What low-carb foods can you cook without onions? Probably just a few dishes? Onions make food flavorful by adding an earthy, spicy taste, whether cooked or raw.
But are onions keto-friendly? That’s a question that many keto dieters have to consider when choosing what to include in their diet. Even though they contain some carbohydrates, onions are unavoidable in cooking.
With so many keto recipes out there, it can be impossible to come across one that completely avoids onions. This article discusses the place of onions in a ketogenic diet, with the view of helping you make an informed decision when choosing what to eat and what not to eat.
Are Onions Keto-Friendly?
Yes. Onions are keto-friendly. But that doesn’t seem obvious, considering that onions hardly have any fat or protein content. However, onions can work well in a keto diet because of the following reasons:
- Regardless of the diet, people eat onions in moderation. Their purpose is to add flavor and not serve as the main meal.
- Onions have a low-calorie count with minimal nets carbs in a 100-gram serving.
- They have a high nutritional value with bioactive, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant compounds.
- Incorporating onions into a ketogenic diet is extremely easy, given their role as a flavoring agent.
How Many Carbs Do Onions Contain?
Depending on the size, a large onion can have up to 14 grams of carbohydrates. That may seem off-putting, especially when considering onions as a keto-friendly vegetable.
A large onion has a small dietary fiber, so its net carbs count can be 11 grams. However, since you only use it to add flavor to your food, that small amount of carbohydrates cannot negate your keto diet.
There are different onions, including red onions, green onions, yellow onions, white onions, sweet onions, and spring onions. Here is a description of different onion varieties and their carbohydrate content:
1. Red Onion
One-quarter of a red medium onion has up to 2.5 grams of net carbs. Therefore, adding ¼ of a medium-size red onion, a lettuce-wrapped sandwich, salad, or hot dish, won’t mess with your keto nutrition plan.
2. Green Onion
Green onions or scallions have 1.2 grams of net carbs in ¼ cup of chopped onions. With that, green onions are the most keto-friendly onion variety.
They are great additions to Mexican bowls and chili, a keto-friendly dish. Alternatively, you can add green onions to mashed cauliflower and sour cream.
3. Yellow Onion
The yellow onions, just like their red counterpart, is keto-friendly. In ¼ of a whole yellow onion, there are 2.5 grams of net carbs and some dietary fiber.
If your hot dish recipe requires you to use a whole yellow onion, it would likely result in four servings, drastically reducing the total carbohydrates. Therefore, yellow onions are equally keto-friendly.
4. White Onion
With a paltry 2.2 grams net carbs count in ¼ of a whole white onion, this onion variety is keto-friendly by all standards.
White onions are a common addition to various dishes, enhancing flavor whether eaten raw or cooked. It’s advisable to use ¼ of white onion to reduce the number of carbohydrates you introduce into your keto diet.
5. Sweet Onions
Sweet onions or Vidalia have a 12-gram net carb count per cup of diced onions. Naturally, therefore, it’s the least keto-friendly given its high sugar content.
Unless you have no other option, including sweet onions in a keto diet is a no-no. Even though they’ll make your food sweeter, they only serve to negate your efforts towards a low-carb intake.
Health Benefits of Onions
A member of the allium genus, onions make one of the most nutritious vegetables around. They have several health benefits, enhancing those of keto diets. The following are some of the health benefits of onions:
1. Enhancing Cardiovascular Health
Did you know that onions are good for your heart? They contain high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of heart disease. They also reduce high blood pressure and the likelihood of blood clots.
2. Controlling Blood Sugar Levels
Eating onions is an effective way of controlling blood sugar levels for prediabetics and diabetics. They can also lower body fat, based on preliminary studies. Therefore, they also help in weight loss.
3. Fighting Cancer
Eating onions and other vegetables in the Allium category can help lower the risk of colorectal and stomach cancer. Therefore, having them in keto recipes can benefit you beyond the obvious.
4. Antibacterial Properties
Onions can fight dangerous e-coli bacteria in the digestive system, thus promoting the health of the alimentary canal.
Keto Recipes with Onions
Are onions keto-friendly? By now, you do not doubt the plate of tasty onions in your ketogenic diet. But how do you incorporate onions in keto recipes? The following are some low-carb recipes you may want to consider:
1. Keto Onion Rings
Raw onions rings have a low carbohydrate content. Apart from onion rings, the ingredients are mainly protein-based, featuring almond flour, parmesan cheese, eggs, and heavy cream.
After dipping the onion ring in the egg, you add the almond flour mixture and cook in an air fryer. You can pre-cook this keto meal, store it in the refrigerator for up to two days, and use it with other keto dishes.
2. Keto French Onion Soup
Starting the keto lifestyle can be as simple as having the French onion soup as part of your diet. Of its nine ingredients, caramelized onions take center stage.
The beef-broth-based soup involves sauteing onions, adding brown garlic, adding dry white wine, and simmering for ten minutes.
Transfer the soup into baking dishes and add shredded gruyere cheese and a slice of bread. Broil until the cheese melts and gets brown.
The soup is excellent for serving various keto foods, depending on what’s on your menu.
3. Caramelized Onions
Keto dieters prefer adding onions to their meals in different ways. Caramelized onions present the perfect way to prepare onions and bring their deep, rich, and sweet flavor.
You can caramelize onions by cooking them in a bit of vegetable or olive oil until they are brown. With that, you can enhance their flavor and make your meals worthy of craving.
4. Keto Egg Drop Soup
This recipe utilizes green onions to give the eggs an extra tangy flavor. It features several ingredients, including chicken bone broth, thighs, ginger, scallions, turmeric powder, cornstarch, eggs, and toasted sesame oil.
Add chicken and a thickener after preparing kitchen broth and returning it to a gentle simmer. Gradually drizzle in the whisked eggs to form egg ribbons. Garnish with chopped scallions and toasted sesame oil.
How to Use Onions to Maintain a Ketogenic Diet?
Are onions keto-friendly? Yes. It all depends on how you use them. Since they contain some carbohydrates, onions aren’t perfectly keto-friendly. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot incorporate them into low-car diets. Here are some things you should consider when to use onions to promote ketosis:
1. Choose the Right Onion Variety
Green onions or scallions are the most keto-friendly onion varieties. Next in line are yellow and white onions with a low carb count. Therefore, you should prioritize these onion varieties over sweet and red onions containing many carbohydrates.
2. Use Onions to Add Flavor
Onions are the perfect choice for keto dieters looking to better flavor their foods. They are better than dressings, sauces, and sugar, which only increase the total carbohydrates in a supposedly keto meal. Even though onions have sugar and carbs, they are much better than other sweeteners.
3. Avoid Overusing Onions
You do not have to incorporate too much of them into your diet with onions. For example, one-half cup of chopped onions can prepare a large meal with multiple servings. If you want, you can reduce the quality to a quarter cup of onions and still get the same great taste from your food.
The Bottom Line