We already know that vegetables are good for us. If you’re into veggies then eating about 200g of vegetables every day is not a big deal. This is assuming that you’re also eating about 200g of fruits because according to WHO, a healthy diet should include at least 400g of fruits and vegetables per day. And the vegetables they referred to, do not count potatoes, cassava, sweet potatoes, and other starchy roots. So, really, can you roughly guess if you’re getting enough vegetables in your diet?
For those who are not a big fan of vegetables, around 200g of veggies a day can be a feat to achieve. Having said that, there are ways for you to include more vegetables into your diet. Juicing is a great and easy way to do that – you’d be surprised at how many vegetables you can eat with just a glass of vegetable juice. Roasting is an easy, delicious, and appetizing way of presenting veggies on your dinner table, too. There’s also steaming – simple, easy, and absolutely healthy. And when in doubt, simply serve them raw! Yes, there are actually vegetables that are best eaten when raw.
Vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and some vitamins, particularly water-soluble ones like vitamin C and B vitamins, are quite sensitive to heat. There is also a study that says antioxidants in some vegetables are also destroyed in cooking. So, while there are vegetables whose nutrients content becomes more bioavailable when cooked, there are also those that are best to eat in their raw form.
And serving raw vegetables can be downright easy. You can simply include salad (in every meal if possible) as a side dish or as an appetizer. Then from there, who knows, perhaps soon enough you can serve salad as the main dish! You can also snack on raw vegetables, say zucchini, snow peas, or broccoli florets and hummus dip. And of course, smoothies! Right? There are so many green smoothie recipes that will surely delight even non-veggie lovers.
So, are you ready to try eating vegetables raw? Remember, as many veggies in our diet as possible. And besides, it’s really worth a try – they’re not only healthy, but they can taste really good, too. And to get you off to a good start, here is a list of the best vegetables to eat raw. See which among the vegetables in our list would you like to try first.
Best Vegetables to Eat Raw
This root vegetable although usually cooked is actually great to eat raw. You can thinly slice them or shred them and simply add them to salads. It actually tastes somewhat sweet like carrot and starchy like a potato.
Parsnips are rich in vitamin C, a half cup of raw parsnips can give you about 28% of your daily recommended intake. It is also rich in potassium. Parsnips also contain calcium, iron, folate, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, and vitamin K.
Sunchokes or Jerusalem artichokes are a tuber that is used as a root vegetable. It is sometimes mistaken for a ginger rhizome because they look oddly similar. Just like parsnips, you can simply thinly slice or grate them into your salad. You can also try making slaw. Raw sunchoke has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor quite similar to a water chestnut.
Sunchokes are high in potassium, in fact, a cup contains about 600mg of potassium. It also contains magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, and vitamins C, A, E, and K.
You can eat bean sprouts raw as toppings for salad or as the salad itself. It will make for a great crunchy addition to sandwiches as well. Try also adding them to soups. Make sure to only eat bean sprouts labeled ‘ready-to-eat’ or you can simply grow yours. Raw bean sprouts have a nutty flavor with a unique fresh bitter taste.
Bean sprouts are rich in vitamin C which can give you 23% of the recommended daily dose. It’s also high in fiber and protein. It also contains calcium and iron.
You can finely grate raw beets into salads or as a garnish to soups. You can also slice them thinly and simply drizzle with a chili and lemon dressing. And yes, you can even juice them. Raw beets have an earthy taste with hints of bitterness and sweetness at the same time.
Beets are an excellent source of folate. It also contains vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus, and trace amounts of vitamin A, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, copper, and selenium.
Raw broccoli will be perfect for the garden salad, toppings, slaw, and veggie platters. Pasta salad with raw broccoli is also a must-try. When eating them raw, make sure to cut the florets just far enough down the stems to keep them together.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin C, a cup of broccoli can give you as much vitamin C as an orange would. It also contains iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, riboflavin, zinc, niacin, folate, and vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E, and K.
Raw collard greens are perfect for salads and slaws. They are also great for sandwiches and wraps. You can also try a lot of smoothie recipes with collard greens in them. It has a flavor that is a cross between kale and cabbage, it has that earthy taste with hints of bitterness.
Collard greens are an excellent source of calcium and vitamins A and C. It also contains vitamin K and B6, iron, magnesium, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and choline.
Raw arugula is not just for salads, it can be a great topping for pizzas and nachos and a great addition to sandwiches and wraps. And just like collard greens, these arugulas make for a great base for green smoothies. It has a bright, peppery, tart, and slightly bitter taste.
Arugula has high levels of antioxidants, fiber, and phytochemicals. It is an excellent source of vitamin K and also contains calcium, vitamin C, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, and provitamin A.
Raw lettuce is not just for salads and wraps. You can also try topping it like you would a cracker. And since it’s mainly water, try juicing it too. Or perhaps another green addition to your green smoothies. Raw lettuce has a crisp, mild, buttery, and peppery taste.
Depending on the variety, its nutritional contents also vary. But generally, almost all lettuce contains a good amount of vitamin A and small amounts of vitamin C and iron.
Raw onions will surely give your guacamole a lovely kick. It will add another layer of flavor and texture, too, to your tartar sauce. You can also thinly slice it and simply add it to salads, salsas, and toppings for burgers or sandwiches. It has a sharp and pungent flavor with a crisp and crunch texture. You can lessen their astringent flavor by soaking them in cold water for a few minutes.
