Vegetarian Keto Diet: How to Make It Work for You

Are you a plant-based eater who wants to reap the benefits of a keto diet? If so, a vegetarian keto diet plan may be just what the doctor ordered.


A vegetarian keto diet is a great solution if you want to combine keto eating with your plant-based lifestyle. To make it work, you need to know which foods to include and which ones to avoid. And there’s one shortcut that can make your journey on the vegetarian keto path simpler and easier.

You don’t need to be a meat eater who consumes tons of animal protein to reap the benefits of a ketogenic diet. 

That’s right — even though the keto diet is often associated with piles of bacon and slabs of steak, it’s possible to succeed with a vegetarian keto diet. You just need to find the right mix of plant-based low-carb foods to keep you in ketosis. 

Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved in adopting a vegetarian keto diet plan. 

In this article, we will:

  • Define a vegetarian diet
  • Discuss what’s required for a keto diet plan
  • Explain how to combine keto and vegetarian eating create a vegetarian keto diet plan
  • Provide a list of foods you can eat on a vegetarian keto diet
  • Discuss vegetarian foods that will kick you out of ketosis
  • List a convenient shortcut for your keto vegetarian lifestyle
  • Share vegetarian keto recipes

What is a vegetarian diet? 

A vegetarian diet emphasizes plant-based foods. At the very least, this eating plan typically excludes meat, fish and poultry. 

There are different types of plant-based diets that fall under the broad umbrella of vegetarianism. Here are some of the most common variants:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. This diet excludes meat, fish and poultry. But eggs and dairy products are allowed.
  • Lacto-vegetarian diet. With a lacto-vegetarian eating plan, meat, fish, poultry and eggs are eliminated. However, dairy products are included. 
  • Ovo-vegetarian diet. An ovo-vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, poultry and dairy products. But those who follow this eating plan consume eggs. 
  • Vegan diet. This is the most restrictive of all plant-based diets. A vegan diet excludes meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products. And many people who follow this diet also exclude other products derived from animals, such as honey. 

Health benefits of a vegetarian diet

Research shows that a vegetarian diet has these health benefits:

What is a keto diet?

A keto diet emphasizes foods that are low in carbs and high in fat. The goal of this diet is to keep you in a metabolic state called ketosis. When you’re in this state, your body uses fat for energy, and this helps it burn fat more efficiently. Also, in ketosis, your body turns fat into ketones that can supply energy for the brain. 

The standard keto diet contains very few carbs, a moderate amount of protein and a high amount of fat. It’s based on a precise macronutrient ratio:

  • 55 to 60 percent of your calories come from fat
  • 30 to 35 percent of your calories come from protein
  • 5 to 10 percent of your calories come from carbohydrates

Health benefits of a keto diet

Studies show that a ketogenic diet provides these health benefits:

How to create a vegetarian keto diet plan

A keto diet and a vegetarian diet provide similar benefits. Studies show they both support heart health and healthy weight loss. 

But we don’t all respond to eating plans in the same way. For example, while some people easily achieve healthy weight loss on a plant-based diet, others have a harder time with it. For various reasons, the most effective way to achieve your health goals may involve designing a diet that is both keto and vegetarian. 

Here are the steps involved in creating a vegetarian keto diet plan:

  • Construct your diet using foods that meet the requirements of your preferred vegetarian eating plan. For example, if you’re a vegan, exclude all animal-based foods and choose plant-based menu items. And if you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian, build your diet using eggs, dairy products and plant-based foods. 
  • Choose vegetarian foods that are low in net carbs, and make sure your overall diet has a macro ratio that falls within the parameters of the standard keto macro. That means 55-60 percent fat, 30-35 percent protein and 5-10 percent carbs. 

What foods can you eat on a vegetarian keto diet?

Here are some healthy foods that support your vegetarian keto lifestyle:

Low-carb vegetables

  • Cauliflower 
  • Mushrooms
  • Celery
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli 
  • Lettuce 
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Bok choy
  • Asparagus
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Spinach 
  • Collards
  • Bell peppers

Plant-based fats

  • Avocado 
  • Olives
  • Olive oil
  • Nut butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Almonds
  • Pili nuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds

Low-carb plant-based proteins

  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Seeds 
  • Nuts

Low net-carb fruits

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries 
  • Blackberries

You can also add eggs to your eating plan if you’re an ovo-vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian. 

And if you’re a lacto-vegetarian or lacto-ovo vegetarian, you can add dairy products like hard cheeses, butter, plain cottage cheese and full-fat plain yogurt.  

Vegetarian foods to avoid on a keto diet

If you’re on a vegetarian keto eating plan, stay away from plant-based foods that are high in carbs. They’ll hinder your efforts to remain in ketosis. Here are examples of these types of foods:

  • Lentils
  • Beans 
  • Grains 
  • Potatoes
  • Most fruits

Vegetarian keto diet: Is there a shortcut for success?

A vegetarian keto diet can bring huge health benefits. But you may find yourself spending lots of time cooking and grocery shopping. 

If you want to minimize the amount of time spent in the kitchen and supermarket, there’s a solution to consider: You can subscribe to a meal delivery service. This service will deliver meals that support your keto vegetarian lifestyle. 

Fresh N Lean is one such meal delivery service. We have a low-carb vegan meal plan that focuses exclusively on plant-based foods with minimal carbohydrates. You can easily turn this into a keto-vegetarian meal plan by adding healthy plant-based fats. These include foods like avocados, olives, coconut oil, olive oil and a variety of nuts and seeds. 

We include nutritional data on all our meals to make it easy for you to calculate and build your macros. And our plant-based keto-friendly meals are conveniently delivered to your home or office. 

Vegetarian keto recipes

Here are some plant-based recipes that work well with a keto diet:

Vegan Keto Big Mac Sliders

Keto Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Keto Mushroom and Cauliflower Burgers

Next steps

By incorporating delicious plant-based ingredients like zucchini noodles, avocado, nut butter and almond flour, you can create a vegetarian keto diet that elevates your health. 

And Fresh N Lean can support your journey. We offer low-carb, chef-prepared vegetarian meals made with wholesome, organic ingredients. 

Subscribe today to get Fresh N Lean meals delivered to your door. 

Fresh N Lean is the nation’s largest organic meal delivery service. Our tasty, chef-prepared cuisine is always fresh and never frozen, and we offer convenient meal plans like Protein+, Keto, Paleo, Standard Vegan and Mediterranean. Choose Fresh N Lean for affordable nutrition, delivered to your doorstep.