Epic Vegan Keto (Vegan Low Carb Swaps Guide) 87+ Unique Ideas

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon

"Hello, I love your meals and I do understand the underlying philosophy is different than low carb, however low carb (not Keto or Atkins), but a minimal carb diet is super helpful to me overall in maintaining my weight over 50 years old. Do you have a sub list or alternate plan?" 

Answer: Yes I do! Several meal plan members choose "low carb" options for management of their diabetes, weight-loss, or because their body doesn't respond well to grains or flours. Others prefer to simply eat more bulk (volume) or need more fiber for their digestive system.

BELOW is my epic list of all swaps! 


Context: A "low carb diet" is defined as "A daily limit of 0.7 to 2 ounces (20 to 57 grams) of carbohydrates." A "keto diet" "typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day and can be as low as 20 grams a day.... an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein." While there is some overlap between a keto diet and a low carb diet, they aren't the same thing. 

A food is generally considered "low carb" if it isn't high in carbohydrates. Said another way, foods considered "low carb" tend to have more protein and/or fat that carbohydrates or their carbohydrates are mitigated by fiber, creating minimal "net carbohydrates." 

"Net Carbohydrates" are "the carbohydrates in food that you can digest and use for energy. To calculate net carbs, take a food's total carbs and subtract: fiber." 

Am I a proponent of a low carb or keto diet? Not necessarily.

I personally eat a good amount of carbohydrates, though mine comes in the form of whole steamed potatoes, baked winter squashes, oats, millet, lentils, mung beans, strawberries, and brown rice on occassion. I eat almost no pasta, sugar, bread, or baked goods. 

I feel my best eating a diet that is primarily vegetables, with natural carbohydrates added in to sustain my natural physical and mental activity. (I move alot and think alot so my brain and muscles need glucose to perform).

However, not everyone has my body (and even my body has changed in the last 10-15 years with age and illness) so a lower carb diet may be what someone else needs. 

The only diet I'm a proponent of is a minimally processed, whole food diet, ideally one that is entirely (or primarily) plant-based, meaning centered on food from the produce section of the market.

WHAT PLANTS you put on your plate dicates if it's a high carb or low carb variation of this. Both are doable, both are healthy. 

In the list below, items that are "low carb" could be suitable for a very low carb diet (e.g. keto) because they have very minimal net carbohydrates. The "lower carb" options are lower carb than what they are being compared to (for example, black rice has lower carbs than white rice; red lentil pasta has less net carbs that white pasta) but these items probably would not work for for a severaly low carb diet (e.g. keto).

Items are listed in order of least processed (most whole food) to more processed, with deference given to items that are widely available and/or are inexpensive.

Lower Carb Vegan Swaps Guide 

Instead of Pasta: 

  1. shredded cabbage 
  2. spaghetti squash 
  3. zucchini noodles
  4. bean sprouts 
  5. seaweed noodles (e.g. kelp noodles)
  6. heart of palm noodles (e.g. palmini)
  7. dried squash noodles (e.g. solely)
  8. tofu noodles (e.g. shirataki)
  9. miracle noodles 
  10. fiber gourmet
  11. soy curls
  12. LOWER CARB: pasta made from red lentils, black beans, chickpeas, split peas, quinoa, (or a combination) generally have lower "net carbs" compared to traditional grain-based pasta (e.g. whole-wheat, brown rice pasta).
Instead of Rice, Quinoa: 
  1. cauliflower "rice" 
  2. broccoli "rice" 
  3. celery root "couscous"
  4. minced mushrooms 
  5. LOWER CARB: black rice
  6. LOWER CARB: wild rice
  7. LOWER CARB: quinoa
  8. LOWER CARB: lentils
  9. fullgreen
  10. heart of palm rice (e.g. palmini, ontrue)
  11. add Alchemy Fibre for Rice 
  12. Banza's chickpea-based rice
  13. RightRice
  14. TVP (textured vegetable protein)
  15. miracle rice
  16. ground lupin
  17. Konjac rice (e.g. Better than Rice)

Note: Black rice also has the most protein and least amount of calories. 

Instead of Diced Potatoes:
  1. cauliflower florets
  2. radishes
  3. zucchini 
  4. daikon 
  5. turnip
  6. kohlrabi 

Instead of Mashed Potatoes: 

  1. Mash Turnips 
  2. Mash Celery Root
  3. Mash Kohlrabi 
  4. Mash Turnip 

Instead of Potato Fries:

  1. Celery Root Fries 
  2. Brussel Sprouts (roast)
  3. Turnip Fries
  4. Jicama 
  5. Radishes (roast)
  6. eggplant fries 

Instead of Roasted Potatoes: 

  1. roasted rutabaga 
  2. roasted cauliflower
  3. roasted radish 
  4. roasted bell peppers 

Instead of Sweet Potatoes, Carrots:

  1. colorful bell peppers 
  2. butternut squash 
  3. rutabaga 

Instead of Croutons:

  1. onion flakes
  2. diced celery
  3. raw nuts
  4. raw seeds
  5. edamame
  6. baked cubed tofu 
  7. roasted edamame 
  8. LOWER CARB: baked chickpeas
  9. LOWER CARB: dehydrated peas 
Instead of Wraps, Tortillas, Bread: 
  1. lettuce cups
  2. collard green wrap
  3. endive cups 
  4. serve over greens 
  5. serve over cauliflower rice or mash
  6. coconut-flour tortillas (e.g. siete)
  7. almond-flour tortillas 
  8. keto bread (e.g. orowheat, franz)
  9. keto tortillas (e.g. Mission)

Instead of Beans:

  1. black soy beans
  2. Nuts (e.g. walnuts, cashews)
  3. boiled peanuts 
  4. Seeds (e.g. sunflower seeds, pepitas)
  5. Tofu
  6. Tempeh 
  7. avocado 
  8. mushrooms
  9. eggplant
  10. green beans 
  11. LOWER CARB: peas 
  12. Bean-Free Refried Beans
  13. wheat gluten (e.g. seitan, no evil)

Instead of Hummus:

  1. Dijon mustard
  2. avocado, guacamole
  3. nut butters (e.g. cashew butter)
  4. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  5. peanut butter 
  6. coconut milk 
  7. coconut cream
  8. cashew cream
  9. my Bean-Free Hummus or cauliflower hummus
  10. vegan unsweetened greek yogurt 
  11. vegan unsweetened coconut yogurt 
  12. vegan mayo 
  13. vegan butter 
  14. Brami
  15. LOWER CARB: vegan cream cheese 
  16. LOWER CARB: pesto 
Instead of Flour (1-2 tbsp in a recipe):

  1. almond flour
  2. coconut flour
  3. LOWER CARB: chickpea flour, garbanzo flour  
  4. LOWER CARB: amaranth flour 
  5. oat fiber 
  6. tigernut flour 
  7. xanthan gum
  8. guar gum
  9. agar agar 
  10. glucomannan (konjac)
  11. omit and let it be runny 

If it's being chilled (not heated) flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and psyllium husk powder may work. 

The photo is Cauliflower Verde Bowls, from the Meal Mentor app.

If you need easy, low carb vegan recipes & want me to write a cookbook, please click here. 


Subscribe to the blog!

Or go grab our RSS feed!