I remember going to a party once: a party of gardeners, because those are the sorts of parties I go to. We had a potluck, and someone started grating all sorts of vegetables into a salad. I was shocked. You can eat those raw? If you’re looking to save energy, you dislike cooking, or you just feel adventurous, here is a list of vegetables that you normally cook but taste great raw as well.
While you can eat softer summer squashes raw, fewer people realize that you can also eat raw winter squash. This orange squash is packed with beta carotene, just like carrots. Try grating butternut squash into a salad, or make it into thin strips, soak it, and use it as a raw vegan spaghetti. Tired of pumpkin spice lattes? Perhaps you could try a Raw Butternut Squash Smoothie instead.
While I’m not fond of the super sweet taste of cooked beets, I love eating them raw. When I first saw them grated into a winter salad, I wondered why no one had ever told me about the joys of raw beets. I like to grate them into a green salad or a winter root vegetable salad. The sweetness makes them pair nicely with an oil and vinegar dressing.
Celery root or celeriac probably wins the award for the world’s ugliest vegetable, but it’s very tasty once you get past its odd-looking exterior. It’s creamy white inside, and it tastes a lot like celery. You can use it warm in potato and celery soups, or use it raw grated into a salad. Since it has a fairly strong flavor, it’s good paired with other strong vegetables like beets and sunchokes.
The tall, lanky plants create lovely, nutty-flavored roots that taste delicious when they’re roasted. They look like a potato, but they’re much more flavorful. While grating them into salads to eat raw can cause tummy upset in some people, others don’t find that to be the case at all. Use them to add a nutty flavor to a winter vegetable salad.
I’m not a fan of cooked turnips, since I don’t like the texture. However, a raw turnip is crisp, sweet, and slightly tangy – perfect! These abundant and inexpensive fall and winter vegetables go well in a salad with other root vegetables or even with some fruit mixed in.
Tip: Turnip plants are good as companion plants that repel cabbage worms
Eat Your (Raw) Greens
You’ve probably eaten raw lettuce and spinach, but did you know that you can eat other greens raw, such as swiss chard? Some of them have a more pronounced flavor than your average lettuce leaf. This makes them excellent chopped into smaller pieces for a salad or tucked into a green or berry smoothie. Try adding kale, chard, or collards to a smoothie. Create a massaged kale salad by softening kale in an acid like vinegar or lemon juice. You can also create raw wraps out of the thick leaves of kale or collards.
Want to grow your own vegetables?
Now, before you go charging off into your pantry or fridge to munch away, remember a few safety tips. When you’re eating vegetables raw, it’s doubly important to clean them, so check inside your leafy greens and scrub the outside of your root vegetables to remove any soil. While raw foods have a lot of precious enzymes, they can also be challenging to digest. Keep track of your body’s response and go slowly when you introduce a new raw vegetable to your diet. If you find that raw vegetables are a challenge to your digestion, you can always try easy-to-digest fermented foods as well!