Raw vs Cooked Vegetables

I often get asked whether raw or cooked vegetables are better for you. Truth be told, vegetables are good for you period. As long as you’re consuming an adequate amount of veggies per day, it doesn’t matter to me how you choose to consume it (what I mean is, don’t deep fry your kale…)

Some people prefer the taste and texture of a raw carrot to a cooked one. Personally, I prefer raw carrots with hummus or in a salad, but cooked carrots in a warm grain bowl with an egg.

For a magnifying look into the benefits between both, I’ve broken down a few key points below.

  • Raw vegetables are filled with water, which means they’re more hydrating and and you get more volume for fewer calories

  • Raw vegetables have more vitamin C, because heat can kill it off. To combat this, lightly or quickly apply heat to veggies so they can still retain the vitamin C benefits. Otherwise you’ll still consume enough vitamin C from fruits and other vegetables

  • Cooking vegetables (such as: tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, winter squash and asparagus) can help to enhance their nutrient value and allow for better absorption of nutrients and antioxidants

  • Heating vegetables helps to soften the tough fibers of raw vegetables, making them easier to digest

    • Consuming raw cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cauliflower and broccoli can create digestive discomforts such as gas and bloating - kale, for example, should be massaged well and easier to digest when steamed because its fibers are so tough. If you don’t like these vegetables steamed or cooked, then chew them really well so your body has an easier time of breaking it down

How to Roast Vegetables:

I prepare a pan of roasted vegetables every week, rotating between different types of vegetables to give myself variety. I include these vegetables in nearly every dish throughout the week - salads, breakfast bowls, dinner sides, quick snack with some hummus or homemade pesto.

(note: I did not roast all these vegetables together on one pan as the bottom photos show. More on that explained in the following steps)

Steps:

  • Cut and chop up your veggies of choice

  • Some vegetables roast easier when they’ve first been steamed. These include:

    • Carrots, Beets, Potatoes and Root Veggies

  • After steaming, toss each vegetable in your cooking oil of choice (I prefer olive or avocado) and season each vegetable with your seasoning of choice. Here I did:

    • Carrots with dried dill and olive oil

    • Beets with smoked salt

    • Bokchoy with olive oil and celery salt

    • Potatoes with fresh cut parsley and olive oil

    • Other favorites of mine are: Parsnip with dried dill or herbs de provence, Carrots with cumin, Squash with rosemary, Potatoes with basil, Cauliflower with turmeric)

  • Place alike vegetables on a baking sheet covered with foil (ie: cauliflower with broccoli, carrot with parsnip, potato with eggplant)

    *Important note, do not overcrowd the pan! If you don’t have more than one pan, then roast your vegetables one/or so at a time. Crowding the pan doesn’t allow heat room to expand, which you want so that everything cooks evenly*

  • I like to roast my veggies between 375-400 degrees F, really depends on the vegetable itself. I suggest starting at 375 and keeping an eye on each one as it cooks, to get a sense of what you like

  • Allow everything time to cool before transferring to a glass container and storing in the fridge

Bottom line? Whether you like it raw, cooked, baked, soft, crunchy, seasoned or not - eat your vegetables.

Sources:

Choose My Plate

Seattle Times

Insider

Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry

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