39% of your daily copper requirements
- 51% of your daily manganese requirements
So although quinoa contains a large number of essential micronutrients and health benefits, you’re consuming a lot of carbs with it. Instead, if you’re looking for keto food with manganese, opt for oysters or mussels.
Or, if you want to up your copper consumption, rather than eating quinoa, consider beef liver, mushrooms and lobster.
Now that we know the nutritional value of quinoa, let’s look at how to introduce it into your diet without being kicked out of ketosis.
Keto Quinoa Recipes
If you still want quinoa’s signature crunchy and nutty flavor in your keto diet, consider the following recipes. They contain little carbs but still have that famous quinoa flavor.
Keto Shrimp And Quinoa Salad
This shrimp and quinoa salad is a convenient dinner option after a long day at work. You could also serve it to guests that come over.
For this salad, you’ll need:
- Two tablespoons of butter
- One pound of shrimp
- Keto mayo
- Keto mustard
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- A tablespoon of lemon juice
- ½ onion
- One avocado
- Two stalks of celery
- Two tablespoons of quinoa
Add butter to a hot pan and toss in your shrimp. Let it cook for two minutes on each side and remove.
Next, add the mayonnaise, mustard, chili powder and lemon juice and stir. From here, all you have to do is chop your vegetables, add them to your sauce and shrimp and sprinkle some quinoa on top.
This way, you can enjoy a high-fat, low-carb meal with the unique taste of quinoa.
Keto Beef Quinoa Stew
This beef quinoa stew is a low-carb meal perfect for meat lovers. For this stew, you’ll need:
- A few chunks of your favorite meat
- ½ chopped onion
- Two chopped cloves of garlic
- One large chopped carrot
- ½ grated tomato
- One cup of turnip
- One cup of beef broth
- Two tablespoons of quinoa
- Your favorite spices and keto sauces
- A thickener like glucomannan
First, add your meat to a hot pan with some butter. Once it has some color, remove it and add your onion, garlic and chopped carrot. After these vegetables are soft, put them in the slow cooker with your meat.
From here, add your tomato, quinoa, turnip, beef broth and season with your favorite spices. You could even pour some of your favorite sauces for extra flavor.
Cook this stew for eight hours in the slow cooker and once it’s ready, add a keto thickener like glucomannan. This gives your stew a thick and creamy texture.
Keto Bacon With Shredded Cabbage And Quinoa
But if you’re looking for something more convenient, try this quick, high-fat snack. It’s delicious and only takes ten minutes to make. If you don’t have much time to prepare a meal, you can even use this recipe for dinner. Simply add some more bacon and cabbage.
If you’re doing keto on a budget, I’d highly recommend this recipe because you can get bacon and cabbage for a low price. It’s an inexpensive way of consuming high amounts of fat.
For this recipe, you’ll need:
- Eight strips of bacon
- One and a half cups of cabbage
- Two tablespoons of quinoa
- A tablespoon of butter
First, add your quinoa and bacon to a hot pan with some butter. Once the bacon has a brown color, toss it your cabbage, cook till it’s slightly soft and enjoy.
Although these recipes won’t kick you out of ketosis, consider the following if you’re looking for low-carb quinoa alternatives.
Lower Carb Alternatives To Quinoa On Keto
Here are some tasty alternatives to quinoa that aren’t high in carbs.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that’s packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. One cup contains:
- 31 calories
- Six grams of carbs
- 90% water
- 2.5 grams of protein
- 2.4 grams of fiber
- 0.4 grams of healthy fats
Broccoli also contains a compound called sulforaphane, which prevents prostate and breast cancer.
This makes it a much better option than quinoa on keto diets. One of my favorite ways to eat broccoli is to make broccoli rice.
Keto broccoli rice only takes a few minutes to make. First, cut up a pound of broccoli and put it in a food processor. Process it for a few seconds until it has a fine consistency. Next, add a tablespoon of butter to a hot pan, fry your broccoli for a few minutes and enjoy.
So whenever a recipe calls for quinoa, simply use this broccoli rice.
Like broccoli, cauliflower is a low-carb cruciferous vegetable. It has phytonutrients, essential amino acids and fiber crucial for improving overall health. Here’s the nutritional profile of one cup of cauliflower:
- 25 calories
- Two grams of fiber
- Three net grams of carbs
- Two grams of protein
- 100% of your daily vitamin C needs
Making rice with cauliflower is the same as using broccoli. You’ll need to cut a pound of cauliflower into small pieces, process it and toss it in a pan with butter. Once it’s cooked, you can use it to make curries or sushi.
Cabbage contains high amounts of beta carotene and other antioxidants, essential for reducing inflammation and improving heart health. If prepared correctly, cabbage doesn’t have to be a bland vegetable. Instead, it can be a delicious keto alternative to quinoa.
Here’s the nutritional information of one serving of cabbage:
- 22 calories
- Three net carbs
- One gram of protein
- 85% of your vitamin K requirements
It’s also super easy to prepare. Simply shred your cabbage into a hot pan with some butter and garlic. Cook it for a few minutes or until it’s soft and has a golden brown color. Season with salt and pepper, and you can even sprinkle some xylitol on top.
This is the perfect base if you’re making a stir fry. Or, if you’re looking for a convenient, affordable snack, fry a few slices of bacon and add it to your shredded cabbage.
Shirataki rice, also known as miracle rice, contains zero calories and carbs. This makes it a healthy quinoa alternative for keto dieters and those looking to lose weight. It’s also the closest tasting food to real rice that you’ll eat on keto.
Shirataki rice comes in a container filled with water. So the first thing you want to do is drain the water. Next, let it sit in boiling water for a minute and drain it again. Lastly, fry it in a dry pan for a few minutes and enjoy!
Final Thoughts On Eating Quinoa On Keto
If you’re eating keto, you want to avoid starchy vegetables like quinoa because on the high carb count. But if you’re going to implement it in your diet, only use small amounts and don’t eat it frequently.
Instead of quinoa, opt for broccoli rice, shredded cabbage, cauliflower rice or shirataki rice because they all contain less than five grams of net carbs.