Top 8 Low-Carb Root Vegetables

Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD

Title: Founding Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of British Columbia

Last Updated on:

Root vegetables are the edible starchy tubers that are grown below ground. They are colorful, full of powerful antioxidants, fiber, and beneficial vitamins. However, root vegetables are often wrongly labeled as “high carb” and often mistakenly avoided. There are lots of varieties of root vegetables; onion, garlic, sweet potatoes, to name a few. But today, let me share the nutritional values of 8 low-carb root vegetables that are traditionally used as a vegetable and coincidentally, also low in carbohydrates.

Root Vegetables Nutrition Poster
Low-Carb Root Vegetables

8 Lower-Carb Root Vegetables (With Pictures)

Although there is a peak season for root vegetables, many varieties are indeed available year-round. Choke full of nutrients, here is a list of lower-carb root vegetables to try.

1. Beetroot

Beetroot

Beetroot is known for its distinct ruby red color, but it actually can be found in many shades from white to purple. The most well-known nutrient found in beetroot is certainly nitrates, a plant compound that can dilate blood vessels, effectively lowering blood pressure and improving sports performance. Studies also suggested nitrates in beetroots may help slow tumor growth. Beetroot are commonly used in salads and have a fresh, almost nutty taste; they can be boiled, steamed, roasted, or even pickled. 

One cup of cubed beetroot provides:

  • Calories: 59
  • Carbohydrates: 13 g
  • Fiber: 3.8 g
  • Net Carb: 9.2 g
  • Protein: 2.2 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Potassium: 442 mg
  • Vitamin C: 11% of the DV

2. Turnips

Turnip

As part of the cruciferous family, turnips are a great source of Vitamin C, fiber, potassium as well as manganese. Just like other vegetables within the cruciferous family, turnips also contain sulfur-containing compounds, a type of potent antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative stress. Turnips are bulbous and white with a purple color on top. They look like red onion, but without the layers. When cut open, it is entirely white inside. It usually tastes best when peeled. To serve, quarter the turnip and either roast, steam, boil or mash to add a great tasting side dish to any meal. The leaves on a turnip are also edible and are commonly used in salads or as a side dish.

One cup of cubed turnip provides:

  • Calories: 36
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Fiber: 2.3 g
  • Net Carb: 5.7 g
  • Protein: 1.2 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Potassium: 248 mg
  • Vitamin C: 45% of the Daily Values

3. Rutabaga

Rutabaga

Rutabaga is a cousin of the turnip, and is sometimes known as the “yellow turnip.” It is also a member of the cancer-protective cruciferous family. Rutabaga provides even more vitamin C than turnips, quite impressive indeed as a root vegetable. It too is easy to prepare and is often used in stews and as a side dish. It is said that rutabagas are tastier than turnips when mashed for a side dish. Similar to carrots, rutabaga tastes sweeter when roasted.

One cup of cubed rutabaga provides:

  • Calories: 53
  • Carbohydrates: 12 g
  • Fiber: 3.2 g
  • Net Carb: 8.8 g
  • Protein: 1.5 g
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Potassium: 427 mg
  • Vitamin C: 58% of the DV

4. Radishes

Radish - One of the lowest carb root vegetables

Radishes are one of my favorites! Not only do their eye-catching white and pink colors brighten up a dish, its distinctive spicy with a hint of sweetness makes for an interesting taste profile.  For a root vegetable, it is low in carb (with a net carb of just 2 grams, one of the lowest carb indeed) and calories, its fiber and vitamin C content is quite impressive. The best way to enjoy radishes is to eat raw – simply slice or dice.

One cup of radishes provides:

  • Calories: 18
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Net Carb: 2 g
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Potassium: 270 mg
  • Vitamin C: 28% of the DV

5. Celeriac

Celeriac

Yes, you guess it right; it’s related to celery. Also known as celery root, celeriac deserves more attention. The most stellar nutritional profile of celeriac is its high vitamin K content, an important vitamin for bone health.  A one-cup serving provides an impressive 80% of daily needs. Just like most other root vegetables, celeriac can be eaten raw, and also works well boiled, roasted or sautéed.

One cup of raw celeriac provides:

  • Calories: 66
  • Carbohydrates: 14.4 g
  • Fiber: 2.8 g
  • Net Carb: 11.6 g
  • Protein: 2.3 g
  • Fat: 0.5 g
  • Potassium: 468 mg
  • Vitamin C: 21% of the DV

6. Daikon

Daikon

Perhaps the name doesn’t sound familiar. But if you are a fan of Japanese cuisine, you would have come across this white, crispy vegetable. Often shredded to top a salad or to accompany raw fish sushi, daikon is yet another radish family member (hence a cruciferous vegetable). If you find regular radish too spicy, this milder version may be more pleasant for you.

One cup of daikon provides:

  • Calories: 21
  • Carbohydrates: 4.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Net Carb: 2.9 g
  • Protein: 0.7 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Potassium: 263 mg
  • Vitamin C: 43% of the DV

7. Parsnip

Parsnip

One of the most asked questions about root vegetables is indeed, what’s the difference between parsnip and turnips? Although they have a similar beige/yellow color, their taste is quite different. Parsnip is close to carrots, so it’s sweet; turnip is in the cruciferous family and it is less sweet. Unpeeled whole parsnips will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Peel parsnip just before cooking, because their exposed flesh will darken when exposed to air. Parsnip works well in casserole dishes, and can be steamed and mashed.

One cup of parsnip provides:

  • Calories: 100
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Fiber: 6.5 g
  • Net Carb: 17.5 g
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Fat: 0.4 g
  • Potassium: 499 mg
  • Vitamin C: 38% of the DV

8. Carrots

Carrots

This list will never be complete if carrots are not on it. And carrots shouldn’t need any introductions; we have all eaten them. The usual orange carrots get the color from beta-carotene antioxidants, which has been linked to cancer-protective benefits. For better absorption of beta-carotene, it’s best to cook carrots; the absorption rate can be increased up to 6.5-fold!

One cup of raw, sliced carrots provides:

  • Calories: 50
  • Carbohydrates: 11.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.4 g
  • Net Carb: 8.3 g
  • Protein: 1.1 g
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Potassium: 390 mg
  • Vitamin C: 12% of the DV

Root vegetables should be making a comeback among food lovers and health-conscious consumers. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, particularly blood pressure-lowering potassium; they are also much lower in carbs than you think. With a little creativity, these veggies are easy to incorporate into a healthy meal plan and lifestyle.

Health

beetroot, carrots, good carbs, parsnip, radish, root vegetables, rutababa, turnip

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