Onions are mostly water, carbs, and fiber. It’s rich in antioxidants and plant compounds. It also contains a decent amount of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and potassium.
First of all, zoodles, right? Make use of those spiralizer and make some zucchini pasta. It’s also great for wraps and salads. You can also try juicing them or adding them (or as a base) to your smoothies. Raw zucchini has a mild, slightly sweet, and bitter taste.
Zucchinis are amazing sources of antioxidants that include lutein and zeaxanthin. It’s also a great source of folate, potassium, and vitamin A.
Red bell peppers
Raw red bell peppers will make for a great snack, simply slice them up and serve it with hummus. They’re also a great addition to salads. You can also add them in smoothies – for starters apple and red bell pepper is a great combination. Raw red bell pepper has a mild, sweet, and fruity taste.
Red bell pepper is rich in vitamin C, in fact, a cup of sliced red bell pepper can provide up to 195% of recommended daily intake. It also contains folate, potassium, and vitamins K1, E, and A.
Kohlrabi, also called turnip cabbage or German turnip, can be eaten raw. You can simply slice, grate, or julienne raw kohlrabi into your salad or slaw. Since it belongs to the cabbage family, it has that similar sweet and peppery flavor. The texture can be compared to that of broccoli stalks.
Kohlrabi is another excellent source of vitamin C. A cup can get you 93% of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s also packed with antioxidants. Kohlrabi also contains fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6.
The heart of raw artichokes is perfect for salads. Simply slice them thinly and dress with lemon juice to prevent browning. Raw artichokes have a mild slightly nutty taste with hints of bitterness, it’s actually quite similar to Brussels sprouts or asparagus.
Artichokes are high in fiber and also contain vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and folate. It is also one of the vegetables with the most antioxidants contents.
Spinach, especially the young leaves, are perfect for salads. It’s a great addition too to your sandwiches or juices. It’ll make for a great base for green smoothies as well. Raw spinach has a mild, green, and slightly sweet taste.
Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, carotenoids, folic acid, iron, and calcium. It also contains many plant compounds like lutein, kaempferol, nitrates, quercetin, and zeaxanthin.
Snow peas are edible pod peas with flat and thin pods. Both the seeds and pods are edible. They can be eaten whole and raw as snacks or in salads. Snow peas are mildly flavored, it has a somewhat sweet taste and is also very crisp yet slightly tender.
Snow peas are a rich source of iron, calcium, zinc, copper, selenium, and manganese. It’s also a good source of niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, and pyridoxine.
Raw kale, when finely sliced or shredded makes for a great salad base. It’s also perfect for wraps and sandwiches. It will be a welcome addition or a solid base for your smoothie recipes as well. And of course, you can always try juicing it. Raw kale has a strong earthy taste with hints of bitterness. The texture can be dry, tough, and crunchy.
Kale contains vitamins A, C, and K, folate, alpha-linolenic acid, lutein, zeaxanthin, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc.
Watercress, also called yellowcress, is an aquatic flowering plant the belongs to the cabbage family. It can be eaten raw as a base for your salad or an addition to other veggies. It’ll make for a fresh addition, too, to your sandwiches. And of course, don’t forget watercress smoothies! It actually goes very well with avocado so don’t forget to try that. Watercress actually has a peppery taste that is quite similar to arugula.
This vegetable is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene. It’s also a great source of calcium, iron, folate, and vitamin E. Watercress also contains vitamins B6 and K, thiamin, potassium, and iodine.
Tips to Remember When Eating Raw Vegetables
When you’re eating vegetables raw, you want to make sure as much as possible that they are free from any contamination. It’s best if you can have access to organically grown vegetables in your area. Otherwise, here are some tips to consider to make sure you’re safely eating raw vegetables.
Be ‘picky’ with your vegetables
When buying vegetables, be picky – choose the ones that are not bruised, damaged, or showing any discoloration. Lightly squeeze to check if they’re firm, avoid those that already have soft spots. Ideally, choose vegetables that are in season.
Be cautious of pre-prepared or pre-packaged salads
This is especially true for people with low immunity, the elderly, pregnant women, and children. If you absolutely must, then make sure to carefully examine the package for any signs of spoilage, check the expiry date, and make sure to refrigerate them.
From the minute you brought them from the grocery store or farmer’s market, make sure they don’t come in contact with unprocessed food like meats. Same thing when storing them at home in your fridge, freshly cut and ready-to-eat vegetables should be stored above raw fish, meat, or poultry to avoid cross-contamination.
Wash and prep them well
Of course, wash your hands before and after handling your veggies. Make sure you’re using a cutting board that is specifically for vegetables (you should have a separate one for raw meat, poultry, and seafood). Inspect veggies and cut away any bruised or damaged areas, discard outer leaves of leafy vegetables. Wash them thoroughly. Use a produce brush for veggies like zucchinis if necessary.
Although vegetables can last longer when properly stored, it’s best to immediately consume those that you’re planning to eat raw. Especially those pre-prepared or pre-packed salads. And once you’ve taken them out from the fridge, it’s not advisable to put them back in after it’s been left at room temperature for more than 4 hours.